A woman applies sunscreen to her face.

Skin Care, Skin Health

10 New Year's Skincare Resolutions for Everyday Sun Protection

by Diana Kelly Levey
April 25, 2024

When the bustle of the holiday season ends, ushering in a quieter season, it's the perfect opportunity to reflect on your habits and think about how to improve them in the new year for a happier, healthier you. One of the easiest ways to do this is to find a routine you can stick with.

Our suggestion? Adopt the practice of applying sunscreen daily. Along with other sun protection measures, this can reduce your risk of skin cancer and visible signs of aging, like wrinkles and dark spots. And you can build a few other skincare resolutions into your daily habits to raise the bar on sun protection, too.

Why Should You Wear Sunscreen Every Day?

The sun's harmful ultraviolet A (UVA) and UVB rays can damage skin 365 days a year. That's why the self-love practice of applying sunscreen every morning, rain or shine, tops the New Year's skincare resolutions you're setting for 2024. Just make sure to use your sunscreen as directed to reap the benefits.

So, how well does sunscreen protect your skin when used properly? Neutrogena® sunscreen, for one, protects you from 97% of burning UV rays and shields skin six layers deep. If this sounds like a win, Neutrogena® Ultra Sheer® Oil-Free Face Serum With Vitamin E SPF 60+ is a great product for everyday use. It's lightweight, has an invisible finish and delivers all-day hydration and protection against UVA and UVB rays.

Why not start the new year with a healthy resolution you can actually stick to? Commit to applying sunscreen every day. Your skin will thank you for it.

10 Skincare Resolutions for Everyday Sun Protection

These 10 easy New Year's resolutions can support your skin and overall health if you follow them each day. You can incorporate them into your morning routine and refer to them throughout the day to get protection from the sun — and benefits for your skin.

1. Apply Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen Daily

The Skin Cancer Foundation explains that applying broad-spectrum sunscreen every day of the year, even if it's cloudy, is one of the top ways to reduce your risk of skin cancer in combination with other sun protection measures. And everyone — no matter their skin tone, age, ethnic background or gender — can get skin cancer, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).

Sticking to this resolution is easy once you find the right formula for your skin type. For example, if you're looking for something that won't weigh you down with a thick, greasy finish and that dreaded white cast, start the day with Neutrogena® Invisible Daily Defense Face Serum SPF 60+. This oil-free, multitasking serum offers full sun protection with an invisible finish while enhancing skin's natural radiance with antioxidants.

2. Use the Right Amount of Sunscreen

One of your new year, new skin resolutions should be to apply the right amount of sunscreen. So, how much sunscreen is enough?

The AAD recommends applying enough sunscreen to cover all exposed skin (anything your clothing doesn't cover). Most adults need about 1 ounce — or enough to fill a shot glass — to fully cover their bodies. Apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before you step out the door to allow it to absorb, and reapply every two hours in the sun or more often if swimming or sweating.

3. Get Your Skin Checked Regularly

Now that you've committed to wearing sunscreen every day as part of your healthy skin resolution and you're applying the appropriate amount, have a professional take a look at your body's largest organ.

Make an appointment with a dermatologist for a full-body skin check. Annual skin exams can help reduce your risk of skin cancer. January is a great time to schedule your health appointments for the next six months.

Don't wait until you see a questionable freckle or mole or have a skincare concern before making an appointment with your dermatologist. That said, if you do see something on your skin that looks abnormal, schedule an exam right away.

4. Check Your Sunscreen's Expiration Date

Scan your sunscreen for an expiration date. If it's expired, throw it out. Using expired sunscreen won't harm you, but it won't be as effective at protecting your skin. If the expiration date is coming up, copy it in large print on the bottle or set a reminder in your phone's calendar to throw it out that month.

As a general rule of thumb, changes in color or consistency are signs it's time to toss the sunscreen and start fresh, suggests the AAD.

5. Learn How To Read Sunscreen Labels

If you don't know what the terms on your sunscreen bottle mean, you may feel unsure about the best way to protect your skin. Here's how to decode your sunscreen:

6. Apply Sunscreen to Commonly Forgotten Areas

Chances are you've forgotten to apply sunscreen to a certain area of your body and soon discovered exactly where that was when a sunburn reared its ugly head. Ouch! Some common areas you might forget to apply (or reapply) sunscreen include the ears, eyelids, lips, scalp, tops of the feet and near the edges of clothing, particularly around straps. Enlist a friend's help to get those hard-to-reach places, or take other protective measures. Which brings us to …

7. Cover Up Exposed Skin

Even though you'll be applying sunscreen each day, it's still important to cover up whenever possible. Wearing long-sleeve shirts, pants and a wide-brimmed hat can help reduce sun exposure and maximize sun safety. When it's hot out, opt for loose, breathable fabrics, like cotton and linen.

8. Reapply, Reapply, Reapply

While you might be patting yourself on the back for sticking to your New Year's skincare resolution to apply sunscreen daily, you need to reapply regularly if you're sweating, swimming or spending time outside. Aim to reapply every two hours in the sun or every 80 minutes if swimming or sweating. You might not need to reapply if you're working indoors most of the day and limiting outdoor activity, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Still, consistency builds habit, so reapplying no matter what your day looks like can help you remember to do so when it counts.

9. Limit Exposure to Midday Sun

The sun's rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. This is a great time to seek shade under an umbrella or a covered porch while still enjoying the outdoors. Use extra caution around the sun if you're near water, snow and sand. They all reflect the sun's damaging rays, which can increase your chance of sunburn. So yes, you can get sunburned under an umbrella if you aren't wearing sunscreen! Combining sun protection measures is always the best way to go.

10. Get a Glow From Makeup — Not Tanning Beds

Yes, you've heard it before, but they're so dangerous that it's worth repeating: Stay away from tanning beds. Tanning beds are to skin health as smoking cigarettes are to lung health, as they can increase your risk of skin cancer. If you're chasing that bronzed look, apply makeup that will give you a healthy, flushed glow like Neutrogena Healthy Skin® Blends or Neutrogena Healthy Skin® Blush.

Start Your Skincare Resolutions Today!

You don't need to wait until the calendar flips to 2024 to start taking care of your skin. Work on your healthy New Year's resolution to prioritize your skin health right now by committing to wearing sunscreen daily, applying it all over, reapplying when necessary and making an appointment with your dermatologist. In combination with other sun protection measures — like limiting time in the sun (especially between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.) and wearing long-sleeved clothing and sunglasses — simple sun care measures like these can make all the difference.

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I’m a New York City area writer, runner, reader, adopted dog mom, and believer in wearing sunscreen every day.

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