10 mistakes to avoid when applying sunscreen

You already know that applying sunscreen is the best way to protect your skin from the UV rays that age and damage your skin. But there's more to applying your SPF than you might think. Here are simple mistakes that people often make when applying sunscreen. Recognize any of them?

1. Not reapplying

If you have very fair skin, you should apply a sunscreen at least every two hours, while every three to four hours will do for olive or black skin. Re-apply your sunscreen after swimming, too, even if you're using a waterproof formula.

2. Not using enough

The idea is to fully protect all exposed areas, so really slather on your sunscreen. This is not the time to be stingy.

3. Not choosing the right SPF

Don't grab any old sunscreen off the shelf. Choose a sun protection factor suited to your skin type; for example, going for a higher SPF if you tend to burn easily. However, for most people, an SPF 50 is not usually necessary; 30 generally does the trick.

4. Using old leftovers

The average sunscreen shelf life is one year, after which time the active ingredients are past their prime. To be sure of avoiding sunburnt skin, don't resort to applying last year's sunscreen.

5. Not protecting your hands

Our hands quickly show our age and need just as much attention as our faces. Re-apply your sunscreen every time you wash your hands. It's also a good idea to choose a hand cream that both moisturises and protects from the sun.

6. Assuming darker skins don't need protection

Darker skins are just as sensitive to sunlight as fairer skins. However, it is harder to detect UV damage, so be on your guard.

7. Skipping sunscreen on cloudy days

In fact, 80% of sunlight passes through clouds. So rain or shine, keep applying your sunscreen.

8. Using only UBV protection

UVA rays are also dangerously harmful! Some sunscreens protect against infrared rays, as well as UVA and UVB. For example, the UV Perfect Aqua Essence by L’Oréal Paris provides up to 12 hours of protection from both, the UVA and UVB rays of the sun and also helps repair the skin against signs of ageing. We say, go the whole hog when protecting your skin, there's no such thing as too careful.

9. Thinking only sunscreen is enough

It is a bad idea to sunbathe when the sun is at its strongest; between midday and 4 PM. Wear a hat and sarong, even if you've applied a sunscreen, and try to avoid full sun during these times of day.