It’s Time to Put Sunscreen Into Your Daily Routine

New research reveals that more than two thirds of Americans still do not regularly wear sunscreen despite the fact that it has the proven power to help prevent skin cancer. So, if you want to up your sunscreen game but feel that it’s just too inconvenient or too pricey for you, here are a few tips to help you get that much needed protection, as well as a few facts to hopefully increase your sunscreen knowledge.

You should wear sunscreen everyday

I have to hold my hands up and say I don’t regularly do this either, but skin care guides seem to agree: if you want maximize your chances of staying skin cancer free, you should always put on sunscreen before you head out of the door. That means even in the winter months when you’re shoveling snow, and when you go for a brisk spring hike. Sun damage is often the result of people thinking that they were safe–because it wasn’t a particularly sunny day–and being caught out.

So how can we build sunscreen and sun protection into our daily lives?

Wear make-up? Yes, there is sunscreen in there but there’s also a “but”…

Many make-up brands now come with a product in their range with added SPF, meaning that you can get around SPF 15 in your daily make-up routine.

If you, like me, aren’t make-up inclined but you do sometimes use moisturizer, many moisturizer products also come with an SPF of at least 15.

These products shouldn’t replace sunscreen though, because they are not as effective as sunscreen products. That said, they can give you a kind of baseline protection and may be easier to build into your daily routine as a first step.

It is worth saying though that many products that include sun protection will only protect against either UVA (skin damaging) or UVB (skin ageing) rays. You really need protection from both–so this is another reason why these products can help you supplement a new sunscreen habit but why the can’t replace sunscreen as a whole.

Sun protection through your clothing

You can now buy products that add extra protection from UVA and UVB rays to your clothes, or clothes themselves that have been specially made to have extra protection.

However, clothes that are already on the market can offer some sun protection, it’s just about knowing how to pick them out. In general, darker fabrics that are more tightly woven offer higher levels of protection. If you’d like to find out more about how to build a sun-safer outfit, there’s more information over at the Skin Cancer Foundation.

Again though, clothing should not be used to replace sunscreen, but it can be part of an overall sun-protection strategy especially for children.

Don’t fall for the more expensive higher SPF claims

We’ve talked about this in some depth before, but consumer research shows that many products that claim to be offering better sun protection and so are charging a lot of money often aren’t any better than the cheaper products on the market.

What’s more, if you see products claiming to offer an SPF 50 or over, you would be right to turn up your nose. While there may be a few percentage points difference in overall protection, in real world terms it counts for little once you get over about factor 30. What is more important is:

How to apply sunscreen

If you aren’t applying sunscreen properly then you aren’t getting the protection that you paid for, whatever the SPF.

Firstly, don’t use out of date sunscreen. That doesn’t mean you have to buy new every year though as most sunscreens have a life of about two years depending on the product itself, so give it a quick check. If it’s older than two years, definitely do invest in a new product, though.

In terms of what sunscreen you should buy, go for SPF 30 or higher. Water resistant sunscreen is often better (though you should still reapply after going for a dip if you’re at the beach or by the pool), and as mentioned above you need broad-spectrum coverage, which means the sunscreen protects you from both UVA and UVB rays. Some experts also recommend getting a sunscreen that is rich in antioxidants as this may offer a small added protection and be better for your skin, though the science is still out on how much meaningful protection antioxidants provide.

When it comes to applying sunscreen, you should apply it everywhere and not just on the areas that are being exposed to the sun. In terms of the amount to be applied, one to two ounces is reasonable (think of a ping-pong ball sized amount and you’re in the right area) and it should be spread evenly over the skin but with particular attention to areas that tend to catch the sun, so for example the brow, the bridge of the nose, and the shoulders. Sunscreen should be applied about 30 minutes before going out in order to give it time to absorb, and it should be reapplied every couple of hours, particularly on exposed skin.

Admittedly, there’s no getting around the fact that sunscreen can be a pain to apply every day, but it’s a relative inexpensive and hassle free way of cutting our chances of getting skin cancer and seeing ourselves prematurely age, so it is worth that little bit of extra effort.

Photo credit: Thinkstock.

62 comments

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Emily J.
Emily J3 years ago

I was concerned about some of the chemicals in sunscreen, so ordered some with non-nano zinc oxide which seems to be the safest, but is quite hard to find in the UK! I also started to wear hats on sunny days, I have a straw one with flowers on that I wear all the time!

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Ana R
ANA MARIJA R3 years ago

Thank you.

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Sen Senz
Sayenne H3 years ago

Not sure about what is best, blocks vitamin D right?

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Janis K.
Janis K3 years ago

Sunscreen kills coral reefs.

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Paulinha Russell
Paulinha Russell3 years ago

Thanks

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Alvin King
Alvin King3 years ago

Thanks

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Natasha Salgado
Past Member 3 years ago

thanks--i use #30...but hats do help a lot.

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Winn Adams
Winn A3 years ago

Thanks

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Winn Adams
Winn A3 years ago

Thanks

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