Oh Good – This Is How Much Sun Cream You’re Actually Meant To Apply

Turns out we need a lot more than we realise.
Cavan Images / Kathleen Carney via Getty Images

After months of experiencing cold and gloomy weather, we’re finally starting to feel the heat. But it seems that those months spent indoors with the heater on have made us forget how much sunscreen we need. Searches for ‘how much sunscreen to use on the face’ have increased on Google by 100% in the past 30 days.

Clearly, Brits are worried about how much sunscreen they should be wearing. Their concerns are valid as 60% of UK adults don’t know the correct amount of sunscreen to use when heading into the sun – which isn’t great from a skin safety perspective.

Fortunately, Cult Beauty has shared how much sunscreen we need to use on our whole bodies. The answer is simple, it’s two teaspoons for each area you’re covering. So it’s:

  • Face and neck – two teaspoons
  • Arms – two teaspoons, one teaspoon for each arm
  • Legs – two teaspoons, one teaspoon for each leg
  • Chest and stomach – two teaspoons
  • Back and shoulders – two teaspoon

Now we know how much sunscreen we need, the next step is making sure we’re applying it in the right way.

Here’s the right way to apply sunscreen

  • The first thing you should do is shake your sunscreen bottle. This will help break up any clumping that occurs over time.
  • Use the three-finger rule when applying it to the face. Gently tap the formula all over your face, ears, and neck rather than just rubbing it all on to avoid irritation and to ensure a smoother application.
  • When applying it to your body, smear small evenly sized dots over all areas exposed to the sun. Gently massage the sunscreen in, until you can’t see it anymore. Remember not to forget those sneaky spots that are easy to miss like the neck and the back of your hands and feet.
  • If you are heading out to have fun in the sun, allow the formula to soak into your skin for at least 15 minutes before heading outdoors.

We’re now professionals when it comes to sunscreen application, but there’s more to sun safety than applying SPF. This is why Dr. Deborah Lee, Dr Fox Online Pharmacy has shared her top tips for staying safe in the sun.

Top tips on how to stay safe in the sun

1. Respect the sun

You only need 15 minutes of sunlight a day to get enough vitamin D, this number increases to 30 minutes for those with darker skin. But after this, the does not give you any health benefits. If you overdo your time in the sun, you are likely to end up with sunburn and heat exhaustion/heat stroke. All of these are serious conditions – and heat stroke can be fatal.

Respect the sun by keeping out of direct sunlight between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm in the summer. Sit in the shade, under a parasol, or stay indoors.

2. Use sunscreen wisely

Use suncream with a minimum SPF factor of 30 (anti-UVB protection) and a UVA star rating of 4-5 stars (for anti-UVA protection). If you have fair skin or burn easily you should use suncream with an SPF 50 factor. For swimming, choose a water-resistant option.

Sun cream is a much better option than tanning oil which concentrates UV rays and increases the risk of sunburn and damaged (ageing) skin. Getting sunburnt once every 2 years triples your risk of being diagnosed with skin cancer, or melanoma, as compared to someone who has not been burnt.

3. Keep cool

Do all you can to keep cool, sit in the shade, wear loose and light-coloured clothes and cover your legs and arms, wear a wide-brimmed hat, tie your hair up, drink plenty of cool drinks, sprinkle yourself with cold water regularly, and put a cold compress on your forehead, make cool baths and showers. If it’s too hot, go inside away from the sun, and lie down in a cool place.

4. Drink more water

When the sun is out, we should all be drinking at least 3 litres of water per day. Avoid fizzy or sugary drinks in hot sunshine. The sun causes plastics to break down in plastic bottles and chemicals can leach into the drinks. Plus, sugary drinks can worsen dehydration.

Look out for symptoms and signs of dehydration, these include feeling thirsty, a dry mouth, sunken eyes, not peeing often, headaches, and feeling unwell. But it’s too late by the time these symptoms have occurred – you need to drink plenty to avoid these symptoms from coming on.

5. Protect your eyes

If you wear a hat with a wide brim or a baseball cap this will shield your eyes from 50% of the sun rays. If you wear glasses, these should have a glass with a UV filter. Sunglasses block UV rays from entering the eyes, but make sure these have a CE mark to show they meet European standards.