Did you know that skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S? Most of us already know this, thats why with spring sunscreen season starts. But is this enough?

Truth is that sunscreen application is one the most effective ways to protect your skin. But even if you’re fully committed to wearing it, good intentions aren’t enough. In order to get the most protection, it’s crucial you slather right.

For those who already feel guilty or just want to find out how they are doing, have a closer look at these common mistakes people are doing when it comes to sunscreen application and learn what to do instead!

7 Common sunscreen application mistakes

1. You apply the sunscreen just before you head out

Wait 20-30 minutes after applying before going outside so the UV filters have time to soak into your skin and form a protective layer. You don’t have to wait for all-physical sunscreens. Sunscreens with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide actives are effective as soon as you put it on. However, since there are sunscreens with both chemical and physical UV filters, it’s generally a good idea to apply sunscreen 15-30 minutes before sun exposure.

2. You have been using the same sunscreen for years

You are still using the same sunscreen as you bought for your vacation 3 years ago. The most sunscreens are supposed to last for up to three years if they are stored in 40°C with 75 percent humidity. However, to make sure for optimal protection, simply check texture, stability, and sterility, use the sunscreen prior to the date listed.

3. You don’t use enough

Thinking that the fact that you are using sunscreen isn’t enough to protect you from the sun. But how much should you actually be using? For your face and neck, 1/2 teaspoon will do it. For your body, 2 tablespoons is a good amount to protect you (for now). This may seem like a lot of sunscreen, but in order to really protect yourself, it’s needed to apply this amount to stay safe.

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4. You’re not using the right SPF

Many people believe that if they choose a high SPF, like a 60 or above, they’ll be protected all day long. Unfortunately that’s not the case.  The SPF doesn’t tell you anything about the UVA protection. The SPF only tells you UVB protection, which are these rays penetrate the upper layers of the skin (associated with sun burns). Hence, first step, look on the bottle for broad spectrum coverage. While you may not burn as fast with a higher SPF, when using a sunscreen without UVA protection, you’re putting yourself at a higher risk.

5. You ONLY use sunscreen when it’s sunny outside

A common mistake, you only put on sunscreen when the sun is beaming outside your window, or when it’s beach time. Even when it’s cloudy, you can get sunburned. In fact, 87% of the sun’s rays penetrate through clouds, fog and mist.

6. You only apply once and believe it keeps you protected all day long

Re-apply throughout the day. Re-apply sunscreen every 2 hours. This is especially important if you are going to be outdoors for a long time, sweat a lot, exercise vigorously, or go swimming. I also like to re-apply sunscreen after using paper blotters because the oils on my face can cause some of the sunscreen to be removed during the blotting sessions. Sweat, water, facial oils, and the degradation of sunscreen actives during sun exposure can all interfere with a sunscreen’s level of protection. Re-applying sunscreen ensures that you get full protection

7. You count on sunscreen for total sun protection.

Your sunscreen can’t block out 100 percent of the sun’s UVB rays, and it shouldn’t be your only defense against sun damage. So what else should you be doing in order to protect yourself?  Wear a hat, sunglasses and protective clothing and avoiding the sun during the most intense hours.

Sunscreen isn’t a free pass

Remember, that sunscreen isn’t a free pass to spend the day laying in the sun all day. Avoiding a burn doesn’t mean you are all good and no damage on your skin has been done. Frankly, once you’ve tanned, you’ve already damaged skin.

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