6 Biggest Sunscreen Mistakes

Correctly applying a high-SPF broad-spectrum sunscreen on exposed skin is the best way to prevent sun damage. However, most of us have burned or tanned when we thought we were protected. Here is a list of mistakes that people often experience using sunscreen:

Using expired sunscreen

Sunscreen is classified by the FDA as a drug, and has a shelf life. Throw out old sunscreen that has expired or been stored at temperature or climate extremes, as the formula and active chemicals may have broken down.

Not putting enough sunscreen on

The protection factor of sunscreens is dependent on the dose of product you apply. Not enough sunscreen means that SPF 50 sunscreen is not giving you SPF 50 protection.

Adults need to apply 1 oz of product to their skin when wearing a bathing suit. The face and front of the neck needs an average of a 5-cent-piece amount.

Not reapplying every 2 hours and after swimming, sweating or rubbing product off.

Sunscreen comes off, so you need to reapply it. It breaks down as it blocks UV rays. Each ray blocked degrades chemical filters, because that’s how these filters work.

When relying on sunscreen to protect your skin, you need to reapply every 2 hours while in the sun or when it’s washed or rubbed off your skin.

Only wearing sunscreen on sunny days or for midday sun exposure.

Clouds don’t block enough UV rays to help prevent sun damage. Also, UVA is out all day—sun-up to sundown, this ray is out and ready to damage your skin. It can cause skin thinning, wrinkling, sun spots, and skin cancer.

Get in the habit of putting sunscreen on exposed skin every morning.

Depending on the sunscreen in your makeup or moisturizer to give you protection.

The amount of sunscreen product you apply is important and directly correlates with SPF protection. Read the UV active ingredient filters. Are they zinc oxide? The UV filters in makeup and moisturizer are chemical filters that expire and provide poor protection in the first place.

What you want for sun protection is products that have SPF, 30+ and broad spectrum. Use a real SPF 30+ broad spectrum sunscreen applied in the correct amount. Separate your moisturizing step and makeup step from your sunscreen step.

Depending entirely on sunscreen for sun protection.

Sunscreen is a lot of work. An adult in a bathing suit, applying 1 oz every 2 hours goes through a 4 oz tube during a full day outside. It’s impractical, and it’s a lot of product. Use multiple strategies to protect your skin.

Wear sun protective clothing. If you are in and out of the sun on an average day, your regular clothing may be adequate.