You might like catching a few un-filtered rays to get your vitamin D, but if you’re outside longer than a few minutes a day this summer, you should be slathering on plenty of sunscreen. But make sure you do it right: Well+Good NYC has all the details on how to apply your SPF the right way:
Sunscreen is kind of like toothpaste. If you don’t use enough—or use it incorrectly—it’s just not going to work. Only instead of gum disease and cavities, you’re leaving yourself open to premature aging (wrinkles, sagging, and melanin deposits caused by sun exposure) or worse, skin cancer.
While no sunscreen is 100 percent effective at blocking ultraviolet (UV) rays, many sunburns are caused by faulty or infrequent application.
About 100 percent of dermatologists say that most people don’t follow the directions right on the bottle to re-apply sunscreen regularly. (And using last season’s sunblock or one reaching its expiration date is not a great idea either.)
By wearing sunscreen correctly—and daily, you’ll not only help prevent scorching your skin, you’ll also help prevent sun damage, lessening your dependence on those skin repairing or anti-aging beauty products.
Here are 8 easy tips for applying sunscreen:
1. Lay it on thick. Use a tablespoon of sunscreen (of at least an SPF 25) on your face, and about two ounces for your body. Unless you slather on a thick layer, you’re probably just getting an SPF 10 out of your SPF 30.
2. Dot sunscreen directly onto your face—instead of squeezing a giant blob onto your hands and applying it. I’ve found this technique helps it absorb more quickly and evenly.
3. Put sunscreen on first, then your moisturizer. Best to get it right on your clean, dry skin. However, this is less important if you use a zinc oxide or titanium dioxide sunscreen. We’ll explain why in a minute.
4. Use sunscreen daily. The majority of sun exposure is casual and incidental, meaning you get it walking to the subway or to get lunch or through your office window, say dermatologists.
5. Apply sunscreen before you go into the sun. Chemical sunscreens need time to be absorbed into the skin to work. So they require a head start of about 20 minutes.
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