After you commit to SPF, the questions remain: How much sunscreen do you need to wear on a daily basis, and how do you make sure you’re applying enough? Keep scrolling for more…
By now you know that you need to wear sunscreen every day to protect your skin from UV damage. But you may be wondering how much SPF you actually need to wear on any given day. Does less exposure to the sun mean you need to apply less frequently? And does more exposure mean you need a higher SPF? For the answers to those questions, we reached out to a board-certified dermatologist who knows a thing or two about sun protection and SPF.
How much SPF do I need if I’m mostly out of the sun?
How much sunscreen do you need to wear if you’re an indoors-only kind of person? Long story short, you need to wear an SPF of 30 to 50 every. single. day., no matter what. Here’s some more detail: SPF 30 is the minimum recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology so as long as you’re wearing that number, you’re good. If you’re outside or at the beach, it’s best to go up to SPF 50.
“We need to treat every day as a high sun exposure day because there’s no such thing as safe UV rays,” says Ava Shamban, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based out of California. “It is important to keep in mind that we can still get sun damage on a cloudy or cold day. And, few people realize they can sustain sun damage indoors or in their cars, too.” (Read more about how UVA rays penetrate through clouds and glass here.)
That commute from your house to your office or even from your front door to your mailbox involves sun exposure. And as for being indoors, Shamban says that building windows are rarely treated for sun protection. And, while car windshields can provide UVA and UVB protection, those side windows do not. “When driving, we are exposing ourselves—usually in an exaggerated amount—to damage and accelerating skin aging on our driver’s side,” she says.
Regarding the volume of sunscreen you should use, dermatologists recommend applying the equivalent of a shot glass for your body. You can allocate about a ¼ teaspoon dollop to your face and neck. If you’re using a sunscreen mist, then any exposed skin should have a sheer, even coat on it. On days when you’re mostly indoors, don’t be fooled…reapplication every two hours is also still important.
You may be thinking, “Wow that’s a lot of sunscreen,” but let us introduce you to a concept we think you’ll love: sunscreen layering. Supergoop! Products were created to be worn together, so if you’re worried about putting on the right amount, try an SPF outfit. A great one to start with is hydrating with Superscreen SPF 40, priming with Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40 or Mineral Matte Screen SPF 40 and then topping off with our CC Cream. By wearing all of these together, you can ensure you’ll be putting on enough sunscreen.
Some of our favorite sunscreens for everyday or indoors include Body Butter SPF 40 (like a post-shower body lotion) and Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40, our award-winning, makeup-gripping primer that goes on clear on all skin tones. Major bonus: This formula also helps protect your skin from the damaging blue light that comes from your cell phone and computer.
How much SPF do you need if you’re outside all day?
Just to be super clear, the amount of SPF protection required on days where you’re mostly indoors is virtually the same amount needed when you’re outside all day long, but the SPF numbers can be different. So inside or outside, you’ll need to wear a ¼ teaspoon amount on your face, but if you’re inside all day, you can go for SPF 30, but if you’re outside, you’ll want to go up to SPF 50. Either way, you need to reapply every two hours!
“I also recommend wearing a wide-brimmed hat as well as UV-protective clothing and sunglasses on days outside,” says Shamban.
For extended outdoor exposure, she highly recommends a water-resistant sunscreen since its specifically formulated to not deteriorate under the extra pressure of sweat, heat, and ongoing UV exposure. Also, an SPF with a slightly higher SPF of 50 will provide greater protection than 30, as well.
Try our fast-absorbing Everyday Sunscreen SPF 50, which is an 80-minute water-resistant formula that contains rosemary leaf and sunflower extracts that nourish the skin. For a spray-on water-resistant option, our Antioxidant-Infused Sunscreen Mist with Vitamin C is the way to go.
“Remember, we are only staying protected if we remember to reapply,” says Dr. Shamban. “For beach days or just fun-in-the-sun days, I recommend reapplying more frequently than two hours – every 90 minutes – or immediately after you’re swimming or sweating and have dried off.”
And don’t forget to apply SPF to these spots…!
Now that you know how much SPF 30 to 50 you should be wearing every day, you should also be aware of some of the most sun-sensitive yet overlooked spots on your body…and the SPF we’ve got for each of them.
- Your scalp: “Any exposed part of your scalp, like your part, is often totally neglected,” says Dr. Shamban. The solution: Poof Part Powder SPF 45 is a 100% mineral SPF in a non-greasy, translucent, virtually undetectable powder form that kind of doubles as a dry shampoo.
- Ears: Don’t forget the tops of your ears or your ear lobes. The solution: Try our Mineral Sunscreen Stick for easy waterproof application and Glow Stick for clear, hydrating application.
- Eyelids: “Sunglasses are always recommended, but SPF coverage is also important,” says Dr. Shamban. We also know that five to 10 percent of skin cancers are found on your eyelids. The solution: Shimmershade SPF 30, the very first eyeshadow with SPF, to keep your lids pretty and protected.
- Hands: You may think your hands are covered since you’re using them to apply your SPF, but we often forget to apply SPF to the backs of our hands. The solution: Hand Cream SPF 40, an ultra-moisturizing lotion that isn’t greasy and smells amazing.
- Feet: With how often we walk around barefoot or in flip-flops or sandals, SPF is a must on the tops of feet and our toes. The solution: A spray-on option, like our Antioxidant-Infused Sunscreen Mist SPF 30, is easiest for this area.
+Have more questions on how much sunscreen you should wear? Ask them below and we’ll get back to you!