5 Reasons Your Sunscreen Isn’t Working

Sure, you’re slathering yourself in sunscreen before hitting the beach; but are you getting the sun protection you really need? Here are five ways your sunscreen might not be working.

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Woman applying sunscreen
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1. You’re not applying enough sunscreen

For sunscreen to be effective, you need to apply the right amount. Dr. Lisa Kellett, a Toronto-based dermatologist, recommends seven teaspoons for the face and neck, and two tablespoons for the body (the equivalent of a shot glass full of sunscreen).

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Woman applying sunscreen on her face at the beach
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2. You’re only getting SPF from your makeup

When it comes to guarding against sun damage, makeup with SPF doesn’t cut it. According to Kellett, the SPF 10 or 15 found in BB creams or mineral powders provide insufficient protection from UVA and UVB rays. Instead, she recommends applying sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 before applying makeup. And remember: sunscreen should become part of your normal skin care routine, so don’t forget to apply it every day.

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Reapply sunscreen every two hours
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3. You’re worried about looking greasy

Hate the shiny, greasy complexion that you sometimes get from sunscreen? Kellett suggests looking for an oil-free, matte-finish formula. Coppertone’s ClearlySheer, for instance, is an oil-free sunscreen that uses micronized ingredients for a dry-touch finish that doesn’t clog pores.

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Mother applying sunscreen on her son's face
Photo: Shutterstock

4. You don’t reapply sunscreen often enough

To be effective, sunscreen has to be reapplied every two hours and immediately following swimming, exercise or excessive sweating, says Kellett. Yes, this means the momentary inconvenience of getting up from your lounger, but it’s better for your skin in the long run.

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Cosmetic sunscreen products in jeans pocket
Photo: Shutterstock

5. Your sunscreen is expired

Just like medicine, sunscreen comes with an expiry date, and that may be the reason yours isn’t working. (Most sunscreens have a shelf life of around three years, says Kellett.) Look for an expiration date stamped or embossed on the crimp of the packaging. If in doubt, toss it out and buy a new one.

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4 Dermatologist Secrets for Youthful Skin
7 Skin Care Tips for Men
The Right Repellent: Say Goodbye To Bugs

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