Sunscreens: how much is needed, how to apply and how frequently?

Get yourself a beautiful tan while keeping safe: apply sunscreen all the time and expose to the sun properly.”

Properly using a sunscreen is as important as choosing which is most suitable for our phototype. In fact, sunscreens should be applied frequently and in the proper amount.

The minimum amount to apply should correspond to the amount manufacturers use to perform the SPF test of a product, that is 2 mg/cm2.

Learn more by reading: How to choose sunscreens to buy

How much suncreen do we need to apply?

Considering the average surface size of the body of an adult, we should apply 30-35 grams of product, that is more or less the size of a golf ball for each application. This amount may seem excessive, but it is important to bear in mind that reducing the amount applied will also reduce the level of protection.

Also keep in mind that you sunscreens must be applied on dry skin, preferably before exposure to the sun and before wearing our swimming costume, so that we protect all skin areas.

Should we use just one sunscreen for the entire body?

Since the phototype of a person’s skin is the same all over the body, in general terms one can say that one product is proper to protect any skin area exposed to the sun. However, we must bear in mind that certain body areas are not commonly exposed to the sun or are anyway more delicate. For instance, a higher SPF sunscreen is recommended for the nose, the lips and the ears, better if it a stick, since it is handy and resistant to water. Products for the body – as opposed to facial products – should certainly be more fluid, in the form of lotions or spray lotions, while facial products are certainly preferred as creams or as tinted creams, especially when the aim is to minimise imperfections and skin discolourations.

If you plan to stay in the sun for longer, you should apply the product frequently, because sweat and contact with the towel, sand or water may diminish the protection offered by the sunscreen.

How frequently?

One cannot precisely assess when a sunscreen that has been applied to skin stops working, yet the common consensus is that reapplying every two hours is reasonable. Another piece of advice that makes sense it to reapply the sunscreen anyway after taking a swim, even though the product claims to be water-resistant, just to be safe.

In fact, it certifies that the product has been tested to check if it resists to water and retains part of its protective capacity (at least 50% of the SPF value) even after prolonged immersion in water for 40 minutes.

However, applying a sunscreen with the proper frequency does not mean you should stay in the sun for a very long time, it is just the means to ensure your skin keeps protected. This “rule” is just as important as the other rules for staying safely in the sun.

Tips for basking in the sun safely

The following are a few tips to safely enjoy summer sunlight:

  • gradually adapt your skin to the sun, avoiding to stay in the sun in the hottest hours of the day (from 11 am to 3 pm) and anyway never for too long
  • bear in mind where you are, sun is stronger in the Caribbean than in the UK!
  • always protect the skin of the face and body with a sunscreen having a suitable SPF, and use it in proper amounts and with the proper frequency
  • apply sunscreen even if you plan to stay in the shade, since sun rays will reach you anyway because they are reflected by water, sand, snow, etc. and will go through clouds or a parasol anyway
  • use a sunscreen even if your skin is already tanned
  • wear a hat and sunglasses for extra protection
  • after sun exposure, use aftersun products (link scheda prodotto DEFENCE SUN Latte Doposole) to soothe and moisturise skin.

And finally…

Can we use a sunscreen we bought last year?

The answer is based on the so-called PAO of the product, that is the symbol on the package that resembles an opened pot:

The PAO - Period After Opening – indicates how many months after opening are considered safe for the product to retain its functionality and safety characteristics. Usually, sunscreens have a PAO of 12 months, thus if it was bought at the beginning of summer and, for some reason, it hasn’t been used completely, it would advisable to finish it by early summer next year, or anyway within the 12-month period indicated by the PAO. If the sunscreen is a very high-SPF product (SPF 50+), maybe bought to be used by a person with very fair skin, it would be better to buy a new sunscreen anyway.

Learn more by reading these articles:
Sun protection: learn about sun eadiation effects to better protect your skin
Sensitive or acne-prone skin in the sun
Sun protection for children


Want to learn more?

Ask a question to our experts

All BioNike products of the TRIDERM, DEFENCE and PROXERA ranges are developed to reduce the risks of intolerance and are suitable for sensitive skin. Such products are, in fact nickel-tested, preservatives-free, perfume-free (or having an allergen-free perfume), gluten-free and manufactured ​​with carefully selected and controlled ingredients.

In any case, we recommend that you consult your pharmacist and/or dermatologist, who will be able to recommend what is best for your skin.

Did you know it?

The BioNike laboratories have developed DEFENCE SUN, a sun protection range for babies and children that provides triple photoprotection:

  • defence against short-term damage through the UVA-UVB filter system
  • defence against free radicals generated by infrared IR radiation
  • defence against long-term, delayed biological damage, thanks to the "PRO-REPAIR Complex" included.

This special complex is based on the synergistic action of niacin, the Beta-Glucan / L-Carnosine patented association and Vitamin E to stimulate the natural biological defences of skin, counter the effects of free radicals and photoimmunosuppression and support the natural cellular DNA protection and repair mechanisms.