We’re often asked how much sunscreen should be applied to protect the skin from the damaging effects of ultraviolet (UV) exposure. To achieve the SPF (Sun Protection Factor which protects against the sun’s UV radiation) listed on a bottle of sunscreen, an average sized adult should use the equivalent of a shot glass (two tablespoons) of sunscreen to the exposed areas of the face and body – a nickel-sized dollop to the face alone.
Remember that sunscreen needs to be reapplied every two hours, or more frequently after swimming, heavy perspiration, or toweling off. The SPF should be 30 or higher for extended time spent outdoors and there is no evidence that using a sunscreen with an SPF higher than 50 conveys more protection. Newborns should be kept out of the sun and it is advisable to apply sunscreen to children over 6 months of age.
In addition to using sunscreen, seek shade whenever possible, minimize the hours spent in the sun (especially between 10 am and 4 pm), wear sunprotective clothing, broad-brimmed hats, and UV-blocking sunglasses.