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How to Apply Sunscreen for the Sunny Days Ahead


Now that the weather is finally warming up, I’ve become a crazy Mama Sunscreen Bear. Luckily my kiddos are pretty good about letting me lather them up with lotion, but sometimes I find that I’m so concerned about preventing their sunburns that I forget about my own protection. This is an excellent reminder from the American Academy of Dermatology on how to apply sunscreen so that you get the sun protection you need. (This video is also helpful!) After all, sunscreen only works if you use it correctly!

“People who get sunburned usually didn’t use enough sunscreen, didn’t reapply it after being in the sun, or used an expired product,” says Amanda Friedrichs, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist in private practice in Sycamore, Ill. “It’s important that people take the time to choose an effective sunscreen and properly apply it.”

Dr. Friedrichs recommends people follow these tips when applying sunscreen.

5 Tips for How to Apply Sunscreen

1. Pick wisely. Choose sunscreen that has an SPF of 30 or higher, is water resistant, and provides broad-spectrum coverage, which means it protects you from UVA and UVB rays.

2. Before is best. Apply sunscreen generously before going outdoors. It takes approximately 15 minutes for your skin to absorb the sunscreen and protect you. If you wait until you are in the sun to apply sunscreen, your skin is unprotected and can burn.

3. Use plenty. Most adults need at least one ounce of sunscreen, about enough to fill a shot glass or the amount you can hold in your palm, to fully cover all exposed areas of your body. Rub the sunscreen thoroughly into your skin.

4. Get covered. Apply sunscreen to all bare skin. Remember your neck, face, ears, tops of your feet and legs. For hard-to-reach areas like your back, ask someone to help you or use a spray sunscreen. If you have thinning hair, either apply sunscreen to your scalp or wear a wide-brimmed hat. To protect your lips, apply a lip balm with a SPF of at least 15.

5. Reapply often. Reapply sunscreen at least every two hours to remain protected, or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.

Remember too that your skin is exposed even during cloudy days and in the winter, so always remember to keep sunscreen handy. You know, if  you’re one of those crazy people who can tolerate being outside in the winter.

Are you a stickler for the sunscreen, too? And have you been using enough? A shot glass is a lot of ‘screen! —Erin

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