How much sunscreen should you apply? We asked a consultant dermatologist

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Hanna Ibraheem
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Even if you apply sunscreen every day, you need to make sure you’re using enough. Here, a consultant dermatologist explains exactly how much sunscreen you should use on your face and body for proper sun protection.

It’s quite hot, isn’t it?

Now, we don’t need to tell you about the importance of wearing sunscreen. If you’ve read any of our SPF stories, you’ll know it’s important to ensure you’re protecting your skin against harmful UVA and UVB rays.

The thing is, your SPF won’t do much good if you aren’t applying enough. We already know that the SPF in your foundation and moisturiser isn’t enough but even if you’re applying a separate sunscreen diligently, you need to make sure you’re applying the right amount for an adequate amount of sun protection. And now that there are so many brilliant formulas that are non-sticky, non-greasy and leave zero white cast, there’s no excuse to not be more liberal with your SPF application.

Here, we spoke to Dr Anjali Mahto, consultant dermatologist at Skin 55, to clear up exactly how much SPF you should be applying every day and what happens if you don’t use enough.

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How much sunscreen should you apply to your face?

“About 67% of British people do not use enough sunscreen. In terms of the amount required, it’s recommended that the equivalent of a shot glass is used to cover the body. With regards to the face and neck, the equivalent of half a teaspoon should be used.”

What is the best way to apply SPF to ensure even distribution?

“Apply the sunscreen liberally 15-30 minutes before sun exposure. Don’t rub it in, rather spread it out as evenly as possible and allow to dry. Re-apply your sunscreen after vigorous activity such as swimming, towelling off or excessive sweating/rubbing.”

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What are the benefits of applying sunscreen properly?

“UVA and UVB rays are both emitted by the sun. Research has confirmed that both these rays can cause melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers. Using sunscreen can help prevent most of these rays from reaching our skin and reduce our risk of skin cancer.

“An additional benefit of applying sunscreen properly is that it will help prevent photodamage to the skin. Photodamage presents itself as fine lines, wrinkles, age spots and pigmentation.”

What happens if you don’t apply enough sunscreen?

“As well as increasing your risk of skin cancer, if an inadequate amount of sunscreen isn’t applied, you increase your risk of developing sunburn. Sunburn can not only cause DNA damage to your skin, but it’s also extremely uncomfortable.”

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