3 Rules for Sun Protection

We all know we're supposed to wear sunscreen when we're outside, but there's more to it than that. Here's three things you need to know to keep your skin safe in the sun.

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1. The Best Sunscreen is One You'll Actually Use

You'll have to date lots of sunscreens before you find one you fall in love with. (Remember, this is a long-term relationship; to prevent skin cancer, wrinkles, and dark spots, you'll need to wear it every day.) Prospects must provide at least SPF 30 and broad-spectrum protection. Beyond that, experiment with new sprays, lotions, oils, serums, powders, and wipes until you meet one that meshes with your skin texture and lifestyle. If this sounds expensive, fear not. "Most dermatologists offer samples," says Susan Bard, M.D., of Vanguard Dermatology in New York City. "You can also head to a beauty retailer that stocks testers, or try calling a company's customer service number to score a sample."

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2. Forget About the SPF in Your Makeup

Hey, more sunscreen is never bad, and kudos to you for stocking up on products that protect. But to get the level of SPF on the label, you'd have to cake on seven layers of foundation, BB cream, tinted moisturizer, whatever -- and we can't let you walk around looking like that. If you're into skipping steps, try ditching your moisturizer or serum in favor of a sunscreen with a similar texture, then apply your makeup on top.

3. Yes, You Really Have to Reapply

The hard truth: You can't complain about wrinkles if you're not applying sunscreen with SPF 30 every morning -- and it doesn't stop there. "After two hours that first layer is basically null and void," Bard says. Lots of people remember to re-up at the beach, but what about weekdays? (Get this: The vast majority of skin aging comes from everyday exposure to rays -- not just burns.) One easy way to work it into your routine: "Keep a powder sunscreen in your purse or desk drawer and dust it on exposed skin before you step outside," Bard suggests. 

Are you falling for common sunscreen myths? Find out!

 

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