Things You’re Doing Wrong That Leave Sunscreen Ineffective

May 194 min read

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  • You aren't applying enough sunscreen
  • You are missing critical areas of your body when applying sunscreen
  • You aren't applying your sunscreen evenly over your whole body
  • You are using a sunscreen that is older than 3 years

The healthy and practical way to protect your skin from the sun is to apply sunscreen. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, an ample layer of sunscreen can protect you from getting burned and minimize the effects of aging while reducing your risk of skin cancer.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, you need to choose a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 20 or greater. However, many people make mistakes when applying sunscreen. For example, they dot on too little, skip vulnerable areas, and or wear a sunscreen that is expired.

Sunburn affects skin cells and blood vessels, making skin seem wrinkled, dry, discolored, and leathery as it ages. For this reason, we always recommend wearing sunscreen...yes even in the winter...yes even if it's cloudy outside.

Below, you will find the most common sunscreen blunders and ways how to avoid them.

You’re Applying Too Little Sunscreen

A small dab won’t suffice to get the claimed SPF advertised on any sunscreen bottle. It’s best to apply at least 1 ounce of sunscreen to your entire body. There are hacks you can use if you don’t know what that looks like. For example, The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that you set aside a quarter-sized quantity for your face. Another tip you could look into is converting the bottle amount into sunscreen applications. Our Smart Screen Mineral Tanning Sunscreen is 100 mL, which is 3.3814023 oz. This means you should use a little less than a third of the bottle each time you plan on tanning or being outside in the sun.

You Ignore Crucial Areas on Your Body

It’s critical to apply sunscreen to all regions that will be exposed to the sun, yet there are a few areas that people frequently overlook. Nearly 20 percent of participants did not apply sunscreen on their eyelids, according to a study published in the journal PLoS One

The study participants had no awareness they had missed this crucial spot. This is concerning because the skin of the upper eyelid has the highest rate of skin cancer per unit area.

Lips are another frequently overlooked area that is vulnerable to harm because they lack the protective pigment, melanin. Wearing a lip balm or lipstick with an SPF is recommended, but if you don't have any handy, just use a touch of your regular sunscreen on your lips to keep them protected.

You Don’t Apply Sunscreen Evenly Enough

You won’t get the protection claimed on the package if you don’t apply the sunscreen evenly. Pay special attention while you apply the sunscreen, and go over the exposed parts several times to ensure complete coverage. You should see a sheen of sunscreen emerge all over your body, and if you cant reach a spot, ask a friend or family member for help to ensure you get even protection.

You Don’t Reapply sunscreen

After your initial application, you have to reapply sunscreen every two hours at the very least and more frequently if you sweat a lot or go swimming. According to FDA guidelines, our Smart Screen is water-resistant and effective for 40 minutes in the water but should be reapplied after towel drying. If you're not in the water, it is recommended that you reapply after 2 hours. 

You Are Using Expired Sunscreen

If you’ve been using the same sunscreen bottle for years, you could be jeopardizing your skin’s health. The FDA mandates that sunscreen products last for three years, tops. After that, it’s possible that it won’t provide the level of protection specified on the bottle. Before applying, check the expiration date, and if there isn’t one, assume it will expire three years from the date of purchase. Instead of using weak sunscreen, opt to buy a fresh batch instead.

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