8 common mistakes when using sunscreen

Making mistakes when using sunscreen decreases its effectiveness and puts your skin’s health at risk. What should you keep in mind? Here we detail it.

Last update: 02 November, 2021

There are those who make some mistakes when using sunscreen. This product has become one of the essential cosmetics for anyone. Its daily use is essential to prevent damage caused by ultraviolet radiation, such as blemishes, premature aging, and skin cancer. So how to use it correctly?

First of all, you have to understand that its application is not exclusive to summer or warm days. Although its use must be reinforced in these seasons, it is also essential to use it on cloudy or winter days. Let’s take a closer look at other mistakes to avoid.

8 common mistakes when applying sunscreen

As set out in a review disclosed in Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, the use of sunscreen is the most used method to mitigate the action of ultraviolet radiation. Nevertheless, to work well, you have to avoid certain mistakes when using it. Here we summarize them.

1. Apply the wrong SPF

The acronym SPF refers to the sun protection factor. In particular, this indicates the time of appearance of the erythema, or the time that a person can be exposed to the sun without burning.

For its part, the number indicates the power that the product has to protect the skin from the sun’s rays. That is to say, If a person has a very fair and sensitive complexion, their SPF should be greater than 50.

At this point, the belief that a protection factor 15 is more than sufficient must be eliminated. Right now, the recommendation is to make sure the sunscreen has an SPF 30 or higher.

One of the most common mistakes when using sunscreen is overlooking your protection factor (SPF). This should not be less than 30.

2. Not looking at the type of protection

Ignoring the type of photoprotection in sunscreen is another common mistake. Regarding this, it must be clear that there are two types of radiation, UVA and UVB. Therefore, it is advisable to check the product label and determine if its components provide protection against both forms of solar radiation or only against one.



3. Not applying the necessary amount

For a correct coverage it is recommended to put 2 mg of sunscreen per square centimeter of skin. That is, a full coat of photoprotector in each application.

4. Wear the same protector on your face and body

The sunscreen market is quite large. The cosmetic industry has developed formulas that adapt to all skin types (oily, combination or dry). Even, there are special varieties for the face and others for the body.

The ideal thing is to choose a presentation for each area in particular, since the skin of the face is more sensitive and requires certain special components that do not cause aggressions.

5. Do not reapply product

Generally speaking, it is recommended to apply sunscreen 30 minutes before direct sun exposure. Once outside, it should be reapplied at least every two hours to maintain protection. Likewise, the application must be repeated after exercising, swimming, among other activities.

6. Do not use it on cloudy days

Contrary to what is believed, solar radiation is present throughout the year. It has even been determined that near the 90% of ultraviolet radiation penetrates clouds. Therefore, you have to protect yourself even if there is no sun.

7. Use it when it has expired

Signs such as a change in color or odor in the sunscreen are indicative that you have to stop using the product and replace it with a new one. In fact, although these characteristics do not reveal a deterioration of the sunscreen, it must be stopped using it if its expiration date has arrived. This is because its functionality decreases and puts the health of the skin at risk.

If the sunscreen has expired, it must be renewed. Otherwise, it may not do its job and cause problems.


8. Forget some areas

The neck, décolleté, hands and even ears need protection, as they are constantly exposed to radiation. Despite this, some people tend to ignore these areas during product application.

Correcting these mistakes when using sunscreen is important

Adequate sun protection is essential to delay the signs of aging and other problems associated with radiation. Therefore, when using the product, try to avoid the errors mentioned. At the same time, protection should be reinforced with adequate hydration and the use of garments that cover a large part of the skin.

If possible, consult a dermatologist to determine the best protection factor (SPF) based on skin type and individual characteristics. Right now, there are sunscreens in spray, cream and gel. The ideal is to carefully review their labels to learn about their components and their level of protection.

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