sunscreen dos and don'ts

Sunscreen Dos and Don’ts: Your Ultimate Guide to Sun Protection

sunscreen dos and don'ts

Sunscreen is an essential part of any skincare routine, acting as a shield against harmful UV rays and preventing a host of skin issues, from premature aging to skin cancer. However, using sunscreen correctly is crucial to ensure you’re getting the maximum protection. Here’s a comprehensive guide on the dos and don’ts of sunscreen to keep your skin safe and healthy.

Sunscreen Dos

sunscreen dos and don'ts

1. Do Choose the Right SPF

Select a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, as it blocks approximately 97% of UVB rays, which are the main cause of sunburn and skin cancer. For extended outdoor activities or if you have sensitive skin, opt for higher SPF levels to ensure greater protection. Always check the label for broad-spectrum protection to guard against both UVA and UVB rays. Applying sunscreen 15-30 minutes before going outside ensures maximum absorption and effectiveness. Additionally, consider using sunscreens with added antioxidants for extra skin benefits.

2. Do Apply Generously

Ensure thorough coverage by applying enough sunscreen to all exposed skin. A good rule of thumb is to use about one ounce (equivalent to a shot glass full) to cover your entire body. Unfortunately, many individuals apply insufficient amounts, diminishing the sunscreen’s effectiveness in shielding against harmful UV rays. This oversight can leave unprotected areas vulnerable to sun damage, so be generous in your application to ensure optimal protection.

3. Do Apply Before Going Outdoors

To ensure optimal protection, it’s advisable to apply sunscreen at least 15-30 minutes before stepping into the sun. This pre-application time allows the sunscreen to be absorbed into your skin, forming a protective barrier against harmful UV rays. By allowing the sunscreen to settle in, you maximize its effectiveness in shielding your skin from sun damage, reducing the risk of sunburn, premature aging, and skin cancer. So, make it a habit to plan ahead and apply sunscreen well before sun exposure for the best possible defense against the sun’s harmful effects.

4. Do Reapply Regularly

Remember to reapply sunscreen every two hours, especially if you’re swimming, sweating, or towel drying. Even if your sunscreen is labeled as water-resistant, it’s essential to reapply it regularly to ensure continued protection against harmful UV rays. Ignoring reapplication can leave your skin vulnerable to sunburn and long-term damage. Be proactive in maintaining your sunscreen coverage for a safer and more enjoyable time outdoors.

5. Do Use Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen

Selecting a broad-spectrum sunscreen is crucial as it shields against both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin, contributing to premature aging, while UVB rays primarily cause sunburn. By opting for broad-spectrum protection, you ensure comprehensive defense against the harmful effects of sun exposure, maintaining the health and vitality of your skin for years to come.

6. Do Check Expiration Dates

Sunscreen loses its effectiveness over time as its active ingredients degrade. Exposure to heat and sunlight can accelerate this process. Therefore, it’s essential to store sunscreen in a cool, dry place and avoid leaving it in hot cars or direct sunlight. Always check the expiration date on your sunscreen before each use, and replace it if it’s past its prime. Using expired sunscreen may not provide adequate protection against harmful UV rays, increasing the risk of sunburn and skin damage. Regularly updating your sunscreen ensures you maintain optimal sun protection for healthy, radiant skin.

7. Do Protect All Exposed Areas

Don’t overlook vulnerable spots like your ears, neck, scalp, and the tops of your feet when applying sunscreen. These areas are frequently forgotten but are equally prone to sun damage. Remember to generously apply sunscreen to ensure comprehensive protection for your entire body, from head to toe.

Sunscreen Don’ts

sunscreen dos and don'ts

1. Don’t Rely Solely on Sunscreen

While sunscreen is crucial, it shouldn’t be your only form of sun protection. Remember to cover up with protective clothing, including long sleeves and wide-brimmed hats. Sunglasses with UV protection are essential to shield your eyes from harmful rays. Additionally, seek shade whenever possible, especially during peak sun hours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. These extra measures complement sunscreen application for comprehensive sun protection.

2. Don’t Use Sunscreen Sparingly

When it comes to sunscreen, quantity matters. Using too little diminishes its effectiveness. Ensure you apply a generous amount to cover all exposed areas adequately. Remember, thorough coverage is key to safeguarding your skin against harmful UV rays and reducing the risk of sun damage. So, don’t skimp on sunscreen – slather it on liberally for optimal protection.

3. Don’t Use Expired Sunscreen

Expired sunscreen can be less effective as its active ingredients degrade over time, leaving your skin vulnerable to UV damage. Exposure to heat and light can also accelerate this process. To ensure adequate protection, store sunscreen in a cool, dark place and replace it regularly, ideally every year. Don’t risk sunburn or skin damage; prioritize sun safety by keeping your sunscreen fresh and effective.

4. Don’t Forget to Apply on Cloudy Days

Even on cloudy days, UV rays can penetrate clouds, making sunscreen crucial for daily protection. Regardless of weather conditions, developing a habit of applying sunscreen every day ensures consistent defense against sun damage and premature aging. So, make sunscreen an indispensable part of your daily skincare routine, rain or shine.

5. Don’t Assume Darker Skin Tones Don’t Need Sunscreen

UV rays pose risks to all skin tones. Despite having more melanin, which offers some natural protection, darker skin is not immune to damage. Therefore, sunscreen remains essential for preventing skin cancer and reducing the risk of hyperpigmentation and other sun-related issues. Don’t let your skin tone deceive you; protect it with sunscreen diligently.

6. Don’t Skip Lip Protection

Your lips are vulnerable to sun damage too. Use a lip balm with SPF to protect them from UV rays and prevent chapping and burning.

7. Don’t Forget to Apply Sunscreen Under Makeup

Did you know your lips are susceptible to sun damage? The delicate skin on your lips lacks melanin, making it prone to burns and dryness. Incorporating a lip balm with SPF into your daily routine not only shields against harmful UV rays but also helps prevent chapping and burning, keeping your lips soft and supple all year round. So, don’t forget to show your lips some love and provide them with the protection they deserve!


Using sunscreen correctly is vital for protecting your skin from harmful UV rays. By following these dos and don’ts, you can enjoy the sun safely and keep your skin healthy and radiant. Remember, consistency is key, so incorporate sunscreen into your daily routine and prioritize sun safety throughout the year. Don’t forget to reapply regularly, seek shade during peak hours, and wear protective clothing for comprehensive sun protection. Your skin will thank you for it!


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