Sunscreen is an essential part of our skin health but just because you apply it on a hot day doesn’t mean it’s protecting you against sun damage. Here are five reasons why your sunscreen might be less effective than you think.
1. You’re not wearing it every day
Contrary to the belief that sunscreen is reserved for hot summer days or holidays on the beach, you should actually be applying it every day. Yes, even if it’s cold or cloudy and you’re spending the day inside. The sun emits two types of ultraviolet radiation (UV) which causes skin damage and genetic mutations which can lead to skin cancer. This radiation can cut through even the thickest of clouds, leaving you exposed.
Sun damage can happen in any weather, even wind and rain. Staying indoors won’t keep you safe as UV radiation can pass through windows. So the best way to protect your skin from sun damage is to wear sunscreen every single day!
2. You’re not applying enough
You apply sunscreen once and you’re done for the day, right? Wrong! On average, sunscreen can protect your skin for up to two hours. If you’ve been swimming, sweating or towelling off then sunscreen should be applied immediately after.
Experts recommend that you should be applying about a shot glass of sunscreen to your body every two hours to get the most protection. If in doubt just apply more. There’s no such thing as too much sunscreen when it comes to preventing sun damage.
3. You’re applying it over makeup
To get the best protection from the sun, sunscreen should be directly applied to clean skin. So good news, sunscreen doesn’t have to get in the way of your beauty routine. Put a base layer of sunscreen on your face before anything else. Take care to pay attention to the hairline, jawline, and upper cheekbones as they are the most prone to sun damage.
Ideally, you should wash your makeup off every time you apply a new layer of sunscreen to your face. It’s hardly a feasible practice when you’re out during the day. So invest in a good quality SPF setting powder or spray instead to touch up your face every two hours without ruining your makeup.
4. You’re missing key spots
Don’t you just hate it when you spend ages applying sunscreen only to find red patches appearing at the end of the day? No matter how well you maintain your sunscreen application routine there’s always a good chance that you’ve missed a spot. The most commonly forgotten areas and the most painful to burn are the soles of your feet, ears, lips, and eyelids.
Don’t forget that no matter how much hair you have, your scalp can burn too so lightly spray some sunscreen over it or wear a sun hat. In hard to reach areas like the triangle between your shoulder blades, use a spray-on sunscreen for six seconds and rub it in as best you can to keep the area protected. Sunscreen should be applied twenty-minutes before you step out into the sun for it to be the most effective.
5. It’s out of date
Your sunscreen might even be ineffective before it’s left the bottle if it’s passed its use by date. Sunscreen is usually effective up to three years before the active ingredients that help fight off UV radiation start to deactivate. Applying expired sunscreen puts you at risk of sun damage because you can’t be sure what level of SPF it is.
Depending on how you store it, your sunscreen might be less effective long before the expiry date. Keep the sunscreen out of direct sunlight when you’re out and about. Make sure it doesn’t get too hot as it will start to break down and lose its potency.