You know sunscreen is important—it’s not only a key step to avoid sun damage from harmful UVA and UVB rays, but consistent SPF use also helps maintain skin’s overall health and has even been proven to slow skin’s aging. But how often should you be reapplying sunscreen to ensure maximum protection for your skin?
Here, we’ll break down how often to reapply sunscreen to help minimize the risks associated with sun exposure such as skin cancer, painful sunburns, and early aging. Taking just a few seconds to reapply your SPF every day can be easier—and more enjoyable—than you think.
How often should you reapply sunscreen?
The FDA recommends using a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher every day, no matter the weather. After you have your base layer, it’s important to reapply your SPF at least every 2 hours, with one exception: if you’ve been swimming, sweating, or towel drying, you should reapply as soon as possible afterwards, since these activities can decrease the effectiveness of your sunscreen.
Note that if you’re using a chemical sunscreen (as opposed to a mineral sunscreen) with non-mineral active ingredients like Avobenzone, Homosalate, Octisalate, or Octocrylene, it’s important to wait 15 minutes before more sun exposure to let the sunscreen absorb into your skin.
If I use a higher SPF, can I wait longer to reapply?
Nope! This is a common misconception. SPF is a measure of how much solar energy (UV radiation) is required to produce a sunburn on protected skin, and the amount of solar energy you’re exposed to can vary depending on the time of day, your geographic location, and how fair your skin is.
Since SPF does not indicate how long you should wait to reapply, it’s important to always reapply at least every two hours regardless of the SPF level of your sunscreen.
What happens if you don’t reapply sunscreen?
Reapplying sunscreen is an essential aspect of effective sun protection. Failure to reapply leaves your skin vulnerable to sun damage and unprotected from UV radiation. To prevent skin damage on exposed skin in direct sunlight, it is crucial to prioritize regular sunscreen reapplication throughout the day. If you skip reapplication or forget to reapply, you have a heightened risk of skin cancer, along with risk of sunburn, early aging, and other serious skin damage.
How can you tell if you need to reapply?
The answer is easy: if it’s been two hours or more since your last sunscreen application—or if you’ve been swimming, sweating, or towel-drying—it’s time to reapply ASAP. Following this simple rule will help keep your skin healthy and protected.
What’s the best way to reapply?
You can reapply with any sunscreen product, but some are easier than others. At COOLA, we’re constantly innovating to make SPF that feels luxurious—so applying and reapplying it is enjoyable instead of a chore. Whether you’re looking for a body sunscreen or face sunscreen, we have the perfect solution to fit your needs.
We made our Classic Face Mist SPF 50 to make SPF reapplication easy even during your most active days in the sun. This spray sunscreen is water resistant and goes on in a few quick spritzes.
Looking for a quick way to reapply that also helps your makeup last all day? Reach for our Makeup Setting Spray SPF 30. It includes aloe and cooling cucumber for instant refreshment, and has a matte finish for no-shine protection.
Want more hydration throughout the day? Keep our Refreshing Water Mist SPF 18 with you wherever you go. It’s clinically proven to hydrate 24+ hours with just one application, while also protecting skin from blue light thanks to our BlueScreen™ Digital De-Stress™ technology.
Another easy way to quickly and easily reapply? A swipe of a sunscreen stick—like our Tropical Coconut scented Classic Sunscreen Stick SPF 30, our Mineral Stick SPF 50, or our Refreshing Water Hydration Stick SPF 50.
When wondering whether it’s time to apply more sunscreen, follow one simple rule: when in doubt, reapply.
It also helps to use sunscreen you enjoy, so you are more likely to use it and stay protected. That’s why we make organic, healthy, luxurious feeling sunscreen you’ll want to use every day.
- Hughes, M. C. B., Williams, G. M., Baker, P., & Green, A. C. (2013, June 4). Sunscreen and Prevention of Skin Aging. Annals of Internal Medicine. https://doi.org/10.7326/0003-4819-158-11-201306040-00002
- Research U.S. Food And Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/drugs/understanding-over-counter-medicines/sunscreen-how-help-protect-your-skin-sun
- Research U.S. Food And Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/about-fda/center-drug-evaluation-and-research-cder/sun-protection-factor-spf