If you’re like most people, you don’t think much about sunscreen after slathering it on before heading outdoors. But the truth is, how often you reapply sunscreen can be just as important as the SPF level you choose. So, how often should you reapply sunscreen, and why does it matter? Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours or more often if you’re sweating or swimming. This is because the chemical ingredients in sunscreen break down over time and rub off easily. So even if you don’t think you need to, it’s always a good idea to reapply sunscreen every few hours to ensure you’re still getting the complete protection you need.

For chemo patients, choosing the right sunscreen is crucial due to the heightened sensitivity of their skin during treatment. The best sunscreen for chemo patients would be specially formulated for sensitive skin, free from harsh chemicals or fragrances that could irritate or cause allergic reactions.

How Often Should You Reapply Sunscreen? In 2024

The frequency of sunscreen reapplication hinges on various aspects like your skin type, the sunscreen’s SPF, and whether you engage in activities like sweating or swimming. Nonetheless, a broad guideline suggests reapplying sunscreen every two hours or more often when sweating or participating in water-related activities.

When To Apply (And Reapply) Sunscreen:

Sunscreen application doesn’t adhere to a universal standard. The need to reapply sunscreen varies based on factors like sunscreen SPF, the nature of your activity, and the duration of sun exposure.

With that said, let’s take a closer look at some general guidelines for reapplying sunscreen.

  1. Suppose your sunscreen boasts an SPF of 15 or greater. In that case, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) advises reapplication every two hours, especially during swimming or physical activity, causing perspiration.
  2. If you’re using sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, the AAD recommends reapplying every four hours.

Of course, these are just general guidelines. Suppose you’re getting sunburned even when you’re following these recommendations. In that case, you may need to reapply sunscreen more frequently.

How To Apply Your Sunscreen:

Applying sunscreen correctly is essential to ensure proper protection from the sun’s harmful rays. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to apply sunscreen effectively:

  1. Choose the right sunscreen: Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen that boasts an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 30 or greater, ensuring comprehensive safeguarding against UVA and UVB rays.
  2. Apply sunscreen before sun exposure: At least 15-30 minutes before venturing outdoors. This timeframe allows the sunscreen to adhere to your skin, enhancing its ability to furnish improved protection.
  3. Use the right amount: Most people need to apply more sunscreen, which reduces its effectiveness. Use about one ounce (approximately a shot glass full) to cover your entire body. For the face, use around a nickel-sized amount.
  4. Cover all exposed skin: Apply sunscreen to all exposed areas of your body, including your face, neck, ears, arms, hands, and legs. Remember often overlooked places like the back of your neck and the tops of your feet.
  5. Reapply regularly: Reapply sunscreen every two hours or more often if you’re swimming, sweating, or towel-drying. Even if the sunscreen claims to be water-resistant, reapplying after swimming or excessive sweating is essential.
  6. Be gentle with your skin: Handle your skin delicately. Administer sunscreen using mild, circular movements, refraining from excessive rubbing, mainly if your skin is sensitive.
  7. Take advantage of the eye area: Be cautious when applying sunscreen around your eyes. Consider using sunglasses with UV protection to shield your eyes from the sun.
  8. Use it daily: Sunscreen is for more than just sunny days or beach vacations. Make it a daily routine, regardless of the weather or season.
  9. Verify expiry dates: Before applying, inspect your sunscreen’s expiration date. Utilizing sunscreen beyond its expiration date could result in diminished efficacy, compromising its protection level.
  10. Sunscreen is not a license to stay in the sun for longer: Even with sunscreen on, it’s crucial to take other sun protection measures, such as seeking shade, wearing protective clothing, and limiting sun exposure during peak hours (10 am to 4 pm).
How To Apply Your Sunscreen

What Not To Do When Reapplying Sunscreen:

When reapplying sunscreen, be sure not to miss any spots and apply it evenly. Also, be sure to avoid contact with the eyes and mouth.

Do I Need To Reapply Sunscreen Throughout The Day?

If you’re using a chemical sunscreen, it’s generally recommended to reapply it every two hours or more often if you’re sweating or swimming. Suppose you use a physical sunscreen containing zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. In that case, you can get away with reapplying it less often, about every four hours.

Sunscreen And Your Morning Routine:

Integrating sunscreen into your morning regimen effectively shields your skin from the sun’s detrimental rays. Not only will it contribute to maintaining youthful and vibrant skin, but it also serves as a preventive measure against skin cancer. Given the assortment of sunscreens available, opt for the one tailored to your skin type.

