Are you making these mistakes with your Sunscreen?
You’ve stocked up on SPF sunscreen but are you getting the full sun protection you need? Here’s what you need to know about SPF sunscreen, storage, expiration, how to apply it properly and the best sunscreens for you. That probably sounds super patronizing but bear with me, I think you’ll be surprised.
We all know to wear broad-spectrum sun protection daily even when it’s cloudy out but how many of us just apply once in the morning and then forget about it? I know I’ve been guilty of this in the past. Especially if I’m just going about my everyday life and not on vacation and I’m not getting the most out of my sunscreen.
Benefits of Sunscreen Sun Protection
We know the benefits include warding off the early signs of photo-aging (wrinkles and excess pigmentation) and reduces our chances of developing skin cancer but sometimes don’t get the most out of our SPF. If we’re going to spend money on it, we might as well get the most out of it.
Remembering to use SPF sunscreen is 1 thing but how you use your sunscreen is another. So how can we get the most out of our sunscreen for the maximum protection?
What does SPF stand for
Sun Protection Factor. Basically, a relative measurement for the amount of time your sunscreen will protect you from the suns ultraviolet (UV) rays.
Top tips for getting the most out of your SPF sunscreen for full sun protection
Choose a high protection factor SPF sunscreen for the best sun protection
The American Academy of Dermatology recommend using a minimum of SPF30 water resistant and broad-spectrum sunscreen. Even if it says water resistant, you’re still going to want to towel off after swimming and/or sweating and reapply. That way you can ensure you’re protected from harsh rays as best possible. I love a high SPF like Bare Republic SPF 50 or Image Skincare Sunscreen both of which are cruelty-free.
2. Does sunscreen expire?
Yes, absolutely so you need to check the expiration date. This is pretty self-explanatory, but make sure it’s in date and not one you’ve dug out from the back of your drawer from who knows when, especially if it’s been opened already. Expired lotions will not give you the same sun protection they did when they were in date.
3. When should I apply sunscreen
You need to time your SPF applications. Your Sunscreen doesn’t work on immediate contact with your skin, it takes around 15 to 20 minutes for sunscreen to offer protection. So make sure you apply it ahead of time before heading out to give it time to take effect.
4. How often to reapply sunscreen | Reapplication is key for the best sun protection
You need to be reapplying your SPF sunscreen at least every two hours if it’s SPF 50 or even more often if you’re using a lower SPF. As well as immediately after swimming or sweating, even if your SPF claims to be water or sweat-resistant.
The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that if it takes 20 minutes for your unprotected skin to start turning red, using an SPF 15 sunscreen theoretically prevents reddening 15 times longer (approx 5 hours). However, plenty of damage can be done without the telltale sign of sunburning so keep reapplying.
Another way to look at it is in terms of percentages: SPF 15 filters out approximately 93% of all incoming UVB rays. SPF 30 keeps out 97% and SPF 50 keeps out 98% The Skin Cancer Foundation
It might not sound like a big difference but those small percentages add up.
Need help reminding to reapply your sunscreen? Set your timer on your cell phone to remind you. It can be way too easy to doze off in the sun and wake up like a lobster.
4. How do I apply sunscreen without messing up my makeup?
Use an SPF setting spray like COOLA Makeup Setting Spray SPF 30 or Supergoop! Defense Refresh Setting Mist Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 50 or SPF mineral powder like AU Natural Skinfood on the go natural mineral powder to top up throughout the day. This way your makeup stays fresh and doesn’t slide and your sun protection stays topped up.
5. Make sure you’ve applied your sun tan lotion everywhere!
The first time you apply your SPF sunscreen for the day it’s best to do it naked 20 minutes before you go outside so you don’t miss anywhere. We’ve all had that red spot on our chest, butt or head we’ve missed. Don’t forget your neck, face, ears, tops of your feet and legs, lips, your scalp especially your parting if you’re not wearing a sun hat.
This is a great cruelty-free SPF hair oil to protect your scalp and parting Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil UV Protective Dry Oil Finishing Spray.
6. More is more when it comes to sun protection and SPF sunscreen application
Be generous with your SPF application. Most adults need around 1 oz or the equivalent of a full shot-glass to effectively cover your body. Make sure to massage it in so you don’t miss any spots and make sure you apply it under the edges of your bathing suit. Always try and apply your first application naked to make sure you haven’t missed a spot and look for swimwear with an SPF factor. There are some really cute options now which don’t mean granny swimsuits or being up covered head to toe.
Best Sunscreen Recommendations
These are my favorite cruelty-free sun protection brands.
Coola Sunscreen, Bare Republic, Image Skincare, and Kate Somerville.
Read the Coola Sunscreen and Bare Republic sunscreen reviews here.
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Eve Dawes is a Blogger, Podcaster, Mrs. England World 2020, a WBFF Pro Diva, SAG-AFTRA actress, NASM certified Personal Trainer, Founder of Dawes Custom Cosmetics and GlamourandGains.com. Eve's also the host of BFF (beauty, fitness & fashion) segment on Spill The Tea Live! The show for British Expats. Eve has over 15 years experience in the fashion world, is an avid traveller and cruelty-free beauty advocate.