We relax a lot of things during the summer, from work schedules to later bedtimes, but your sunscreen routine shouldn’t be one of them. Dermatologist Dr. Ava Shamban points out that a sunburn can happen in as little as 10 minutes in the sun, so it’s important to stay on top of sun protection.
To stay safe in the sun, these are the 10 rules to live by, according to Shamban:
- Consistency is key - This skin doctor advises covering up and using sunscreen, no matter what the weather is. That includes a hat, protective clothing and reapplying sunscreen every 60 to 90 minutes.
- Sun support can be found in food, too - The antioxidants found in dark berries and colorful veggies can provide extra support to repair sun damage and protect your skin, working along with your SPF.
- Don’t forget your scalp - Wear a hat or use a powdered brush-on sunscreen on your part, and don’t forget to protect your ears, eyelids, tops of feet and between toes and fingers.
- When in doubt, toss it out - If you can’t read or find the expiration date on your sunscreen, go ahead and trash it. Dr. Shamban warns that using an expired product can leave you with reduced protection, so don’t take the chance.
- Be smart about storage - It may seem like a good idea to leave sunscreen in the car so you have it when you need it, but heat will damage the product over time, leaving it less effective.
- Watch the windows - If you sit near a glass window in your home, office or car, it may block UVB rays, but may not sufficiently protect you from harmful UVA rays. That’s why the skin expert recommends applying sunscreen every three hours if you’re inside by a window.
- Stick with SPF 30 and above - Go with a sunscreen that’s at least SPF 30, but there’s no need to go above SPF 50, as Shamban says the difference in that upper limit is only miniscule.
- Broad-spectrum is best - Read labels carefully and look for a broad-based sunscreen that works against both UVA and UVB rays.
- Makeup with SPF isn’t enough - Lots of us wear moisturizer or makeup with sunscreen, thinking it’s enough to protect us in the sun, but Shamban says it’s not. She advises using light lotion formula under makeup to be safe.
- Not all sunscreens are waterproof - When you’re in the pool, at the beach, or playing sports, make sure you’re using a waterproof formula and reapplying often.