How a teaspoon can stop you getting sunburnt

We don’t need to remind you how important it is to wear a broad spectrum SPF in the sun – both for your health and the appearance of your skin. But knowing precisely how much to apply can be hard to judge, especially when you’re twisting around in the bathroom trying to get ready.

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Scientists at King’s College London have found that on average, people have less than half the sun protection they think they have, because they apply too thin a layer of sun cream.To get it right, they suggest the teaspoon trick.

Apply at least half a teaspoon to each of the following:

  • Left arm (including hand)
  • Right arm (including hand)
  • Face
  • Neck + ears

Apply at least a full teaspoon to:

  • Left leg (including foot)
  • Right leg (including foot)
  • Chest + stomach
  • Back

(Make sure when you’re doing the chest and back that the shoulders and sides of your torso are covered too.)

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It takes at least six teaspoons of suncream to adequately cover an average adult body – taller, larger people will need more – which equates to approximately 35-40ml of suncream. Reapplying at least twice over the coruse a day – and that’s a whole 100ml bottle gone, to give you an idea of the amount it takes to be properly sun safe.

As a reminder, the British Association of Dermatologists advises you apply suncream 15-30 minutes before going int he sun, so that it dries properly. Top up again shortly after you get outdoors (this will catch any missed spots of skin). Reapply at least every two hours and immediately after swimming.

Don’t be misled by ‘water resistant’ formulas, this means they  retain some protection after you get wet – but not all. Anyway, 85% of sun cream is rubbed off when you dry yourself with a towel.

And yes, we know this all sounds expensive! Boots currently have 1/3 off selected Soltan multi packs, plus 25% on selected premium suncare (you can find them all here). And Superdrug have a ‘buy one, get one half price’ offer on their Solait sun protection.

The risks aren’t worth skimping.