7 worst sunscreen mistakes you need to avoid

The awareness for sun protection is on the rise! You try to apply your SPF regularly, but are you making these grave sunscreen mistakes?

sunscreen mistakes to avoid

Sunscreen application is one of the best things you can do to protect yourself from the UV rays of the sun. Not only does it protect you from skin cancers, but it also prevents photoaging that causes lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and loss of skin elasticity. Click here to read more about why sun protection is so important. But what about those sunscreen mistakes that you should absolutely avoid?

Top 7 worst sunscreen mistakes you should avoid and what to do instead.

1. Using expired sunscreen

When did you purchase your current bottle of SPF? 2018? Yes?

Bad news, it’s expired. Using expired sunscreen is the most common of all the sunscreen mistakes people make. We usually do not consider that most cosmetic products have an expiration date.


Time to buy a new one. Most product labels have an expiration date indicated on them. If that’s not the case, consider that the sunscreen will remain stable for at least three years from purchase. 

2. Not reapplying sunscreen frequently enough

This might be the most common out of the sunscreen mistakes.

So, you applied sunscreen at the start of the day. But is it enough to protect you for the rest of the day? No! Not really. You need to reapply it every 2–3 hours. Why is it that we forget to reapply? Some people get too busy with their days, some might find it difficult to reapply over makeup.


If you belong in the former category, I recommend cueing your sunscreen reapplication with other habits that you already have. It’s called habit stacking. You can apply this in other areas of your life too. Say, you want to be able to reapply in the afternoon, try stacking it with your lunch break.

Whenever you sit down to eat lunch, remember sun protection first. It will take some time; however, you are more likely to remember it this way. 

If you find it tedious to reapply on top of makeup, there are so many beautiful formulations of sunscreens: sprays, gels, clear sticks. Choose one of these over a lotion formula. 

Now there’s wearable technology to help remind you to reapply sunscreen. It’s called the SPOTMYUV™.

SPOTMYUV™ is a first of a kind UV detection sticker that interacts with the sun and reminds you to put on sunscreen and stay protected. Just apply the SPOTMYUV™ dot, apply sunscreen and go about your day, it will turn purple when it’s time for you to reapply! It’s an amazing technology because most people can build a habit of putting on sunscreen on their own, but they forget to reapply.

3. Thinking makeup formulated with SPF is enough protection

Sorry to break your bubble, but in order to get the sun protection mentioned on the makeup bottle, you are going to need much more of your foundation than you use now. 


Use your broad-spectrum SPF before your makeup. And then whatever is in the makeup can work as a top up. 

4. Coin sized amount of sunscreen is more than enough

Absolutely not! Believe me when I say, I was there too. And this was back in the day when the mineral sunscreens used to have so much white cast that no matter how much you blended, you still looked like a ghost. So, it’s natural to try and limit the product you use in order to make it easy to blend. And then we wonder how is it that we still have half bottle of a 4-year-old sunscreen. Whoops!


Pick an SPF that you actually like. The best sunscreen is the one that you will use! You need to use at least 2 gm/cm2 in order to get the indicated SPF value.

Let me make it easy, take two finger lengths of sunscreen and use it for the face and neck area. FDA recommends that an average sized adult needs at least 1 ounce of sunscreen (equal to one shot glass) to adequately protect the body from head to toe.

The best sunscreen is the one that you will use

5. Forgetting the rest of your exposed skin like your ears

We generally forget that skin is our largest organ and the skin on our body deserves to be treated with equal care as our face skin. A lot of areas are forgotten while applying sunscreen.


After applying it to your face and neck, take some more and go over all the exposed areas. 

Generally forgotten areas:

  • Lips
  • Ears
  • Back of ears
  • Back of the neck
  • Any other exposed are including Décolletage, Legs, Arms, Feet and Hands

Protip: Invest in a body sunscreen! They do the same job as your face sunscreen, but the catch is face sunscreens are relatively expensive and you’ll run out of it quite fast if you start using it all over your body. And we don’t want to be stingy with our sunscreen application, so order a big bottle as your body sunscreen.

Invest in a body sunscreen

6. There is such thing as a water-proof sunscreen

Do not confuse waterproof with water-resistant. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), USA requires sunscreen’s that are labeled as “water-resistant” to state whether it is effective for 40 or 80 minutes when swimming or sweating.


Use a water-resistant sunscreen before going swimming and reapply after getting out. Similarly, apply more frequently after sweating. Refer to the sunscreen label for directions to reapply. Keep in mind that there is no such thing as waterproof sunscreen.

7. Skipping sunscreen when you are indoors or on cloudy days

You absolutely need sunscreen indoors or in cars and flights. UVB radiation can be filtered by the clouds however, UVA radiation can easily penetrate window glass and clouds.


Be sure to put sunscreen indoors, in cars and on gloomy days too to protect your skin.

How many of these sunscreen mistakes were you making? Don’t worry if your answer was any or all of these. I was once in the same boat, but since then, I’ve corrected them and come a long way. No amount of science, technology or aesthetic procedures will restore your skin to what it once was. So, why not start young and prevent sun damage altogether!

Happy sunscreening!

2 thoughts on “7 worst sunscreen mistakes you need to avoid”

  1. Simply want to say your article is as surprising. The clearness in your post is just excellent and i can assume you are an expert on this subject. Fine with your permission let me to grab your feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please continue the gratifying work.

    1. livingwithpoise.lwp

      Hi, so glad to hear that you enjoyed the article. Do share with your friends and family. I’m not a trained expert, but I sure am a skincare enthusiast!

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