It’s the height of summer, and on days like these, many are headed to the beach to make the most out of the sunshine. But have you stocked up on sunscreen yet?
Sunscreen is one of the most important skincare products, though believe or not, many of us have more than a few misconceptions about it. Here are the top 7 ways people unknowingly sabotage their own sun-protection endeavours.
1. Applying too little
Most people only apply half the required amount of sunscreen. The SPF 30 or SPF 50 you see on the bottle really only holds true when you apply enough. This means about 25ml for all exposed areas of the body if you’re on the beach in a swimsuit. For the face and neck, half a teaspoon how much you should be applying.
2. Using it only when the sun’s out
UV rays penetrate clouds. On a cloudy day, almost 80% of UV rays reach the planet’s surface. This is especially true for the longer wavelength UVA rays which have greater penetrative powers. While UVB is responsible for immediate effects like sunburn and redness, UVA has been shown to increase the risk of skin cancer and cause skin aging.
3. Not giving it time to start working
For chemical sunscreens, it’s recommended to wait 20-30 minutes before exposure so that the it can form an even layer across the surface of your skin. But if you’re using a mineral sunscreen (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide), you’re ready to go.
4. Neglecting the ears, scalp, lips
When it comes to sunscreen, you should never forget about your facial area. The ears, neck, and scalp (for those with thinning hair) are the places most often forgotten! Most of the time, your lips are also left exposed to harmful UV rays. Remember to use a lip balm with sunscreen for your lips too!
5. Not re-applying
Sunscreen only works for 3-4 hours at a time, so you should be applying a new layer once every 4 hours. This is especially true if you’re swimming. Even the most water-resistant sunscreens need to be re-applied every 2 hours.
6. Going for the highest SPF and/or the most expensive brand
The difference in sun-protection between SPF 30 and SPF 60 is only about 5%, so the most important thing is to apply more and re-apply often. But expensive doesn’t always mean better. Instead, go for a sunscreen with good reviews and broad spectrum protection. Sloane Inc Sunblock SPF 70 is a great broad spectrum sunblock with physical blockers, suitable for sensitive skin.
7. It’s expired
And last but certainly not least, check the expiry date on your sunscreen. If it’s exceeded it, or if it’s been sitting in the car all year, chances are it’s no longer effective. Get yourself a fresh bottle, and you’ll be ready to hit the beach in no time.