Written by Suzy Whalen | This article originally appeared on Life On Earth
By now, you’ve probably heard from many experts, articles, journals, and magazines that sunscreen is a must-have in the summer when you’re spending more time outdoors. Not only does wearing sunscreen prevent painful and unsightly burns, it also protects the skin from wrinkles, brown spots, skin cancer, and signs of aging. Essentially, wearing sunscreen is a must-do for skin health.
However, despite our knowledge that it’s an overall good thing, there are still many questions, uncertainties, and myths out there when it comes to the best way to use and apply sunscreen for maximum effectiveness. We’re here to dispel some of those myths!
Application Technique
First, use about a 1-ounce glass worth of sunscreen to protect your full body from sun exposure (slightly more or less may be needed depending on your size). Apply sunscreen to your whole body about 15 minutes before sun exposure, which allows it time to sink in. From there, reapply every 1.5 hours you’re in the sun; our favorite trick is to set our smartphone reminders to let us know when it’s time to reapply. And of course, if you go in the water, always reapply after you dry – no matter how recently you applied before going in the water.
No matter how diligently you think you apply, it’s always easy to miss a few spots. The most likely culprits? People often forget their feet (even the bottoms, if you’re laying on your stomach), top of their ears, their scalp and neck, and chest/underarms. Be extra diligent when it comes to those spots for the best protection.
Types to Buy
The actual brand may not be as important as the coverage the sunscreen gives you. Always look for options that say “broad spectrum protection” as it better protects your skin from both UVA and UVB light. Doctors recommend purchasing an SPF of 15-50 for maximum effectiveness. Additionally, always be sure to buy new sunscreen each summer, or at least check the expiration dates on your old bottles. There may be a lot left in last year’s supply, but the active ingredients in sunscreen do wear off over time. 
Spray versus lotion?
The jury’s still out on whether spray sunscreen is as effective as lotions. Many experts lean towards lotions, as it’s easier to cover the majority of the body and to know if you missed spots. Spraying outdoors makes it even easier to miss spots due to the wind blowing the spray away from your body. When in doubt, use lotions, but spray can work in a jiffy if needed.