[By Julia Hunt]
Diamonds may be forever but with summer just round the corner, sunscreens are definitely a girl’s best friend. With summer’s heat beating down upon us, it’s time to slather on to minimise the risks of sunburn and premature aging. Inevitably though, everyone makes some sort of mistake when they expose their skin to the sun each summer. To help “sunproof” you while frolicking under the summer’s skies, here are some common sunscreen mistakes you should avoid to protect you from excessive exposure to those harmful UV rays. Put on your cat eye shades, stir up a pina colada, and you are all ready for some summertime madness.
One of the biggest summertime beauty mistakes that I’m often guilty of is not applying sun protection to the lips. If you think about it, our lips are more delicate to begin with and therefore should be well protected against both UVA and UVB rays. Prolonged unprotected UV exposure will lead to dryness and thinning of lips, with increased wrinkling and discoloration.
Invest in a good lip balm containing SPF, one that is water-resistant with SPF 15 or higher if you are going to engage in lots of water activities. As we tend to lick our lips often and wipe them frequently after eating or drinking, keep your lip balm handy and within easy reach so that you can reapply when necessary.
Read More: 10 Habits That Are Making You Look Older
Body for face
If you differentiate your facial cleanser from your body wash, and your moisturiser from your body lotion; it should come as no surprise that there are sunscreens specifically created for the face.
One common sunscreen mistake especially amongst surfer dudes and babes, is to use body formulas on their faces. You can possibly use facial sunscreens on your body but not the other way round as there is no guarantee that the body formulas are non-comedogenic and won’t clog up your pores or cause break-outs. Body spray sunscreens are even worse off as they often contain alcohol and can be extremely irritating to facial skin. Read your labels carefully while shopping for your sun protection arsenal along the drugstore aisle, and choose one that provides broad spectrum sun protection in dermatologist-approved formulas specifically for your face.
If you are going to be under the sun for quite some time, make sure you are adequately protected. Key areas that are often missed include the ears, the top of your feet, underside of arms and armpits. Make sure you give some attention to these oft-neglected areas while you are slathering on your sunscreen for full, max out sun protection.
Many are also guilty of not using sufficient quantities. This is not the time to be frugal as the repercussions of inadequate sun protection are heavy in the long run. As a rule of time, one shot glass or 30mls of sunscreen should be applied to all sun exposed body parts.
For the spray variety, hold the can 6 inches away from your skin and make sure an even coat covers adequately and uniformly. Give it a good rub to make sure that no spots are missed!
Contrary to what you might believe, you shouldn’t be skimping on sun protection even if you are under shade or sitting out on a cloudy day. To begin with, even when we’re sitting in a cool, shady spot, sun rays are still being reflected off the ground or open water surfaces and thrown upon us. Also, clouds allow more UV to penetrate them compare to infrared and visible light, so even when the temperatures are lower, the amount of UV we are getting aren’t. Just to reinforce the point, up to 35% of UV rays are able to penetrate a beach umbrella, so as long as you are outdoors, it’s prudent to get your sun protection right!
“UVB causes sunburn while UVA, which penetrate deeper into the skin causes photo-aging that lead to wrinkles, leather-liked dryness and saggy skin,” explains Dr. Chua Han Boon, senior medical consultant from The Sloane Clinic “In addition, long term unprotected exposure to both UVA and UVB is linked to increased incidence of skin malignancies so one should never undermine the importance of wearing adequate sunscreen.”