EDIT 27/04/2018: After reviewing the latest scientific information, I now recommend you apply the same amount of product for both chemical and physical sunscreens: two milligrams of sunscreen per square centimeter of skin.
Do you apply enough sunscreen?
Most people don’t. And that’s not surprising. We’re told the recommended amount of sunscreen to apply for the face and neck alone is half a teaspoon. But try and do that. Your face will become a greasy mess and you’ll look as white as a ghost. Yet, applying less is not an option. It leaves your skin unprotected, which leads to wrinkles, sun spots and even skin cancer. Unless…
Why you should use a chemical-free sunscreen
Unless you use a chemical-free sunscreen. The name is very misleading. It doesn’t mean that it doesn’t contain chemicals (in fact, all cosmetic ingredients, including natural ones, are chemicals, so it’d be impossible to formulate something without them), but that it uses, as sunscreen agents, the minerals Titanium Dioxide and/or Zinc Oxide. People have, for decades, avoided these white minerals because they have a chalky, hard-to-spread texture and leave an ugly white cast on the skin, but lately, things have changed.
Now it is possible to produce Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide in particles that are so small that they appear transparent, but still provide adequate protection. This has several benefits, as dermatologist Dr Neal Schultz explains: “as a result of micronization those very, very small particles are then able to give you much larger coverage of a much larger area. That’s because the aggregate of the surface area or the protective part of those minerals is much larger. Also because they’re tiny, tiny particles spread more easily and give you a thinner layer.”
So, how much chemical-free sunscreen should you use?
Dr Schultz suggests that, for the face, we need only a pea-sized amount. And if you go to the beach, then the recommended amount for the whole body is a tablespoon. Now, that’s a lot easier to apply, isn’t it? You could always use more if that makes you feel safer, but it’s not really necessary. Just make sure you apply it properly. To get a better coverage (and protection) dab it on instead than spreading it around. Of course, you should still follow the old rules of reapplying your sunscreen every two or three hours, and always after swimming or sweating. Not even chemical-free sunscreens last forever on the skin.
Do you use chemical-free sunscreens? If so, how much do you use?
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