Top 5 Sunscreen Mistakes to Avoid for Healthy Skin

Sunscreen isn’t just a beach day accessory; it’s a crucial part of a daily skincare routine that safeguards against the harmful effects of UV radiation. While many of us know the importance of using sunscreen, there are common mistakes that can reduce its effectiveness and put your skin at risk. Here are the top five sunscreen mistakes you should avoid to ensure your skin remains healthy and protected.

1. Not Applying Enough Sunscreen

One of the most common mistakes is not using enough sunscreen. Dermatologists recommend using approximately two milligrams of sunscreen per square centimeter of skin. In practical terms, this amounts to a shot glass (about two tablespoons) for the body and a nickel-sized dollop for the face. A thin layer won’t provide the full SPF protection claimed on the bottle.

2. Skipping Reapplication

Sunscreen isn’t a one-and-done deal. For continuous protection, reapply at least every two hours, or more frequently if you’re swimming or sweating. Even water-resistant formulations lose their efficacy after 40 to 80 minutes in water. Remember, UV rays can penetrate through clouds and windows, so don’t skip reapplication even on cloudy days or when indoors if you’re near windows.

3. Using an Expired Product

Like all skincare products, sunscreen has an expiration date. Using sunscreen past its expiration date can greatly diminish its effectiveness. The active ingredients in sunscreen degrade and lose their ability to protect against UV rays over time. Always check the expiration date on your sunscreen bottle and replace it as needed.

4. Ignoring Certain Areas of the Body

Many of us apply sunscreen to our face and arms but forget about other parts that are equally exposed to the sun. Areas often missed include the ears, back of the neck, tops of the feet, and the hairline. Your lips can also suffer from sun damage, so apply a lip balm with at least SPF 30. Make sure to cover all exposed areas of your body for thorough protection.

5. Relying Solely on Makeup or Moisturizers with SPF

While it’s beneficial that many moisturizers and makeup products now include SPF, they may not provide enough coverage for prolonged exposure. Most people don’t apply a thick enough layer of these products to get the full SPF protection. Furthermore, makeup and moisturizers are seldom reapplied, reducing their effectiveness as the day goes on. For best results, use a separate sunscreen and reapply as recommended, even if your makeup or moisturizer contains SPF.


Adequate sun protection is a fundamental step in maintaining healthy, youthful-looking skin. By avoiding these common sunscreen mistakes, you can ensure that you’re getting the maximum benefit from your sunscreen, keeping your skin safe from UV damage and the premature aging it can cause. Remember, the best sunscreen is the one you use correctly and consistently.