5 steps to applying sunscreen correctly

Cancer Council NSW

Science has proven that sunscreen reduces the risk of melanoma and other skin cancers. However, for it to effectively protect our skin, it needs to be applied correctly! So, how do you make sure you’re applying sunscreen correctly?

It’s easy if you follow these 5 steps:

  1. Read the label on the bottle and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions
  2. Apply it generously. Most people don’t use enough sunscreen, applying less than what is recommended and potentially leaving themselves at risk.

    An average adult needs to use about one teaspoon per body part, equalling around 35mL of sunscreen for a full body application. This means one teaspoon for the face, neck and ears; a teaspoon for each arm and leg; and a teaspoon each for the front and back of the body.

  3. Apply it 20 minutes before going outside. Waiting 20 minutes, allows the sunscreen to bind to your skin.
  4. Re-apply! Every two hours sunscreen should be reapplied. Sunscreen should also be reapplied after swimming, sweating or towel drying. Making sure you reapply regularly means you’re likely to cover any parts of the skin you may have missed.
  5. When using sunscreen for the first time, test it out on a small section of skin first. Discontinue use if irritation occurs.

Watch the video below to see these five steps in action.

Sunscreen is not a suit of armour. Even when applied properly, no sunscreen provides 100% protection against UV radiation. Remember to use all five forms of sun protection whenever the UV is 3 or above to ensure you protect your skin and reduce your skin cancer risk.

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