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6 sunscreen mistakes you're making (and how to fix them)

Heading outdoors to enjoy the Fourth tomorrow? Make sure you don't make these sunscreen mistakes so you can avoid a painful burn.
Tracie Knabe Snowder, KSL Modified: July 3, 2014 at 4:26 pm •  Published: July 4, 2014

Health experts always advise people to stay out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. But for most people (especially those with kids) that is unrealistic in the summer time, especially on the Fourth of July.

There are ways to avoid a burn and sun damage if you do spend all day in the pool, but it requires some preparation and diligence. Don't just slather on your sunscreen and go — keep these tips in mind to help you avoid a painful sunburn while you're outside tomorrow.

  1. Using an old bottle

    Go ahead and toss out that 5-year-old bottle of sunscreen — it won't do you much good now. The expiration dates on sunscreen are actually important. Write the date you bought the sunscreen somewhere on the bottle and throw it out after one year.

  2. Not using high enough SPF

    If you dislike applying sunscreen, use at least an SPF 30 and you won't have to reapply as often. SPF 30 also blocks 97 percent of rays. But you don't have to shell out for SPF 75 or higher, says Dr. Jeannette Graf.

    "(Higher SPF sunscreens) absorb more free radical-producing energy, so I recommend them for the summer," Graf told “(But) the super-high SPFs can provide a false sense of security, like you're protected for longer. But you need to reapply just as often as you would an SPF 30."

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