Healthy Habits sunscreen facts

Published on June 30th, 2012 | by Guest Contributor

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5 Surprising Facts About Sunscreen

by Vanessa Roberts

sunscreen facts

Are you getting enough protection from your sunscreen? Many people don’t use sunscreen properly. Here are 5 common pitfalls.

I like to think I am pretty consistent with my sunscreen routine, however when I was younger it was a whole different story.

I was one of those reckless 20-somethings who never really gave a second thought to the damage I was causing my skin by not giving it that second thought. But now that I’m in my 30s, my carelessness is catching up to me, and I’m starting to see the after-effects.

Even though I’m only in my early 30s I notice lines and wrinkles that were never there before, sun damage that could have been prevented, and discolouration around my hair line. Because of this I’ve buckled down and am quite religious with my sunscreen, which is why I was so shocked when I heard these 5 surprising facts about sun protection.

So hold on to your sunscreen kids because I’m about to blow your mind. Or maybe you already know these facts and I’m the one who is late to the party. Nevertheless, here we go!

1. Beware of Incidental Sun Exposure

According to the Sun Safety Alliance up to 80% of our sun exposure is incidental, meaning that short walk to the car, picking up something from the corner store, being outside on a cloudy day, or even walking to the mailbox all adds up to around 80% of your overall sun exposure throughout your life.

And if you are doing all these quick, every day tasks without wearing sun protection, then you can be sure that the beach day you just indulged in has nothing on your every day errands.

While it seems so menial these quick bouts of sun exposure can lead to earlier signs of aging, sun spots, or even skin cancer. Scary.

2. Size Does Matter

Even if you are religious in your sunscreen application, there is a chance you are still missing the mark with how much you are using.

It has been said that you should be using at least 2 tablespoons of sunscreen on your body and at least half a teaspoon on your face to properly protect yourself.

And if 2 tablespoons and half a teaspoon sounds like too much, let the sunscreen absorb into your skin before applying the leftovers. That way you can be sure you are protected and can enjoy your time outside without worrying.

3. All Day Sunscreen Doesn’t Exist

I don’t know about you but I always thought if I applied my sunscreen twice a day, especially if I was out all day, then I would be more than fine. Boy was I wrong. Completely wrong in fact.

Sunscreen should actually be applied every two hours to ensure full protection against the sun’s harmful rays.

And what’s even more shocking is that this rule applies to everyone, whether you are spending the whole day outside or just protecting yourself against incidental exposure.

Oops.

4. Each Sunscreen Is Different

I always assumed each sunscreen was created with the same UV-protecting-power, but it turns out that if you are using a sunscreen that protects against UVB rays, you are still exposing yourself to the wrinkle-causing UVA rays.

This is important because while UVB rays are the ones that cause us to burn, it is the UVA rays that cause wrinkles, sun spots, discolouration, and fine lines. And I don’t know about you, but I definitely don’t want those after-sun effects popping up on my skin.

So next time you are looking for a good sunscreen, make sure you choose a cream that has broad spectrum protection and guards your skin against both UVA and UVB rays.

5. We Usually Use Secondary Sunscreens as Our Primary Sunscreens

If you are like me, chances are you thought your daily moisturizer fortified with SPF was enough to protect your skin from sun damage. But according to many experts, cosmetic products and creams should be considered secondary sunscreens.

Simply put, because consumers usually use these products for cosmetic reasons, chances are we aren’t using enough of them or applying them as often as we should. Which means you are leaving your face unprotected for the majority of your day. If you do want to use these products as your main source of sun protection, then you will have to reapply them every two hours, which can just get expensive.

Instead it may be a better, and more affordable, option to simply apply sunscreen on your skin before applying your make up. That way you can rest assured that your skin is properly protected.

So what did we learn here?

Simple. Lather up ladies, and lather up often, to help guard your skin against early signs of aging and those unnecessary, and unsightly, signs of sun damage. If you’ve already goofed and gotten a burn this summer, check out Maria’s tips for natural sunburn relief!

Vanessa is a skincare blogging babe whose work can be found on websites all around cyberland, including this review on LifeCell cream, as well as various other skincare brands. The best part about her job? She gets to help her readers look and feel their very best.

Image Credit: Sunscreen Facts photo via Shutterstock


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