10 Sunscreen Mistakes That Are Exposing Your Skin
Posted on 26 September 2016
Even if you know you should be wearing sunscreen daily, are you unintentionally exposing yourself to skin damage by making these common mistakes?
- Be as generous with your sunscreen as you are with your heart.
Most people don’t apply enough sunscreen resulting in only 50-80% of the protection stated on the product. According to the Cancer Council Australia you need at least a teaspoon for each limb, front and back of the body and half a teaspoon for the face, neck and ears.
- Apply sunscreen 20 minutes before you go outside
I’m so guilty of this one. Its hard to remember and who has the time? Just do your best, build it into your routine and see how you go. One of the reasons I started designing sun protection clothing is because I am just so bad at this; it just seems so much easier to throw on a tee or dress that will protect me!
- Reapplication is needed.
Oh gosh, I am soooo guilty of this one too. I admit to putting my sunscreen on at the start of the day, then not having a second to think about it again until the end of the day. The Cancer Council recommends reapplication every two hours and after swimming, exercising or towel drying. This is needed even if the label on your sunscreen doesn’t specifically mention this!
- Missed spots
Lips, hands, feet and that pesky bit in the middle of your back. These areas all require a little bit more effort, and I’ve got no special tips, other than to be mindful.
Tip: buy hand cream with built in sun protection – hands typically give away your age more than any other body part and they are probably not as protected as you think because they are constantly being washed.
- Used by dates
Finding a bottle of sunscreen at the back of your grandmother’s medicine cabinet is not a windfall. Just like you would if you found a jar of Cottee’s chocolate sauce with a best before date on 1986 (true story), throw that sh*t out.
Always check and follow the ‘use by’ date on your bottle – as a rule of thumb, sunscreen should be replaced every 2 years. When in doubt, splash out and buy yourself a new bottle.
Treat your sunscreen like you pets, kids and groceries. Store below 30°C. Do not store in your car, sauna, beach bag or backyard tin shed.
- Dark skin exemption
Sorry folks, that myth is just a myth. Yes, dark skin is less likely to develop skin cancer, however, unfortunately, skin cancer is frequently diagnosed later in people of colour - perhaps because of this myth? Totally not worth the risk. Bob Marley died of melanoma at the age of 36.
- I’m vitamin D deficient.
You probably need much less time in the sun to make adequate levels than you might think. The main thing to keep in mind is that because your body can only absorb a certain amount of vitamin D, prolonged exposure to the sun will not increase your vitamin D levels. Prolonged exposure will only lead to an increased risk of skin cancer and premature aging.
- I’m not going to the beach today
Every day is a day that sunscreen is needed. Warm days, cool days, clear days, cloudy days, winter days, summer days, driving days, gardening days, walking days. I think you get the picture.
Remember, there is no connection between UV levels and temperature. UV is invisible. You cannot see it, hear it, or feel it.
Get in the habit of applying sunscreen every day.
- Your only defensive
Sunscreen should not be your only defense against sun damage. You need to use sunscreen alongside a hat, sun glasses and sun protection clothing. Remember, the message is slip, slop, slap, seek, slide – it’s never just slap.