When in Doubt: Common Sunscreen Mistakes to Avoid

Sunscreens have gained immense popularity in recent times. They are the unsung heroes protecting you from the sun’s harmful effects. While you understand how important it is, here’s the thing – just putting it on isn’t enough.

Many of us unknowingly make mistakes with sunscreen that can make it less effective.

In fact, in the past, many individuals were unaware of the significance of using sunscreen. A good sunscreen protects your skin from both UVA and UVB rays, which can cause sunburns, early ageing, and even skin cancer. But not everyone knows all the rules about using sunscreen. Here are some common sunscreen mistakes you must avoid to increase the efficacy of your products.

Common Sunscreen Mistakes to Avoid

  • Avoid last minute application

Don’t wait until the last minute to apply your sunscreen! To ensure the best protection, dermatologists advise applying the best sunscreen at least 20 minutes before sun exposure. Applying it hastily at the eleventh hour may leave your skin without essential coverage during the first crucial minutes in the sun.

  • Underapplying

The majority of people typically use only 25-50% of the recommended sunscreen quantity. Yet, for adequate coverage, most people may require approximately one ounce of sunscreen, equivalent to the volume of a shot glass. Additionally, ensure thorough application to all exposed skin areas that are not protected by clothing. Apply two fingers’ worth of sunscreen to your face and neck and one ounce to the remainder of your body as a general rule of thumb.

  • Not paying attention to the label

Read the label carefully before buying a sunscreen. It’s because there are different sunscreens available in the market. To effectively protect yourself from the sun, it is better to pick a  sunscreen labelled as broad-spectrum, water-resistant, and having an SPF of 30 or higher. Consider using a sunscreen SPF 35 or 50 for maximum protection.

  • Skipping reapplication

Don’t believe the myth that you only need to apply sunscreen once. Even though sunscreens have gotten better, they can’t withstand water or sweat for extended periods. They break down after the first application when exposed to the sun, so make sure to reapply every two to three hours or every 40-60 minutes if you’re swimming or sweating a lot.

  • Overlooking smaller areas

While you may focus on applying sunscreen to your forehead, forearms, cheeks, and legs, smaller and less noticeable areas like the neck and behind the ears are often forgotten. It’s important to give these neglected spots some care and attention for comprehensive sun protection.

  • Inconsistent daily application:

Avoid the misconception of using sunscreen only in summer or under direct sunlight. UV rays persist on cloudy or rainy days and can penetrate windows, reaching indoors. Therefore, it’s crucial to apply sunscreen daily, whether you stay indoors or venture outside.

  • Applying on damp skin

Putting sunscreen on wet skin is not the best idea. Unlike some ingredients that work better on damp skin, sunscreen loses its strength when applied this way. It gets diluted and won’t be as effective as it’s meant to be. To get the most out of your skincare routine, apply your toner, serum, moisturiser, etc., a few minutes before putting on your sunscreen. Also, wait a bit before applying makeup on your skin.


Now that you’re aware of these sunscreen errors, you know what to avoid for optimal sun protection. Steer clear of these mistakes and make it a habit to use sunscreen consistently, every day, to safeguard your skin from sun damage, whether you’re indoors or outdoors.

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