As ironic as it sounds, sunscreen and sunlight don’t mix. Elevated temperatures cause the ingredients in sunscreen to break down, making it less effective at protecting your skin against UV rays. That SPF 50 suddenly becomes SPF 15 or worse without you knowing. To keep your skin safe, take good care of your sunscreen.
Common Mistakes When Storing Sunscreen
If you’ve ever ended up with a sunscreen that looks like cottage cheese, overheating is the reason why. Here’s how it usually happens:
- Keeping sunscreen in the car: On paper, this sounds like a great idea. The problem is that vehicle interiors get insanely hot. Comfortable 70-degree weather outside translates to 104 degrees Fahrenheit inside the car, and that’s in just half an hour!
- Leaving the bottle in direct sunlight: At the beach, some people slap on sunscreen, toss the bottle on top of their towel and jump into the water for a swim. Unfortunately, direct sunlight cooks sunscreen like an egg on the sidewalk.
- Storing sunscreen near sunny windows: A cool house doesn’t mean sunscreen is safe from the sun’s rays. Keep your sunscreen somewhere else if the sun shines on your desk or nightstand during the day.
- Forgetting to close the cap: Leaving the sunscreen bottle open can let hot air, bacteria, sand and salt inside. This combination isn’t good for your skin. When sunscreen smells funny or looks yellow instead of white, it’s time to buy a new bottle.
Tips for Keeping Your Sunscreen Cool at the Beach
At home, it’s pretty easy to keep sunscreen at the right temperature. However, things are trickier when planning to spend all day at the lake or the beach. Follow these tips to keep sunscreen cool when it’s blazing hot outside:
- Wrap the bottle in a towel: Layers help insulate your sunscreen from the sun. Fold the towel in half and wrap away until your bottle is snug as a bug.
- Use a large tote: Instead of a small purse, opt for your mammoth beach tote with snacks, water, sunglasses and other beach essentials. This gives sunscreen an extra barrier against the sun.
- Take along a beach umbrella: Shade is your best bet for keeping sunscreen cool. At the lake, set up camp under a shade tree. At the beach, make your own shade with an umbrella. Beach umbrellas also protect your skin if you decide to nap on the sand.
- Bring the ‘screen with you to the bathroom: If you need to run off to the bathroom, take your sunscreen with you, so it gets a chance to cool off. You need to reapply every few hours anyway.
Every Day Is Skin Protection Day
Using sunscreen every day is a great habit for skin health. At home, store it somewhere easy to reach and comfortably cool, such as a bathroom countertop or bedroom dresser. At the office, keep it in clear view instead of stashing it in a drawer. That way, it’s easier to remember to apply sun protection regularly.
To enhance your barrier against UV rays and keep skin moist, make sure you’re getting plenty of antioxidants. These natural cellular protectors are found in blueberries, black raspberries, strawberries, goji berries, pecans, red cabbage and leafy greens.