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One of the healthiest things you can do for your skin is wearing sunscreen. Yes, a sunscreen is by far a best friend that you can have; a good sunscreen can keep you from getting burned, minimize the development of wrinkles, dark spots and reduces your risk of skin cancer. In spite of offering so many benefits, too many people still make common mistakes when it comes to using this dear friend. Little do we realize that these mistakes can be costly for our skin.

Now that summer is almost upon us, it’s high time to break down the biggest sunscreen slip-ups most people make with SPF, and how to outsmart them.

Mistake #1: Using the same bottle for the past three summers

This is one of the commonest mistakes which can cost us a great deal. Expiration dates really do matter as the protective ingredients in the sunscreen can deteriorate over time offering little or no protection. Most sunscreens have a shelf-life between two and three years, however due to its unstable nature, bottles open for longer than one year should be thrown out. What’s more, an open bottle is more likely to become contaminated over time, and can also lose the efficacy.

Do not forget to read the suggested storage conditions on the label too — stuffing your bottle in a glove compartment or a beach-bag in the trunk might be convenient, but exposure to hot temperatures can hamper effectiveness. 

Mistake #2: SPF still works if you use a little

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You need to apply a nice thick layer in order to get the highest protection that your sunscreen advertises. Applying too little sunscreen leaves skin unprotected by a sun-protection-factor (SPF) far below the number written on the bottle. Be generous with your sunscreen and slather it on, otherwise you’ve got nothing but a false sense of security.

Mistake #3: SPF lasts, so I can throw it on and go

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This is indeed a very common misunderstanding–and a dangerous one! The correct way to go for it is: Apply early, re-apply appropriately and replace often. Majority of sunscreens require 15 minutes, some even 30 minutes, before they are fully absorbed into the skin. To keep the benefits going, the KEY is to REAPPLY sunscreen often. Most sunscreens remain effective for two hours, but if you’re sweating, swimming, or rubbing, you will need to reapply sooner than later.

Now that you know the common mistakes to avoid with sunscreens, here you are, all set to embrace the sun this summer. Enjoy the Sunshine!

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