Sunscreen: Dos and Don'ts
Monica Munteanu | On 15, Aug 2013
The most important rule when going on vacation, and nobody can argue this one, is bring your sunscreen. Although a good source of vitamin D, the sun isn’t always a good friend to our skin. So apart from respecting the recommended hours when we should be sun bathing, protection is a must even in the cloudiest of days.
Do you have any guidelines when buying and applying sunscreen? There are some things you should know when taking care of your skin, so we have the ultimate dos and don’ts that you need to keep in mind in order to get the most of your tanning time and get that brown, natural look you’ve been thinking about all year long.
1. Always get SPF 15 – 30+. Even if your skin is darker, try to opt for protection that is higher than 15 and works against both UVA and UVB rays.
2. Apply it at least 15 minutes before going outside. It takes at least that long for your skin to absorb the lotion so if you wait until you’re already at the beach you’ll risk getting a sunburn.
3. Remember your lips as well. Use lip balm with SPF 15 when lying in the sun. Make sure you take care of every part of your body, this means wearing sunglasses as well to cover your eyes and using a special product for your hair.
4. Look for the ingredients zinc, titanium dioxide, avenobenzone and Mexoryl SX. They are all powerful UVA blockers and will remain on the surface of the skin, aiding in a longer protection, so make sure the lotion you’re using contains them.
5. Reapply and reapply. Remember that no sunscreen lasts forever or, you know, as long as you’re at the beach or pool. So make sure you apply it again every two hours, to avoid sunburn or further damage to your skin.
6. Make it a habit. Sunscreen isn’t a tanning accessory, it should be part of your everyday life especially in the summer time. There are parts of your body like your face, neck and hands that are permanently exposed to sun rays when you are outside so apply a thin layer when leaving the house. Also, you could always use a facecream and foundation with SPF 15.
7. Avoid vitamin A. We’re usually pro-vitamins, but when it comes to fruits and vegetables. However, when found in sunscreen and exposed to sun, vitamin A can heighten skin sensitivity and actually cause sunburn as well as speed up the development of tumors. If you’re sunscreen has it, throw it away.
8. Be aware of the shade. Sun rays can bounce off water, sand, concrete and, even, snow, as well as penetrate through umbrellas, so when you think you’re all covered up you actually aren’t. Make sure you’re protected especially when you fear it the least.
9. Regard the recommended times. All of the above apply if you do tan during the time periods recommended by the specialists, which is in the morning until 11.00 a.m and in the afternoon after 4.00 p.m. Otherwise, you’re setting yourself up for certain burn and long-term damage to your skin.
1. Don’t trust the water resistent. To be on the safe side, always reapply after going for a swim. Although the label indicates it’s water resistent, it should say the product remains effective for 40 or 80 minutes based on actual testing.
2. Don’t be superficial. When applying sunscreen make sure you thoroughly cover all parts of you body. That means neck, ears, tops of your feet and legs and, even, your scalp. If you have thinning hair make sure you take care of any skin that could be showing. Wearing a hat, even if you have a thick head of hair, is always a good idea.
3. Don’t go 50+. There is no real evidence these products are more efficient, they may actual work against you by believing that you are more protected and avoid reapplication. Better be safe and go 15+.
4. Don’t use sprays. Even though they may seem easier to use and apply, they may not fully cover your skin, so lotion still remains the best way to go. In addition, they could pose a serious inhalation risk, especially when it comes to children.
5. Don’t fall in the fragrance trap. If you want to smell nice, better use perfume. Many lotions contain synthetic fragrances that can cause allergic reactions and may increase sensitivity.
6. Don’t take your age into account. It doesn’t matter how young or old you are, sunscreen should not be avoided when having sun contact. Age does not determine how protected you are from the UVA or UVB rays, but sunscreen does.
7. Don’t apply what you know when it comes to children. Before putting sunscreen on an infant or small child, the best thing to do is consult a specialist. Their skin is different from the adults’ and needs different treatment.
Knowing all this will certainly change your tanning habits, for the better hopefully, and will ensure your time spent in the sun will not harm you or your loved ones. As we said before, stay informed, stay healthy!
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