You’ve undoubtedly been told time and again that sunscreen is essential when you go outdoors, and hopefully you take that precaution regularly. But have you thought about whether or not you are applying it correctly in order to get the best protection for your skin? It may seem as simple as rubbing it in or spraying it on, but there’s more to proper sunscreen application you may be missing.
Sunscreen application: What to know
According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, sunscreen is effective at protecting your skin against skin cancer and premature aging, but only if applied correctly. There are several things to know about sunscreen, from choosing the right strength to reapplication.
- Don’t just buy any sunscreen. Sunscreen should be SPF 30 or above and offer water resistance and broad-spectrum coverage to protect against both UVA and UVB rays.
- Your first application should happen before going outside. For true protection, the sunscreen needs to be absorbed into the skin, which takes approximately 15 minutes. If you wait to apply until after you’re outside, your skin is not getting full protection and is susceptible to sunburn.
- Apply enough sunscreen to all exposed skin. Most adults require about an ounce of sunscreen to cover their entire body, or enough to fill a shot glass. Be sure to rub it thoroughly into the skin. Don’t forget some of the smaller areas, such as your neck, face, ears, tops of your feet and legs. If your back is exposed, have someone help you or get a spray sunscreen to easily apply yourself. If you have thinner hair, apply sunscreen to your scalp or wear a wide-brimmed hat. Your lips need protecting, too. Invest in a lip balm with a protection level of at least 15 SPF.
- Don’t forget to reapply. For continued protection while enjoying the outdoors, sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours or immediately after swimming or sweating.
If you find yourself getting sunburnt easily, it could be because you don’t use enough sunscreen, you didn’t reapply it often enough after being in the sun or you were using an expired product. Remember: your skin is exposed to harmful UV rays anytime you’re outside, even if the sky is cloudy or it’s the middle of winter, so sunscreen is always necessary.
Why the right sunscreen is important
The most important reason to regularly wear sunscreen is to reduce your exposure to harmful UV rays and lower your risk of sun damage and skin cancer. However, when it comes to choosing the right protection, you also need to take some things in consideration about your own skin.
- Family history: Depending on your skin type and family history, you may require more SPF protection than others.
- Skin sensitivity: Regardless of your skin type, if you take certain medications or have certain disorders, your skin may be more sensitive to the sun, requiring stronger sun protection.
- Skin conditions: There are so many types of sunscreen available now, so regardless of your skin type or condition, you can find the right sunscreen for you. Choose sunscreen designed for dry skin, oily skin, acne-prone skin and sensitive skin so you get comfortable, high-quality protection.
While sun protection is top-of-mind now in the hot summer months, it should be something you make a habit of applying daily all year long. If you have questions about your skin’s health, how to get the best protection against the sun or need help recovering from a sunburn or other sun-related concern, stop by your nearest Midwest Express Clinic today. Want to minimize your wait time? Check in online now to hold your spot in line before even coming in.