How Often Should You Apply Sunscreen? Not as Often as You Think

Rachel Krause
sunscreen How Often Should You Apply Sunscreen? Not as Often as You Think

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If you apply sunscreen religiously every few hours when you know you’ll be outside, we salute you—protecting your skin from the sun is crucial, both for health reasons and to prevent the aging effects of sun damage.

But as it turns out, your frequent application could actually be overkill. P&G Scientific Communications Manager Dr. Frauke Neuser recently shared with us the mind-blowing revelation that we really don’t need to be putting on sunscreen as often as we’re told. Dermatologists have always maintained that SPF needs to be reapplied as frequently as once an hour, even more so if we’re engaging in warm-weather activities like swimming and, um, sweating.

Dr. Frauke says otherwise. In fact, she informed us that your SPF will pretty much always last up to 8 hours. Once you apply your usual 15 or 30 SPF in the morning (which you are doing every morning, right?), you’re totally set for a day that consists primarily of sitting at your desk. You will need to reapply after a shower, a swim, or a workout regimen that leaves you super sweaty, but so long as you’re staying dry–so especially in these cooler temps–your SPF will have you covered throughout much of your day.

Consider us schooled—and more than a little bit relieved that we’ll no longer be going through a tube of sunscreen as quickly as we used to.

MORE: 6 Crucial Places You Should Be Applying SPF