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The Right Way to Wear Sunscreen

Updated on October 4, 2013
Love your skin. Wear sunscreen EVERYDAY
Love your skin. Wear sunscreen EVERYDAY | Source

One day as I look at myself in the mirror and saw some fine lines just below my eyes, I’m suddenly worried about looking old beyond my age. I’m not Paris Hilton-vain but I’d very much like to keep that youthful glow for a couple more years before life can get too serious.

This has led me to research more about the causes of wrinkles, and most of the information I’ve scoured strongly blames the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays as the major agent that speeds up the aging process. Having grown up and lived in a tropical country, it’s quite ironic how I often overlook the sun and attributed it entirely on something more obvious like--stress from work, difficult people, messy situations, bad food choices, sleepless nights and cheap beauty fixes.

Dermatologists confirmed that exposure to the sun can definitely accelerate premature aging and putting you at risk of skin cancer. It won’t happen overnight, especially when you’re young but will evidently occur later in life if you don’t do something about it. They recommend wearing sunscreen as your best defense against wrinkles and other skin-related conditions. So now I’ve made a conscious effort to take care of my skin by wearing good amount of sunscreen as part of my daily beauty regimen.

Many are surprised why they still get sunburned even if they’re using sunscreen. This might be because they’re not applying enough before going outdoors. I’m going to share to you some of the best advice I’ve received when using sunscreen.

We might not be aware about it, but prolonged exposure to the sun can accelerate premature aging and put you at risk of skin cancer.
We might not be aware about it, but prolonged exposure to the sun can accelerate premature aging and put you at risk of skin cancer. | Source

What does SPF Stand for?

SPF means Sun Protection Factor. It tells you the amount of protection against UV radiation. So, the higher the SPF, the better protection you get from your sunscreen. To know the amount of SPF you need would depend on certain factors such as skin type, nature of the activities, location and weather condition. If your skin normally burns within 10 minutes under the sun, applying SPF 15 sunscreen could extend the protection for up to 150 minutes before your skin would burn. Within this timeframe, you should be able to reapply your sunscreen for an extended protection.

A typical sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher is recommended for sufficient protection against UVA (causes skin wrinkling) and UVB (causes reddening and sunburn). Choose a sunscreen that’s labeled “broad-spectrum” with blocking ingredients like Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide, Avobenzone and Mexoryl.

Tips when Wearing Sunscreen


Wear it everyday. Yes, you read it, everyday. Not just during summer but you need to apply it even when it’s raining or when staying indoors as UVA rays can still penetrate through clouds and glass. In my case, I make it as part of my daily morning routine after I take a shower. In that way, I make it seem like a natural habit as brushing my teeth.

Apply sunscreen first before anything else. It must be the first thing you need to apply on a clean, bare skin for it to really work. Skin experts believe that applying other skin products (like moisturizer) first may dilute the sunscreen or give an uneven layer on the skin which might not be enough to shield against the sun’s rays.

Apply it to all exposed parts. Wear sunscreen not just on your face, but to all exposed body parts such as the ears, neck (also the back of the neck), lips and hands. For the lips, you can wear a lip balm with SPF 15 before wearing your favorite lipstick.

Don’t skimp. Some people my age (I’m in my late 20s, btw) would ditch the sunscreen and spend more on those fancy anti-aging creams which doesn’t do anyone good. Really, you need to listen to skin experts advocating the use of sunscreen more than any other skin products. Don’t be too stingy on your sunscreen and apply them generously all over your exposed skin everyday.

Generously apply sunscreen to all exposed parts 20-30 minutes prior to going outdoors .
Generously apply sunscreen to all exposed parts 20-30 minutes prior to going outdoors . | Source

The 20-30 minute rule. Apply sunscreen 20-30 minutes before heading outdoors. That’s about the time it takes for it to soak into your skin and activates the chemical reaction to form a protective layer. Reapply every two hours if you’ll be spending most of the time outdoors but if you’ll be staying indoors the entire day, you don’t have to reapply as the sunscreen will remain intact the entire time.

To remove sunscreen, use an oil-based cleanser. Essentially, all sunscreen filtering ingredients are oil-soluble, so you can’t easily get rid of it with water. To remove them completely, it’s best to use oil-based cleansers or cleansing oils.

Choosing the best sunscreen is a matter of choice. There are a lot of sunscreens to choose from which are available in cream, gel spray, wax sticks, and lotion forms. Cream is recommended for those with dry skin, gel is good for hairy areas like arms and legs, wax sticks is ideal to use around the eyes and sprays are convenient to use on children. Since I’m not really an outdoor type of person, using a sunscreen with moisturizer is good enough for me BUT if you’re planning on soaking under the sun for long hours, use those in creams or gel. If you have acne problems, better use the oil-free or non-comodegenic variety.

