From protecting skin from harmful UV rays of the sun to delivering anti-aging properties, sunscreen helps maintain youthful-looking skin. But what most people ignore is whether they are applying it correctly or not. Unfortunately, an improper application still puts you at risk of developing wrinkles, sunburns, premature aging, and whatnot.
Thankfully, there are various ways you can correct these mistakes and protect your skin fully. This blog highlights sunscreen mistakes you might be making. Know how to avoid them and give your skin the sun protection it needs.
5 Common sunscreen mistakes you might be making
1. Mixing sunscreen with other products
Don't mix your sunscreen with any other product, no matter the type. Some people think that by mixing sunscreen with another product, they are creating a hydrating and protective combination. But, that's not true.
- Note that you need to apply at least ½ teaspoon of sunscreen to get the recommended SPF. But, if you mix it with another product, you won't apply this much. As such, if the SPF on the product is 30, mixing could reduce it down to 15.
- Mixing can create a conflict of ingredients. Some ingredients in your moisturizer, foundation, or another product can interfere with the potency of UV filters, making the sunscreen less effective. When the effectiveness is compromised, it will still leave your skin prone to sun damage, dark spots, and wrinkles.
- Mixing two sunscreens won’t lead to double the protection. You can't mix mineral SPF and chemical SPF as it can lead to a negative interaction. This can reduce the effectiveness of sun protection, and you may also experience side effects such as burning and irritation.
Instead of mixing, layer out your products correctly to enjoy the effects of other formulas and your sunscreen. Remember that sunscreen should come last in your daytime skincare routine.
2. Applying sunscreen only one time a day
A lot of us think that a one-time application covers us the whole day. As such, many people only apply their sunscreen in the morning until the next day. However, dermatologists warn us against doing so. If you wear sunscreen in the morning and you don't reapply it, you won't be fully protected which puts you at risk of brown spots, premature aging, etc.
The reapplication of sunscreen depends on various factors.
Although frequent applications are usually advised, there are some instances where you will need to apply more frequently, like:
- If your desk is close to a window, the window may filter UVB light, keeping you from burning. However, you will still be getting the UVA light.
- When you're driving, you get too much sun exposure.
- When you're swimming- although water-resistant sunscreens are great, they still get wiped away when you wipe the water.
- When you're sweating, using sweat-resistant sunscreen for outdoor activities like running, playing cricket, etc., offers longer protection. But you still should reapply it frequently to be safe.
3. Working on electronic devices without wearing sunscreen
Thinking that sunscreen is meant for outdoor activities only might make your skin bear harmful consequences. Know that even if you are working indoors, more so on electronic devices, you need to apply sunscreen.
Phones and computer screens emit blue light that causes sleep problems. Research says that it could also damage your skin. Blue light leads to the generation of reactive oxygen that may affect collagen promoting wrinkles and pigment changes.
Invest in a sunscreen product that is specifically designed to protect against UVA, UVB, and blue light. Always ensure that your formula has a broad spectrum to protect your skin. It's advisable to use sunscreens with zinc oxide and iron oxide as these protect against UV and high-energy visible light.
4. Not applying enough sunscreen to cover your skin
Note that you may rarely wear enough sunscreen on.
Experts recommend applying one ounce of sunscreen. However, many people only apply ¼ of this amount needed to reach the SPF on the bottle. Under-applying SPF 15, for instance, means you could only be getting SPF 8.
- Make sure that you are generous with your application for the body. However, or the face, a nickel-size blob is enough to cover you.
- Additionally, pay attention to the neck, ears, ankles, and feet when applying. These places are often overlooked.
5. Not checking if your sunscreen has enough PA rating and SPF
Unfortunately, most products available today do not offer great protection against UVA.
The PA ratings (Protection Grade of UVA rays) measure the level of protection the product offers against UVA. Know your sunscreen fully before investing in it.
- Look for formulas with PA ratings as these protect against UVA. Generally, products with a higher PA rating offer more value.
- Additionally, look for a formula with an SPF rating of at least 30, 45, or 50. You may go higher than this, but the minimum should be 30. Anything less than this is not going to be effective.
Two things you shouldn't miss out on when buying sunscreen
Since the market is saturated with sunscreens, choosing the right one can be overwhelming. However, there are some things you should keep in mind when buying sunscreen. Consider these three things to get the right formula for you.
1. Know your skin type
Sunscreen products are available for different skin types. Therefore, you need to know your skin needs before buying a product.
Sunscreens with ingredients like Zinc Oxide, Physalis angulata Extract, Titanium Dioxide, etc. are safe to use for all skin types. They are rich in antioxidants and have skin-calming effects. Ingredients like Tocopheryl Acetate (vitamin E) and Eurol Bt are highly suitable for oily/acne-prone skin due to their anti-irritating properties.
Avoid using sunscreens that have alcohol as it might damage the skin barrier and lead to more breakouts. For your sensitive skin, choose a hypoallergenic and fragrance-free sunscreen.
2. Avoid harmful ingredients
Avoid products with oxybenzone, parabens, and PABA as they are bad for the skin and the environment. Not only can these cause skin allergies, but they also are environmental pollutants. In addition, make sure that your sunscreen is non-comedogenic so as to keep your pores breathable.
The key takeaway
Sunscreen is a crucial component of your skincare routine. But, if you aren't applying correctly, you could be missing out on its benefits. Use these guidelines to know the mistakes you have been making and rectify them.