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8 Mistakes you’re making that are sabotaging your sunscreen

Despite the overwhelming body of research that proves just how dangerous too much sun exposure can be, far too many of us aren't wearing sunscreen daily, increasing our risk for sunburn and several types of skin cancer… all of which is largely preventable if you're properly protecting your skin from the sun's harmful rays.

Whether you're enjoying the summertime sun or simply sitting in the car for long periods of time, you absolutely need to wear sunscreen every day, no matter what the weather forecast predicts. Your skin is at risk even on cloudy, cool, and windy days, so the easiest and most foolproof way to lessen your risk of skin cancer is by wearing sunscreen. But just because you're slapping some SPF on doesn't mean you automatically get a gold star and a pat on the back.

From not using a high enough SPF to enjoying margaritas poolside, you're likely doing some things that are inadvertently making your sunscreen less effective, which can lead to dangerous sun exposure you didn't even realize you've been getting.

Here are the 12 most unexpected things that could be making your sunscreen less effective and how to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to keeping your skin safe and healthy.

1) You’re not using it every single day. You need to wear sunscreen every single day, in every single season, no matter what the weather forecast says or if you're not spending the day outside and even if it’s cloudy.

2) You’re not apply enough sunscreen. So you've heeded our advice and wear sunscreen every day. It's a great start, but you must ask yourself if you're applying enough. There's no such thing as too much sunscreen, so you'll want to be very generous in your application … especially if you are planning any outdoor activities.

3) You apply it, but never reapply. OK, so you put sunscreen on, thinking you're done for the day and your skin is protected. Wrong, say dermatologists, who recommend reapplying at least every two hours if you're in direct sunlight, and more often if you're swimming, sweating, or toweling off. There is no such thing as waterproof sunscreen, only water-resistant, so even sunscreens with the highest SPFs need to be applied routinely in order to maximize effectiveness.

4) You’re applying it over your makeup Sunscreen always comes first. Apply sunscreen BEFORE any other beauty products to a clean, dry face making sure to hit oft-forgotten areas, like your hairline, jawline and ears. And if you're using products with SPF in them, great, but you still need a foundation of actual sunscreen beneath them.

5) You’re waiting until you’re already outside to apply

Try to apply before you head out. it takes even sunscreens with high SPF time to fully absorb into your skin, so if you're applying it when you're already sitting on that lounge chair, it's too late. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that you apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before even stepping outside to get the most protection. If you're putting it on when you're already in the sun, your skin is already exposed, and could potentially burn.

6) You’re not storing it properly One of the major problems people don't even realize that is destroying their SPF is the way they're storing the bottle, which means you don't want to keep it in the bottom of your beach bag as it sits in the sun all day. When it gets hot or is stored above 77 degrees Fahrenheit, the potency is destroyed, and the sunscreen will degrade.

7) You’re missing key spots. Yes, even your eyelids. Commonly forgotten areas include the eyelids, ears, lips, and bottoms of your feet, so you'll want to be extra sure you've gotten those too. Also, you'll want to protect your hair and scalp, using protective products designed to keep hair color from fading, strands from drying, and skin from burning.

8) You’re not checking the medicine cabinet Unfortunately, lots of commonly used medications can increase your sensitivity to the sun, and you may not even realize it. Some examples of sun-sensitizing drugs include prescription acne medications like doxycycline, minocycline, and isotretinoin (commonly known as Accutane) as well as over-the-counter topical acne products like benzoyl peroxide and retinol, antidepressants including prescribed and herbal remedies, and antihistamines (like Benadryl), can all cause photosensitivity, so you'll want to check with your doctor if you're unsure … all the more reason to take extra caution with your skin in the sun.

Nearly 2 million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year in the US. Why take a chance... it’s the LAST CALL for our FREE Skin Cancer Screening. The offer expires at the end of June. Call us NOW to make your FREE appointment at our Hazleton, PA office – 570.459.0029

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