Save your skin! The five biggest sunscreen mistakes

Living in the Land of Eternal Sunshine has many benefits (no seasonal affective disorder here), but with the freedom of an indoor-outdoor lifestyle comes responsibility: Skin protection is a 365-day job, and not simply for vanity's sake. According to the American Cancer Society, about 3.5 million cases of basal and squamous skin cancer are diagnosed each year, with another 73,000 melanoma diagnoses (an even more dangerous type) expected this year. The good news is that you don't have to hide inside; you can protect yourself if you avoid these common mistakes.

1. Forgetting to Use Sunscreen on Your Scalp, Neck and Ears— The part in your hair can leave a stretch of delicate skin exposed. When burned, even a brush through the hair can be painful— and that's only the short-term danger! Most people also forget their neck and ears; even if you have lots of hair, it's important to put sunscreen below the hairline and on the tops and outside of the ears' ridges. A spray sunscreen, like Shiseido's Ultimate Sun Protection Spray with SPF 50+, makes it easy to protect the scalp, neck and ears quickly (and even conditions the hair a little).

2. Not Reapplying After Swimming— There have been great strides made in water-resistant sunblock, but toweling off after a swim still wipes away most of it— once you're out of the water, it's time to reapply. For maximum protection while swimming or surfing, Shiseido offers new WetForce technology that is formulated with a stabilized form of its ionic mineral sensor. It contains negative ions that bind to the positive ions in the minerals in water (or sweat) to create a highly water-repellent layer on the skin, so you can stay in as long as you like.

3. Assuming You Don't Need Sunblock If You Don't Burn Easily— A darker complexion or the ability to tan to a golden brown are no guarantees of safety against UV rays, and make it easy to be in denial: Those who burn less often end up with a false sense of skin security and over time can put themselves in more danger. The truth is, UV exposure increases the risk of skin cancer even when it doesn't cause a sunburn. The easiest way to protect yourself each day? Use a moisturizer with a minimum 15 SPF and apply each morning (side benefit: You'll look healthier, too).

4. Thinking Your Skin Won't Be Damaged in the Morning or Late Afternoon— While the sun is strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., those UV rays continue to shine from dawn 'til dusk. Hiking during the golden hour, while beautiful and fulfilling, won't keep your skin from being harmed; you still need to protect yourself. For location-specific information on the UV Index, check out the EPA website or download their free smartphone app, the SunWise UV Index for daily updates.

5. Not Using Enough Sunscreen— A dab of suntan lotion just isn't enough. The American Cancer Society recommends an adult use about one ounce of sunscreen— basically, a full shot glass— to cover the face, head and limbs thoroughly. If you're outside for an extended period, reapply after two hours. Lastly, don't forget your lips! Find a lip balm you like that sports some sunscreen too — and go have fun.


— Tory L. Davis for Shiseido

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