Now that summer is here, protecting yourself from the sun’s harmful UV rays is imperative. Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in North America, making skin protection a real issue when you’re outdoors.
Even if you’re applying sun screen regularly, it may not be enough. In order to ensure you’re protected correctly, there are certain, crucial considerations to follow when lathering yourself in sun screen.
Don’t get burned by incorrect sun screen application – it’s simple, if you keep an eye out for these common mistakes.
Applying sunscreen just before going outdoors.
You won’t enjoy the protection of sunscreen if you apply a layer and immediately head out into the heat. It can easily melt or sweat off, leaving your precious skin exposed to the sun’s intensity.
Some sunscreens containing titanium dioxide and zinc oxide work as soon as they’re applied, but most sunscreens work off UV filters which need time to settle into the skin. So it’s a safe, general rule that you should wait 20-30 minutes post-application before braving the sun.
You’re skimpy on the amount of sunscreen used.
It feels like every individual has their own gauge of how much sunscreen is too much, or not enough; there’s no consensus.
If you want to play it safe, ½ teaspoon of sunscreen should amply cover your face and neck. The rest of your body can get by on two tablespoons, at least for a start. While it seems like a tremendous amount of goop to cover yourself in, that’s what it takes for optimal UV protection.
You ONLY use sunscreen when it’s sunny.
This is one of the most common sunscreen oversights people make. It’s assumed that sunscreen is only needed when the sun’s shining brightest, or you’re spending the day at the beach.
Even when it’s cloudy, you can still get sunburned and feel the wrath of the sun. In fact, 87% of UV rays from the sun pierce clouds, fog, and mist.
One application gets you through the day.
Sunscreen should be re-applied every two hours, at minimum! This becomes doubly important if you’re outside all day, perspiring a ton, exercising, or going for a swim. All of these activities will deteriorate and remove your initial application, so keep that bottle of sunscreen handy!
Sunscreen is your only defense from the sun.
You can’t rely solely on sunscreen as your defense from the sun. It simply won’t block 100% of the sun’s rays.
So what else can you use as a sun safeguard?
Your summertime wardrobe should do the trick: hats, sunglasses, and protective clothing can all complement your sunscreen. Keeping clear of the sun during peak, intense heat hours isn’t a bad call either.
Remember, sunscreen isn’t a hall pass to roast in the heat until sundown. Avoiding a burn doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve avoided all skin damage – even a slight tan indicates that some damage has been done to your skin.