Anyone who spends a significant amount of time outside knows how important it is to protect yourself from the sun. One of the staples of sun protection is using sunscreen, but it’s not as simple as just slathering on a coat of lotion and calling it a day. There are some important things to consider when selecting and using sunscreen in order to get the most protection. Here are some essential tips for using sunscreen.
To get the most out of your sunscreen, it’s important to buy the right product in the first place.
Check the label for ingredients. You should try to find a sunscreen with the least amount of chemicals as possible, and you should definitely avoid products that contain octocrylene, oxybenzone, avobenzone or octinoxate. These chemicals have been known to cause serious health issues and they’re also harmful to ocean reef systems. Instead, try to find products with active ingredients like titanium oxide and non-nano zinc oxide, which will protect you from UV rays and won’t harm the environment.
Check The Expiration Date
You know that bottle of sunscreen you’ve had in your beach bag since Spring Break, 2002? It won’t work! Sunscreen has an expiration date for a reason, and if yours is expired toss it out. Also, keeping your sunscreen in extreme heat or damp areas will also reduce its effectiveness.
To start with, you want to apply your first coat of sunscreen about 20 minutes before you actually plan to be out in the sun. Re-apply every 80 minutes to ensure maximum coverage. Most reputable sunscreens are rated at 80 minutes of water resistance, but it certainly won’t hurt to reapply after you go swimming or sweat heavily.
Have A Backup Plan
We’ve all been in a situation where we had every piece of gear needed for an epic outdoor adventure—except for sunscreen! If you happen to forget sunscreen on your next outing, make sure you have backup protection. Always keep a good gat and sunglasses nearby, and if you have the room throw in some additional clothing that’s rated for UV protection, too. Keep in mind that the sun is at it’s most harmful between 10 am and 2 pm, so if you can avoid being outside during these times it’s even better.