Dr Alex George gives advice on sunburn and suncream
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Sunscreen should be worn every single day to protect against skin cancer and it’s really quick to slather it on. However, most of us don’t apply sunscreen properly or nearly enough. Express.co.uk chatted to Harley Street SPF expert and founder of the Dr Russo sun protection range, Dr Mario Luca Russo www.drrussoskincare.com to find out how to apply sunscreen and why to use a brush.
Sunburn increases your risk of skin cancer and it’s easy to get burnt in the UK, even if it’s cloudy.
Although a suntan may appear healthy and add a sunkissed glow to your skin, there is actually no safe or healthy way to get a tan.
A tan is a sign that your skin has been damaged, which puts you at risk of skin cancer.
You should use at least an SPF 30 with at least four-star UVA protection every single day to protect your skin.
According to the NHS site, most people do not apply enough sunscreen.
As a guide, adults should aim to apply around two teaspoons of sunscreen if you’re just covering your head, arms and neck, or two tablespoons if you’re covering your entire body while wearing a swimming costume.
If sunscreen is applied too thinly, the amount of protection it gives is reduced.
If you’re worried you might not be applying enough SPF30, you could use sunscreen with a higher SPF.
Sunscreen should be applied to all exposed skin, including the face, neck and ears, and head if you have thinning or no hair, but a wide-brimmed hat is better.
It also needs to be reapplied liberally and frequently, and according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
The problem with most sunscreens is that although they will tell you the SPF and inform you that you need to keep reapplying the product every few hours, they don’t actually tell you how much you need to apply in order to remain protected from the sun’s damaging UV rays.
Dr Russo added: “In fact, research has shown that most people only apply 25 to 50 percent of the amount of product used during the testing process, which simply isn’t enough to provide adequate skin protection. This goes for both lotions and sprays.”
So how can you make sure you’re applying enough sun cream properly and evenly? Use a brush.
You can use your hands to apply SPF, but you probably won’t apply an even coating.
Dr Russo warned: “If you’re using your hands to apply sunscreen, the guidance for adults is that most SPF products should be applied every couple of hours, with a golf ball-sized amount used to cover the entire body each time.”
The doctor advises everyone to apply sun cream, with a brush rather than their hands.
He said: “Use a brush to ensure that all exposed skin is protected evenly.
“If you use your hands, what usually happens is the legs and chest tend to get a healthy coating whilst areas such as the scalp, ears and back of the neck receive no more than a perfunctory smear – despite these being the areas most likely to burn.”
If you find yourself burning after a day in the sun, despite having used sunscreen protection, it is most likely because your SPF wasn’t high enough.
Dr Russo explained: “You haven’t recreated the same conditions as those used initially for testing.
“This could mean you spent too much time in the sun without reapplying, you didn’t apply enough product, or the product was applied unevenly”.
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