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Correct Sunscreen Usage and Common Mistakes



Summer is around the corner, and its time to break out the sunscreen to protect our skin from those harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Just make sure you're using it correctly. (Shutterstock)
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With summer approaching, it’s time to retrieve our trusted sunscreen and shield our skin from damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Keep It Fresh: Discard Old Sunscreen

Before you grab last year’s bottle, keep in mind, expired sunscreen offers reduced UV protection. You may want to think about tossing out those old bottles and replace them regularly to maintain effectiveness.

Concerned About Chemicals in Your Sunscreen?

Research is being conducted, indicating that certain active ingredients in chemical sunscreens may enter the bloodstream through the skin. However, there is no conclusive evidence to suggest significant harm, and the FDA is currently investigating the matter. If you are concerned, you can try alternatives called ‘mineral sunscreens’ that use zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These ingredients serve as physical UV blockers and are less likely to irritate the skin.

SPF is a Factor, But Make Sure You’re Using Enough

SPF 30 blocks about 97% of UV rays, which is more than adequate to keep you as safe as possible. No sunscreen will block 100%, but make sure that you are using enough. Use roughly 1.5 ounces, about equivalent to a shot-glass amount, to cover your body and reapply every 2 hours.

Clouds Don’t Shield

Just because it is an overcast day, doesn’t mean you’re being shielded. Clouds only filter 20% of UV rays, so don’t skip sunscreen on overcast days.

Pair sunscreen with protective clothing and sunglasses for a comprehensive defense against harmful UV rays, and store it in a cool dry place to maintain effectiveness.

Even individuals with darker skin need to protect and monitor areas with less melanin. Regardless of skin tone or age, everyone benefits from using sunscreen.


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