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How Much Sunscreen You Must Apply According to Dermatologists


Several board-certified dermatologists recommend a few sunscreen application tips to keep your skin safe and healthy under the raging hot California weather.

With temperatures about to go up as the months progress towards summer, applying sunscreen will be necessary to keep your skin safe, healthy, and damage-free.

But with different considerations like brands, formulas, SPF numbers, and application methods, it can be challenging to determine the right amount of sunscreen to apply.

Fortunately, several dermatologists from the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) have come out to share their knowledge on the proper application of sunscreen on your skin. According to them, the first thing you need to know is the right amount of sunscreen you need to apply.

Knowing just how much sunscreen to use will be crucial to unlocking its full effect. It is especially essential since the application process will vary when it comes to different formulas.

Standard Application of Sunscreen

According to AAD, sunscreen application should follow the same rule of thumb as lotions and creams. Their statement recommends that the ideal amount of sunscreen would equal that of a shot glass, then adjusting it from there based on body size.

While it may sound like a lot of sunscreen, keep in mind that a full shot glass is just enough to cover any exposed area of the body, which means you’ll have enough sunscreen from head to foot.

Apart from that, here are other useful sunscreen tips, courtesy of AAD and its associated dermatologists:

Spray Sunscreens

  • Compared to the lotion variant, spray sunscreens are less bothersome. However, it also means you will need to take extra care during application to get the full SPF amount without missing a few spots.
  • For full coverage using a spray sunscreen, you will need at least six seconds of spraying at each location of your body. That’s about four seconds longer than using a lotion sunscreen.
  • If you choose a spray sunscreen, you should also rub the formula into your skin after spraying, especially when you’re already outside. The reason for this is because spraying alone can result in uneven coverage in several unprotected areas of your skin.

Bar Sunscreens

Bar sunscreens are more common for facial coverage. AAD recommends applying a generous amount to the entire face at least twice. Make sure to include the ears and lids.

When it comes to SPF level and the traits to look for in a sunscreen, any West Dermatology La Jolla dermatologist would recommend a sunscreen with at least SPF 30 or higher. It should also feature broad-spectrum protection against the sun’s harmful UV rays. If you plan on swimming, having sunscreen with water resistance will also be an essential factor.

Finally, be aware of your sunscreen’s expiration date. Most sunscreen formulas last around two to three years. For more information about sunscreen application and several other skincare tips, visit your local West Dermatology La Jolla dermatologist clinics for a professional consultation.