How Much Sunscreen Should You Use On Your Face?
The skin on your face is thinner than the skin on the rest of your body, making it a prime area for sunburn. You want to give this delicate skin the best protection possible, but you might wonder exactly how much sunscreen to use on your face.
It’s important to make sure you’re applying the right amount of sunscreen (and the right kind of sunscreen!) every day. If you feel you’ve been applying too much sunscreen, too little, or you just aren’t sure, you’re in luck!
In this article, Babo Botanicals tells you just what you need to know when it comes to protecting your face’s sensitive skin!
The Importance Of Sunscreen
Before we get into how much sunscreen you need to apply to your face, let’s first discuss the importance of sunscreen in general.
One of the most common reasons why people wear sunscreen is for protection against sunburn. If you’re like most people on earth, you’ve probably experienced sunburn at least a couple of times in your life.
And no one likes red or peeling skin! Sunscreen, when applied correctly, can help prevent you from experiencing sunburn.
We’d also like to highlight that all skin tones can get a sunburn. A big myth is that darker skin tones won’t burn in the sun. But that’s exactly what it is — a myth.
The truth is, while darker skin tones may have more natural sun protection (mainly because of melanin), it’s important to wear sunscreen because the risks of sunburn are still there.
In addition to preventing sunburn, wearing sunscreen helps to prevent your skin from aging prematurely.
That’s because every time you get sunburned, the harmful rays of the sun damage your elastin and collagen, which help to keep your skin looking youthful for longer.
The most concerning side effect of sunburn is, of course, skin cancer. In a nutshell, the more sunburn you expose your skin to the more you increase your risk of developing skin cancers like melanoma.
Most people will focus on applying sunscreen on their arms, legs, and other exposed body parts to protect themselves, but not their faces. That’s because not all sunscreens are great for the face.
Some will leave your facial skin dry, irritated, breaking out, or with other problems. What can you do?
Well, you have to find the right sunscreen, of course!
Choosing The Right Sunscreen For Your Face
Is it OK to use regular sunscreen on your face? Yes and no.
You can use body sunscreen on your face, but if you have sensitive skin or if you’re using sunscreen on your baby, it’s best to choose a sunscreen designed specifically for your face.
Wondering what the difference is? As we mentioned earlier, your face is delicate and the skin on your face is thin, so it’s important to use a sunscreen that won’t irritate it.
Have you ever checked the ingredients of some of your favorite sun products? If you have, you’ll know that quite a lot goes into creating them. But how do you know if they are right for you and your skin?
We don’t want you to be stuck playing the guessing game — not when it comes to your sun protection! So here are a couple of important factors to consider when buying sunscreen for your face.
1) Opt for Mineral Sunscreen Over Chemical Sunscreen
Since sunscreen was created to help protect us from the sun’s harmful rays, you might assume that the ingredients in different products are all pretty similar.
Well, not quite.
In fact, there are two very different types of sunscreens on the market — chemical sunscreen and mineral sunscreen.
Chemical sunscreens usually contain one or more of the following ingredients: avobenzone, octocrylene, octinoxate, oxybenzone, octisalate, and homosalate.
While chemical sunscreens are usually easier to rub on the skin and don’t leave behind any residue, unfortunately, they are not good for you or the environment.
When you apply chemical sunscreen, it doesn’t just stay on the surface of your skin — it can easily penetrate your skin and eventually get absorbed into your bloodstream.
In addition, if you’re planning to go for a swim at the beach, when the chemicals from the sunscreen wash off, they can harm the environment (more specifically, coral reefs).
Because of the potential damage that chemical sunscreens bring to you and the environment, at Babo Botanicals, we decided to only create mineral sunscreens.
Mineral sunscreens have two active ingredients (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide), and they won’t get absorbed into your bloodstream or harm the coral reefs when you’re swimming.
And the best part? Our mineral sunscreens, like the Clear Zinc Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30, go on clear, meaning that you won’t be stuck with an unattractive white residue on your face!
You can also try our Sheer Mineral Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 50 for sheer, broad-spectrum protection!
2) Pay Attention To The SPF Number
Most people aren’t clear on the Sun Protection Factor (SPF) they should be going for when buying sunscreen. The general thought is: the higher the SPF number, the more protection you’ll receive.
While this is something most of us grew up believing, what do the experts say? The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using sunscreens with at least SPF 30 because they block 97 percent of the sun’s UVB rays.
However, past a certain point, a higher SPF doesn’t necessarily mean better protection, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG).
Higher numbers (think 100 SPF) don’t offer much, if any, more protection than lower numbers. For example, the difference between an SPF 50 product and an SPF 100 product is negligible.
