Summary of Sunscreen Application

Studies have shown that on average the general population use 25-75% less when applying sunscreen than that of what is recommended in laboratory testing, which gives a coverage level of 20-50% less than what is identified on the sunscreen bottle.

Application technique:

In a laboratory, the sunscreen is applied evenly and to the correct thickness, however, in ‘real life’ most people miss areas the application is not even. Think about how you apply sunscreen especially to areas such as shoulders and your back.

Other concerns include:

  • Common areas missed during application including, ears, neck, feet, and legs.
  • Last minute application of sunscreen, such as:
  • While already in the sun,
  • Immediately prior to sun exposure or  
  • Jumping into the water immediately after application.

Then there is the issue of reapplication, 50% of people admitted to not reapplying sunscreen.


Is vital in preventing sunburn and reasons for necessity of reapplication are:

  • poor technique during initial application.
  • Rubbing of clothes, towels, etc.
  • Extended period of sun exposure.
  • After and during extended periods of swimming, even with the use of water-resistant sunscreen. Due to towel drying, clothes or sand where sunscreen can be rubbed off.

The motto from the cancer council is reapply frequently or reapply regularly.
The best protection is to reapply after being in the sun for 30 mins, rather than waiting the 2-3 hours.

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