Have you ever wondered why your sunscreens might not work as they should? It feels like you have fantastic protection for your skin, but sometimes it just fails you! It turns out there are several things you might be doing unintentionally that are messing up with how well the sunscreen protects you. So, if you are here wondering what reduces the effectiveness of sunscreen, then I have the answer to your question.
What Reduces The Effectiveness Of Sunscreen?
Sometimes, we feel that our magical saviors are not saving our skin today! If you are cursing your sunscreen for it, then I think you should probably check out some other factors that may be playing with the effectiveness of your sunscreen.
You Are Not Applying The Proper Amount
You already know how important it is to apply a generous amount of sunscreen if you want your skin to be protected for long hours. It sometimes feels chaotic because it is thick and may turn white, but your skin will thank you in the long run. It is often suggested that you use the two-finger rule, that is, applying enough sunscreen to span the length of two of your fingers. This is regarding applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF.
You Are Not Reapplying It
Well, if you think applying it once felt like ‘done for the day, ‘ I am sorry; I got bad news! One of the main reasons you think your sunscreen has become less effective is that the sunscreen you applied in the beginning, has now gone, and you need to renew it with a fresh layer. You should reapply it every two to three hours in direct sunlight.
You Are Keeping It In High Temperatures
By high temperatures, I don’t necessarily mean you are keeping it out in the Sun. But I mean, when you are going out in the Sun, you may have just kept it in your bag, and it just went under all the other stuff in your bag. Exposure to warm temperatures or even light or heat can make it break down, eventually decreasing its effectiveness. So the way you store it matters!
You Are Applying Sunscreen Over Your Makeup
It is often said that sunscreen should always be applied before you start your makeup. Remember, skincare comes first! A lot of people ask this question whether it’s sunscreen or primer first. Many lightweight sunscreens are available now that do not become a hurdle for your makeup. You can reapply your sunscreen over your makeup as well.
You Are Not Waiting Enough Before Stepping Out
Sunscreen with high SPFs can take time to absorb, so you should apply your sunscreen well before you step out of your house. It is recommended that you wait at least 15 minutes after you apply your sunscreen. Give it some time to absorb and work its magic! The worst is using it after you are already out in the sun.
You Are Applying Expired Sunscreen
I know throwing away expensive skin care products that may have expired sometimes hurts. But remember, there is an expiry date for a reason. If you are applying expired sunscreens, do not expect it to protect you. It can even increase your chances of sunburn. Expired sunscreens do not offer powerful UV protection for your skin.
You Are Not Following The Instructions
Every skincare product comes with a list of instructions. You should know that sunscreen isn’t like makeup or some gameplay; it is like medicine for your skin doing a serious job. Read and follow the instructions mentioned to benefit from them to their fullest potential. Different brands, SPFs, and formulations exist, so try to follow what it says. (for example, reapplying, not mixing it with other products, storage, etc)
Frequently Asked Questions
When should I reapply my sunscreen for increased effectiveness?
It is recommended that you reapply your sunscreen every two to three hours. When swimming, playing some sport, sweating, or towel drying, these activities reduce the effectiveness even faster. So, make sure you reapply every couple of hours.
Why is my sunscreen not absorbing into my skin?
There can be a few reasons that may cause pilling. It can either be your dry or dead skin cells that may be flaking and stopping your sunscreen from being absorbed into the skin, or it can be some skincare or any other products you may have used that prevent complete absorption.
How do I know if my sunscreen has become ineffective?
The usual cases of obvious inefficacy include the sunscreen’s consistency, smell, and color. Sometimes, your sunscreen can either turn very watery or chunky. If your sunscreen has changed its color to something unusual, it may have expired. You can even sense a change in smell. Make sure to check the expiry date.
How long does it take for the sunscreen to be completely effective?
Sunscreens take time to absorb and come into power. It takes approximately 15 minutes for your sunscreen to work its magic. So do not rush to step outside your house or in the Sun as soon as you apply sunscreen. Patience and consistency are the key.
So, what reduces the effectiveness of sunscreen? I think you now know. Remember, sunscreen is like a shield for your skin, but it comes with its peculiarity. I know applying sunscreens and feeling like Casper the Ghost can feel frustrating. Imagine going through so many problems with sunscreen application, but it turns out it is not practical. How painful, right? Try finding out why your sunscreen is not protecting you the way it should, getting a solution, and protecting your skin for real this time!
Marilyn’s deep interest in fashion, beauty, and lifestyle has led her to pursue a fulfilling career as a freelance writer and blogger. With her bachelor’s degree in fashion design from the Fashion Institute of Technology, she has developed a keen eye for style and trends, making her well-equipped to offer valuable insights into the latest fashion and beauty trends.