How Much Sunscreen to Apply

5 min read

APRIL 29, 2024 - BY THE ONESKIN TEAM
April 29,2024
SKIN CARE

How Much Sunscreen to Apply

5 min read

APRIL 29, 2024 - BY THE ONESKIN TEAM
April 29,2024
SKIN CARE
You know how important it is to wear sunscreen—it's your best defense against skin cancer, painful sunburns, and premature aging. (1) But did you know that just slapping on any sunscreen might not give you the full protection you need? The amount you apply, the SPF level, and the type of sunscreen all significantly impact the level of protection your sunscreen provides. Interestingly, most people don't use sunscreen correctly, either applying too little or not reapplying throughout the day. (2)
You know how important it is to wear sunscreen—it's your best defense against skin cancer, painful sunburns, and premature aging. (1) But did you know that just slapping on any sunscreen might not give you the full protection you need? The amount you apply, the SPF level, and the type of sunscreen all significantly impact the level of protection your sunscreen provides. Interestingly, most people don't use sunscreen correctly, either applying too little or not reapplying throughout the day. (2)
01

The Recommended Amount of Sunscreen to Apply

To achieve the full benefit of the SPF listed on your sunscreen label, it's essential to apply an adequate amount. The FDA determines the effectiveness of sunscreen based on tests using 2 milligrams per square centimeter of skin. (3) For the average adult, this translates into 1 teaspoon of sunscreen for the face and neck, 1 teaspoon per arm, 2 teaspoons for the torso (covering both the front and back), and 2 teaspoons per leg. (4) While it may be hard to picture these amounts, you likely need more sunscreen than you think.

The Difference Between SPF 30 and SPF 50

Generally, a higher SPF value indicates a higher level of protection against sun exposure. However, there are diminishing returns when it comes to SPF. While SPF 30 filters out about 96.7% of UVB rays, SPF 50 filters out approximately 98%, only a 1.3% difference. (5) Achieving higher SPF ratings typically requires formulations with higher concentrations of active ingredients like zinc oxide, which can leave a more noticeable white cast on the skin. (Read more about using tinted sunscreen to avoid white cast hereto learn more about what is tinted sunscreen.)Many individuals reduce the amount of sunscreen they apply to avoid noticeable white cast. This leads to reduced protection from their sunscreen. Ironically, some users gain more benefits and protections from lower SPFs due to adequate application. For this reason, we've opted for an SPF sweet spot of SPF 30 to maximize your protection while maintaining cosmetic desirability. Both OneSkin’s sunscreens, OS-01 BODY SPF, and OS-01 FACE SPF (formerly OS-01 SHIELD), are powered by our proprietary OS-01 Senescence Blocking Peptide ™, protecting your skin from UV damage while targeting aging at the source. (8,9)
01

The Recommended Amount of Sunscreen to Apply

To achieve the full benefit of the SPF listed on your sunscreen label, it's essential to apply an adequate amount. The FDA determines the effectiveness of sunscreen based on tests using 2 milligrams per square centimeter of skin. (3) For the average adult, this translates into 1 teaspoon of sunscreen for the face and neck, 1 teaspoon per arm, 2 teaspoons for the torso (covering both the front and back), and 2 teaspoons per leg. (4) While it may be hard to picture these amounts, you likely need more sunscreen than you think.

The Difference Between SPF 30 and SPF 50

Generally, a higher SPF value indicates a higher level of protection against sun exposure. However, there are diminishing returns when it comes to SPF. While SPF 30 filters out about 96.7% of UVB rays, SPF 50 filters out approximately 98%, only a 1.3% difference. (5) Achieving higher SPF ratings typically requires formulations with higher concentrations of active ingredients like zinc oxide, which can leave a more noticeable white cast on the skin. (Read more about using tinted sunscreen to avoid white cast hereto learn more about what is tinted sunscreen.)Many individuals reduce the amount of sunscreen they apply to avoid noticeable white cast. This leads to reduced protection from their sunscreen. Ironically, some users gain more benefits and protections from lower SPFs due to adequate application. For this reason, we've opted for an SPF sweet spot of SPF 30 to maximize your protection while maintaining cosmetic desirability. Both OneSkin’s sunscreens, OS-01 BODY SPF, and OS-01 FACE SPF (formerly OS-01 SHIELD), are powered by our proprietary OS-01 Senescence Blocking Peptide ™, protecting your skin from UV damage while targeting aging at the source. (8,9)
02

