Efficient sunscreen use not only reduces the risk of skin cancer and sunburn, but it can also reduce the ageing effect of the sun on your body. Although in saying that, whenever summer rolls around, it’s easy to forget the basics – like how you should apply sunscreen, how long should you wait after applying it to go in the sun, and how long you can stay in the sun with it on.
For most of us, Sunscreen isn’t anything new. However, it’s actually fairly common for individuals to not know the answers to these questions, even as adults who grew up using it regularly. TDLR? Sunscreen provides a screen, not a block. Think of a fly-screen door; air gets though but flies don’t. In the same way, the sun lotion of your choice allows some small amount of UV radiation onto your skin.
Now that we’ve got that cleared up – here is a list of ways you can improve how your protective potion holds up this summer.
1. Apply 2mg Of Sunscreen Per Square Centimetre Of skin
SPF, which is short for Sun Protection Factor, is a number assigned to sunscreens that describes how well they protect against sunburn-causing UVB rays. If you apply 2mg of sunscreen per square centimetre of skin, SPF 30 sunscreen blocks out 96.7% of UVB rays. If you only apply half of this amount, you will only block out about half of UVB rays.
2. Re-Apply Your Sunscreen Regularly
At a microscopic level, the skin is a series of peaks and troughs. Layering on sunscreen around 20 minutes before going into the sun allows the product to flow into the troughs and bind properly to the skin.
Many sunscreens recommend reapplying every two hours. But another way to look at it is like painting a wall of your house. The first coat gets a reasonable coverage, but a reapplication 20-30 minutes after being in the sun – after the first coat has “dried” – gets you much more reliable coverage. And this will cover the bits you may have missed, or covered too thinly, on first pass. Additionally, try to use other things to protect your skin too. Hats, shade, clothing and even staying indoors at the highest UV periods. The closer to solar noon, usually between midday and 12.30pm, the higher the UV.
3. Make Sure Your Products Are In Date
Sunscreen shouldn’t be used past its expiration date. If your sunscreen doesn’t have an expiration date, you should throw it out after 3 years.
Some sunscreens are marked with expiration dates, and it’s important to adhere to them. If you use a sunscreen that’s past its expiration date, you may not get the expected amount of protection, or you may irritate your skin. According to Mayo Clinic, sunscreen that doesn’t have an expiration date is expected to last approximately 3 years.
4. Double (Or Triple!) Check Your Coverage
Many people forget to apply sunscreen to the back of the knees, ears, eye area, neck, and scalp, but these areas aren’t resistant to sun damage.
When applying sunscreen, try to make sure you’ve covered all areas that will be exposed to the sun. The BEENS acronym can help you to remember to cover these commonly missed spots – back of the knees, ears, eye area, neck, and scalp. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen to your lips, hands, and feet, too!
5. Apply Sunscreen Before You Go Outside
According to research, Sunscreen takes approximately 15 minutes to sink into your skin, so it’s best to apply it before leaving home.
Sunscreen should be applied approximately 15 minutes before your anticipated sun exposure. This is because it takes 15 minutes for sunscreen to sink into the skin to offer its optimal protection. If you wait to apply sunscreen until when you’re outside, this leaves 15 minutes of exposure when your skin isn’t fully protected. If you have sensitive skin, or if the UV index is exceptionally high, this could result in an unexpected sunburn.