Many people agree on how important applying sunscreen is in protecting skin from the sun. Sunscreen also prevents signs of premature aging and dryness of the skin. However, since everyone’s skin type is different, it is not always easy to decide which kind of SPF to apply and how often to reapply the sunscreen so that it’s truly effective.
Whether you’re tanning by the pool, running on the beach, or sitting inside your house near a window, ultraviolet (UV) rays are present. To be mindful of your skin, you should know when to apply and reapply your sunscreen.
If sunscreen is part of your sun protection strategy, listen up! You’re going to want to read this.
Concerns About Sun Damage
The most common concerns about skin damage include premature aging (such as fine lines and wrinkles), sunburn, and skin cancer. While being outside in the sun does have health benefits, such as a healthy dose of Vitamin D, excessive sun exposure can be harmful. A proper skincare routine, including reapplying sunscreen, can help mitigate the negative effects of the sun on the skin.
Benefits of Sunscreen
Sunscreen acts as a shield against the sun’s UV rays. Depending on the product’s SPF, you can have more or less UV ray protection.
SPF stands for sun protection factor. The SPF measures the level of defense the product has against UV rays, aka the harsh rays of the sun that can cause skin damage.
A misconception is that the higher the SPF, the less frequently you need to reapply your sunscreen. When in doubt, the rule of thumb is that you should reapply your sunscreen roughly every two hours. Of course, this also depends on your activity and the sun exposure you are receiving.
Chemical vs. Physical (Mineral) Sunscreen
There are two main types of sunscreen, and knowing which one you are using can help you determine if there is a waiting period between application and sun exposure. The two types of sunscreens are chemical and physical (aka mineral). If you are using a chemical sunscreen, apply your sunscreen about 15 to 20 minutes before heading outside so that it has time to soak into your skin and provide optimal protection. If you are using mineral sunscreen, you don’t need to wait because the product sits on top of your skin.
Knowing How Often to Apply Sunscreen
How often you apply sunscreen depends on where you are and what you are doing for the day:
If You’re Outside
As mentioned before, the general rule for reapplying sunscreen when directly in the sun is about every two hours. Maybe you’re lounging by the pool or sitting outside at the park (or any activities that typically don’t involve being too active). In that case, this timeframe should be the best for you to still get sun protection benefits.
The Perfect Sunscreen SPF 50+ Broad Spectrum is a great option for outdoor activities because it provides protection against both UVA and UVB rays.
If You’re Being Active
If you’re planning on being active outside, like swimming in the pool or sweating after a run, then your sunscreen will last for a shorter period of time. You may need to reapply your sunscreen more frequently so that the product is performing optimally and giving you all the protection that you need. Sunscreen will typically last only 40 to 80 minutes with sweat or water exposure, so plan to reapply accordingly!
If You’re Staying Indoors
UV rays can penetrate glass. So even if you are inside near a window, there is a potential that some UV damage to your skin can occur. If you are looking to reapply your sunscreen, you can do so less frequently than if you were outside. Reapplying sunscreen roughly every four to six hours will suffice. And if you are not near windows altogether, you probably will not need sunscreen.
Some skin tones are more prone to sunburn or sun sensitivities than others. While everyone should be mindful of the possible damages of excessive sun exposure, people with fair skin should try to be particularly diligent about reapplying their sunscreen.
When To Call It Quits in the Sun
You know your skin better than anyone. If you feel like your skin is sensitive to prolonged sun exposure, take a break to sit in the shade or go inside. Stay mindful of your time in the sun and its effects on your skin.