Why Do We Need to Put on Sunscreen? 4 Basic Rules and How to Use It

Even the most sunscreen-savvy people are prone to making mistakes when it comes to protecting their skin.

You’re in a hurry, not paying attention or perhaps just don’t realize the importance of protecting every inch of your exposed skin from the damaging UVA and UVB rays of the sun. No worries!

Here are a few (and easy) things to remember when it comes to applying sunscreen.

How often to apply
Be sure to apply your sunscreen at least 15 minutes before going into the sun. If you’re outdoors and your skin has already started to redden, then the damage has begun. A lead time of 15 minutes is always most effective. And reapplication is advised, especially if you’re sweating, exposed to water or if you ever rub your skin dry with a towel after swimming.

Spots not to forget
Remembering to apply sunscreen to your face, arms and legs is easy. But there are other areas that also need your attention. The most commonly missed spots include: ears, tops of feet, back of neck, lips, your hairline and around your arm holes.  When you move about, so do the arm holes in your sleeves. If you haven’t protected the skin underneath your shirt, you may burn easily. Lastly, and one of the most important, if you’re concerned with signs of aging, you must protect the backs of your hands. They are always exposed to the elements, and the sun is no exception. Whether your hands are resting on your steering wheel, pushing a lawn mower or baby buggy or even just gripping your handlebars while riding your bike, they are susceptible to burning and aging.  Remember, your hands can be a dead giveaway to your age more so then any other body part. Sporting 70-year-old hands with a 50-year-old face is not a good look. Keeping them both moisturized and protected from the sun is the best thing you can do to protect your little secret.

How long will it last?
The sun’s damaging rays are present all year long.  Yes, even in the cold winter months.  And you need at least a shot glass and a full teaspoon to cover your skin. With these facts in mind, you’ll quickly realize that your sunscreen product shouldn’t last you very long if you’re using it properly. It probably won’t last you through the summer, that’s for sure. 

Tip:  Never leave your sunscreen products in the trunk of your car. Extreme and prolonged heat exposure can cause some products to lose their strength. It’s best to toss them out and buy new.  And always check the expiration date to make sure you’re using product that hasn’t expired.