Sunburn (Sun Poisoning) - Applying Sunscreen

Share tips for applying sunscreen, including how to remember to apply it after swimming.

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What is the best way to apply sunscreen?

Apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before expected sun exposure. Reapplication of sunscreen every 1 to 2 hours is also advised. Some experts encourage more frequent reapplication, especially shortly after initial exposure. It is also important to apply sunscreen liberally; spreading the product too thin may not achieve the desired degree of protection. A general recommendation is to apply an amount similar to the size of a golf ball for a person of average build.

Sunscreen sprays also are becoming more available and popular. They are generally effective; however, some questions have been raised in regard to the amount of spray that actually adheres to the body once applied. The spray can be dispersed by wind, an insufficient amount may be sprayed, or the sunscreen is sprayed too far from the body. It is recommended that sunscreen sprays be used in conjunction with other more traditional topical sunscreens for the best sun protection.

SPF 15 sunscreen is the minimum requirement for most individuals. Stronger sunscreens are recommended for people who easily burn in the sun and have longer exposure time in the sun. Water exposure may wash off the sunscreen so it should be reapplied after the body dries up.

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