Additionally, consumers tend to misuse higher SPF products because of a false sense of security. For instance, they may not reapply the product as often because they assume it protects better.
In addition to paying attention to the SPF and choosing mineral sunscreen, it’s essential to opt for sun protection that’s gentle on your face. Sunscreens formulated for your and your baby’s face have been found to cause less skin irritation.
To sum things up, here are a few specifications to look for when choosing a facial sunscreen:
- Made with non-nano zinc oxide
- Made with natural or organic ingredients (like aloe vera, avocado oil, jojoba oil, and green tea)
- Gentle, lightweight formula
- Broad-spectrum label
- SPF 30 or higher
- Free of synthetic fragrances, sulfates, parabens, and phthalates
How Much Sunscreen Should You Use On Your Face?
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), most people only apply 25 to 50 percent of the recommended amount of sunscreen. This means if you’re using an SPF 30 sunscreen, it works more like an SPF 15.
If you’re not applying the correct amount, you won’t get the full coverage or receive the full benefit of your sunscreen’s protection. So how much sunscreen do you really need on your face?
The AAD and FDA suggest using approximately two milligrams of sunscreen per square centimeter of skin. In easier terms, this means you should apply about one-half of a teaspoon of sunscreen to your face.
Keep in mind that if you apply more than this amount of sunscreen, you won’t get any additional UV protection. But if you apply less than this amount of sunscreen, you will get significantly less UV protection.
Why? Because applying more sunscreen does not equal more protection. Unfortunately, sunscreen doesn't work that way.
Sunscreens have a limiting effect, which means they limit the number of rays that can get through to your skin. Applying more can’t increase your protection over the highest number of SPF listed on the bottle.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, “The SPF number tells you how long the sun’s UV radiation would take to redden your skin when using the product exactly as directed versus the amount of time without any sunscreen. So ideally, with SPF 30 it would take you 30 times longer to burn than if you weren’t wearing sunscreen.”
To get the most out of your SPF and give your skin the best protection, cover every area of your face. This includes your lips!
Babo Botanicals’s Nutri-Soothe SPF 15 Lip Treatment is perfect for daily use. It smoothes, softens, and protects your lips with organic, ultra-nourishing moisturizers and SPF 15.
Apply Nutri-Soothe (or any of our lip tints!) often and evenly to your lips, and especially before sun exposure.
How To Apply Sunscreen To Your Face
Instead of squirting a dollop of sunscreen in your hand, distribute it evenly by dotting it on your face and then massaging it in.
Applying this way keeps most of the sunscreen from ending up on the palms of your hands and gives your face much better coverage.
If you’re using a spray sunscreen, shake well and do not spray it directly onto your face. Instead, spray it on your hands and then apply it to your face.
Expert tip: If you’re using one of Babo Botanicals’s sunscreen mineral sticks, like our Fragrance Free SPF 50 Baby Face Mineral Sunscreen Stick, application is super easy! Simply glide the stick over your or your baby’s skin, making sure to cover the entire facial area.
Sunscreen And Your Moisturizer
Hopefully by now, we’re all on the same page about the importance of sunscreen in your skincare routine.
But do you know when to apply it? More specifically, which one goes first — sunscreen or moisturizer?
Ensuring that your skin is safe from the sun’s harmful rays is essential, so we want to give you clarity on this one so that you don’t have to do any guesswork on such an important part of your skin care.
If you’ve been applying your sunscreen on last, after your moisturizer, then you’ve been doing things right!
Applying sunscreen is the final step (after cleansers, exfoliators, serums, moisturizers, and everything else) to take before you apply any makeup.
To avoid adding another step to your skincare routine, you might be tempted just to mix your sunscreen with your moisturizer. Surely this will save you some time, right?
Unfortunately, this isn’t a good idea. Remember that each product was formulated to work on its own.
Mixing these two (and any other skincare products) may lead to the products losing their effectiveness. When it comes to your skin care, this is a risk not worth taking!
How Often Should You Apply Sunscreen On Your Face?
You wear your face every day, so apply sunscreen to your face daily!
Even if you’re not in direct sunlight, you’re still catching some UV rays while walking to the mailbox, driving in your car, or walking in to work.
For women, apply an even layer of sunscreen under your makeup. Make it a habit of adding sunscreen to your daily skincare routine. Layering is important, so use makeup products that have an SPF factor on top of your sunscreen.
Just like you would touch-up your makeup throughout the day, sometimes you need to touch-up your sunscreen. This is especially true if you find yourself at an outdoor activity in the afternoon.
Babo Botanicals’s Daily Sheer Tinted Facial Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 - Natural Glow is the perfect addition to your daily skincare routine! This tinted sunscreen provides great protection for everyday wear.
