In case you hadn’t noticed yet, summer is here! That’s great news for all lovers of the beach, swimming and of relaxing in the sun, but that also means that it’s time to brush up on what you know about how to protect yourself from the sun. However good your sunscreen is at protecting you from the harmful rays of the sun, if you don’t apply it correctly, or you don’t apply enough, your skin could still be damaged by the sun. Most dermatologists agree that very few people ever read the directions on their bottle of sunscreen and most cases of sunburn today are caused by the incorrect application of sunblock. Make sure you enjoy a safe and burn free summer this year by reading these ten important tips on how and where to apply your SPF.
1. Don’t be mean with the sunscreen
The first and most obvious tip is to not skimp on the sunscreen; pile it on thick instead! If you have bought a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 and you only apply a very skimpy amount to your skin, then you are quite likely to end with a sun protection equivalent to an SPF of 10 or less. As a general guide, you should be using about a teaspoon on your face and about two ounces on the rest of your body.
2. Use sun protection cream every day
Sunscreen is not only for beach days, it is for every day, and that is especially true in the summer months. Your skin is exposed to the sun when you walk down the street, sit near a window and when you are driving your car. There is no need to slather it all over for a day at the office, but be sure to apply to the areas of your skin that will be exposed to the sun.
3. Don’t forget the difficult to reach areas
A lot of people apply SPF to the areas of skin they can reach easily and forget all about the more tricky areas to reach. Any exposed skin can get sunburned, so if you can’t reach all the way down your back, get some help! Don’t forget the little areas of the skin that most people miss, like the backs of the ears, behind the knees and the tops of the feet too.
4. Reapply sun protection cream every hour and a half
If you are going to be in the sunlight for extended periods of time, then the recommendation of dermatologists is that sunscreen should be reapplied every 90 minutes. Even the best sunscreens become unstable when they are exposed to sunlight for long periods of time and that means that it stops working.
5. Remember to reapply if you go swimming, even if your sun protection cream is water resistant
The 90 minute rule, for reapplication, only applies if you don’t get wet. If you go for a swim, or you sweat a lot, then you will need to reapply sunscreen more often. Even the super-water-resistant brands of sunscreen will only give you just over one hour’s protection if you get wet, so play it safe, and reapply as soon as you get out of the water.
6. Don’t apply moisturiser over the top of sun protection cream
Most sunscreens have a moisturiser base, so for most people extra moisturiser will not be needed. If you do want to use a moisturiser, or a serum, as well as sunscreen, the experts agree that the sunscreen should be the last skin care product that you apply to your skin. If you apply anything else, on top of the sunscreen, it can dilute it and make it less effective.
7. How to apply makeup over sunscreen?
It is not recommended that you rely solely on makeup to protect your face from the sun, even if the makeup says that it has SPF protection included, because it is unlikely that you would use enough makeup for the SPF to be effective, so you should still use sunscreen underneath makeup. Apply sunscreen first and leave it to settle into your skin for about five minutes, before you apply any makeup, and avoid using excessive pressure, or rubbing, when apply your makeup over the top.
8. Apply sun protection cream before you hit the beach
Modern, synthetic sun blocks need time to sink into the skin before they will be fully effective, so apply sunscreen about thirty minutes before you go out in the sun. If you need immediate sun protection, then you will need to use lotions that contain physical sun blocks like zinc or titanium dioxide.
9. Applying a second coat of sun protection cream is the safest method
The simplest way to ensure that you have applied enough sunscreen and that you haven’t missed anywhere is to apply one coat, leave it for half an hour, and then apply a second coat. It might seem a lot of extra effort, but it is better than getting sunburned.
10. Don’t rely on sunscreen alone
Modern sunscreen is very effective, but it doesn’t give you absolute protection against the sun. Use your common sense and don’t stay out the sun for too long and cover up sensitive areas like your ears, back of the neck, and your face, by wearing a hat.
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