Ultimately, it's important to find a sunscreen you like. If you don't care for the sunscreen, you're not as likely to use it consistently.
Should I use a spray sunscreen or a lotion?
The kind of sunscreen you use is up to you. However, certain types of sunscreen work best on specific areas of the body. If you have dry skin, you might prefer a cream -- especially for your face. A gel or spray might work better for areas covered with hair, such as the scalp or a man's chest. Parents often prefer sprays because they're easy to apply on children. When using spray sunscreen, be sure to apply a generous and even coating. Avoid inhaling the product.
Do I need to apply sunscreen even if I wear cosmetics that contain sunscreen?
It depends on how much time you'll be spending in the sun. If you wear cosmetics that contain sunscreen, such as moisturizer, foundation or lipstick, you'll need to reapply them every two hours when outside or also apply a separate sunscreen.
If you won't be spending much time outdoors and you don't wash your face or heavily sweat during the day, it's OK to apply a moisturizer containing sunscreen just once in the morning.
What else is important to remember about using sunscreen?
When you use sunscreen:
- Apply generous amounts of sunscreen to dry skin 30 minutes before you go outdoors.
- Use sunscreen on all skin surfaces that will be exposed to sun, such as your face, ears, hands, arms and lips. If you don't have much hair on your head, apply sunscreen to the top of your head or wear a hat.
- Reapply sunscreen every two hours — and immediately after swimming or heavy sweating.
- Remember that sand, water, snow and concrete reflect sunlight and make it even more important to use sunscreen.
- Since UV light can pass through clouds, use sunscreen even when it's cloudy.
You can apply sunscreen to children as young as age 6 months. Keep younger children in the shade as much as possible.
Use sunscreen year-round, but don't let any product lull you into a false sense of security about sun exposure. A combination of shade, clothing, sunscreen and common sense is your best bet.