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How to avoid common sunscreen mistakes this summer

How to avoid common sense sunscreen mistakes this summer
How to avoid common sunscreen mistakes this summer 02:16

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A beautiful holiday weekend to be outside. It's the season for fun in the sun and doctors say to make it safe you need to be using sunscreen correctly. 

But studies show many don't.

Doctors say people of all colors need to use sunscreen every day – not just when you're going to the beach or pool. And it's important to make sure you have the right kind.

Fun in the sun at the Jersey Shore or being outside anywhere protecting your skin is critical.

"Sunscreen is the most common and one of the easiest ways to do it, we just have to remember to use our sunscreens," Dr. Susan Massick, a dermatologist, said. 

Dermatologists say sunscreen mistakes are often made when applying it.

"They assume they can just apply it when they're already at their activity or they're already at the pool or the beach, but you actually have to apply it about 10-15 minutes beforehand. You also have to remember to reapply every two to three hours," Dr. Massick said. 


If you're swimming or sweating, you'll need to reapply even more often, there is no waterproof sunscreen.

Water resistance claims, for 40 or 80 minutes, tell you how much time you can expect to get protection while moving in and out of the water.

Experts say mineral sunblock may be easier on sensitive skin.

"We want to make sure we're using the type that is both UVA and UVB protective, so it's broad-spectrum protection, as well as water resistant," Dr. Massick said. 

One of the biggest sunscreen mistakes is not using enough. Doctors say more is always better.

"We tend to quantify it as two pingpong balls worth of sunscreen and apply it all over," Dr. Massick said. "You want to make sure you apply to all areas that are exposed, whether it's your face, ears, hands, feet."

An SPF of 30 or higher is recommended.

And don't forget -- sunscreens expire -- it's best to replace them every year.

In addition to sunscreen, hats, sunglasses and sun protective clothing are also helpful.

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