Ask an Expert: How to Really Apply Sunscreen - Are You Doing It Wrong?

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Playing Ask an Expert: Are You Applying Sunscreen Wrong?

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Dermatologist Dr. Sonia Batra breaks down sunscreen basics starting with how much sunscreen you actually need every time you head out for a day in the sun.

The skin doctor fills an entire shot glass to demonstrate just how much you need to cover your body every single time you apply it and shares that most people are likely not applying enough! 

Dr. Batra also says the amount of sunscreen that you should be applying to your face should be about the size of a nickel. She recommends using tinted mineral block broad spectrum sunscreen for your face, and also recommends using an SPF lip balm on your lips, as well as your eyelids! 

With a spray sunscreen, Dr. Batra recommends doing 4 passes over the skin and then rubbing it in. She also recommends applying spray sunscreen outside and avoid inhaling it when applying. She's also a fan of a foam or whipped sunscreen that covers a large surface area quickly. 

Are you reapplying as often as you should? Dr. Batra shares that it should happen every 2-3 hours when you're outside, and every hour if you're outside and sweating. 

Another one of her favorite tools is powder sunscreen because it's easy to apply when you're out and about and it can go over makeup. Plus, it can be safely stored in your hot car, unlike lotions. She's also a fan of stick sunscreen because it's portable, easy to reapply if you've been in water, and easy to rub in. Lastly, she recommends an SPF scalp spray that helps to protect your scalp from the sun if you're not wearing a hat. 

Here is a recap of all the sunscreen types that Dr. Batra keeps in her sun protection arsenal with suggestions from our editors. 

Body 

Dr. Batra suggests to use a lotion, foam or whipped sunscreen, a stick, or a spray. 

Alba Botanica Hawaiian Sunscreen Clear Spray, SPF 50

Alba Botanica Hawaiian Sunscreen Clear Spray, SPF 50

This lightweight sunscreen sprays on clear and is made with coconut extract, shea butter and avocado oil. 

Aveeno Positively Mineral SPF 50 Sunscreen Stick

Aveeno Positively Mineral SPF 50 Sunscreen Stick

Aveeno Positively mineral stick for sensitive skin is a zinc oxide-based broad spectrum SPF 50. 

Coppertone Sunscreen Whipped Lotion SPF 50 2-Pack

Coppertone Sunscreen Whipped Lotion SPF 50 2-Pack

Coppertone Defend & Care Whipped Sunscreen works to stop damaging UV rays — all while keeping your skin looking vibrant and refreshed

Banana Boat Kids Mineral Foam SPF 50

Banana Boat Kids Mineral Foam SPF 50

This sunscreen is a colorful foam that you rub in until the color disappears, making it fun for kids to apply. 

 

Face

Dr. Batra shares she's a fan of tinted mineral sunblock broad spectrum for the face. Here are three our editors found: 

COOLA Mineral Matte Tinted Sunscreen & Sunblock

COOLA Mineral Matte Tinted Sunscreen & Sunblock

This sunblock is SPF 30 and fragrance-free! 

Sun Bum Mineral Facial Sunscreen

Sun Bum Mineral Facial Sunscreen

Broad spectrum SPF 30 protection for you face and comes in tinted or non-tinted if you prefer going au natural. 

Australian Gold Tinted Facial Sunscreen

Australian Gold Tinted Facial Sunscreen

UVA/UVB broad spectrum coverage that is water resistant for up to 80 minutes. 

 

Lips 

Dr. Batra uses an SPF lip balm on her lips and shares her pro tip of applying the lip balm to her eyelids after she's put on her lips. 

Burt's Bees All Weather Lip Balm SPF 15

Burt's Bees All Weather Lip Balm SPF 15

2-pack lip protection with SPF 15 and water resistant for 40 minutes. 

Sun Bum SPF 30 3-Pack Lip Balm

Sun Bum SPF 30 3-Pack Lip Balm

SPF 30 Sun Bum variety pack with aloe and vitamin E to protect and moisturize your lips. 

Cotz Lip Balm SPF 45

Cotz Lip Balm SPF 45

Mineral lip balm with SPF 45. 

 

Powder Sunscreen 

Dr. Batra shares that this is her favorite for re-applying sunscreen and it's great to keep in your car because it's powder. Plus, it can be placed on top of makeup. 

Mineral Fusion Brush-On Sun Defense SPF 30

Mineral Fusion Brush-On Sun Defense SPF 30

PROTECTING AND SOOTHING Transparent, mineral sunscreen powder brushes on with ease to help protect skin from sunburn. Works well on all skin tones. Plus, Sea Kelp for antioxidant protection.

Brush On Block Mineral Sunscreen Powder SPF 30

Brush On Block Mineral Sunscreen Powder SPF 30

This self-dispensing brush on mineral SPF 30 sunscreen with an easy twist-open feature that protects your face from UV rays. 

L'Oreal Paris True Match Mineral Powder SPF 19

L'Oreal Paris True Match Mineral Powder SPF 19

This powder foundation with SPF 19 covers flawlessly, leaves your skin soft, and your tone even. 

 

Scalp Spray

Sun Bum Original SPF 30 Scalp Sunscreen

Sun Bum Original SPF 30 Scalp Sunscreen

A lightweight, fast-drying SPF 30 scalp mist that won't weigh your hair down or make it feel greasy

Banana Boat Hair & Scalp Defense SPF 30

Banana Boat Hair & Scalp Defense SPF 30

Scalp spray with broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection formulated without oxybenzone or octinoxate.

COOLA Scalp Spray and Hair Sunscreen SPF 30

COOLA Scalp Spray and Hair Sunscreen SPF 30

SPF hair spray in ocean salt sage mist.