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What is the proper way to apply sunscreen to the face?

Answer by:
Susan Evans, MD

Dermatologist, WebMD Medical Expert
Skin Deformities and Research Foundation

Applying sunscreen is a very important part of your daily skin care regimen, especially if you are exposed to daylight. The deeper penetrating UVA rays are present in daylight (from morning to night), every season of the year. The UVA rays comprise 94% of all the UV radiation we get, and penetrate clouds and car window glass every day. UVA promotes cancer and premature aging from the sun. Zinc oxide is a physical blocker and is the only FDA approved substance that blocks the entire UVA spectrum. 

All sunscreens should be applied every two hours, as none safely last longer than that. A SPF of 30 is adequate protection from the UVB burning rays, which are stronger at noontime and in the summer months. You can tell when you have had too much exposure when you feel the burn from the UVB rays in the summertime. Unfortunately, the UVA rays do not carry a radiant heat or burn warning that you have had too much. You realize you have had too much sun exposure when premature wrinkles and uneven skin tone become apparent in 20 to 30 years.

Broad spectrum sunscreen should be applied to sun exposed skin daily and reapplied every two hours. Powder sunscreens are available to apply over makeup throughout the day