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How Often Should You Apply Sunscreen? Only in the Morning?

by kelly / May, 13 2020 01:30

Photo of a woman looking in the mirror and applying her skin care productsr

I wake up every morning and my skin care routine is the same – wash my face, apply moisturizer, and then apply sunscreen. Sunscreen is a must in my mornings; just like brushing my teeth. I’m sure many people, like me, apply sunscreen in the morning before they head out but do you need to reapply? The answer is yes.

How Often Should You Apply? Ideally Multiple Times a Day

Sunscreen unfortunately just can’t be a morning thing. Unlike say brushing your teeth, sunscreen ideally needs to be done multiple times through the day.

That’s because no sunscreen lasts all day. According to professor dermatology the Yale School of Medicine, Dr. David J. Leffell:

“Once it’s on the skin, sunscreen begins to chemically wear down, and after a couple of hours it becomes less effective.”

The recommendation from experts such as the American Academy of Dermatology is to reapply sunscreen every two hours. If you’re swimming or heavily sweating, you need to reapply right after.

Do I always do this? I can’t say always but I do try to reapply at least once around midday and if I’ve been swimming or exercising, then I do reapply immediately after.

When Should You Apply? From Sunrise to Sunset

It’s pretty simple, you need sunscreen during all daylight hours.

UVB and UVA rays from the sun are what cause sun damage. UVB rays which are responsible for sunburn are strongest from 10AM to 4PM. Now you might be thinking you’re in the clear before or after that time period but UVA rays which are responsible for skin aging and skin cancer are strong throughout all sunlight hours.

But I know, it’s not easy to do. We’re all busy and reapplying sunscreen problem isn’t top of mind. At the very least try to incorporate sunscreen as part of your morning routine and if you can also reapply around lunch, that’s a start.

Your Skin Needs Lots of Sunscreen

I know reapplying feels like a hassle but when you look at the stats for skin cancer (check them out here), reapplying is definitely worth it. Your skin will thank you in the long run. And remember sunscreen is fantastic anti-aging weapon!

For even more sunscreen application tips check out our Sunscreen and Sunblock blog series.

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