What’s better than a day out enjoying the sun with the family? How about a day out where everyone’s skin is well protected! You’ve heard it a million times. Sunblock is a very big deal. Rays from the sun are a carcinogen just like smoke from cigarettes. Kids are especially susceptible to sun damage and that’s why it’s so important to avoid dangerous sunscreen mistakes.

Did you know that 80% of most people’s lifetime sun exposure happens before they hit age 21? Not only are our kids soaking in a lot of sun, but they’re being far more affected by damaging UV rays than adults.

So, what can we do to keep little ones safe without having to obsess about sunblock on every outing? Here the five most dangerous sunscreen mistakes you’ve got to avoid.

You Are Wearing Old Sunglasses 

How old are your kids’ sunglasses? If you’re like most of us, you probably have no idea. Sunglasses tend to be an afterthought but they’re actually a key component of sun protection, Wearing old sunglasses is one of those dangerous sunscreen mistakes that even diligent sunscreen soldiers make.

Of course, sunglasses don’t expire, but they tend to collect scratches over time. Every single scratch is a place without any UV protection. That’s why it’s important to keep sunglasses in a case and replace them as they start to get beat up.

While kids will probably lose theirs before during the first summer, adults should keep in mind that the UV protection layer wears off over time. That’s why it’s better to just get a decent pair of sunglasses and replace them every couple of years rather than invest in a pair to keep for a decade at a time.

You Are Not Reading the Bottle Label 

Sunscreen is pretty straightforward once you know what you’re looking for. First off, it’s crucial to check that you’ve got ingredients that are actually effective. There are only four options for blocking UV1 rays and only one of those is effective against UVA and that’s avobenzone. Look for that ingredient on the label and be sure that’s paired with octocrylene because that combo is essential to the stability of the avobenzone protection. 

The Neutrogena CoolDry line is an easy brand to find and it’s always got that avobenzone and octocrylene blend. Dermatologists love Neutrogena CoolDry Sport Sunscreen Lotion with Broad Spectrum SPF 70, Cooling Sweat- & Water-Resistant Sunscreen with Oil- & PABA-Free Formula because it ticks all of the boxes for projection and resistance. 

You Are Using Too Little Sunscreen 

Chance are good that you aren’t using nearly enough sunscreen. Officially, for every square centimeter of skin, you should be using two milligrams of sunscreen. Most of us use about half of that.

To help you picture what that looks like, to cover your entire body, the amount of sunscreen that you need should fill your entire palm. Imagine the size of two golf balls or one shot glass full of sunblock. That’s how much you need from head to toe. For kids, go for about half that amount. 

And, moms, your SPF makeup isn’t cutting it. If you buy foundation with SPF in it, put it on in the morning like you normally would then do that six more times in a row. To get real SPF protection from your makeup you need to cake on seven times the normal amount of foundation.

You Don’t Reapply Sunscreen Often Enough

There is a lot of misunderstanding about how long sunscreen lasts and it leads to some of the biggest and most dangerous sunscreen mistakes. If you are inside, away from the windows, putting on SPF in the morning and then leaving it is probably fine. On the other hand, if you are outside in the sun, your suncream is breaking down. It’s essential to apply sunscreen every two hours and even if more if you’re in the water. 

You Rely Only on Sunscreen 

A lot of parents embrace protective gear for babies then forget all about it. At all ages, however, wearing a physical covering is the best way to protect again the sun. I know it’s tempting to just strip down when the weather is sticky and hot but you’ll actually be cooler covered up if you go with a lightweight, light-colored fabric. Look for smart high-tech fabric or good old fashion 100% cotton. Just make sure to avoid cheap fabric blends. 

Amazon has inexpensive shirts that will provide UPF 50 protection. They’ll seriously cut down on the work of constantly applying sunscreen.

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Planning to stick close to home this summer and just enjoy the sun right outside your door? You need our summer staycation inspiration!

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