How to properly apply sunscreen

We all know that daily use of sunscreen can protect the skin from the sun’s damaging rays. However, many people don’t realize that they have been applying sunscreen incorrectly—therefore reducing its effectiveness. The doctors at Harris Dermatology provide the following information to help educate patients on proper sunscreen application and use:

  • Use enough sunscreen to provide proper protection. In most cases, a tablespoon of sunscreen should be used on the face, and about two ounces for the rest of the body. If you do not spread sunscreen on thick, the SPF results are significantly reduced.
  • Choose broad-band sunscreen with a high SPF. There are two types of UV rays, including UVA and UVB. Both are harmful to the skin. Consider shopping for sunscreen that has a high SPF and offers broad-band protection for the best results.
  • Lather up sunscreen before going out. Sunscreens need time to absorb to work, so applying sunscreen approximately 20 minutes before you plan on going outdoors is key to effective application and function.
  • Use sunscreen before applying moisturizer. If you have dry skin and are moisturizing, it is best to apply sunscreen before the moisturizer after you wash and dry your face.
  • Use sunscreen each day, regardless of exposure. You don’t have to spend the whole day outdoor to expose our skin to damaging UV rays. Wear sunscreen every day, as exposure during your daily routine can still impact the skin’s health.
  • Reapply sunscreen at appropriate intervals. In most situations, it is best for patients who are outdoors to reapply sunscreen approximately every two hours. If you have been sweating or swimming, reapplication should occur every hour for best results.
  • Use cosmetics with SPF. Many mineral cosmetics such as those made with titanium dioxide or zinc offer SPF protection as well. By layering sunscreen with an application of mineral makeup, you can greatly increase the protection of your skin.

Are you putting sunscreen on appropriately?

If you are interested in learning more about the application and use of sunblock, or want to work with a dermatological professional to improve your skin’s appearance and health, contact Harris Dermatology. Drs. Brian Harris, H. Ross Harris, and Keith Harris at one of their two convenient locations in Fort Myers and Naples, FL.


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