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  • The Truth About How Often Should You Reapply Sunscreen

You’re probably already applying SPF before you go outside of your house. But what if you’re going to spend the whole day outdoors under the harsh UV rays? How often should you reapply sunscreen? 

Read on as we provide some insights into sunscreen application and reapplication. Whether you already have a favourite natural suncare product or are still browsing natural tinted sunscreen and clear zinc sunscreen options, it helps to learn more.

Truth #1: Timing Matters

Reapplication Frequency

What’s even more surprising than the fact that most people overlook sunscreen? It’s the fact that those who are regular sunscreen users don’t reapply it often enough.

According to skin experts, sunscreen needs to be reapplied at least every two to three hours. 

Plus, you should reapply immediately after swimming, sweating, or towelling off. Even if you’re using sunscreen that’s described as long-lasting, don’t get complacent. Sunscreen’s functional duration can be reduced due to various factors like heat, humidity, and physical activity. 

The key takeaway here is that suitable sunscreen use is much more than just picking a sunscreen with a high SPF. Time your applications well, make sure you’re using enough and reapply, reapply, reapply! 

Be proactive about your skin protection and make reapplying sunscreen a habit.

First Application

First contact is a key aspect of suncare that sometimes gets overlooked, so for sunscreen to work effectively, it generally takes around 20 minutes to fully settle onto your skin. 

Just as you wouldn’t jump into a swimming pool right after applying sunscreen, don’t head outside immediately after your first application. This initial absorption time is essential for the sunscreen to create the protective layer you need.

Truth #2: Sun Exposure Is Serious

Effects Of Too Much Sun

Sun exposure paves the way for our bodies to naturally produce vitamin D. However, overexposure can result in harmful effects, such as premature ageing and an increased risk of skin cancer. At the end of the day, ultraviolet rays from the sun can damage skin cells. 

The good news is that proper application and frequent reapplication of sunscreen can protect our skin cells from this damage. 

Sunscreen, specifically broad-spectrum varieties, is designed to shield our skin from both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays tend to accelerate skin ageing, while UVB rays generally cause skin burns and both have carcinogenic effects. 

In line with this, the SPF value signifies the improved duration you could spend under sun exposure without drastically experiencing the detrimental effects. 

Truth #3: You Shouldn’t Skimp Out

A Suitable Sunscreen Amount

When applying sunscreen for full body protection, less is definitely not more. 

Whether cream-based or stick-based the general guideline from experts is to use approximately 35 mL for the whole body. This doesn’t mean you have to carry around a measuring cup, though. Think of the entire amount as the size of a shot glass for an adult body. You can also visualise an amount sizable enough to fill your palm, which is a good estimate. 

Just remember that cutting back will just reduce the level of protection, and nobody really wants that. 

Now that you know these three important facts, it’s time for you to get some tips that also touch on application and reapplication.

Tip #1: Use Convenient Forms When Needed.

Stick-Based Sunscreen

When it comes to outdoor activities, ease is king. Stick-based sunscreens are a popular choice based on the simplicity of their application. These are particularly handy for quick touch-ups in the middle of your activities or for people who don’t want to get sunscreen on their hands. 

Even though they are convenient, make sure you’re still putting on a uniform covering of sunscreen. Use a systematic back-and-forth method when applying and remember to reapply regularly.

Tip #2: Take Your Activities Into Account.

Wet And Wild Fun

Not all of us go outdoors to stop and smell the flowers. 

If you plan on taking a dip or participating in a strenuous activity like hiking, climbing or cycling, make sure to use a water-resistant sunscreen. With all the water and sweat, it’s also essential to reapply more frequently, typically every four hours. This helps maintain a continuous protective layer.

Tip #3: Try To Match Your Suncare With Your Skincare.

Retinol And Sunscreen

Retinol remains ubiquitous in the skincare scene due to different accounts of its efficacy. 

This vitamin A derivative has disrupted the self-care market since it’s designed to accelerate skin renewal and decrease hyperpigmentation. Additionally, it generally amplifies the production of hyaluronic acid and collagen, typically making it a potent partner against ageing. 

Ultimately, retinol is multifaceted in skincare but it can potentially increase skin sensitivity. That’s why you should typically match this kind of product with gentle sunscreen.

You can try sunscreens made with natural ingredients like non-nano zinc oxide. These typically sit on your skin’s surface, deflecting UV rays instead of absorbing them like other formulations do. What’s more, physical sunscreens like this often don’t cause reactions on sensitive skin and don’t leach out harmful elements that could potentially cause coral bleaching. 

Key Points To Remember

  • Reapplication Is Crucial. Sunscreen should be reapplied every two to three hours and immediately after swimming, sweating, or towelling off, regardless of the product's water resistance.
  • Initial Absorption Time. For optimal protection, allow sunscreen to settle onto the skin 20 minutes before sun exposure.
  • Sun Exposure Risks. Prolonged sun exposure can cause premature aging and increase the risk of skin cancer. Sunscreen helps protect against harmful UVA and UVB rays.
  • Proper Amount. Apply about 35 mL (approximately the size of a shot glass) of sunscreen for full body coverage. Skimping on the amount reduces protection.
  • Match Sunscreen With Activities And Skincare. Choose sunscreens that align with your activities and skincare products to help ensure protection and compatibility. 

As a proud Australian brand, Little Urchin makes natural products enriched with ingredients from Mother Earth. Through our environmentally sustainable production practices, we also promote the welfare of our planet and communities for the prosperity of future generations.