How to Use Sunscreen: 5 Most Common Mistakes

Many patients come to our office complaining that they use sunscreen, but still get a sunburn. After asking a few questions about how they use sunscreen, it’s easy to see where they go wrong. Some people think that using any sunscreen and applying it at 9 a.m. and that’s it is good enough, but for many people it is not. Here are five common sunscreen mistakes with instructions on how to use sunscreen properly.

  1. Not using a broad spectrum sunscreen: SPF only protects against UVB rays, and what most people don’t know is that UVA rays cause most of the aging process.  A product with an SPF of 100 may have little or no UVA protection.  The FDA is changing the requirements for labels, but for now, make sure the label says “Broad Spectrum” before buying your sunscreen.
  2. Missing keys spots: Don’t miss your lips, feet or ears.  These are some of the most common places for skin cancer and many people often forget to apply sunscreen to these areas.
  3. Applying too late: We like physical sunscreens like Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide because they work as soon as you put them on.  If you have to use a chemical sunscreen it needs to be applied a minimum of 15 minutes before sun exposure in order to be effective.
  4. Using to little: A little dab won’t do ya.  You should be using about 1 oz to cover an adult body (about a palm full)
  5. Not using it every day: Even if you are only driving around or going to work  and remain inside most of the day UVA light penetrates glass and causes aging. Also, many people they think they don’t need to apply when it’s cloudy outside, but even on a cloudy day approximately 70% of UV radiation still reaches the ground, a broad spectrum product with a minimum SPF of 15 should be used every day.

Colorado Skin and Vein is a leading provider of skin care services and facial rejuvenation in Denver, Colorado. For more information on how to use sunscreen or how to care for your skin, contact our office at (303)-683-3235 or request a free consult online.

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