Applying Sunscreen Properly

When applying sunscreen, the effectiveness relies on quality, quantity, and timing. Ensure that you are using a product that works for your skin, rather than against it.
  1. Prevent breakouts. If you are worried about using too much sunscreen fearing that it might cause breakouts, select lightweight, non-comedogenic options that won't clog pores. As always, you should perform a patch test with new products.
  2. Prevent white cast. White cast is common in mineral sunscreens and can be more prominent on darker skin. Look for options that blend in seamlessly, such as OS-01 BODY SPF and tinted and untinted versions of OS-01 FACE SPF.
  3. Water resistant. Use water-resistant sunscreens certified to last 40 to 80 minutes if you plan to swim or exercise as most conventional sunscreens are not waterproof, especially mineral-based ones. If you are swimming, make sure to reapply after you get out of the water as towel drying removes sunscreen.
  4. PRO TIP: If you’re looking for a water-resistant sunscreen for your face, try OS-01 BODY SPF on your face. (Making sure to perform a patch test first, as always!) Though OS-01 FACE SPF was specifically formulated to benefit the thinner skin on your face, both OS-01 BODY SPF and OS-01 FACE SPF are non-comedogenic and gentle on facial skin!
02

Applying Sunscreen Properly

When applying sunscreen, the effectiveness relies on quality, quantity, and timing. Ensure that you are using a product that works for your skin, rather than against it.
  1. Prevent breakouts. If you are worried about using too much sunscreen fearing that it might cause breakouts, select lightweight, non-comedogenic options that won't clog pores. As always, you should perform a patch test with new products.
  2. Prevent white cast. White cast is common in mineral sunscreens and can be more prominent on darker skin. Look for options that blend in seamlessly, such as OS-01 BODY SPF and tinted and untinted versions of OS-01 FACE SPF.
  3. Water resistant. Use water-resistant sunscreens certified to last 40 to 80 minutes if you plan to swim or exercise as most conventional sunscreens are not waterproof, especially mineral-based ones. If you are swimming, make sure to reapply after you get out of the water as towel drying removes sunscreen.
  4. PRO TIP: If you’re looking for a water-resistant sunscreen for your face, try OS-01 BODY SPF on your face. (Making sure to perform a patch test first, as always!) Though OS-01 FACE SPF was specifically formulated to benefit the thinner skin on your face, both OS-01 BODY SPF and OS-01 FACE SPF are non-comedogenic and gentle on facial skin!
03

Tips for Applying Sunscreen Effectively

Timing matters a lot when it comes to sunscreen application.
  1. After skincare. Applying sunscreen to your face should be the last step in your skincare routine but applied before makeup.
  2. Wait 15 minutes. It takes 15 minutes for sunscreen to become effective. So wait before you expose your skin to sun. (5)
  3. Layer up. For mineral sunscreens, which are more prone to leaving a white cast, especially on darker skin tones, start in layers. Start by applying a layer to one area, move to another area to let it dry, and then return to the first area for an additional layer if necessary. This method ensures an even and adequate application while minimizing the discomfort of a heavy, visible residue. (6)
  4. Reapply. The most common mistake many make is not reapplying sunscreen throughout the day. If you plan to be outside for long periods you should reapply sunscreen every two hours or as needed, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM when UV radiation is strongest. (7)
To ensure you’re getting the best in skincare and sun protection, consider exploring OneSkin’s range of products. Unlike other sunscreens, OS-01 FACE SPF and OS-01 BODY SPF offer not just one, but three layers of protection from UV aging in the form of zinc oxide, powerful antioxidants to combat free radicals, and the OS-01 peptide, which reduces the visible signs of aging that have already occurred from sun exposure. (8,9) Read more about why our SPF outperforms the rest hereto learn more about discover why our new spf outperforms the rest.
03

