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Before You Hit the Beach: Read These Big Sunscreen Mistakes

Summer is arguably one of the nicest times of the year weather-wise, but rookie sunscreen mistakes could be putting your skin at risk for sun damage. If you want to make sure you’re properly protecting yourself, here are a few sunscreen mistakes you need to avoid.


Not Applying Sunscreen Before Going Outside

One of the most common mistakes that people make with sunscreen is only applying it after they set foot outside. Unfortunately, you may not be giving your sunscreen enough time to properly protect your skin if you do this. When you’re planning to go outside, you should apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before stepping out the door. This will allow your sunscreen to fully absorb into your skin and provide the fullest protection possible. Waiting until you’re already in the sun to apply sunscreen is a surefire way to put yourself at risk for sunburn.

Skipping Sunscreen When You’re in the Shade

The sun is a powerful source of light and energy. Unfortunately, that means a little bit of shade from a leafy tree isn’t going to provide you with enough protection alone. It’s been proven that UVA and UVB rays can penetrate cloud cover, which means even on an overcast day you’re putting yourself at risk of skin damage. That said, a tree definitely won’t protect you from the sun if even the clouds can’t. So whether you’re sitting under a shady tree in a park or by the beach, make sure you’re applying sunscreen as an extra precaution to preserve your skin.

Not Applying Enough Sunscreen

Did you know that typically people only apply about half of the recommended amount of sunscreen on their skin? That means you’d only be getting about half of the advertised sun protection from the sunscreen you’re using. This is a very common mistake, and it typically happens because people only apply one layer of sunscreen and then call it a day. In reality, two or three layers of sunscreen will be necessary to provide the maximum protection to your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. And make sure you allow your sunscreen at least 15-30 minutes to fully dry, as well.

Not Reapplying Sunscreen Every Few Hours

No matter how much sunscreen you apply, that protection won’t last forever. In fact, most sunscreen is only effective for a couple hours at a time. And that’s before you jump into the water for a quick swim. Once your sunscreen gets rubbed off by your clothes or washed off by the water, it’s time to reapply. Of course, you should make a habit of reapplying every few hours or so if you want to avoid a sunburn and subsequent skin rash from those pesky UVA and UVB rays.

Summer is a time for fun and for enjoying the nice weather. But if you’re making these sunscreen mistakes, you could be putting yourself at risk for skin damage. If you have questions about protecting your skin this season, contact our team at North Pacific Dermatology to set up an appointment today.

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