Being outdoors exposes skin to harmful UV rays – even on cloudy days. Whether bike riding, gardening, or relaxing on the beach, bare skin requires protection. Sunscreen guards against skin cancer and it helps prevent premature aging, but benefits are lost if not applied properly. Learning how to apply sunscreen effectively helps ensure maximum benefits.
Sunburn usually results from applying inadequate amounts of sunscreen, using a product with an SPF that is too low, or failing to reapply sunscreen when needed. For optimal protection, people should take advantage of five important tips:
- Because it takes roughly 15 minutes for skin to absorb sunscreen, it is important to apply it before going outdoors. Waiting until you are already outside can lead to sunburn.
- According to the Archives of Dermatology, people typically apply only 20 to 60 percent of the sunscreen needed for good protection. Dermatologists recommend using one teaspoon for the face, neck, chest, back, and each of the arms and legs if exposed to direct sunlight. Because the back is hard to reach, ask for help with coverage there.
- If not using a hat in warm weather, make sure to apply sunscreen to the hair part and the ears. Bald people or those with thinning hair should cover the entire scalp.
- Apply water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Look for products that promise broad-spectrum coverage, meaning protection from UVA and UVB rays. To protect lips, use a lip balm with an SPF of 15 or greater. Sunscreens that list zinc oxide as the only active ingredient offer safe protection from harmful chemicals.
- To stay protected, reapply sunscreen every couple of hours and after swimming or activities that generate excessive sweating.
What is Photo-aging?
Harmful UV rays play a major role in skin damage. Unprotected exposure to the sun results in spotting, wrinkling, and less elastic skin, also known as photo-aging. This process can be avoided by learning how to apply sunscreen and using it year round.
Take a look at more healthy aging skin tips to keep age spots and wrinkles at bay:
- Use moisturizer: Because moisturizer traps water in the skin, apply it every day to the face and body, and use a lip balm.
- Stop smoking: The toxins in tobacco smoke affect the face resulting in a dull complexion, less elasticity, and wrinkles.
- Get adequate sleep: Lack of sleep accelerates aging. Try to stick to a regular sleep schedule allowing eight to nine hours of rest, and avoid television or electronics 30 minutes before bedtime.
- Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of pure water every day.