6 sunscreen mistakes that you must avoid for good skin

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As well advertised as it sounds, sunscreen should be an important part of your skincare routine. Sunscreen is not only a protection against skin cancer-causing UV radiations but an everyday essential. While people tend to get serious about sunscreens only during summer to prevent a suntan or when they are stepping out of the house, It is a terrible mistake to limit using sunscreen to a few days or a specific season.

It may sound humdrum, but you need to apply sunscreen when indoors and even on a chilly cloudy morning. Sun or no sun, the weather doesn’t change the fact that you’re always exposed to UV damage. Years of exposure to the sun can make you look older than you actually are.

Dr Ajay Rana, world renowned dermatologist and aesthetic physician, spoke to HealthShots about the importance of sunscreen. “A sunscreen offers a broad spectrum to guard against both UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) rays of the sun that are good for the skin. So always look for a sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher as it protects the Skin from UV Rays. The depletion of the ozone layer has increased our risk of sun damage from harmful UV rays and sunscreen blocks these rays, reducing the chances of sunburn. As a matter of fact, applying sunscreen everyday helps reduce the risk of contracting skin cancers”, says Rana.

If you’re somebody who is an avid believer in sunscreen, but still tends to get suntanned, there may be some mistakes you must be making! Your skin is susceptible to damage if you’re not following these sunscreen guidelines:

  1. Applying a thin coat of sunscreen

Applying a generous amount of sunscreen to your face and body is something you must do on a regular basis, largely to protect yourself from the UV rays and their side-effects. A thin layer of sunscreen is susceptible to getting wiped off which will lead to partial protection against the sun.

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Practice proper sunscreen safety with these rules! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. Not reapplying sunscreen

Expecting one application of sunscreen to shield you from all sun damage is a myth. Sunscreen can get rubbed off quite easily, because of sweating or contact with clothes, skin and water. To ensure your sunscreen provides you enough protection, make sure that you reapply it every two hours.

3. Not applying sunscreen prior to stepping out

Are you guilty of rushing out to work and then searching for sunscreen in your bag? Well, quit it already! Your skin can take 15 minutes to half an hour to absorb sunscreen to give you protection from the harsh sun rays. So, always plan and apply it at least 15 minutes before stepping outside. And apply enough sunscreen; this is really important!

4. Not wearing sunscreen under your makeup

Wearing a full face of make-up for that special brunch with your girls, but skipped sunscreen? Well, that ain’t a good idea! Though most cosmetic brands have recognised the importance of sunscreen and have introduced SPF protection in their products, they come at a very low concentration. Using sunscreen in your pre make-up prep for skin is essential if you’re opting for a full face. Now another problem that comes with make-up is failure in reapplying sunscreen. Make-up experts recommend using a spray based sunscreen which gives you enough protection over makeup without making it patchy.

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Practice proper sunscreen safety with these rules! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

5. Not using the correct SPF

Using the correct SPF is the key. There’s a common misconception that sunscreen products with high SPF give you more protection. Well here’s the A to Z on SPF! An SPF 30 blocks nearly 97 percent of the UVB radiators, while SPF 50 blocks about 98 percent and SPF 100 blocks about 99 percent. SPF 30 is the minimum protection that your skin requires, but use higher SPF sunscreen, when you are stepping out for extended periods.

6. Not buying the sunscreen according to your skin type

Sunscreen products have advanced so much that there’s a sunscreen for every skin type now. If you’re on the oily side of skin type and sunscreen makes you look sweaty, opt for a mattifying SPF. Sunscreens fall into two categories: one is chemical (containing ingredients like octinoxate and oxybenzone that act as sun filters) and the second is physical (containing zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that physically protects the skin). Unfortunately, some people are allergic to chemical products, so always try a small amount of the product on your wrist to check for allergic reactions.

Sunscreen dos and don'ts
Practice proper sunscreen safety with these rules! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

As per research published by Harvard Medical School, approximately 95 percent of the UV radiation reaching our skin is ultraviolet A (UVA) light, which is responsible for chronic effects such as photoaging, wrinkling, and age spots. Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays are the primary cause of sunburns. The study highlights how both UVA and UVB may cause skin cancer. It is therefore a good decision to not forgo protection even on a cloudy day.

Sunscreen should be religiously applied even when going for a family ski vacay! Almost 80 percent of the harmful UV rays can be reflected by Snow, increasing your chances of getting sunburned.

Now, you know how important sunscreen is despite the season, place you’re at and weather. It should be your year-round preventive measure for healthy skin. When in doubt, wear sunscreen!

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