It’s a well-known fact that wearing sunscreen is a must in order to prevent sun spots, aging, and even skin cancer. Are you wearing sunscreen in the right way? Yes, there are in fact some extra tips to wearing sunscreen for optimal protection from sun damage.
In this post, we’re talking all about staying as safe as you can while soaking up the rays this summer. No matter who you are and what swimsuit you wear, it’s important to know all these sunscreen tips. Your skin will thank you. Let’s start by talking about SPF numbers and why they matter.
What To Know About SPF
You might already know this, but the number on the sunscreen bottle is definitely important. While it’s good to wear sunscreen at any level, there is power in the SPF (sun protection factor) level. Any person is at risk for skin cancer while in the sun, so it’s recommended for everyone to wear sunscreen that’s at least SPF 15 — ideally SPF 30 or above.
If you’re looking for more strength to be more protected against the sun’s rays, wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. And, just like our moms always told us, you’ve got to reapply sunscreen throughout the day for the best protection.
UVA vs. UVB Rays
Did you know there’s a difference between these two rays? There are ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B rays, which can cause different types of skin damage. UVA rays can cause premature aging, such as wrinkles and sunspots, as well as melanoma, while UVB rays are what give you an uncomfortable sunburn.
To avoid these risks of sun exposure, use sunscreen creams or gels that are higher SPF and broad-spectrum so you’re protected against any rays that come your way. The higher the SPF and the longer lasting the broad-spectrum sunscreen is — think SPF 50 — the more protection you’ll have from UV radiation.
Put Enough Sunscreen On
In order to reduce UV exposure and the risk of skin cancer, you’ve got to make sure you’re wearing enough sun protection. There are recommended amounts that adults should wear while in the sun.
On average, if you’re wearing a shirt and pants, you should make sure to put about two teaspoons of sun lotion on (enough for your face, neck, and arms). If you’re out for a swim, wear about two tablespoons applied to your whole body. As always, reapplying to exposed skin about every two hours is a safe bet.
Be Aware of Expiration Dates
This tip might be a no-brainer, but the dates on the bottle are definitely important to keep track of. On average, sunscreen can last about three years, but always look at the best by date to be sure. If your sunblock is still usable but has been sitting for a while, just give it a good shake so that the ingredients are mixed properly.
Protect Your Eyes, Too
While we’re here, we might as well talk about UV protection for more than just your skin. We’re sure you have a pair of favorite sunglasses but are you wearing them as much as you could be? Sunglasses are super important to make sure your eyes are protected from strong sun rays.
If your sunglasses have Ultraviolet Protection, then your eyes will be shielded properly from those harmful UV rays. You can also get a pair of sunglasses that are polarized, which will not only protect your eyes from harmful rays but will help with a glare as well.
Know Where You Are
It’s been a little while since we’ve sat in a geology class, but we know that it’s important to know where you are on the map, in case you’re closer to the sun than not. If you live in a place that’s closer to the equator, it’s good to add more sun protection to your beach bags.
Places like this have stronger UV rays, so you’ll need to be mindful of sunscreen strength and cover-ups. Just like it’s important to know how strong the sun rays are where you live, it’s just as crucial to be aware of being protected when it’s overcast outside. Remember, UV rays can cause damage even when it’s cloudy.
Just Wear Something
If you’re running out of sunscreen or have to borrow someone else’s who has a lower SPF than usual, don’t fret. Wearing any amount of sunscreen is much better than not wearing any at all. Not only that, but you can throw on a cover-up, swim romper, or wear a bathing suit with a little added coverage to help protect against the sun. Any sun-protective clothing can make a big difference.
Here’s one more sun safety tip: Be mindful that if you have to wear a sunscreen that has a lower SPF, it would be good to wear a little bit more of it, and to reapply often, especially if you’re in and out of the water.
Getting Full Coverage
We’ve mentioned putting sunscreen on your face, neck, and arms, but we wanted to mention how essential it is to make sure you apply sunscreen to every exposed area (especially the back of your neck, ears, and shoulders).
We all know which parts are quickest to get burnt, but even the places you wouldn’t think would get burnt, could. Haven’t you gotten in from the beach or pool and noticed you’re a little pinker in places that you thought you were sure to apply sunscreen? Go ahead, slather it on.
Water Resistance vs. Waterproof
Did you know that no sunscreen is actually waterproof? Sunscreen is not invincible and gets washed off by water, sweat, and more. That’s why it’s important to reapply when you can if you plan on swimming or have been sweating during your fun in the sun. This rule applies to spray sunscreen, mineral sunscreen, chemical sunscreen, and everything in between.
If sunscreen is water-resistant, it will last a little bit longer than others, but still, be aware of how long it’s been since you put some on.
Sunscreen Is for Everyone
While it is true that people with darker complections are less prone to damage from the sun, it’s also true that anyone can get skin cancer. It’s not fun to talk about, but it is extremely important to mention that no one is immune from the actual damage that the sun can do.
That’s why dermatologists are adamant about making sunscreen part of your daily skincare routine — even on cloudy days.
That being said, be sure to do everything you can to reduce your risks of damage by wearing sunscreen and sun protection whenever you’re exposed to those warm rays.