1. Using expired goods: Yes, sunscreen does expire! Over time the active ingredients that work to protect your skin from harmful UVA/UVB rays deteriorate and become less effective.
2. Improper storage: Where you store your sunscreen is almost as important as how often you apply it. The glove compartment, windowsill and even your beach bag may seem like convenient places but exposure to extremely hot or cold temperatures will hider the formula’s effectiveness.
3. Light-handed application: Repeat after us, you can never apply too much sunscreen. NEVER. Slather it on often (abide by bottle’s recommended re-apply times) and liberally from head-to-toe.
4. Lingo confusion: Many foundations, BB creams and tinted moisturizers list an SPF (sun protection factor), which is a measure only of the sunscreen’s effectiveness at blocking out sunburn-causing UVB rays (but not the potentially more dangerous UVA rays). For complete and effective broad-spectrum coverage (protection against both UVB and UVA rays) you need to look for products with the circle. This year, Health Canada has introduced guidelines on the amount of UVA protection required for effectiveness. Now, if a sunscreen meets these standards, the UVA symbol will be circled on the package.
5. Playing the numbers game: Don’t be fooled There is very little difference between SPF 50 and SPF 100. Soon, high SPF numbers will be a thing of the past: 50+ will be the highest sunscreen SPF on store shelves.
6. Using only on sunny days: You might be surprised to know that some of the worst sunburns occur on the cloudiest days. UV rays are invisible and can penetrate though clouds, haze and fog — they’ll get you when you least expect it.
7. Applying protection when you are already exposed to the sun: There is a reason you’re supposed to apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes prior to sun exposure. Creams and sprays need time to absorb into the skin in order to be effective.
8. Missing the lips, ears and top of the feet: The little bits are just as sun sensitive as the rest of your face and bod. Be sure to spritz on the sun protection to keep these sensitive areas burn free too.