Sunscreen is a basic part of skin cancer prevention. But are you using this product right? Common sunscreen mishaps can leave your skin vulnerable to the sun’s ultraviolet rays, potentially resulting in premature aging and skin cancer. Here are some sunscreen mistakes to know and what you should do instead.
You might only think to apply your sunscreen when the sun is shining. However, 80% of the sun’s UV rays still reach your skin on cloudy days. This means you’re still at risk for sun damage. Keep your skin healthy and protected by applying sunscreen every time you spend time outdoors. If you tend to forget to apply, stash a bottle in your purse or car, but don’t let it overheat.
With countless sunscreen brands available, browsing the drugstore shelves can be overwhelming. However, it’s important to know what to look for when buying sunscreen. Rather than purchasing based on the brand or packaging, look for a sunscreen labeled “broad spectrum.” You should also look for a sunscreen with at least SPF 30.
All of the products in your medicine cabinet have an expiration date, and sunscreen is no exception. Sunscreen is effective for about three years. So, you should replace any bottles that you suspect have been in your bag or cabinet for too long. Otherwise, you could risk sun damage even while wearing sunscreen.
Sunscreen is one of the best steps you can take to prevent sun damaged skin. However, it isn’t the only step. Be sure to stay out of the sun when possible and wear protective clothing. These measures are especially important between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Taking multiple steps to shield your skin from the sun can lead to healthy skin long-term.
When applying sunscreen, you might slather it on your arms, legs, face, and chest before running out the door. However, you’re likely leaving some sensitive areas vulnerable to the sun. Remember to apply sunscreen to the tops of your hands, feet, ears, and neck. A lip balm with SPF can protect your lips from getting burned as well. While it takes more time to cover every exposed area, the extra time is worth it for skin cancer prevention.
Remembering to apply sunscreen before going outside is a great first step. But are you remembering to reapply? To ensure that your sunscreen remains effective, reapply about every two hours. You should also apply another layer after swimming or sweating. Set reminders on your phone if you’re struggling to remember. Your skin will thank you.
Skin cancer prevention should be at the center of your skin care regimen, and the team at Pacific Dermatology Specialists is here to help. Our skin experts offer skin cancer screenings, treatment, and education in Carson, CA and other communities in the Greater Los Angeles area. We also offer cosmetic treatments to address sun damage. Contact us today for more information on our services or to book an appointment.