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21st May 2019

Dispelling the myth of once a day application

With increasing amounts of “once a day” sunscreens hitting the market, we want to dispel the myth that sunscreens only require one application per day.

In reality once a day sunscreens, simply do not exist. This was something that the team at “Which?” found out when they conducted a trial(1). Claims about “once-a-day” sunscreens are not allowed in Australia, where there are stricter regulations about such declarations. Following the study, “Which?” too believe similar rules should be introduced in the UK. However, there is actually a European Commission recommendation that no claim should be made that implies ‘no need to re-apply the product under any circumstances (such as ‘all day’ prevention).(2)

One of the reasons sunscreens marketed in such a way are misleading is that sunscreens will need to be reapplied, no matter the amount of SPF advertised The surface of your skin is subject to many things throughout the course of the day which will impede the integrity of your protection. These include but are not limited; sweating, exercise, and contact with clothes or towels.

This is why we strongly recommend reapplying your sunscreen every 2 hours, especially after swimming, sweating, exercise or towelling dry.

Our other tips for application are

  • Always apply at least 20 minutes before exposure
  • Use over ½ teaspoon on; arms, face/neck3

Always read the label and only use as directed. Do not stay too long in the sun, even while using a sunscreen product. Keep babies and young children out of direct sunlight. Over-exposure to the sun is a serious health threat.

  1. https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/sun-creams/article/once-a-day-sun-creams
  2. 2006/647/EC commission recommendation on the efficacy of sunscreen products and the claims made relating thereto), no claim should be made that implies ‘no need to re-apply the product under any circumstances (such as ‘all day’ prevention).
  3. Schneider J. The teaspoon rule of applying sunscreen. Arch Dermatol. 2002; 138:838-839.
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