3 Most Common Sunscreen Mistakes
It’s easy to make mistakes when using or applying sunscreen. Here are some of the most common over sights, and how to fix them.
1. Not applying your sunscreen correctly.
You should apply sunscreen as evenly, thoroughly and as often as possible — using an applicator like the LaaTeeDa SunScreen Applicator Brush with protective cover can help ensure even coverage. Be extra careful of this when you’re using a spray sunscreen, as you don’t want to just step into the spray like you’re spraying a perfume. If you do, you aren't going to get the coverage of sunscreen that you need to prevent burning and likely you are not putting it on evenly, either.
- Every sunscreen wears off, so reapply at least every two hours. This is particularly important when sweating or swimming with mineral sunscreens or with direct sun exposure with chemical sunscreens.
- The SPF rating can lead to misuse or an assumption of extra protection. It is far more effective to liberally apply a low SPF product properly than to rely on poor application of a high SPF product.
2. Missing or overlooking important areas of exposed skin.
You might remember to apply sunscreen to your arms, legs, and face, but you could be missing some other commonly overlooked areas. For instance, your ears, neck (back and front), top of hands, and scalp burn easily as well and the top of your head is a common place for skin cancer to develop. In many cases you are getting exposed to sun in areas you don't even think about. So apply sunscreen to all exposed skin areas and/or wear a hat or protective clothing.
3. Using old or expired sunscreen products
Whether you’re buying a new bottle of sunscreen or grabbing an old one that you have at home, always double check the expiration date. Direct sunlight can deactivate sunscreen too, so make sure to store it in a cool place in between uses, so it will last longer.
At the end of the day, try to find a product that is a good balance of what’s effective and what you will use most often. The sunscreen that works is the sunscreen that you are actually going to put on your skin, so select one that works for you.
The active ingredients in sunscreens work by creating UV filters that keep harmful UV rays from penetrating the skin. There are two types of sunscreens: mineral and chemical. Each type uses a different mechanism for filtering UV rays and protecting the skin from damage.
Mineral sunscreens sit on top of the skin’s surface, acting as a physical blocker by deflecting and scattering UV rays away from the skin, kind of like a mirror. Because they block UV rays at the surface level, mineral sunscreens protect against both UVA and UVB rays.
Also, because mineral sunscreens create a physical barrier, they are effective as soon as they are applied, and there is no need to wait.
Mineral sunscreens can have a white film to them, and can be visible on the skin. Also, because they sit on the skin’s surface, mineral sunscreens can be rubbed, sweated, or rinsed off pretty easily, which makes regular reapplication a necessity.
A word of caution: the nanoparticles in mineral sunscreens should not be inhaled, so it is best to avoid spray and powder formulations to minimize lung exposure. Mineral sunscreens contain the active ingredients titanium dioxide and zinc dioxide, or a combination of the two.
- Pros: Full protection from UVA and UVB rays; effective immediately; will not clog pores
- Cons: Frequent reapplication is needed; may leave a white cast on the skin; spray and loose powder formulations should be avoided
Chemical sunscreens are absorbed into your skin and sit within the deeper layers. They absorb UV rays and change them into heat, then release the heat from the skin.
It is interesting to note that since UV rays must penetrate the skin to reach these chemicals, chemical sunscreens may not protect against all UVA rays, which still causes damage to the deeper layers of the skin.
Also, chemical sunscreens take about 20 minutes to be effective, so planning ahead is required.
Direct light causes the chemicals to be used up more quickly, so reapplication must be more frequent when you are in direct sunlight. Chemical sunscreens contain oxybenzone, avobenzone, octinoxate, octocrylene, octisalate, homosalate, or combinations of these.
- Pros: Less product is needed per application to offer protection; thinner and easier to spread on the skin; applies invisibly
- Cons: Allows some UVA exposure; requires time to be effective; can exacerbate acne, rosacea, and hyperpigmentation; frequent application required
*LaaTeeDa Sports is excited to be featured within Giejo Magazine and would like to thank their commercial sponsors who help keep their magazine free for readers; JustCBD Glow Bar London Peaches and Screams