By Vriti Malik Last Updated:
The need to stay protected from the sun is never out of season. But, during summers and the off-set of monsoon, when the sun is shining bright, it becomes even more important to lather on the sunscreen properly to prevent uneven tans, sunburns, age spots and fine lines. We bring to you a few facts to enlighten you to use the wonder product known as sunscreen properly, by avoiding the mistakes you are making.
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A lot of us don't know how much sunscreen to apply on our face and body. Take at least a nickel-sized (five-rupee coin) amount in your palm, and apply it on your face, and the same quantity on each arm. About a quarter-size (two rupee coin) each for your torso and back would be enough. Take about two-quarters for your feet and toes. So, no need to scrimp on the amount, otherwise it is not effective.
Pick a sunscreen with a high SPF for more protection. Using a moisturiser, which has SPF would not be sufficient. Also, applying makeup or self-tanner that contains SPF while stepping out is a crime. You may think it is sufficient, but then it cannot double up as a proper sunscreen with good SPF protection.
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Sunscreens are made for effective UV protection. So, apply a minimum SPF 30 if you are going for a swim or a walk at the beach. If you apply a lower SPF during the day, then be sure to apply it more often. Depending on your skin and skin issues like hyperpigmentation or a history of skin cancer, see a dermatologist to know the right SPF for your skin. If you have dark or olive skin, you still need sunscreen because in today's environment our ozone layer is not as strong as it used to be.
Yes, the sunscreen comes with an expiry date too, if you decide to read it. A sunscreen, if stored properly away from direct sunlight, can be effective for up to a year, as some active ingredients become less effective over time.
Read the description on your sunscreen before buying it, to be sure that it blocks both UVA and UVB rays. It is best to go for the one that says "broad spectrum". It must contain Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide to prevent skin damage or skin cancer. Also, keep your skin type in mind before buying a sunscreen. If you have sensitive skin, then use a fragrance-free sunscreen. If you have acne-prone skin, go for a light and oil-free one; and for dry skin, opt for one with moisturising agents like aloe vera or glycerin.
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You think that applying sunscreen just once a day, before leaving your home, is enough. If you have a fair skin tone, then apply sunscreen every two hours. For olive tones, three to four hours gap between the applications is perfect. For darker skin tones, three times a day is sufficient. If you are playing a sport outside or going to be in and out of water, then apply sunscreen more often.
Do you wait till you are almost ready to go out to apply your sunscreen, or apply it only when you are outside? Well, that is wrong, and that renders your sunscreen useless. You should apply your sunscreen 20-30 minutes before exposing your skin to sun. This way it gets time to be absorbed by the skin and start doing its work.
Since we all wash our hands more often, they are left unprotected from the effect of your sunscreen. So, try something like a hand lotion with sunscreen in it to stay protected all throughout the season, especially when outdoors.
Please don't miss your ears and lips. Use a tinted lip balm with SPF protection 15, as it will lend a touch of colour and protection to your lips. Also, apply sunscreen close to your eyes, as that is one area sure to show first signs of ageing like crow's feet. Make sure you use sunscreen that will protect your eyes and then cover them up with sunglasses.
Your body is most exposed to the sun while swimming. Apply your SPF before you wear your swimming costume. A spray form is easy to apply as you can reach out to your back and ensure even coverage while swimming.
This is the biggest sunscreen blunder that almost every woman is guilty of committing. Sunscreens are not just required in the summer months, but during the cloudy days and winter months as well. Even if you cannot feel the sun burning your skin, the sun rays easily penetrate through the clouds and can cause as much damage to your skin, as on sunny days. In fact ultra violet rays are stronger on cloudy days, so it is important to use sunscreen in the winter and monsoon season as well. So, make a sunscreen your best friend for all seasons. Whether you are driving in winters or working indoors, a sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 15 is an absolute essential.
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Also, remember that only wearing sunscreen and not wearing protective clothing like sunglasses, hats and gloves or wearing protective clothing without sunscreen- both are wrong situations to be in. So, choose both (sunscreen and protective clothing) when you are stepping out. And, now that you are aware of your mistakes, go out in the sun but stay protected with your sunscreen!
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