We all know the importance of wearing sunscreen. All doctors agree that applying sunscreen is one of the best ways to protect yourself and minimize the risk of skin cancer. Thanks to the harmful ultraviolet rays emitted from the skin, whenever we step outside, we are bathed in radiation. It is this radiation that cooks our skin from the inside out and interacts with the cells responsible for pigmentation. The DNA within the cells becomes mutated resulting in sunburn, heat rash, and even skin cancer.
On a more cosmetic note, UV radiation can also cause wrinkles, fine lines, freckles, melasma, and dry, chafing skin. Sunscreen is said to be able to easily prevent all of these reactions and save your precious skin from harm. While this may be partially true, the fact of the matter is, sunscreen can only do so much and its effect is even more limited when used and relied upon improperly. So we’ve decided to list top sunscreen mistakes that you may be making.
1. Not Reading The Label
With so many different brands of sunscreen on the market, you can only imagine how many different combinations of chemicals and natural ingredients you’ll come across. However, some ingredients aren’t always the best for you to use. Use this guide to learn about the best sunscreens and use it as you read the label of your potential go-to sunscreen.
2. Not Using Enough
Many people are often stingy when it comes to applying sunscreen. However, it is recommended that you use a generous amount of sunscreen and liberally apply to all exposed areas of the body. To give you an idea, you should be using about one ounce of sunscreen every time you go out.
3. Using Only Sunscreen as UV Protection
Sunscreen works as a great protective measure to take for sun protection, but sunscreen shouldn’t be the only way to prevent skin damage. You should also wear protective clothing like long sleeves, sun hats, umbrellas, and sunglasses. Also, limit the amount of time you spend in direct sunlight.
4. Only Wearing Sunscreen on Sunny Days
Despite what most people believe, ultraviolet radiation is constantly raining down on earth despite the weather. Even on snowy, rainy, and cloudy days, if it’s during the day, you are at risk. Therefore, you should apply sunscreen every time you are outside no matter what the forecast is.
5. Not Reapplying
Just like any other cream or lotion, sunscreen will eventually fade from the skin. This is most often caused by sweat. As you sweat, the sunscreen is washed away. To remain protected even after you’ve sweat, you should apply sunscreen every two hours. Also, do not forget to reapply after swimming and/or showering at pools, beaches, and gyms.
6. Applying Sunscreen Once You’re Outside
The second you step outside, the sun’s harmful rays will begin affecting you immediately. It is believed that only 5 minutes in direct sunlight can cause skin damage. This is why you should apply sunscreen 15 minutes before going out. Not only will you be protected before the sun hits you, but you’re also more likely to take your time allowing you to apply enough and cover all necessary areas.
7. Thinking Dark-toned Individuals Don’t Need Sunscreen
One of the most common myths regarding sunscreen is that those who have a darker complexion are not prone to sun damage. This is not true. The damage is simply harder to see. Regardless of your complexion or ethnicity, you should apply as much sunscreen as anyone else.
8. Using Sunscreen for Babies
It’s natural to want to protect your little ones as much as, if not more than, you are protecting yourself. However, this does not mean that you should cover your baby head to toe in sunscreen. The chemical ingredients in sunscreen can be harmful to babies. It is recommended that instead of applying sunscreen, simply shade your little one and truly limit their time spent outside. Here’s the FDA’s recommendation regarding the matter.
9. Thinking You Don’t Need SunScreen Because You Won’t Be Out Long
You’ve probably found yourself saying, “I won’t worry about putting on sunscreen. I’ll only be out for a bit.” As we mentioned, in just 5 minutes of sun exposure, your skin can become damaged. So no matter how much time you spend in the sun, you should always wear sunscreen. Keep in mind that on hotter days where the sun is more intense, the exposure time for skin damage will be significantly reduced. Instead of taking any risks, simply apply sunscreen before going out, every time you go out.
Avoid these mistakes to ensure you and your family are fully protected from the sun’s harmful rays. If you want some help and guidance, or more info, and are in the Cincinnati, Ohio area, feel free to reach out to our experts at The Dermatology Group. Give us a call today!