Answering Your Burning Questions On Sunscreen

God, I love our Facebook audience over on the Dr Sam Skincare Club page - a simple poll about sunscreen use prompted over 1000 responses and 171 comments. There is clearly a lot to say. So I thought I’d address some of the more common queries, concerns and talking points around daily sunscreen use. Now, to be clear - this is not the behaviour I adopt on sunny holidays. This is behaviour I put in place for a working day, where I’m not exposed to direct UV nor am I outdoors running, for instance, or walking a dog or dining al fresco (chance would be a fine thing in Feb!)

Many of you who live in the UK query the need for daily sunscreen use all year round.  I think the evidence that using sunscreen daily not only reduces future premature ageing, but it also allows skin to focus on the business of repair, meaning that texture, tone and fine lines will improve with its use presents a very compelling argument for a 365 day/year habit.

So then it comes down to the nitty-gritty of how to use it properly. And the reality is that we’re prone to dramatically under-applying and missing bits of skin out. This is often a consequence of vague language on the packaging of products - apply ‘liberally’ or ‘generously’ means different things to different people. We know that the SPF measure is based on a specific coating of sunscreen at a dose of 2mg/cm sq. But what that looks like in the hand will vary depending on the consistency of the product. This is where measuring spoons come in! Given that a quarter teaspoon is the right amount for the face (and use the same again for your precious neck), I’d highly recommend that you get familiar with what that actually looks like so that you standardize the amount you apply. And be consistent with your application technique - it’s the primary reason I coined the 13 dot technique.

And the final key thing - research sunscreens until you find one that you actually like using. You know, not just one that you tolerate. Its the one area of skincare where I suggest spending a bit more if necessary to get one that you can be fond of. And won’t find yourself offering up resistance to applying in the correct quantity.

It’s a long one, and perhaps a touch philosophical but I hope you’ll find it useful. Part 2 coming soon….

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