Common Sunscreen Mistakes That Can Lead to Painful Sunburns, Cautions Dermatologist Dr Adam Friedman

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As the summer season approaches, protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays should be a top priority. A DC-area dermatologist, Dr. Adam Friedman, shares some essential tips to help you avoid common sunscreen mistakes that can result in painful sunburns.

  1. Choose the Right Sunscreen: Opt for a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher and a broad spectrum of protection. If you’ll be in or near water, make sure the sunscreen is water-resistant.
  2. Reapply Frequently: Reapply sunscreen at least every two hours, even if you’re not going in the water. Reapplication is crucial to maintain adequate protection.
  3. Seek Shade During Peak Hours: Try to avoid direct sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun’s rays are the strongest. If you must be out, use additional protection like hats, sunglasses, and lightweight, long-sleeved clothing.
  4. Apply Thoroughly: Don’t forget to cover sensitive areas like the skin around the eyes, lips, ears, and the back of the hands, as these areas are more susceptible to sun damage.
  5. Proper Application of Spray Sunscreens: Spray sunscreens should be treated like lotions or creams. Spray the product into your palm and then apply it to your skin, rather than directly spraying it onto your body.

If you do end up with a sunburn, Dr. Friedman recommends using a moisturizer on damp skin, as sunburned skin has a diminished ability to retain water. Additionally, taking ibuprofen or Tylenol can help alleviate swelling and pain.

By following these simple yet crucial tips, you can enjoy the sun safely and avoid the painful consequences of sunburns this summer.

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