The summer months have arrived and the hot weather we’ve been longing for all year is finally upon us – but we need to mind our skin as we enjoy the warm spell with temperatures set to hit 30C this week.
Whether we are going abroad or staying at home during our time off from work, applying sunscreen to protect our skin from dangerous UV rays from the sun is something we should all be doing.
This is especially the case with children and people with sensitive skin, as well as anyone else who is at an increased risk of developing skin cancer if they don’t take their precautions.
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Yet so many of us still haven’t learned how to get the best out of our sunscreen. According to one expert, many of us have been applying our sunscreen wrong our whole lives.
Speaking toThe Sun , Dr Stephanie Ooi, a GP at MyHealthcare Clinic in London, here are five common mistakes we’ve been making.
1. Not using enough sunscreen
Dr Ooi said: “Most of us don’t put on enough sunscreen. To properly protect your face you should apply two finger lengths of sun cream and for your body it’s a whole shot glass.
“If you use a spray bottle or roll-on you should be applying several passes or spritzes in each area to provide adequate protection.
“Clothes will provide some protection but don’t forget to go under clothing edges to ensure you have good coverage across the entire body.”
When it comes to children, Dr Ooi advised: “There aren’t any specific rules but you should apply sunscreen liberally – more is more!”
2. Using weak sunscreen
Dr Ooi said: “Choose the highest SPF possible to give yourself the best protection. Some people choose lower SPFs because they think this will boost their body’s levels of vitamin D, but studies have shown vitamin D levels aren’t affected by a higher SPF sunscreen.”
She added: “If you are worried you can always take a daily vitamin D supplement. The NHS recommends taking 10mcg (or 400 units) daily during the winter months.”
3. Not applying sunscreen straight away
Warning against delaying the application of sunscreen, Dr Ooi said: “Sunscreen needs to be applied at least 30 minutes before going outside. On top of this, most will need to be reapplied every two hours.
“If you are swimming or sweating you will need to reapply protection even more frequently.”
4. Not checking use-by date
Dr Ooi said: “You can check by looking at the back of the bottle – there will be a jar symbol with a number. This corresponds to the number of months it can be open before being discarded.”
5. Not staying out of the sun
Warning the sunscreen is a filter and not a block, Dr Ooi explained: “The best protection is to stay out of the sun completely, especially during the hours when the sun is at its strongest, which is between 11am and 3pm.
“It’s not always possible to stay out of the sun so be sure to seek shade, wear a wide-brimmed hat and cover up with loose, breathable clothing. Remember, there is no such thing as a healthy tan.”
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