Basking in the Sun: 9 Sunscreen Mistakes You Should Avoid

Ayanna Amadi
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Basking in the Sun: 9 Sunscreen Mistakes You Should Avoid

Basking in the Sun: 9 Sunscreen Mistakes You Should Avoid

Protecting your skin from the potentially damaging effects of the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays is crucial, yet many of us are making sunscreen mistakes that could compromise this protection. This comprehensive guide spotlights the 9 most common sunscreen errors you need to evade to shield your skin optimally.

1. Not Using Enough Sunscreen

One of the most widespread sunscreen mistakes is not applying enough. A liberal amount is needed to cover all exposed skin thoroughly. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that adults use approximately one ounce, or enough to fill a shot glass, to cover the entire body.

2. Skipping Sunscreen on Cloudy Days

Even on cloudy or overcast days, UV rays can penetrate clouds and harm your skin. It's essential to apply sunscreen daily, no matter the weather.

3. Neglecting Certain Areas

Often, people miss applying sunscreen to areas such as the ears, feet, back of the neck, and underarms. Each exposed part of your body needs sunscreen for full protection.

4. Only Trusting the SPF Value

High SPF doesn't guarantee total protection. Make sure your sunscreen is 'broad spectrum', offering protection against both UVA and UVB rays.

5. Failing to Reapply

Sunscreen needs to be reapplied every two hours, or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating, regardless of its SPF.

6. Using Outdated Sunscreen

Sunscreen loses its effectiveness over time. Always check the expiry date to ensure optimal protection.

7. Relying Solely on Sunscreen

Remember, sunscreen should not be your only defense. Combine it with protective clothing, sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats, and shade for complete sun protection.

8. Applying Sunscreen After Going Outside

For sunscreen to be fully effective, it needs to be applied at least 15-30 minutes before you go outdoors.

9. Neglecting to Use Sunscreen in Winter

Winter sun can also cause skin damage. Whether skiing or simply running errands, using sunscreen is as important in winter as in summer.


Avoiding these common sunscreen mistakes will significantly improve your skin's protection against harmful UV rays. Remember, it's important not just to wear sunscreen, but to do it right. Practicing sun-safe behaviors can help prevent sunburn, premature aging, and skin cancer. Always choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, apply liberally and frequently, and don't overlook the hidden spots!

Sunscreen Ultraviolet Rays