How Much Sunscreen Do You Need To Use?

July 12, 2018


Most of us are aware of the danger of unprotected exposure to sunlight. Sunlight causes aging of the skin and sunlight is a major  etiological factor for the development of skin cancer. We need protection for the sun. Most of know that we need to use sunscreen with a high SPF.


Now comes the “rub”. Pardon the pun. Here is something that I never knew. All forms of sunscreens are tested at 2 milligrams per square centimeter of skin in order to determine the sun protective factor SPF. How do you measure that?


In reality most people apply only 20 to 50 per cent of the amount needed to obtain the labeled SPF of the sunscreen used. In the real world most people get less protection than they need. Most people also do not reapply every hour or two as is necessary for achieving the labeled SPF protection.


What final word of advice can we give you. The only thing we know for certain about the amount of protection you are getting from the amount of sunscreen that you are applying is this. If you are still getting pink after a couple of hours in the sun you need to reapply your sunscreen.


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Dr. Sanford L. Severin

Dr. Todd D. Severin

San Ramon, CA 94582 USA

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© 2020 by Sanford Severin, MD