I Applied My SPF Incorrectly, Until A Dermatologist Told Me This

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The importance of wearing SPF is well documented. It’s the nonnegotiable product that all experts agree should be worn every day, rain or shine, to protect the skin against UVA and UVB rays. In turn, it helps reduce the risk of skin cancer and slow down the signs of aging. “We can prevent up to 80% of skin aging by using daily sunscreen correctly, all year round,” says Dr. Sam Bunting. “That’s a lot to play for.”

But are you wearing it correctly? Many dermatologists say we are missing the mark when it comes to proper application. Even as a beauty editor, I spent many years of my life smearing just one pump of SPF onto my face, and I rarely applied it beneath the jawline. That is until I learned a clever method for foolproof application.

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“You need a quarter of a teaspoon (or 1.25 ml) of sunscreen for the face and the same again for the neck,” Dr. Bunting explains. “Or, you can use the two-finger—your index and middle fingers—rule for ease. I recommend people use the 13-dot technique to ensure you cover the skin evenly, without missing bits out. Just like painting a wall, you want (and need) an even layer.” This technique couldn’t be easier: Simply dot 13 fingerprints of SPF across the face, then rub it in.

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