Sunscreen can only do its job (to shield your skin from the harmful rays of the sun) if you do yours. And that involves some education, and of course, reapplication.

These are the seven mistakes most people make when applying sunscreen, leaving you more exposed than you know:

1. Thinking you’re exempt because you have dark or olive skin 

Having a darker skin tone doesn’t mean that you don’t need sunscreen. Everyone needs to be protected from the harmful UV rays of the sun.

2. Assuming a high SPF means you can spend forever in the sun

Applying sunscreen with SPF 50 or more doesn’t mean you can stay in the sun forever. Staying out in the sun for too long increases the risk of sunburn as well skin damage, no matter what SPF you apply.

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3. You use sunscreen that’s been in your beach bag since 2 years ago

It’s important to check the bottle’s expiration date before you rub on old sunscreen lotion. Expired sunscreen may not provide proper protection because the chemicals become inactive over time. You should also throw away a bottle of sunscreen lotion that’s been in your car all summer. Heat can cause the active ingredients to break down, rendering them less effective and leaving your skin at risk.

4. You only spray on sunscreen

Spray sunscreens (in aerosol cans) might be convenient, but many experts are concerned about the effects of accidentally inhaling the spray’s ingredients, especially on children. It’s recommended to spray the sunscreen into your hands first and then rub it on the body. It is also difficult to apply spray-on sunscreen evenly if it’s windy, so applying more than one coat is a smart move.

Your lips, ears and scalp are also exposed to the sun. Many people develop skin cancer on these areas, including the back of their neck and hands

5. You miss common spots like the ears, scalp and lips

You need to cover more than your arms, legs, chest, and back with sunscreen. Your lips, ears and scalp are also exposed to the sun. Many people develop skin cancer on these areas, including the back of their neck and hands. There are many lip balms with SPF included as well as sunscreens that are created specifically for your scalp.

6. You apply sunscreen around your clothes

Skin cancer can strike anywhere, so it’s best to apply sunscreen before you get dressed. You’re more likely so apply less sunscreen when you’re already clothed, and even though clothing does provide some sun protection, you can still get burned through fabric.

 7. You think you’re safe indoors or in cars

You’re never protected from UV rays, even when you’re inside. Driving is a major cause of incidental exposure. Windows and windscreens do block most UVB rays but not UVA rays, and that’s the spectrum for most skin ageing and skin cancer. That’s why it’s important to apply sunscreen every morning all year round – especially in our harsh climate.