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Sunscreen is an easy and effective way to protect your skin, but we know it’s not always as simple as just slathering it on. Here are answers to some of the most common SPF-related questions.

How much sunscreen should you use?

Experts recommend putting one ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen on your entire body, or enough to fill one shot glass. (It’s also coincidentally the size of a golf ball .) Then, add a half a teaspoon (a nickel-sized dollop) on your face and neck.

How often should you reapply sunscreen?

You should reapply every 2 hours, and after swimming, sweating, or toweling off. If you’re indoors and away from windows, reapplying may not be necessary, but don’t forget that the sun’s rays can still penetrate window panes.

When should you apply sunscreen?

Chemical sunscreens should be applied 30 minutes before going outside to allow the sunscreen time to absorb into your skin. Mineral (physical) sunscreens are effective immediately and can be applied right before going outside.

What is the difference between mineral and chemical sunscreen?

Chemical sunscreens use chemical filters to absorb UV rays before they reach your skin. Mineral, or physical sunscreens block radiation by forming a barrier that reflects rays. Read more about chemical vs. mineral sunscreens here. learn more

What does broad spectrum mean?

The term “broad spectrum” refers to sunscreen that protects from both UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays are responsible for redness and sunburns, while UVA rays are the main culprit behind skin aging and can penetrate clouds, fog, and glass. (Think “B” for burns and “A” for aging.)

What do SPF numbers indicate?

SPF stands for “sun protection factor,” and the SPF number indicates how well the sunscreen protects your skin against sunburn. If you weren’t wearing any sunscreen, the sun starts to damage your skin 5-20 minutes after exposure. The SPF number indicates how much longer the sun will take to burn your skin if you apply it correctly. For example, an SPF 30 sunscreen would take 30 times longer to burn your skin than if you weren’t wearing any sunscreen at all.

Is a higher SPF better?

Not necessarily, experts say. They only offer marginally more protection than lower SPFs, and do not offer any additional protection against UVA rays. They may also give wearers a false sense of security, making them lax about reapplication. If used correctly, an SPF of 30-50 should provide enough protection for most people.

Are spray sunscreens safe?

Yes, they are safe and convenient when used properly. Be sure to spray generously until your skin glistens and rub it in afterwards. However, the ingredients can irritate the lungs if inhaled, so it’s best to spray them into your hands first and apply manually.

Will using sunscreen limit my vitamin D intake?

Studies have never shown that everyday sunscreen use leads to insufficient vitamin D levels. No matter how high of an SPF you use, you can never filter out 100% of the sun’s UV rays, so you’ll still be exposed to vitamin D—and the risks of skin cancer far outweigh the risk of vitamin D deficiency. If in doubt, you can supplement your diet and take a multivitamin.

What is hybrid sunscreen?

Hybrid sunscreen describes an SPF that contains both mineral and chemical sunscreen actives. The chemical filters absorb UVA/UVB rays, while the mineral filters reflect UVA/UVB rays. Hybrid sunscreens provide a great option for those who want a mineral filter, and do not want a white cast, and for those who want a chemical sunscreen, and have sensitive or acne-prone skin.

Will sunscreen stain my shirt?

If you are wearing a white or light colored shirt it is recommended to use a zinc-oxide based sunscreen like our Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30

If you are wearing a dark colored shirt it is recommended to use a non-mineral sunscreen like our Essential Sunscreen SPF 50