You’re applying sunscreen wrong. Here’s why

You’re applying sunscreen wrong. Here’s why
Shutterstock via CNN
The US Food and Drug Administration is proposing new regulations on over-the-counter sunscreens in an effort to keep up with the latest scientific and safety information.

Skin cancer is scary. It’s the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer with 1 in 5 Americans developing it in their lifetime . The good news is that by being vigilant about protecting yourself and your loved ones in the sunshine. It is preventable!

One of the best ways to protect your skin is with sunscreen.

It all starts with choosing the right one, which can be an overwhelming experience. In summer months, many stores are filled with shelves and shelves of sunscreens — all promising different things. When picking the right sunscreen, you want to look for 3 things:

-an SPF of 30 or higher

-Broad Spectrum

-Water resistant

Know that just because a sunscreen says it is “water resistant” does not make it waterproof. What it means is that you can put the sunscreen on, go in the water or play in a soccer game for a certain amount of time before it must be reapplied. “Resistant” sunscreens have a coverage time of 40 minutes while “very resistant” sunscreens have a coverage time of about 80 minutes. Experts recommend though, any time you leave the water to apply another layer on.

As easy as it is to use the spray sunscreens on kids, they do not provide the best protection. Dermatologist Dr. Drew Reese at the Spokane Dermatology Clinic cautions parents to stay away from using sprays. If there’s any wind in the air, most of it will go in to the atmosphere instead of sticking to your child’s body. If putting lotion on your scalp or hairline feels funny, Dr. Reese said its OK to spray it in to your hands and rub it on your head.There’s also the issue of breathing in all the chemicals from the sprays, which isn’t healthy.

An average size bottle of sunscreen is about 8 ounces, and an average size adult should be putting on one eighth of the tube each time they reapply. It’s the equivalent of a shot glass. Dr. Reese said most people put too little on, so if you are a little generous with the amount you apply, its probably just enough!

Don’t worry about chucking the bottles of sunscreen at summer’s end– unless you’ve had your sunscreens for quite some time. Sunscreens DO expire, but the Food and Drug Administration has made it so every sunscreen must have a shelf life of 3 years.

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