Look for the expiration date. This is a no-brainer, actually. You need to throw out a sunscreen (or any product for that matter) way passed its expiration date. It’s a fact that sunscreen’s efficacy remains for about three years but if you had it that long, maybe you’re not really using them that much, if at all. A typical 200 ml sunscreen would last me 30 days so a bottle of sunscreen shouldn’t take you 3 years to consume.

With all these things in mind, there’s enough reason for all of us to still enjoy frolicking under the sun without having to fret about getting sunburned or all wrinkled up like a raisin in our 30s. All it takes is the discipline and commitment to wear them everyday and you’ll surely extend that youthful glow for many more years to come!


Even Baz Luhrmann couldn't agree more with his Everybody's Free to Wear Sunscreen music video. He also shared a dose of other valuable life lessons that's worth noting.

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    • profile image

      christine myer 5 years ago

      Your article is very informative. Can you recommend some effective brands?

    • profile image

      true_strike(ben) 5 years ago

      It is important to keep in mind that sunscreen is only one way to protect the skin. Not only do people typically not use enough sunscreen, but they don't take other steps to protect themselves from the harmful effects of the sun.

    • lone77star profile image

      Rod Martin Jr 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Welcome to Hub Pages!

      @im28beyond, it appears that the chemical companies have been lying to us all along. And where profits are concerned, lying is normal.

      Skin cancer doesn't come from the sun, it comes from the chemicals you put on your skin reacting with the sunlight. Things like the petroleum-based (read "Rockefeller") sunscreen.

      These guys (Rockefellers and Rothschilds) have made a fine art out of selling their poison and then blaming the problems on mother nature. Like cancer from eating too much red meat? The meat is innocent. It's the chemicals they feed the cows and other animals that cause the health problems. Like the American FDA which approved back in the 1940s feeding arsenic (a deadly poison) to chickens so that they would fatten up for market. The American FDA (Food and Drug Administration), the multi-billion-dollar food conglomerates, the chemical industry, the pharmaceutical giants, the American Medical Association and the Rockefeller Foundation have been working together to sell us unhealthy food (and its additives), unhealthy chemicals to put on and in our bodies, and the poisons which never cure, but merely maintain the illnesses caused by the other problems.

      There are natural cures that work. Many cures the American government has outlawed. I was supposed to be on certain medication for the rest of my life, until I learned better and took a natural cure. Done! Cured! And I haven't been back to my doctor.

      The Rockefellers, Rothschilds and their ilk don't care how many people die so they can gain more profit. These are the guys who sell to both sides during a war. All too frequently, they start the wars, too -- like the current war on "terror" -- fabricated by Rockefeller money to look like Middle East terrorists all so they could invade oil rich regions and siphon away billions in American tax dollars. And like Nelson Rockefeller who's company was selling to the enemy during the Vietnam War a generation ago, the current Rockefellers might well be selling arms to the terrorists, too. They don't care. It's all about more profits.

      So, sunscreen is only the tip of a very large iceberg of lies. You want skin cancer? Take sunscreen out into the sunlight.

      Sunlight is for good health. Be glad you live here in the Philippines.

    • im28beyond profile image
      Author

      Jazmine Llaguno 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      @Christine Myer, thanks for the comment. sorry for this late reply. Choosing a sunscreen brand is really a matter of preference, whichever you think works for you. I usually don't like complicating my sun care regimen and just pretty buy those brands of sunscreen that has become my staple. I'm currently using Celeteque Facial Moisturizer SPF 15 which comes in non-greasy formula which I like so much because of its no-fuss, very light consistency and most of all,it's non-comodegenic so I didn't really have sensitive reaction to it. It doesn't leave out a white film on the face unlike other brands with strong chemical formula. As for my body, I use Belo Whitening Lotion with SPF 15 that has broad-spectrum formula which protects both UVA and UVB rays. I suggest you choose those formula that matches your skin needs; avoid those extremely oily sunscreen as they tend to clog the pores and cause some adverse reaction. Use creams or gel sunscreen if you're going to stay long under the sun. Hope this helps. Cheers!

    • im28beyond profile image
      Author

      Jazmine Llaguno 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      @true_strike(ben). Yes, that's so true. Sunscreen is just the tip of the iceberg. you still need to wear clothes or wide-brimmed hats that protect a good portion of your skin against the sun's rays. Many people think, sunscreen is a summer thing but really, you should wear it everyday.

    • im28beyond profile image
      Author

      Jazmine Llaguno 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      @lone77star. Thanks for sharing that. Honestly, haven't heard about that news at all so I'm glad you did. I try as much as I can to read the labels before buying anything and research on them.

    • HawaiiHeart profile image

      HawaiiHeart 5 years ago from Hawaii

      Great hub! It's so important to wear sunscreen, even if it's cloudy! And yes,checking the expiration date is very impt. too!

    • im28beyond profile image
      Author

      Jazmine Llaguno 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Hi HawaiiHeart, yes that's true. Some of the sun's rays will come out even on cloudy days. Skin experts say that normally all sunscreen expires within 2 years. I'm sure by then you should have bought several bottles already.

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