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Sunscreen Mistakes (Part 1)

Jun 08, 14 Sunscreen Mistakes (Part 1)

Recently, I wrote about some tips to protecting our skin this summer. The most important tip from that article dealt with wearing sunscreen. In fact, most of the tips dealt with sunscreen in one way or another. But many people make mistakes when wearing sunscreen. So much so, in fact, that Health.com published information about the 15 biggest sunscreen mistakes. Let’s take a look at those.

1) Waiting Too Long to Apply

Many of us wait until we are outside to apply sunscreen, but that is a problem. Once we are out in the sun, the sun will do its work, which leads to skin damage and possibly more. We should put sunscreen on before heading outside. In fact, we should put sunscreen on about 20-30 minutes before we embark outdoors. This allows the sunscreen to absorb into the skin so that it can do its job in protecting against the sun.

2) Applying Around Clothes

Another mistake we make is applying sunscreen around clothes, especially bathing suits. This poses a problem because we will miss areas that the clothes cover. This is why we see women with bow burns or men with lower back burns. Plus, we tend to apply less sunscreen in order to not get it on our clothes, which also poses a problem. This is why it is best to apply sunscreen before dressing. This will ensure all areas get proper coverage.

3) Not Protecting the Lips

It is so easy to forget to put sunscreen on our lips, which is also why it is so easy to get lip burns, and these hurt bad. As easy as it is to forget sunscreen on our lips, it is even easier to apply it. All we need to do is find a lip balm or gloss with SPF 15 in it. We also must reapply regularly to ensure continued protection for our lips.

4) And We Miss Other Spots, Too

The lips are not the only forgotten part of our bodies. We often miss other key spots like ears, back of the neck, tops of the feet and hands, bottoms of the feet, underarms, and the hairline. Basically, we need to slather sunscreen on our entire bodies the way we do moisturizing lotion.

5) Sweating and Swimming

The fifth big sunscreen mistake is sweating it off or rinsing it off by swimming. We often get into the sun and then get distracted and forget about our sunscreen, but we can’t do that. Putting on sunscreen once is not enough. We need to reapply it because it sweats or rinses off. About every two hours, we should stop what we are doing and reapply more sunscreen. And remember, we should apply at least two ounces (or a shot-glass full) of sunscreen each time.

6) Using Body Formula Sunscreen on the Face

That is right; apparently, there really is a difference between the sunscreen we put on our face and that which we put on our bodies. This is because the skin on our face is more prone to things like acne and irritation. So we need to buy sunscreen that is formulated specifically for the face especially those of us who are prone to acne and irritation.

7) Not Using It All the Time

Many people only use sunscreen when it is nice out, but that is a problem, too. Even when it is cloudy, the sun’s rays and thus UV rays still make their way to our skin, which means they still cause damage. Perhaps only about 80 percent of the UV rays come through on cloudy days, but even 80 percent can harm us. Therefore, we must slather up even when the sun is not shining her face.

8) Not Using Enough

As I stated earlier, the correct amount of sunscreen to use for each application is two ounces or one shot glass. When using the lotion kind of sunscreen, this is easy to measure, but many of us use the spray-on kind, so to make sure we are still applying at least two ounces, we should hold the can six inches from our skin and spray nonstop so that we can see the moisture covering the entire area. Afterwards, we need to rub it in regardless of what the bottle says. Rubbing it in ensures that we have not missed spots. Then we should repeat and do it all again a second time.

It is easy to make mistakes when applying sunscreen, but knowing how to avoid those is crucial to healthy skin. These first eight really identify some easy mistakes. Stay tuned for the last seven mistakes so that we are all completely informed and ready for summer protection.

Image Credit: Thinkstock

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About 

Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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