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Guidelines For Correct Sunscreen Application During Summer Season

It's not enough just to lather on the sunscreen during these warm summer months to protect your skin from the ravages of too much sun. As in all things in life, you need to know how to do it correctly.

Correct sunscreen application is the key to in protecting your skin this season, according to Dr. Craig Eichler.

Eichler, a Florida-based dermatologist, recommended sunscreen guidelines for summer skin care. Some guidelines even debunk old myths, such as wearing a t-shirt while swimming or applying sunscreen when you're already in the sun.

Sunscreen guidelines:

  • Pre-apply: Pre-apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before sun exposure so it has time to absorb into your skin. A new survey from PreSun Sunscreen finds that less than 1/3 of adults pre-apply before going into the sun.

  • Re-apply: Re-apply every 80 minutes and after swimming or sweating excessively.

  • Layer Properly: If you're going to be wearing insect repellent or makeup, apply sunscreen first so it is the bottom layer directly on the skin.

  • Be Generous: About 1 ounce of sunscreen (a "palmful") should be used to cover the arms, legs, neck and face of the average adult. "When it comes to sunscreen, don't apply sparingly," says Dr. Eichler.

  • Understand Labels: Look for products with an effective broad-spectrum sun-blocking ingredient, such as Parsol 1789, and a minimum of SPF 15. Products labeled "waterproof" may provide protection for at least 80 minutes even when swimming or sweating. "Water resistant" products may provide protection for only 40 minutes.

  • Don't Use Old Sunscreen: Check the expiration dates on bottles of sunscreen you've had for a while. Exposure to extreme temperatures can shorten sunscreen's shelf life, too, so it's safest to buy a new bottle(s) every summer season.

  • No Excuses: If cream sunscreens feel too heavy, try a gel or spray, such as PreSun Gel, which has a light feel or, PreSun Spray, which is quick to apply and very light, making it great for kids and active adults.

  • Apply Under Clothes: You may think wearing a t-shirt when swimming provides protection, but a wet t-shirt actually only has an SPF 4. Make sure to apply sunscreen even under clothes.

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