The Do’s and Don’ts on Sunscreen
We all know how important it is to protect our skin from too much sun exposure, but some of the details can be a bit tricky. Follow these do’s and don’ts about sunscreen and you’ll keep your skin healthy and sunburn free all year!
Do put sunscreen on before you go outside. This is because most chemical formulas need to be absorbed into the skin in order to be most effective. Try to apply 10-30 minutes before sun exposure.
Don’t forget those often overlooked areas like the tops of your ears, toes, behind the knee, around your hairline, and every other part of your body. The obvious areas such as arms, legs, and face are important, but so are those forgotten regions that also get exposed to sunlight.
Do use enough to cover yourself completely. The professional amount is 2 mg of sunscreen per centimeter of your body. If you don’t feel like measuring that out, it’s equivalent to about 2 tablespoons total. The goal is to make sure every inch of your body is covered with a thin layer of sunscreen. Spray sunblock also works well for this.
Don’t wait more than two hours to reapply. This is especially true if you are sweating or swimming—even if it says water-resistant! The term SPF (Sun Protection Factor) actually means you are only protected from UV rays for that many minutes (i.e. SPF 30 means 30 minutes before you would start to burn). So it is super important to reapply often to prevent burning.
Do use sunscreen on cloudy or overcast days too. UV rays are always present, even when you can’t see the sun shining. So whether it’s hot or cold, cloudy or sunny, you still need that SPF. Another note: UVA rays also penetrate glass, so even if you are inside near a window you’re still in danger. Drivers especially need to be aware of this and should apply SPF as needed when driving.