It adds luminosity to your skin and is ultra-sheer, lightweight, clean, and non-greasy, making it gentle and soothing for sensitive skin.
Even better? This unique tinted moisturizer enriched with anti-aging hyaluronic acid is packed with powerful antioxidants, omegas, and vitamin C.
If you’re not interested in adding a tint, try our Daily Sheer Facial Sunscreen SPF 40 - Fragrance Free instead, which is perfect for extra sensitive faces! It contains powerful antioxidants, Rose Hip, and Green Tea to help prevent premature aging.
Our ultra-sheer, lightweight, and hypoallergenic formula also contains organic aloe vera, avocado, and jojoba oil to soothe and moisturize skin. It’s ideal for use as a daily moisturizer and under your make-up!
Sunscreen For The Whole Family
We’ve talked about mom’s daily sunscreen, but what about the rest of the family?
Good news! Babo Botanicals offers a mineral sunscreen just for your baby’s face! Our new Fragrance Free SPF 50 Baby Face Mineral Sunscreen Stick glides on sheer and is fragrance-free and formulated for very sensitive skin.
Simply apply a layer of our mineral sunscreen to your baby’s face daily, just like you would for yourself.
If you're taking your baby out in direct sunlight, apply liberally to exposed areas 15 minutes before sun exposure. Reapply at least every two hours, after 80 minutes of swimming or sweating, or immediately after towel-drying.
For men (and children), apply an even layer of our Daily Sheer SPF 40 Sunscreen - Fragrance Free to your face daily at the start of your day! If you work outside, don’t forget to reapply throughout the day.
Lastly, reapply sunscreen every two hours if you or your kids are outside most of the day, like when you’re at the beach or playing in the yard. You may need to apply sunscreen more frequently if you’re sweating or swimming.
Facial Sunscreen FAQs
1) Will Using Sunscreen On My Face Dry Out My Skin?
Have you ever used sunscreen and ended up with dry and uncomfortable skin?
Unfortunately, some sunscreens have a drying side effect. But we want better for you!
That’s why our mineral sunscreens (like the Clear Zinc Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 we highlighted above) have sun protection qualities while also adding moisture with their skin-soothing certified organic oils.
Don’t let the word “oils” scare you. When you apply the sunscreen onto your skin, you’ll find that it’s non-greasy, hypoallergenic, and fragrance-free.
Sun protection is such an important part of our lives. The last thing you want to do is stress over ingredients, unsightly residue, and other common sunscreen culprits.
With our mineral sunscreen collection, you won’t have to worry about any of that anymore!
2) Are Spray Sunscreens Effective?
With spray sunscreens, things can get a little tricky.
How do you know you’re applying enough? This is an important question to ask because if you aren’t using enough of the product, you won’t be protected from the sun.
We mentioned above that the best way to apply spray sunscreens is not to spray directly onto your face but, instead, to first spray onto your hands and then apply to your face (and other exposed areas).
When using sprays, be generous with the amount you apply. This will ensure that you’re protected from the sun.
Spraying the sunscreen onto your hands first is also a safety precaution. It protects you from inhaling the spray or accidentally getting some of it in your eyes.
3) Do I Need To Apply Sunscreen On My Face While I’m Indoors?
The short answer to this question is: yes! If you’ll be spending the whole day indoors, you still need at least SPF 30 on your face (including all other exposed areas).
This answer might come as a surprise to you. If you’re indoors all day, why would you need protection from the sun?
Here’s why it’s essential to always wear sunscreen, whether you’re indoors or outdoors:
While you might think you’re protected from the sun, windows from your car, home, office, etc. let harmful UVA rays pass through, and this, unfortunately, can expose you to sun damage.
In addition, you might have to pop outside to grab some lunch or fetch your mail from the mailbox, even when you’re mostly having an indoors day.
Sun protection is also essential during cloudy or cool days. Just as the sun can penetrate through windows, it can also do so through clouds.
Finally, if you’re sitting under a tree, you can also get exposed to the direct sunlight. That’s because trees usually don’t offer complete protection from the sun. There are always snippets of sunlight seeping through the branches and leaves.
Whether you plan on going outside or staying indoors, the safest way to protect your skin is always to ensure that you have sunscreen on!
Face The Day
Your face needs extra sun care on a daily basis, not just when you’re on a sunny vacation!
Review our list of what to look for in a sunscreen, and use about one-half of a teaspoon of sunscreen on your face. With the right sunscreen and correct application, you’ll give your face the best sun protection!
Choose whatever type of sunscreen is most convenient for you and your family, whether that’s a spray, gel, or stick sunscreen.
After you make your decision, check out Babo Botanicals’s sun care products and give your family the best protection so you can all face the day with confidence!