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Summer is a great time to get out and enjoy the weather, but only when it’s done safely and sensibly. Unfortunately, if you spend too much time outside without taking the time to cover up with sunscreen, you’re going to find yourself needing dermatology services in short order.
But sometimes, you make sure to bring sunscreen with you and make sure to apply it. Yet when you return to your home, you still find that you’ve gotten a sunburn.
Is your sunscreen defective? Probably not. The more likely explanation is that you made a mistake that caused your sunscreen to fail when you needed it. Luckily, when you know what the problem is, you’ve got a much better chance of stopping it before you make your next dermatology appointment. Learn what you might be doing wrong here!
You Waited Too Long to Apply
Putting on sunscreen the second you get into the sun might seem to be all you need to do, but the reality is that if you wait until you’re in the sun, you’re already too late to completely prevent sun damage. For most sunscreens, you need to apply 15 to 20 minutes before you get into the sun in order to provide full protection, because your sunscreen needs time to sink into your skin.
Any expert in dermatology will tell you that applying sunscreen the second you get into the sun is much better than doing nothing. However, waiting that long still puts you at slight risk for sun damage. If you wait until you’ve already been in the sun for a little while, the damage is likely to be even worse. Once you’ve been in the sun, you’re only protecting yourself from further damage beyond what has already occurred.
You Didn’t Use Enough Sunscreen
Using sunscreen is always a wise decision, but there’s no reason that you should be conservative with the amount that you apply. Just getting your face and back isn’t enough for you to prevent dermatology-based issues; you need to make sure that you cover every exposed part of your body with sunscreen.
Plus, you need to make sure that you’re using enough of it. Most people need about a shot glass’ worth of sunscreen to properly protect their body from the sun. If you’re in a sunny place, such as the Southlake area, you might want a little bit more to be absolutely safe. You’ll also want to make sure that you rub in your sunscreen to make sure it can get into your skin. If you don’t rub it in properly, that’s basically the same thing as failing to use enough.
You Forgot to Re-Apply
Many people who have severe dermatology issues caused by sunburns actually did think to apply sunscreen before they went out into the sun. So why did they still come home with a sunburn? Simple: they stayed out in the sun for several hours and never re-applied it.
Unfortunately, sunscreen only lasts for about an hour or two before it’s no longer effective. If you don’t take the time to re-apply your sunscreen every two hours, you’re probably going to end up with a painful sunburn at the end of the day, even if you slathered on sunscreen well before you went into the sun. Always be sure that you take some extra sunscreen with you whenever you spend a day in the sun so that you can re-apply as the day progresses.
You Have the Wrong SPF Sunscreen
It’s important for you to choose the right SPF for your skin type, depending on how easily your skin burns. If your dermatology history includes several sunburns, you probably need to go beyond the standard SPF 30 sunscreen that many people regularly use. If you have sensitive skin, a sunscreen with an SPF of 50+ can usually offer the sun protection that you need in order to enjoy your day in the sun.
However, the SPF only really matters if you’ve taken the time to properly apply your sunscreen. If you’ve applied sunscreen incorrectly, you’re going to end up with far less protection than your SPF suggests. An SPF 30 sunscreen that’s been properly applied at the correct time will always offer more protection than an SPF 50+ sunscreen that hasn’t been rubbed into your skin correctly.
Your Sunscreen Has Expired
Sometimes, your dermatology issues really were caused by your sunscreen. Unlike with some products, sunscreen expiration dates must always be taken seriously, because once they hit their expiration dates, they lose much of their effectiveness. Most sunscreens can protect your skin properly for about three years from the date of purchase, and if you regularly go out into the sun, you’ll probably never need to worry about your sunscreen expiring on you.
But if you’re the kind of person who rarely exposes your skin to the elements unless you’re going swimming, you risk opening yourself up to sunburn and other issues if you don’t make sure that you’ve got fresh sunscreen when you apply it. If your sunscreen has hit its expiration date and you have a history of sunburns, save yourself the worry of a serious skin problem and buy a fresh bottle before you go swimming. Your skin will be much better for it.
What Can You Do to Prevent Issues?
One of the smartest things you can do when it comes to dermatology is to get as much information as you can. At Compassion Dermatology, we’re happy to help you figure out exactly how to take care of your skin so that you can enjoy summer in the Southlake area without developing a sunburn or long-term skin problems. We can help you figure out what sunscreen you need to use when you go outside and other simple things you can do to help protect your skin from serious issues. Contact us today to set up an appointment!