How to Properly Apply Sunscreen

Whether you’re going for a walk or a day at the beach, sunscreen is going to be your best friend this summer. When applied properly, it can protect your skin from harmful UV rays and reduce your risk of sunburn, skin cancer, and premature signs of aging. The best sunscreen is the one you use regularly and remember to reapply. Here are some tips to make sure you’re getting the most out of whichever sunscreen you use.

Use More Than You Think You Need

Although the saying goes “less is more”, when it comes to sunscreen, more is more. You should be applying more sunscreen than you probably think you need. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends using a shot glass worth of sunscreen for your entire body. About a nickel sized amount of that should be used just on your face and neck. If you are using a spray sunscreen, you want to apply it until an even sheen appears across the skin. It is also recommended that you apply sunscreen after you’ve gotten dressed, so it doesn’t rub off onto your clothes. Make sure you’re spreading it out evenly as well to get the most out of its protection.

Don’t Forget the High Risk Areas

One of the biggest hot spots for skin cancer is along the hair line- specifically your part line. Because people don’t want to apply thick or greasy creams to their scalp, this area is often left unprotected. Luckily, there are light, non-greasy sprays you can use. Another forgotten areas include hands, tops of feet, ears, and lips. Hands feet, and ears can also be easily covered with your usual sunscreen. But for lips, try opting for a lip balm with SPF.

Apply Sunscreen on Your Face Last

If you’ve got any kind of skin care or beauty routine, you may be wondering where sunscreen fits into the process. Sunscreen should be the last thing you apply to your face before makeup (if you wear any). This means apply sunscreen after any serums or moisturizers. If you’d like to skip a step, consider a moisturizer that has SPF in it.

Give It Time to Sink In

Sunscreen needs time to absorb before it is fully effective. This means you should apply your sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before you plan on going outside. If you apply sunscreen while you are already outside, your skin will be unprotected and can burn in the time it takes for the product to sink in and start doing its job.

Don’t Forget to Reapply

Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours. However, if you are swimming, seating heavily, or toweling off you need to apply more frequently. If you are wearing makeup, reapplying sunscreen can be a hassle. Luckily there are sunscreen sticks, powders, and tinted sunscreens you can use to make the job a little easier.

How to Choose the Right Sunscreen

When picking out your next sunscreen, look for these qualities:

  • SPF 30 or higher
  • “Broad Spectrum” to protect you from both UVA and UVB exposure
  • Water resistant- great for if you’re swimming or sweating a lot