One in five Americans will contract skin cancer in his or her lifetime. The importance of lathering on sunscreen is essential for health, and hopefully you’re in the habit of doing it daily. However, have you ever experienced a bad sunburn despite wearing sunscreen? Not only is it painful, it’s extremely frustrating when you believed proper precautions were taken. However, just applying sunscreen may not be enough to keep you protected against the sun’s UV rays.

If you got a sunburn or suntan despite wearing sunblock, the simple answer is: you didn’t re-apply or you didn’t apply enough to the skin to fully provide the protection it needs.

Below are some more reasons you may still be getting burned:

  1. Using spray sunscreen. The appeal of spray sunscreen is obvious; it’s easier and more convenient. However, there is no way to make sure you’ve covered every inch of your skin. Lotions and solid sticks require you to run them into the skin, which makes you cognizant of areas that have and haven’t been covered.
  2. You’re using the wrong SPF. Just because your sunscreen is a thick lotion, it does not mean that it has a good SPF. SPFs with zinc oxide and titanium oxide formulas create a barrier on your skin and block the sun’s rays.
  3. You aren’t wearing a hat or you’re wearing the wrong kind of hat. It’s easy to forget covering your head when it comes to protecting yourself in the sun. Not only do hats protect the face, they shield your scalp. However, not all hats are created equal when it comes to the sun. The typical sun hat can allow the UV rays to peek through and sunburn your scalp. Instead, opt for a baseball cap, which can block 98% of the sun’s rays. Another way to protect your scalp? “Wear your hair slicked back without a part.”
  4. You’re not reapplying sunscreen often enough. You should reapply your sunscreen, no matter the SPF, every two hours. Even though an SPF 30 can give you up to 300 minutes before you burn, this number can change depending on the UV index each day. Also, lighter skin tones should apply more frequently.
  5. You wait until you’re in the sun to apply. Sunscreen needs about half an hour to bind with skin so the skin will absorb rays for 30 minutes if you haven’t pre-applied. Always put on your first coat of sunscreen before you leave the house.