Home Health & Wellness UK Heatwave: This Is How Much Sunscreen You Should Use According to the Experts

UK Heatwave: This Is How Much Sunscreen You Should Use According to the Experts

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Cult Beauty teamed up with Dr Deborah Lee from Dr Fox Pharmacy to reveal how much suncream you should be wearing as well as tips for staying safe in the sun.

With the current heatwave and the increased importance of sun protection, it is crucial to understand the correct amount of sunscreen to use on your body to ensure adequate coverage and safeguard against harmful UV radiation.

With recent news that skin cancer cases have reached an all time* as well as the statistic that only 60% of UK adults don’t know the correct amount of sunscreen to use when heading into the sun, this is all extremely worrying from a sun safety perspective. 

To help, Cult Beauty is here to share how much sunscreen you should use on your whole body. And the answer is around two teaspoons for each area you are covering. 

  • Face and neck – two teaspoons
  • Arms – two teaspoons, one teaspoon for each arm
  • Legs – two teaspoons, one teaspoon for each leg
  • Chest and stomach – two teaspoons
  • Back and shoulders – two teaspoons

Here’s the right way to apply sunscreen

The application of SPF should be a non-negotiable step in your skincare regime everyday. 

However, there are many uncertainties when it comes to how to apply SPF the right way, by following these simple tips you won’t go wrong:

  • Before you do anything, shake your sunscreen bottle. This will help break up any clumping that occurs over time.
  • Use the three-finger rule when applying it to the face. Gently tap the formula all over your face, ears, and neck rather than just rubbing it all on to avoid irritation and to ensure a smoother application.
  • When applying to your body, smear small evenly sized dots over all areas exposed to the sun. Gently massage the sunscreen in, until you can’t see it anymore. Remember not to forget those sneaky spots that are easy to miss like the neck and the back of your hands and feet.
  • If you are heading out to have fun in the sun, allow the formula to soak into your skin for at least 15 minutes before heading outdoors.

Top tips on how to stay safe in the sun

Dr Lee shares her top tips for staying safe in the sun:

  • Respect the sun. You only need 15 minutes of sunlight a day to make vitamin D and for darker skin this can increased to 30 minutes. But after this, the sun is not giving you any health benefits. If you overdo your time in the sun, you are likely to end up with sunburn and heat exhaustion/heat stroke. All of these are serious conditions – and heat stroke can be fatal. Respect the sun by keeping out of direct sunlight between 11am and 3pm in the summer. Sit in the shade, under a parasol, or stay indoors.
  • Use sunscreen wisely. Use suncream with a minimum SPF factor 30 (anti-UVB protection) and a UVA star rating of 4–5 stars (for anti-UVA protection). If you have fair skin or burn easily you should use suncream with an SPF 50 factor. For swimming, choose a water-resistant option. Sun cream us a much better option than tanning oil which concentrates UV rays and increases the rish of sunburn and damaged (ageing) skin. Getting sunburnt once every two years triples your risk of being diagnosed with skin cancer, melanoma, as compared to someone who has not been burnt.
  • Keep cool. Do all you can to keep cool, sit in the shade, wear loose and light-coloured clothes and cover your legs and arms, wear a wide-brimmed hat, tie your hair up, drink plenty of cool drinks, sprinkle yourself with cold water regularly, and put a cold compress on your forehead, make cool baths and showers. If it’s too hot, go inside away from the sun and lie down in a cool place.
  • Drink more water. When the sun is out, we should all be drinking at least 3 litres of water per day. Avoid fizzy or sugary drinks in hot sunshine. The sun causes plastics to break down in plastic bottles and chemicals can leach into the drinks. Plus, sugary drinks can worsen dehydration. Look out for symptoms and signs of dehydration, these include feeling thirsty, a dry mouth, sunken eyes, not peeing often, headaches and feeling unwell. But it’s too late by the time these symptoms have occurred – you need to drink plenty to avoid these symptoms from coming on.
  • Protect your eyes. If you wear a hat with a wide brim or a baseball cap this will shield your eyes from 50% of the sun rays. If you wear glasses, these should have a glass with a UV filter. Sunglasses block UV rays from entering the eyes, but make sure these have a CE mark to show they meet European standards.

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