Tips for Applying Sunscreen Effectively

Timing matters a lot when it comes to sunscreen application.
  1. After skincare. Applying sunscreen to your face should be the last step in your skincare routine but applied before makeup.
  2. Wait 15 minutes. It takes 15 minutes for sunscreen to become effective. So wait before you expose your skin to sun. (5)
  3. Layer up. For mineral sunscreens, which are more prone to leaving a white cast, especially on darker skin tones, start in layers. Start by applying a layer to one area, move to another area to let it dry, and then return to the first area for an additional layer if necessary. This method ensures an even and adequate application while minimizing the discomfort of a heavy, visible residue. (6)
  4. Reapply. The most common mistake many make is not reapplying sunscreen throughout the day. If you plan to be outside for long periods you should reapply sunscreen every two hours or as needed, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM when UV radiation is strongest. (7)
To ensure you’re getting the best in skincare and sun protection, consider exploring OneSkin’s range of products. Unlike other sunscreens, OS-01 FACE SPF and OS-01 BODY SPF offer not just one, but three layers of protection from UV aging in the form of zinc oxide, powerful antioxidants to combat free radicals, and the OS-01 peptide, which reduces the visible signs of aging that have already occurred from sun exposure. (8,9) Read more about why our SPF outperforms the rest hereto learn more about discover why our new spf outperforms the rest.
Key Takeaways:
  • Adequate application is the key to getting the full benefit of the SPF on your sunscreen label.
  • Higher SPF values indicate greater protection against UV rays, but the benefits have diminishing returns. For example, SPF 30 blocks about 96.7% of UVB rays, while SPF 50 blocks about 98%, only a slight increase. Therefore, SPF 30 is often recommended as a balance between effective protection and minimal white cast.
  • Most people fail to apply enough sunscreen or don’t reapply it frequently enough. Sunscreen should be reapplied every 80 minutes to 2 hours, especially during peak sunlight hours.
  • For mineral sunscreens prone to leaving a white cast, applying in layers allows the sunscreen to dry and settle between applications, reducing visible residue and ensuring more even coverage.
  • Sunscreens like the OS-01 BODY SPF and OS-01 FACE SPF, offer additional benefits including our OS-01 peptide scientifically proven to reduce the visible signs of aging induced by UV exposure.
Key Takeaways:
  • Adequate application is the key to getting the full benefit of the SPF on your sunscreen label.
  • Higher SPF values indicate greater protection against UV rays, but the benefits have diminishing returns. For example, SPF 30 blocks about 96.7% of UVB rays, while SPF 50 blocks about 98%, only a slight increase. Therefore, SPF 30 is often recommended as a balance between effective protection and minimal white cast.
  • Most people fail to apply enough sunscreen or don’t reapply it frequently enough. Sunscreen should be reapplied every 80 minutes to 2 hours, especially during peak sunlight hours.
  • For mineral sunscreens prone to leaving a white cast, applying in layers allows the sunscreen to dry and settle between applications, reducing visible residue and ensuring more even coverage.
  • Sunscreens like the OS-01 BODY SPF and OS-01 FACE SPF, offer additional benefits including our OS-01 peptide scientifically proven to reduce the visible signs of aging induced by UV exposure.

Reviewed by Alessandra Zonari, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) and Co-Founder of OneSkin

Alessandra earned her Master’s degree in stem cell biology, and her PhD in skin regeneration and tissue engineering at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil in collaboration with the 3B’s Research Group in Portugal. Alessandra did a second post-doctoral at the University of Coimbra in Portugal. She is a co-inventor of three patents and has published 20 peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals.

Reviewed by Alessandra Zonari, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) and Co-Founder of OneSkin

Alessandra earned her Master’s degree in stem cell biology, and her PhD in skin regeneration and tissue engineering at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil in collaboration with the 3B’s Research Group in Portugal. Alessandra did a second post-doctoral at the University of Coimbra in Portugal. She is a co-inventor of three patents and has published 20 peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals.

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