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How to Apply Sunscreen

How to Apply Sunscreen

How to Apply Sunscreen

9 Common Mistakes to Avoid While Using Sunscreen


Sunscreen is a vital tool in protecting our skin from the harmful effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. With skin cancer rates on the rise, it is more important than ever to understand the proper application of sunscreen to safeguard our skin.
This blog aims to educate readers about the ten most common mistakes made when applying sunscreen and how to avoid them, ultimately promoting healthy sun care practices. Before getting into the crux of the blog, let’s discuss How to Apply Sunscreen.

Applying sunscreen correctly is crucial to ensure maximum protection for your skin.Here is a step-by-step guide on,

How to apply sunscreen effectively.

1. Choose the right sunscreen:

Look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. The SPF (Sun Protection Factor) should be at least 30, although higher SPF can provide slightly better protection.

2. Apply sunscreen 15-30 minutes before sun exposure:

Sunscreen needs time to bind to the skin and form a protective barrier. Apply sunscreen before heading outside to allow it to fully absorb.

3. Take enough sunscreen:

Use a sufficient amount of sunscreen to cover all exposed areas. The general rule is to use about a teaspoon-sized amount of sunscreen for your face to ensure proper coverage and protection against the sun's rays. Pay extra attention to commonly forgotten areas like the tops of your ears, the back of your neck, the tops of your feet, and your underarms.

4. Apply sunscreen evenly:

Start by squirting a dollop of sunscreen into your palm. Use your fingers or a clean brush to apply sunscreen to your face, gently massaging it into your skin. Make sure to cover all areas, including your forehead, nose, cheeks, and under the chin. Don't forget to apply sunscreen to your ears and neck as well.

5. Don't neglect your body:

Apply sunscreen to all exposed parts of your body, including your arms, legs, chest, and back. Use long, sweeping motions to spread the sunscreen evenly. If you are wearing a bathing suit, ensure that you apply sunscreen to any areas that will be exposed to the sun.

6. Protect your lips:

Your lips are vulnerable to sunburn and long-term damage, so it's essential to protect them. Choose a lip balm or a lipstick that contains SPF and apply it generously to your lips.

7. Reapply every 2 hours:

Sunscreen wears off over time, especially when exposed to sweat, water, or friction from towels or clothes. Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating. If you have been wearing a hat or clothing that covers your skin, make sure to reapply sunscreen to those areas as well.

8. Consider water-resistant sunscreen for water activities:

If you plan on swimming or participating in water sports, use a water-resistant sunscreen. Water-resistant formulas are designed to stick to the skin and maintain their protective effects even when exposed to water. However, remember to reapply after towel-drying or prolonged water exposure.

9. Integrate sunscreen into your everyday routine:

Sunscreen shouldn't be reserved solely for beach days or outdoor activities. Make it a daily habit to wear sunscreen, even on cloudy or overcast days. UV rays penetrate through clouds, so protecting your skin consistently is essential.

10. Combine sunscreen with other sun protection methods:

Sunscreen is an integral part of sun protection, but it shouldn't be the only measure you take. Consider wearing protective clothing, such as hats, sunglasses, and long-sleeved shirts, to minimize direct sun exposure. Seek shade during peak sun hours, typically between 10 am and 4 pm, when the sun's rays are the strongest.

Remember, applying sunscreen correctly is vital for protecting your skin from harmful UV rays. By following these steps and reapplying regularly, you can enjoy the outdoors while keeping your skin healthy and protected.

Read More - The Best Kids Skincare Products For Sensitive Skin


How to Apply Sunscreen

Now, let’s discuss in detail the 9 common mistakes to avoid when applying sunscreen to ensure maximum protection for your skin.

Mistake 1: Ignoring the Label

One of the most common mistakes when choosing a sunscreen is ignoring the label. Sunscreen labels provide crucial information about the product, including the sun protection factor (SPF), broad-spectrum coverage, and water resistance. It is essential to understand the difference between mineral and chemical sunscreens. Physical sunscreens, containing active mineral ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, work by sitting on top of the skin and deflecting UV rays. On the other hand, chemical sunscreens contain organic compounds that absorb UV radiation and convert it into heat. Individuals with sensitive skin should opt for physical sunscreens, while those with acne-prone skin should look for non-comedogenic products.

