Don't Get Burned: 5 Sunscreen Mistakes You're Making
More Sun Blunders
The slipup: Running outside without a hat
If you have SPF on your face and body, it might seem okay to skip wearing a hat during your morning jog. Only it's not, says Dr. Hale, an avid runner. "Sweat accelerates the speed at which sunscreen breaks down, so you might not have as much coverage as you think," she explains. Plus, you're exposing the very vulnerable skin on your scalp to the sun. Hale routinely sees squamous cell carcinoma -- the second most common type of skin cancer -- along the part line. "Squamous cell is correlated with chronic sun exposure rather than a day at the beach," she says.
Your skin-saving fix: Double your efforts with a hat and sunscreen. Choose a hat that has ultraviolet protection factor (UPF), and shield your face, neck, ears and body with a broad-spectrum SPF of at least 30. Swipe a sunscreen stick on burn-prone spots like your ears and nose. Try Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Face & Body Stick Sunscreen SPF 70 ($10, drugstores). If you can't -- or won't -- wear a hat, apply sunscreen directly to your scalp, Dr. Callahan says. "Spritz a spray formula right on your part line," she advises. Try L'Oreal Paris Advanced Suncare Quick Dry Sheer Finish Spray SPF 50+ ($11, drugstores) or Banana Boat Sport Performance Clear UltraMist Sunscreen SPF 50+ ($8, drugstores).
The slipup: Relying on your makeup for coverage
You know by now that your foundation with SPF 12 isn't going to give you much protection, but what about those BB and CC creams that boast SPF 30? "The problem is, people don't usually apply enough to get the rating on the bottle," Dr. Callahan says.
Your skin-saving fix: Pick a BB or CC with SPF 50. "Don't go for the 20 or even 30, because you're not going to put on enough to get that number," Dr. Callahan says. "But if you apply one with SPF 50, you might walk away with SPF 30." Try Kate Somerville IllumiKate CC Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ ($48, sephora.com). If your application is light-handed, play it safe and apply a base coat of regular sunscreen -- SPF 30 or higher -- before putting on your makeup. Be sure to let the sunscreen layer dry for a few minutes or you'll dilute it, Dr. Callahan says. Try Coppertone ClearlySheer for Sunny Days SPF 30 ($9, drugstores), which has a lightweight matte finish that's perfect to wear under makeup. If your skin is dry, opt for a moisturizing formula, like Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration SPF 30 Face Lotion Sunscreen ($9, drugstores).
Bracelet with Benefits
According to a YouBeauty.com poll, a whopping 48 percent of women have had a blistering sunburn. That's why it's so important to reapply SPF every two hours. (However, if you've been sweating or swimming, reapply immediately afterward.) Since it's easy to lose track of time when you're having fun in the sun, this new accessory acts as a great reminder: June by Netatmo ($99, netatmo.com), a jeweled leather wrap bracelet that tracks your UV exposure and sends alerts to your smartphone via an app when it's time to hit the bottle again.
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, June 2014.
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