Surprising Facts You Never Knew About Sunscreen (2:05)
At the beach, you can usually find me laying on the sand right where the tide hits and pretending like I'm in a summer rom-com. But, when I retreat to my beach chair, I'm the first to crawl under a sprawling umbrella. My friends like to make fun of me for this, but at the end of a long beach day, I'm the one who's ready for a fun night out instead of retreating to my hotel room with a painful sunburn. I'm proud to say I've never actually experienced a grade-A sunburn, but even I've experienced a bit of redness on the typically forgotten places for sunscreen. You know — those places you never think to cover until it's too late.
If you're not used to using sunscreen at all, summer 2019 is a great time to start. Make sure you're using an SPF of 30 or higher and that you’re reapplying every two hours. DoctorOz.com spoke with Dr. Lamees Hamdan, skincare expert and founder and CEO of Shiffa to learn about all the forgotten areas for SPF coverage, and how you can make sure to stay sunburn-free this summer.
Even if you're wearing sunglasses all day (you should be!), you can't skip your eyelids when it comes to applying SPF. Dr. Hamdan says there's no need to invest in a sunscreen that's specifically made for the eye area; any sunscreen that can be used on your face can be applied here.
Dr. Hamdan also recommends using your diet to your advantage if you’re going to be laying out in the sun all day. “I recommend drinking green tea (catechins help protect skin from UV damage) and eating tomatoes and tomato paste (or salt- and sugar-free tomato juice),” she says. “Studies have also shown that you are 40 percent less likely to burn if your diet is rich in tomatoes." The lycopene found in tomates is a natural antioxidant.
I’ve heard that you should never neglect your neck in your skincare routine, and the same goes for sun protection. According to Dr. Hamdan, it’s one of the first places to show signs of aging (along with your eye area), so you never want to skip this step when applying SPF, even if it might not burn easily.
I don’t think I’ve ever put sunscreen on my scalp, but it’s one of the worst places to get burned because when your skin starts peeling, it can collect in your hair. It may seem weird to put sunscreen lotion directly into your hair, but Dr. Hamdan says it’s a must. Think about it: Your locks are probably going to get wet and salty with the ocean anyway, so it doesn’t really matter if you start the day off with a bit of grease on your scalp.
If you want to avoid the mess all together, wear a baseball cap or sun hat while you’re taking a break from the water.
OK, obviously you need sunscreen on your face, but many women believe they are covered simply by applying their SPF-labeled concealer or foundation. Dr. Hamdan wants to finally set the record straight: “Always, always apply your sunscreen (with SPF of at least 30) after your skincare routine and before any makeup,” she says. “Allow the sunscreen to penetrate for two minutes then go ahead with any makeup application (irrespective of whether your makeup has an SPF or not).”
When it comes to BB creams, Dr. Hamdan says if it’s labeled with an SPF of 30 or higher and has UVA and UVB protection, you can use it without sunscreen, as long as you make sure to apply it to your entire face. “It’s important to remember that makeup/foundations with SPF do not give reliable sun protection and application is sometimes uneven, so always rely on your normal sunscreen for SPF protection,” she says. “Also, the ‘new’ way to apply foundation is only where you need it, and while that gives you a dewy, natural finish, it doesn’t cover you SPF-wise.”
Hopefully these tips will help you avoid a sneak-attack burn this summer. But just because you’ve never been burned on your neck doesn’t mean it’s not being exposed to harmful UV rays, so remember to apply your sunscreen. Also, how amazing does it sound to eat your way to a sunburn-free beach day? Instead of packing a watermelon salad for the beach, refresh your skin and hydrate with a tomato salad to soak up the benefits of lycopene.
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