Common sunscreen mistakes

Sunscreen Mistakes

In the UK, skin cancer holds the unfortunate title of being the most frequently diagnosed cancer. The silver lining is that with early detection, most of these cases can be successfully treated.

Ensuring your skin is adequately shielded with high-quality sunscreen is the best way to protect it. Still, it might surprise you to learn that there are a few mistakes that you might be making when it comes to sunscreen application.

Here, we look at some of the most common sunscreen mistakes and how you can avoid them.

1. Not checking the label

The sunscreen aisle offers plenty of choice, but it’s vital to understand what to look for to ensure optimum sun protection. Select a sunscreen that’s broad-spectrum (protects against both UVA and UVB rays), water-resistant, and offers a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. Don’t let the marketing buzzwords distract you from these essential features.

2. Only applying sunscreen in sunny weather

It’s a common misconception that sunscreen is only necessary when the sun’s out. However, about 80% of harmful UV rays can still reach your skin on a cloudy day. So, don’t skip sunscreen just because it’s overcast. Make it a habit to apply sunscreen whenever you step outside, irrespective of the weather, to shield your skin effectively.

3. Using too little sunscreen

An insufficient amount of sunscreen won’t provide the full level of SPF protection. Many people apply only 25-50% of the required amount. For comprehensive coverage, adults should use about one ounce of sunscreen – roughly the amount that can fill a shot glass. Apply it 15 minutes before heading outdoors and reapply every two hours or immediately after sweating or swimming.

4. Using out of date sunscreen

Sunscreens don’t last forever. By law, they must retain their original efficacy for a minimum of three years. If your sunscreen has expired or if you’re unsure about its age, it’s best to replace it. When buying a new bottle, if it doesn’t have an expiration date, jot down the purchase date directly on the bottle to remind you when it’s time to replace it.

Despite our best intentions, we often overlook or underestimate the risks associated with sun exposure. But, making simple changes, such as applying an ample amount of a broad-spectrum sunscreen, and not only on sunny days, can significantly reduce your risk of skin damage and potential skin cancer.

However, prevention is just one part of the equation. Regular skin checks are paramount to catch any potential issues early when they are most treatable. An expert eye can make all the difference in detecting subtle changes that could signify a problem. Dr Juliet Williams is highly skilled in conducting comprehensive mole checks and addressing precancerous skin lesions.

Don’t take a gamble with your skin health. Protect it today by scheduling an appointment with Juliet.

After all, your skin is your body’s largest organ, and it deserves the best care possible.