Mistake 2: Using Too Little Sunscreen

Using too little sunscreen is a widespread mistake that can significantly reduce its effectiveness. The recommended amount of sunscreen for the average adult is around one ounce, which is equivalent to a shot glass, to cover the entire body. When using too little, the SPF protection is diluted, leading to inadequate defense against UV radiation. To ensure sufficient coverage, it is important to apply sunscreen generously and reapply it every two hours, or immediately after swimming or sweating.

Mistake 3: Applying Only in Sunny Weather

Many people make the mistake of applying sunscreen only on sunny days. However, UV radiation can penetrate clouds and cause skin damage even when the sun is not visible. UVA rays, which are present during all daylight hours throughout the year, can prematurely age the skin and cause skin cancer. Therefore, it is crucial to apply sunscreen every day, regardless of the weather, to provide continuous protection against both UVA and UVB rays.

Mistake 4: Using an Old Bottle

Using expired sunscreen can be ineffective and even harmful. Over time, the active ingredients in sunscreen can degrade, reducing their ability to protect the skin from UV radiation. It is important to check the expiration date on the bottle and discard any sunscreen that is past its prime. Proper storage of sunscreen, away from direct sunlight and at room temperature, can help maintain its effectiveness. Additionally, it is advisable to replace sunscreen every year, especially if it has been exposed to high temperatures.

Mistake 5: Relying Solely on Sunscreen

While sunscreen is an essential part of sun protection, it should not be the only line of defense. Wearing protective clothing, seeking shade, and using accessories such as hats and sunglasses are equally important in minimizing UV exposure. Clothing with a tight weave and dark colors provides better protection, and special sun-protective clothing with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) is available for extended outdoor activities. By combining these measures with sunscreen, a comprehensive approach to sun protection can be achieved.

Mistake 6: Underdosing

Underdosing, or not applying enough sunscreen, is a common mistake that compromises its effectiveness. Certain body areas, such as the scalp, ears, and tops of the feet, are frequently overlooked during application. To address this, the 13 Dot Technique can be used to ensure even coverage. This technique involves applying small dots of sunscreen to specific areas of the body, then spreading and blending the product for uniform protection. By following this method, underdosing can be minimized, and the skin can be adequately shielded from UV radiation.

Mistake 7: Importance of UVA Protection

UVA rays can deeply penetrate the skin, leading to premature aging and an increased risk of skin cancer. When choosing a sunscreen, it is essential to select a product that offers broad-spectrum protection, shielding the skin from both UVA and UVB rays. Look for sunscreens with a high UVA rating or the words "broad spectrum" on the label, indicating that the product meets the standards for UVA protection. By prioritizing UVA protection, the skin can be safeguarded against the long-term effects of UVA radiation.

Mistake 8: Mastering the Application Technique

The way sunscreen is applied can significantly impact its efficacy. To ensure proper coverage, the 13 Dot Technique can be employed. Begin by applying a dot to each cheek, the forehead, the nose, the chin, and the neck. Then, blend the dots to cover the entire area, ensuring an even layer of protection. This technique can help individuals achieve consistent and thorough application, maximizing the benefits of sunscreen and reducing the risk of sun damage.

Mistake 9: Avoid Using Inappropriate Sunscreen

Using the wrong type of sunscreen can lead to skin irritation and inadequate protection. It is important to choose a sunscreen that suits your skin type, whether it is dry, oily, or sensitive. For individuals with acne-prone skin, non-comedogenic sunscreens are recommended to prevent pore blockage and breakouts.

Additionally, the right sun protection factor (SPF) should be selected based on the individual's skin tone and the intensity of UV radiation. By using appropriate sunscreen, the skin can be effectively shielded from the sun's harmful rays without adverse reactions.


In conclusion, the proper application of sunscreen is essential for protecting the skin from the harmful effects of UV radiation. By avoiding the common mistakes discussed in this blog and following the recommended sun care practices, individuals can significantly reduce their risk of skin cancer and premature aging.

It is important to be mindful of sunscreen labels, apply the appropriate amount of sunscreen, and prioritize UVA protection. Additionally, integrating sunscreen with other sun protection measures, such as protective clothing and seeking shade, can further enhance skin defense against UV radiation. By adopting these practices, individuals can enjoy the sun safely and maintain healthy, radiant skin for years to come.

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