To Your Health
July, 2016 (Vol. 10, Issue 07)
Share |

Sunscreen Done Wrong (and Done Right)

By Editorial Staff

You're prepped for another glorious day outdoors, which means your ready-to-go bag includes sunscreen. But will you end your day with a nasty sunburn that could eventually increase your chances of developing skin cancer, among other consequences? It all depends on whether you're applying that sunscreen correctly.

Here are some simple tips to ensure you get the protection you need while enjoying your time outdoors:

Less Means Less: You might be applying sunscreen religiously, but are you applying enough to protect your skin from the sun's harsh rays? A quick spray here and a dab there won't provide the coverage you need, pure and simple.

Done Right: Make sure you're using enough sunscreen at all times; recommendations call for at least a shot glass of lotion (anywhere from a quarter to a half of an 8 oz bottle, believe it or not), but what's more important is that you cover your body from head to toe with enough lotion that it takes more than an instant to rub it in / make it disappear.

Time Flies By: If you're putting on sunscreen and then exposing yourself to the sunlight immediately, you're making a costly mistake. What's more, if you're not reapplying the lotion often enough, you could be surprised by a nasty burn when you thought you'd protected yourself.

Done Right: Wait 15-20 minutes before going into the sun after applying sunscreen and reapply every 80 minutes or so, and whenever you emerge from the water.

sunscreen - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Missed Assignments: If you're going to get an "A" for sunscreen application, you can't miss anything; in this case, that means ensuring your entire body is covered. People commonly overlook areas such as the feet, hands and ears, leading to painful burns and skin damage.

Done Right: When applying sunscreen, start at the top (head) and work your way down to the bottom (feet) carefully, making sure every part of your body gets adequate coverage.

We'd be remiss if we didn't conclude this lesson in proper sunscreen etiquette with a word about "timeouts," meaning timeouts from sun exposure altogether. Nothing works better to prevent excess sun exposure than a periodic break every hour or so, whether by donning a shirt and hat, resting under an umbrella / pop-up tent, or taking it indoors for awhile. Combine sun breaks with proper sunscreen application - now that's skin protection done right! Talk to your doctor for more information.