Sunscreen Mistakes (Part 2)
June 9, 2014

Sunscreen Mistakes (Part 2)

Every day, we make mistakes in applying our sunscreen. This series identifies 15 of these mistakes as laid out by Part 1 identified the first eight mistakes:

  1. Waiting Too Long to Apply
  2. Applying Around Clothes
  3. Not Protecting the Lips
  4. And We Miss Other Spots, Too
  5. Sweating and Swimming
  6. Using Body Formula Sunscreen on the Face
  7. Not Using It All the Time
  8. Not Using Enough

Now, let’s look at the last seven.

9) Safe Indoors or in Cars…Think Again?

Even when we are inside and near windows – be that in a building or a car – we can still get exposed to UV rays, specifically UVA rays. We may not see a sunburn from UVA rays, but we will still see the sun damage in the form of wrinkles, sun spots, and even skin cancer. This is why the best way to protect our skin is to apply sunscreen every morning, no matter what we are doing or where we do it.

10) Not Using a Broad-spectrum Formula

Broad-spectrum formula sunscreens protect against UVA and UVB rays, both of which cause damage and harm to our skin. Simply put, we must protect against both in order to have healthy skin.

11) SPF Levels

Another major mistake we make is that we do not apply a sunscreen with a high enough SPF level. The higher SPF levels do provide more protection albeit only a bit more, but they also absorb more of the free-radical-producing energy, which helps us protect from toxins. We still need to reapply higher SPF lotion about every two hours, though.

12) Apply and Reapply

Even if we do not sweat off sunscreen or swim it off, we still need to reapply every couple of hours in order to ensure proper protection. Just because we did not do anything that would cause it to run off does not mean that it does not need reapplication. Just remember to reapply about every two hours.

13) Using Old Bottles?

If we have a bottle left over from previous years (but we shouldn’t if we are applying enough), then we need to check the expiration date. A bottle should only be good for about two years, maybe three, so we just need to check and make sure that the sunscreen we apply is strong enough and still good.

14) Not Applying Because of the Shade

Yes, staying in the shade is a good way to protect our skin, but we have to get to that shade and that often requires walking in the sun. Even brief sun exposure can damage, so even if we will be in the shade, we should apply sunscreen. Plus, if a beach umbrella provides that shade, about 30 percent of UV rays still make it through the fabric, so we need the sunscreen anyway.

15) Not Protecting the Eyes

Even our eyes need sun protection, but we can’t put sunscreen in our eyes, so we must wear sunglasses with UV protection. We must make sure that our sunglasses have UV protection in the lenses. Not all sunglasses do.

Each of these 15 mistakes is easy to rectify. Perhaps they are commonsense, but we often need reminders of those commonsense ideas. The biggest mistakes often happen when something should be obvious. This summer, have fun, but don’t make any of these sunscreen mistakes!

Image Credit: Thinkstock

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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