With summer just around the corner, many of us are gearing up to soak up the sun. But, are we doing it the right way? According to experts, we’re making some common mistakes when it comes to using sunscreen, which could be damaging to our skin during these hot summer months.
Sarah Hastings, a vitamin expert at vitamin and supplement brand Chewwies, has shared the three most common misconceptions around SPF, and how best to avoid mistakes when using and applying sunscreen.
Mistake 1: Using low-protection SPF to help get vitamin D
“One of the most common mistakes I see is people choosing a low SPF, such as SPF 15 or 20, because of the belief that their body absorbs more vitamin D this way. This is a complete myth. The truth is that using a low SPF can do more harm than good. I recommend using SPF 50 for the best protection against harmful UV rays. Regardless of temperature and weather, using SPF 50 or above will always be one of the best ways to protect your skin, and it won’t stop you from absorbing the vitamin D you need.”
Mistake 2: Only apply sunscreen once or twice throughout the day
“Another mistake that people make is not applying sunscreen often enough. For example, I frequently hear of people applying moisturiser or makeup products that contain SPF in the morning and then thinking they are protected for the day. This is false. Sunscreen should be applied at least 30 minutes before going outside and ideally reapplied every 2 hours, and this doesn’t include reapplying after swimming or exercising.
I advise taking portable sunscreen with you on any days out during the summer so you’re always ready to reapply, especially during peak sun hours between 10am and 4pm.”
Mistake 3: Not checking the expiration date on last year’s sunscreen.
“Believe it or not, sunscreen only tends to have a shelf life of three years. Many high street brands will have a shorter one than this, so it’s extremely important to check the expiration dates on your sunscreen every year. Sunscreen that has expired only acts as a moisturiser and offers minimal protection from the sun, leaving you at a real risk of burning and causing damage to your skin.”