When you think of sunscreen, do you think coconut scents and white streaks? If so, it’s time to think again! Sunscreen has undergone a major makeover, wiggling its way into serums, makeups, and more. But no matter the brand or formula, there are certain things you should always keep in mind when applying sunscreen. These tips will get you on the right track.
“It’s important to find a product labeled ‘broad-spectrum,’ which indicates coverage against UVA and UVB,” Dr. Marisa Garshick, a board-certified dermatologist with New York’s MDCS Dermatology, told Bustle. UVA rays contribute to wrinkles and skin cancer, while UVB rays cause sunburns and redness. Not sure how to determine if you have the proper protection? Check the product label, and ditch it if it doesn’t contain the phrase “broad-spectrum.”
There is a right amount of sunscreen to apply, and it varies by body part. If you aren’t using enough, you aren’t protected. Garshick recommends a nickel-sized amount to protect your face and about enough to fill a shot glass for full-body coverage. In sum, use as much sunscreen as you think you need – and then use even more.
Sun Protection Factor (SPF)
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using an SPF of 30 or higher. SPF 30 filters around 97% of UVA light, and SPF 50 can block up to 98%. Keep in mind that any higher SPF number than SPF 50 does not mean a huge increase in protection – and no sunscreen on Earth can block UVA rays 100%.
Not only can the sun’s rays sneak through your windows and cause skin damage, but your devices can have a negative impact on your skin. That’s right. Blue light can cause ailments like inflammation and premature skin aging, including dark spots. So apply SPF daily, regardless of your plans.
Clouds Can’t Save You
Don’t count on the clouds to protect you from harmful UV light. While they can reduce the impact, clouds are unable to block all of the sun’s rays. Clouds, colder weather, and rain can also increase your risk of sun UVA damage since you’re less likely to feel it happening.
Don’t Rush; Dry.
Sunscreen needs time to settle before it can provide full protection. Dermatologists say 30 minutes is ample time to wait for most sunscreen products to start working.
Expiration Dates Apply to Sunscreen, Too
Check your label before using last summer’s leftover sunscreen because it can expire! Expired sunscreen increases your risk of burning, so play it safe.
And, of Course…Reapply!
The general rule of thumb is every two hours, but check your product for special instructions. Sunscreen does wear off, and it’s important to know when. If you’re sweating, swimming, or spending a lot of time in direct sunlight, apply more often than the bottle recommends.
Use these sunscreen tips to protect your precious skin from serious sun damage! It also doesn’t hurt to opt for a body lotion with SPF or use a tinted sunscreen as the base for your makeup.