Hey! You're probably not using enough sunscreen!
I'm sure you've all seen article after article inundating you with the best sunscreens to use for the summer (if you are wondering, my personal favorite is EltaMD). Not wanting to beat a dead horse, I decided to shed light on an equally important, yet overlooked, issue when it comes to sunscreen use: putting enough on. Most of you are only applying a quarter to half of the amount of sunscreen you should be, which means you're only getting half of the SPF listed on the bottle. If you're using SPF 30, that means you're really getting SPF 15-level protection. Yikes.
So how much should you be putting on? A good measure is 2 finger lengths for each body area. An easy way to break up body areas is into the head and neck, each arm, chest, stomach, back, front of each leg, and back of each leg. You're going to feel a little goopy, but if you're putting in the effort to actually use sunscreen, I want to make sure you're doing it right!
Another measure of adequate sunscreen use from the American Academy of Dermatology is an ounce, or a palm- full, for your entire body. For more information from this trusted source on sunscreen application, click here. Give your skin some TLC this summer by being generous with the sunscreen!
Here are some references for those who want a deep dive into the science behind this:
Bech-Thomsen N, Wulf HC. Sunbathers’ application of sunscreen is probably inadequate to obtain the sun protection factor assigned to the preparation. Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed 1992; 9: 242–244.
Faurschou A, Wulf HC. The relation between sun protection factor and amount of suncreen applied in vivo. Br J Dermatol 2007; 156: 716–719.