  1. Sunscreen protects against the harmful impact of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays.
  2. Applying sunscreen aids in averting skin cancer, premature aging, and other detrimental consequences of sun exposure.
  3. Apply sunscreen generously to all exposed areas, encompassing the face, neck, ears, and hands.
  4. Ensure the use of sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, reapplying every two hours or as required.
  5. Beyond sunscreen usage, safeguard your skin by donning protective attire, seeking shade, and evading sun exposure during the peak hours of 10 am to 4 pm.

Should You Protect Your Face Every Day?

Numerous compelling reasons underline the importance of daily facial protection. Sun exposure can damage the skin, triggering premature aging and potential skin cancer. Furthermore, adverse weather conditions like wind and cold can inflict harm, resulting in chafing and dryness. Additionally, the risk of physical injury from accidents remains a pertinent concern. Hence, safeguarding your face with sunscreen, a hat, or sunglasses during outdoor activities and utilizing a scarf or other protective measures during cold and windy conditions becomes imperative.

How Much Sunscreen Do I Need?

It depends on several factors, such as your skin type, the amount of time you’ll spend in the sun, the intensity of the sun’s rays, etc. However, a general rule of thumb is to use enough sunscreen to cover all exposed skin and to reapply it every two hours or after swimming or sweating.

  • A pea-sized amount of sunscreen is typically enough to cover the face.
  • For the body, using 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen for adults is typically recommended.
  • A child should use 1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) of sunscreen.

How To Reapply Sunscreen Over Makeup?

If you’re wearing makeup and want to reapply sunscreen, the best way is to use mineral powder sunscreen. First, apply your makeup as usual. Then, apply the mineral powder sunscreen using a large powder brush over your makeup. Be sure to use a generous amount and brush it on evenly. You can also reapply sunscreen by spraying it over your makeup, but be sure to hold the bottle about 6 inches away from your face so you don’t ruin your makeup.

11 Compact Sunscreens So That You Never Forget To Reapply:

  1. Sunscreen Sticks
  2. Sunscreen Pencils
  3. Sunscreen Wipes
  4. Sunscreen Towelettes
  5. Sunscreen Roll-Ons
  6. Coola Mineral Sunscreen Stick SPF 30
  7. Suntegrity 5-in-1 Natural Moisturizing Tinted Face Sunscreen SPF 30
  8. Bare Republic Mineral Sport Sunscreen Spray SPF 30
  9. Sunscreen Sprays
  10. Sunscreen Gel Tubes

Best Products To Use (And Avoid) For Reapplication:

The best products for reapplication will not clog pores or irritate the skin. These include products that are non-comedogenic, non-acnegenic, and oil-free. Some examples of these products are sunscreens, BB, and CC creams.

The products to avoid reapplication can clog pores or irritate the skin. These include heavy, oil-based products or contain ingredients that can irritate. Some examples of these types of products are foundation, concealer, and powder.

Best Products To Use (And Avoid) For Reapplication

Best Products For Reapplication:

  1. Sunscreen Sticks
  2. Powder Sunscreens
  3. Sunscreen Cushions
  4. Sunscreen Sprays
  5. Sunscreen Wipes
  6. Sunscreen Lip Balms

Products To Avoid For Reapplication:

  1. Regular Moisturizers or Makeup
  2. Oils or Oil-Based Products
  3. Alcohol-Based Products
  4. Sprays without Proper Application

Best Sunscreen For Chemo Patients:

  1. Water-Resistant: If the patient is swimming or sweating, choose a water-resistant sunscreen to ensure it stays effective during these activities.
  2. Dermatologist-Recommended: Consider seeking recommendations from a dermatologist who is experienced in working with chemo patients. They can suggest suitable sunscreen options based on the patient’s needs and skin condition.
  3. Moisturizing Formulas: Look for sunscreens that have moisturizing properties to help counteract dryness and maintain the skin’s hydration.
  4. Fragrance-Free and Hypoallergenic: Opt for sunscreens free from added fragrances and labeled as hypoallergenic. This reduces the risk of skin irritation or allergic reactions, which can be more problematic for chemo patients.
  5. Chemical-Free: Avoid sunscreens with chemical UV filters like oxybenzone, avobenzone, and octinoxate, as they may be more likely to cause skin irritation.


Wearing sunscreen is a constant necessity, and its proper application is crucial. Sunscreen safeguards you against detrimental UV rays, which have been linked to the development of skin cancer. When planning outdoor activities, ensure sunscreen has an SPF of 30 or higher and maintain reapplication every two hours for uninterrupted protection.

For chemo patients, choosing the right sunscreen is crucial due to the heightened sensitivity of their skin during treatment. The best sunscreen for chemo patients would be specially formulated for sensitive skin, free from harsh chemicals or fragrances that could irritate or cause allergic reactions.

Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry about sunscreen. So make sure you’re reapplying it often, especially in the summertime. Your skin will thank you for it!