If you’re slathering on sunscreen before heading out to enjoy the summer sun, you’re doing your skin a favor.
Wearing sunscreen is the best way to prevent sun damage and other signs of premature aging, like wrinkles and sunspots. The question is, are you wearing sunscreen correctly? Let’s find out! Today, we’ll be taking a look at the most common sunscreen mistakes and tips to avoid them.
If you already have sun damage, here at Allure Health & Med Spa we offer a wide range of anti-aging cosmetic treatments that can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, sunspots, fine lines, or other age-related imperfections. Schedule an appointment today.
Five Common Sunscreen Mistakes That Can Damage Your Skin:
1. Wearing the Wrong Sunscreen
Are you wearing the wrong sunscreen? Maybe you’re not wearing enough SPF, or you’re using a brand meant for your body on your face. While any sunscreen will do in a pinch, if you want to have the best skin protection possible, you’ve got to pay attention to the labels.
Look for broad-spectrum sunscreens with higher SPF. Anything above 35 should do. A broad-spectrum sunscreen is essential because it will protect you from UVA and UVB rays, which are the harmful, skin-damaging rays that can mimic the effects of aging. We recommend taking it a step further by using a medical-grade sunscreen that includes IR (Infra-red) protection that will cover as much of the damaging rays in the light spectrum. These damaging light rays ALL lead to accelerated damage and signs of aging. IR rays produce residual heat left in the skin tissue. This heat can last for several hours- even after you’ve gone inside and cooled down. This IR heat will lead to brown spots and sun damage just like sitting in the sun would! Our favorite IR protecting product is Total Defense & Repair by SkinMedica. This product comes with a light foundation-like tint or un-tinted.
Total Defense + Repair -Tinted
Total Defense + Repair – Untinted
Unfortunately, no sunscreen can provide you with 100% protection from the sun. The best you can get is 99% protection from an SPF 100 sunblock. The goal isn’t the highest SPF rating possible but rather the right product for your skin, applied appropriately and applied every 2 hours while outside (even if you’re wearing a hat or are in the shade- remember those IR rays!)
Quick tip: don’t let a high SPF lull you into a false sense of security. High SPF or not, sunscreen must be reapplied every two hours on the dot to maintain full protection. Here are the recommended sunscreen products we offer.
Essential Defense Mineral Shield Broad Spectrum SPF 32 (Tinted)
Lip Shine SPF 35- Rose
Sheer Matte SPF 30 Sunforgettable® Total Protection™ Brush
Total Eye® 3-in-1 Renewal Therapy SPF 35- Original (Medium)
2. Only Applying Sunscreen in the Morning
Reapply, reapply, (say it with us!) reapply! Many people are under the misconception that if they apply a high SPF sunscreen in the morning or under their makeup, they have complete protection for the entire day. However, that’s not the case.
Even if you purchase sunscreen with water resistance, it still needs to be applied every two hours to prevent sun damage. You should also reapply after you’ve been swimming or sweating a lot, even if it hasn’t been the full two hours yet. If you have trouble remembering, set the alarm on your phone so you don’t forget.
High-touch areas, like your hands or lips, may need reapplication more frequently. An SPF lip balm is a great way to quickly reapply protection to your lips, which are particularly vulnerable to sun damage. Be sure the SPF products you have are specific to sensitive areas like eyes and lips.
3. Missing Spots
This may sound strange, but the best way to apply sunscreen is in the nude. When you put on sunscreen fully dressed or even in a swimsuit, you can’t get every part of your body. It’s also easy to miss spots, which can leave strips of skin vulnerable to sun damage.
Some of the most common spots that are often neglected include:
- Tops of the ears and earlobes
- Hands and feet
- Scalp and hairline
- Back of the neck
The scalp, hairline, and eyebrows can be tricky. Try using The Mineral Shield Brush by ColoreScience- available at Allure or on our website- for scalp, exposed hairline, ears, etc. For your lips, choose a moisturizing lip balm like Lip Shine by Colorescience that comes in multiple colors (including clear).
4. Applying at the Wrong Time
Did you know sunscreen takes about thirty minutes to absorb into the skin and begin offering protection? The best time to put on sunblock is half an hour before you head out into the sun. If you wait until you’re already outside, it’s too late.
You may be wondering if that means you should reapply sunscreen a half-hour before the two-hour mark, and you’ll be happy to know that’s not necessary. The two-hour recommendation accounts for absorption time.
5. Not Applying Enough
While applying any sunscreen is better than not applying any, if you’re not applying enough sunscreen, it likely won’t prevent sunburn or harmful damage to your skin. In fact, not applying a proper layer of sunscreen on your skin can effectively cut the SPF of your sunblock in half. The American Academy of Dermatology (ADD) recommends applying two milligrams of sunblock per square centimeter of skin.
That adds up to about one single shot glass (one ounce) of lotion sunscreen every two hours and a nickel-sized dollop for your face. However, if you’re using a powder, spray or stick applicator rather than the traditional lotion, you’ll need to be extra careful to use enough.
When using a powder brush applicator use circular motions being sure to cover all the surface area intended. Do one full pass and then repeat for a total of two layers of powder protection.
For spray sunscreen, be thorough and use two coats every time. Try to avoid applying it outside or in the wind, which can carry the spray away before it reaches your skin. Always rub in spray sunblock after applying, too.
With a stick sunblock, be methodical, so you don’t miss any spots. You should also use two coats since it’s thinner than a lotion-based product and can cause streaks or spots.
Keep Your Skin Safe This Summer
Summer is a time for fun and making memories: hanging out at the beach, grilling on your deck with family and friends, or even going for a stroll in the sun and just enjoying life—but don’t sacrifice your skin health to enjoy those moments.
Always wear sunscreen and wear it correctly. There’s no better way to prevent prematurely aged, wrinkled, or dull skin. However, if you do have skin concerns and you want to fix them, our team of experts here at Allure Health & Med Spa is here to help with quality cosmetic treatment solutions.
We designed our innovative treatments to help you achieve your skincare goals. When you complete a session, you’ll not only look good, but you’ll feel good, too. Our patients tell us they absolutely love the big boost of self-confidence they can count on every time they walk through our doors.
By remembering our essential sunscreen tips and reapplying every two hours this summer, your skin will stay healthy and damage-free. Contact our friendly team at Allure Health & Med Spa today to schedule your initial consultation or learn more about cosmetic treatments and reversing sun damage.