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Now that you've mastered the basics of Sun Protection 101 (a.k.a. choosing and using a broad-spectrum sunscreen every day), it's time to move on to tips that will help maximize your sunscreen's effectiveness. Yes, it IS possible.

1. Apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before sun exposure.  This will allow time for the sun filters to absorb sufficiently. In particular, chemical sunscreens must interact with the skin's uppermost layer in order to work at maximum efficacy.  How many times have we seen people applying sunscreen after they arrive at the beach?

2. Apply with as little clothing on as possible.  Okay, this one will be a hard one to sell as we all tend to apply sunscreen after we have gotten dressed, at which point we tend to miss the areas close to the edge of our clothing.  Hands up if you've ever gotten a sunburn right next to your bathing suit straps?

3. Start from the bottom up.  The feet and toes are commonly missed areas of the body, so be methodical and start at the bottom, working your way up.  Enlist the help of a partner for the back and other hard to reach places.  A cotton swab is also a handy tool to use when applying sunscreen to your scalp.

4. Don't forget the lips.  Choose a lip balm or lip stick with SPF.   Opt for an opaque lipstick, not a lip gloss since that can concentrate the sun's damaging rays.  The shiny quality of gloss is similar to putting a magnifying glass over the lips in the sun, directing the damaging UV rays right onto the area you are trying to protect. We like [Link Removed] .

5. Layer.  It may be difficult to apply the recommended quantity of one full ounce at once, so apply what you are able, wait to allow the sunscreen to absorb, then apply the remainder.

6. Reapply regularly.  This tip bears repeating.  Reapply every 2 hours, more often if sweating or swimming.  And keep in mind that no sunscreen is towel-proof.

7. Add an antioxidant.  Staff and customer favorite [Link Removed] 18% vitamin C to deliver antioxidant protection, reduce the development of sunburn cells and prevent the formation of free radicals that lead to signs of premature aging.  Plus, vitamin C has the added the bonus of boosting the effectiveness of a sunscreen's active ingredients.

Some of these tips may sound like a broken record but we're hoping that one or two will be new tricks that will help keep you sun-safe from head to toe.

Sharmani Pillay is a Registered Pharmacist who specializes in anti-aging skin care and women's wellness. She owns and operates an online skin care store at [Link Removed].
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