In theory I know that to achieve the full protection provided by a sunscreen, I probably should be applying a lot more of it than I do. The reality of this fact hit home the other day when I was reading the product information that came with an Avene sunscreen compact - in order to get the full SPF50 protection level, I'd need to be applying one gram of product to my face. The compact contains 10 grams of product, so you do the maths. If I was using this as my sole sun protection and using it properly, I'd have a compact used up in a little over a week!
Now as it happens, the Avene product is only available in two shades and the lighter one is too dark for me; in addition I wouldn't usually depend on my foundation to provide sun protection. But thinking about the subject did make me look into the advice on how much sunscreen I should be using.
For the face and neck, we should be using one "finger" of product (apply the sunscreen from the tube in a line down the length of your finger, which is an easier way of measuring it than the usual teaspoons that are mentioned). Arms need two fingers of product each and legs should be getting two each front and back, so four altogether per leg.
If you like sunscreen sprays, you might be interested to know that the average forearm should be sprayed six times and remember that sunscreen stick I was using on my hands? I should be rubbing that over the backs of my hands seven times if I want to get the full SPF50 protection.
So from this bit of homework I have learned two things: I clearly don't use enough sunscreen to get the full protection levels; and if I did, I'd be going through litres of the stuff. For regular daily use I'll probably to continue to use what is a comfortable amount for me, knowing I'm not quite getting SPF50 out of it, and for real sun exposure I'll be more careful in the amount I apply.
What about you - do you regularly apply as much as is recommended?
Got more sunscreen questions? These links should help: