Articles

What You Should Know Before Applying Sunscreen

Discover key tips and tricks from the experts to help you make the most of your sunscreen routine.

Tagged: Skin Cancer & Skin Disease

Date: 28th April 2023

Medically Reviewed by:  Dr. Susan Mayou (GMC: 2405092)

Last reviewed: 19th October 2023

Most of us know by now that sunscreen is an essential part of our skincare regimen, protecting us from hyperpigmentation, premature aging, and burning. But are you getting the most out of your sunscreen routine? Applying sunscreen incorrectly or using the wrong type of product can make it less effective. So, here are some key tips and tricks from the experts to help you make the most of your sunscreen and glow like a pro this summer.

 

Your skin may be more likely to burn if you burnt last year.

First and foremost, it's important to understand that even if you had sunburn last year, your skin is more susceptible to burning this year. While the symptoms of sunburn are temporary, the effects of burning are cumulative, putting you at a higher risk of skin damage.

 

One teaspoon for face, two tablespoons for body

When it comes to application, the amount of sunscreen you use is crucial. According to Dr. Susan Mayou, a dermatologist at the Cadogan Clinic, "you should use a teaspoon of sunscreen for the face and a tablespoon for the trunk and limbs. Anything less than this, and you're not getting the SPF you think you’re applying" 

 

Apply before heading outside

Apply your sunscreen before going outside to allow your skin to absorb it. Ideally, sunscreen needs to be applied 30 minutes before going out and again just before going outside. 

 

Reapply every 2 hours - and more if in the water

Sunscreen needs to be reapplied every two hours as the sun can dry it off your skin. You should also reapply immediately after going in the water, even if the cream is ‘water resistant'.

 

Fake Tan and SPF do not mix

Fake tans do not provide any sun protection. Use tinted sunscreen with a high SPF instead. “These days you can get pigmented ones or tinted ones which are more cosmetically acceptable,” says Dr Mayou. Also keep in mind that certain ingredients, like citric acid found in citrus fruits, can dissolve sunscreen. To avoid this issue, choose a mineral sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as the active ingredient, as they are resistant to this chemical reaction.

 

Correct storage is key

Lastly, correct storage is key to ensuring that your sunscreen stays effective. Store it away from UV light, heat, and moisture, as this can cause the formula to separate, reducing its effectiveness.

 

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