Sunburns are not only painful and unsightly, but they can also increase your risk of diseases and premature aging. That’s why sunscreen is your best friend when it comes to protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. 

However, determining the appropriate amount of sunscreen to apply for optimal protection can be a challenge. Experts provide insights on the recommended SPF quantity required to safeguard your skin against harmful UV rays. So, how much sunscreen is sufficient?

A study conducted in 2016, from a reliable source, established a correlation between a history of severe sunburns and an increased risk of developing skin cancer later in life. One of the most effective ways to shield your skin is by using a broad-spectrum sunscreen that offers protection against both UVA and UVB rays.

According to research, the importance of using the correct amount of sunscreen to minimize sun damage and lower the risk. So, how much sunscreen is recommended? You can apply one ounce of sunscreen to cover your entire body, which is approximately equivalent to the volume of a shot glass. Remember to include your face in the application.

Your head and neck make up about 4 percent of your total surface area. Based on this calculation, approximately 0.04 ounces of sunscreen should be applied to your face.


Undeniably, visualizing .04 ounces can be challenging when you’re lounging on a beach chair with your feet buried in the sand. Fortunately, everyday objects can help you measure the appropriate amount of sunscreen for your face.


Measuring spoons have a purpose beyond the kitchen. They can assist in ensuring you apply the correct amount of sunscreen. Using a teaspoon is perhaps the simplest way to measure sunscreen. So, 1/4 teaspoon or 1/3 teaspoon for the face. For added protection in sunnier areas or if you are prone to sunburns, you can opt for 1/3 teaspoon.


If your work involves measuring with beakers or syringes, thinking in milliliters can be helpful. If you have a syringe or measuring pitcher at home, they can come in handy when applying sunscreen. It generally equates to 1 to 2 milliliters.


Some individuals prefer assessing quantities by weight. Grams-to-milliliters have a one-to-one conversion rate, so you should aim for applying 1 to 2 grams of sunscreen to your face. However, it is advised that this method can be slightly challenging. It depends on the weight of the product you’re using, such as liquid, spray-on, lotion, or cream, as they can have different weights.


While you may not carry a syringe or measuring spoon in your beach bag, you can estimate the amount of sunscreen for your face using your hands.

The fingertip unit is our standard measurement unit. It refers to the distance from the first crease in your fingertip down to the tip. Generally, that’s equivalent to two pea-size amounts, which is the appropriate quantity for your face.


A shot glass serves as a useful tool for measuring sunscreen for your entire body. When applying sunscreen to your face, you won’t require as much. Using enough sunscreen to fill the bottom of your shot glass.


Bailey recommends opting for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF rating of at least 30. When using an SPF 15, you’re blocking approximately 93 percent of the UVB. At SPF 30, you’re blocking 97 percent, and at SPF 50, you’re blocking 98 percent. Once you reach SPF 30, you’re essentially achieving optimal protection.

But here’s a common question: Can you apply double the amount of SPF 15 and consider it as SPF 30? Well, it can’t be assessed in that manner. You might not apply both layers evenly, so you can’t guarantee that the coverage adds up to SPF 30. At least SPF 30 sunscreen can be used and you can apply the .04 ounces to your face using whichever method or visual aid is most convenient for you. Any additional products like SPF makeup or tinted moisturizer can be considered as an added bonus.


The application technique of sunscreen plays a crucial role in achieving maximum coverage. Here is their recommended method for applying sunscreen to the face:

Begin by applying your skincare products.

Next, apply your sunscreen.

If desired, proceed with applying makeup.

Incorporating it into the skincare routine

While the application of sunscreen to the face is an integral part of a skincare routine, there are a few other products that should be applied first. It should always be applied after other products, such as acne medication and moisturizers, with the exception of makeup.

Other products need to penetrate the skin, while sunscreen needs to create a protective barrier on the outermost layer of the skin. Preventing the sun from penetrating beyond that is essential.


The “dip-dot-smear” method is a good approach to applying sunscreen. To apply using this method, follow these steps:

Pour the sunscreen onto the palm of your hand.

Use the fingertip of your other hand to dot the sunscreen onto your face, covering your cheeks, forehead, and chin.

Gently rub and blend the sunscreen into your skin.


There are certain areas that people often forget, leaving them susceptible to sunspots and cancerous cells. Make sure not to neglect the following areas:



Area behind the ears


Research suggests applying makeup as the final step to prevent smudging, which can sometimes discourage people from wearing sunscreen. Many mineral makeup products contain SPF, providing additional protection against sun damage.

While the exact level of protection cannot be quantified, the mineral particles in makeup act as a barrier and reflect UV rays.

To ensure effective sun protection for your face, it’s important to reapply sunscreen at appropriate intervals. According to research, the recommended frequency for sunscreen reapplication is every 2 hours, especially if you’re exposed to the sun throughout the day. Additionally, reapply sunscreen after sweating or swimming, as the sunscreen can migrate and break down while blocking the sun’s rays.

For those who sweat or swim frequently, consider reapplying sunscreen every hour. To avoid forgetting to reapply, set a reminder on your phone.

Make sunscreen application a part of your daily routine by applying it in the morning and reapplying before going outside. It’s essential to remember that sun exposure occurs even on non-beach or pool days, such as during walks or outdoor activities.

In addition to sunscreen, using sun-protective clothing is advised. Cover as much skin as possible with sun-protective clothing and create shade with a hat to shield your scalp, as it can also be susceptible to skin cancer. Water-resistant sunscreen is recommended if you plan on swimming or engaging in sweat-inducing workouts.

Note:   This article is intended for informational purposes only. It is important to note that individual medical conditions and circumstances may vary, and the information provided should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, we strongly recommend consulting with a qualified healthcare professional for personalized guidance and appropriate medical treatment.

Back To Top