7 Serious sunscreen mistakes you shouldn't make

By:Ariba Khaliq, Onlymyhealth Editorial Team,Date:Jun 01, 2015

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Using sunscreen is a simple yet misunderstood skin-care habit. Here are 7 serious sunscreen mistakes you should avoid to pick the right sunscreen that provides total protection against sunburn.
  • 1

    SPF Smarts

    An embarrassing sunburn? Soaked up in the sun again? Or tried the new sensational tanning beds? Missed the big patch on your back while arduously applying sunscreen? Yup, us too. You’ve been charged with some of the most common sunscreen offences, like us. That painful sunburn is punishment enough. And here is the redemption—information on seven of the biggest sunscreen mistakes and tips to get over them. With expert information handy, you can avoid the misconceptions that lead to serious sunscreen mistakes and hence make healthy skin your priority.

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  • 2

    Mistake: Using less sunscreen.

    Solution: Don’t use meagre amount of sunscreen—cover your entire body. Most people think a pea or pearl-sized amount of sunscreen is sufficient for your face. Wrong! A simple formula to apply sunscreen for total sun protection: Take at least a nickel-sized amount in the palm and apply it to your face. If you’re exposing your body to the sun, a quarter-sized amount is needed each for your torso and back, a nickel for each arm, and two quarters for your legs. Don’t forget your feet and toes.

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  • 3

    Mistake: Thinking dark or olive skin doesn’t need sunscreen.

    Solution: Yes it does! Out environment is changing- the ozone layer has depleted. Your ancestors might have gotten away with not wearing sunscreen, but you’ll have to make sure to not repeat this sunburn causing mistake. You need applying and reapplying. The myth that dark skin doesn’t need protection is just a myth. In truth, it’s actually hard to detect cancerous moles in dark skin, since it has usually progressed significantly by the time they can be detected.

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  • 4

    Mistake: Wearing lesser SPF while outdoors.

    Solution: A day at the beach needs you to wear a waterproof/sweatproof SPF 30. If you burn easily or have skin issues like hyperpigmentation or a history of skin cancer, you should take SPF more critically. In case you want tom wear a lower SPF, apply your best sunblock lotion more often.

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  • 5

    Mistake: Not applying often enough.

    Solution: Remember the following rules of frequency of sunscreen application if you’re out all day at the beach or hiking, cycling etc. Fair people should apply sunscreen every two hours; people with olive skin should reapply every three to four hours; and if you’re darker, do it three times a day. And, if you’re in and out of the water, increase the number of time you apply sunscreen for total sun protection.

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  • 6

    Mistake: Avoiding sunscreen while indoors.

    Solution: A lot of skin cancer cases in America are seen on the left side of the body. Take your hint from this sunburn causing mistake—the arm is exposed when you drive. To be on the safe side, wear SPF every day. Even during winters, wear a lesser SPF on your face. If you loathe sunscreen lotion, use the gel form of it.

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  • 7

    Mistake: Using a sunscreen that blocks only UVB rays.

    Solution: A sunblock containing titanium dioxide and zinc oxide blocks both UVB and UVA rays. You should use the likes because UVA rays too can give you sun damage or/and skin cancer. The right sunscreen for you is the one which provides protection from both kind of UV rays.

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  • 8

    Mistake: Using an expired sunscreen.

    Solution: Make sure your sunscreen is not expired. Write a date on the bottle (if it doesn't already note one) when you buy it, and toss it after one year has passed. A chemical-based sunscreen (as opposed to a physical sunblock -- that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide) can decompose, so make sure not to leave it outside in direct sunlight.

    Image Source: Getty

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