No sunscreen will give the protection it claims unless applied properly.
- Make sure you put enough sunscreen on – people often apply much less than they need to. When your risk of burning is high, ensure that all exposed skin is thoroughly covered in sunscreen. As a guide for an adult this means: Around 2 teaspoonfuls of sunscreen if you're just covering your head, arms and neck. Around 2 and a half tablespoonfuls if you're covering your entire body, for example while wearing a swimming costume
- Reapply sunscreen regularly including ‘once a day’ and ‘water resistant’ products. Some products are designed to stay on better than others, but beware of sunscreen rubbing, sweating or washing off. It’s especially important to reapply after towelling dry. And reapplying helps avoid missing bits of skin.
- Use sunscreen together with shade and clothing to avoiding getting caught out by sunburn.
- Don’t be tempted to spend longer in the sun than you would without sunscreen.
- Don’t store sunscreens in very hot places as extreme heat can ruin their protective chemicals.
- Don’t forget to check the expiry date on your sunscreen. Most sunscreens have a shelf life of 2-3 years, shown on the label by a symbol of a pot with the letter M and a number – this is the number of months the sunscreen will last once it’s been opened. Check your sunscreen has not expired before you use it.
Cancer Research UK does not endorse any specific brand of sunscreens. All sunscreens use the same methods to determine how protective they are. Therefore specific brands cannot be recommended.
This means that brand and price are less important than things like the SPF and star ratings, which tell you how much protection they offer. (11)