All You Need to Know: Sunscreen Application For The Body

How to apply sunscreen SPF on the body

How many times have you applied sun protection and still burnt? If you’ve ever wondered if you’re applying sunscreen correctly, you’re not alone. We all know how important it is to wear SPF while exposing ourselves to the sun’s harmful rays, but the guesswork involved in the application (when, how much and how) is the cause of irreversible damage.

Follow these easy-to-follow steps will help you to avoid this in the future and help to shield your skin effectively.


When should you apply sunscreen?

Unfortunately, sunscreen application isn’t a one and done thing, in order to stay protected and achieve the maximum sun protection possible you need to reapply every two hours – we recommend setting an alarm to remind yourself. If you’ve been swimming or experiencing high levels of perspiration, you should always reapply.

It’s also important to remember that the initial application (if you’re wearing a chemical sunscreen) should be 15 to 30 minutes before you go outside and should be absorbed before you get dressed (this is so it doesn’t rub off on your clothing and disrupt the effectiveness of the SPF). Research has shown that sun damage begins the first minute your unprotected skin sees daylight, so your skin needs time for it to absorb.

How to apply sunscreen SPF on the body

How much sunscreen should I apply?

You’re probably familiar with the terms ‘apply liberally’. It appears so often on the side of sun protection packaging, but what does a ‘liberal application’ actually mean?

As a guide (this will, of course, differ because everyone has a different size body) you should be using a shot glass full for your entire body per application. This equates to 1 teaspoon per body part. Now, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be taking a shot glass or a teaspoon with you when you go to the beach, so we’ve shown you in the image above next to some items you’re likely to have on the beach.

Packing enough sun cream for your whole family? A family of four should use up 200ml in a day, this should give you an idea of how much you need to be applying!

What’s the easiest way to apply sunscreen?

How to apply sunscreen is a question asked more frequently than you’d think. This is because although people know they should be wearing it, it’s not as simple as just slathering it on the places you’ll think you’ll burn and hoping for the best. A thorough application requires a little bit of attention, then you’re free to enjoy yourself safely!

Certain areas of the body, in particular, the feet (including the soles), between the toes, the back, behind your knees, the back of the legs, the bum often get neglected so make sure you’re not missing them! Here’s a guide to what you need to apply for each body part:

• Legs – 1 teaspoon per leg
• Arms – ½ teaspoon per arm
• Back – 1 teaspoon
• Chest / Abdomen – 1 teaspoon

The experts at Ultrasun recommend the following way to apply:

“Gently massage your sun protection across your body in circular motions ensuring that the product is evenly distributed from head to toe. Most people start at the top and work their way down but don’t be tempted to skin at calves and feet – this is where most serious sun damage is reported in women in the UK! When applying a mineral formula, ensure to apply it in direct strokes to allow it to fully absorb.”

And the important thing to remember, if in doubt, always apply more!


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