I Applied My SPF Incorrectly—Until a Dermatologist Told Me This

The significance of using SPF is widely recognized. It's an essential product that all experts agree should be applied daily, regardless of weather conditions, to safeguard the skin against UVA and UVB rays. This, in turn, reduces the risk of skin cancer and slows down the aging process. "By using daily sunscreen correctly throughout the year, we can prevent up to 80% of skin aging," says Dr. Sam Bunting. "That's a significant achievement."

However, are you applying it correctly? Many dermatologists believe that we are not hitting the target when it comes to proper application. Even as a beauty editor, I used to apply just one pump of SPF to my face and rarely applied it below the jawline until I discovered a foolproof application method.

Dr. Bunting explains, "You need a quarter of a teaspoon (or 1.25ml) of sunscreen for the face and the same amount for the neck. Alternatively, you can use the two-finger rule - your index and middle fingers - for convenience. I suggest using the 13 dot technique to ensure even coverage of the skin without leaving any gaps. Like painting a wall, you want an even layer." This technique is effortless: just dot 13 fingerprints of SPF across your face and rub it in.

Using sunscreen is an excellent way to feel confident that you are fully protected from the sun's harmful rays and not skimping on the good stuff. It's important to note that the amount of sunscreen required to achieve the protection promised on the packaging is the same for all sunscreens. Even if you're using a higher factor, you should not reduce the amount you're applying - stick to the same technique.

Dr. Bunting points out that missing key areas, such as the hairline, eyelids, and ears, is another common mistake. Additionally, people often forget to reapply sunscreen. "No sunscreen can offer reliable protection after two hours, so it's necessary to reapply regularly. During summer, I suggest using tinted sunscreen because it serves a dual purpose as a base, making it easier to reapply throughout the day without disturbing your foundation layer."

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