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When to Apply Sunscreen

Updated: Jul 18, 2021



Sunscreen for everyday activities When the UV index is forecast to reach 3 or above, it is recommended that sunscreen is applied to the face, ears, scalp if uncovered, neck and all parts of the body not covered by clothing. Ideally, this would form part of the morning routine. This protects the skin from the harmful effects of everyday sun exposure.


Sunscreen for planned or prolonged outdoor activities During planned or prolonged outdoor activities, for the best protection it is recommended that sunscreen is used along with other sun protection measures (i.e. clothing to cover as much of the skin as possible; hats; sunglasses; shade; scheduling outdoor activities to avoid the middle part of the day). When the UV index is forecast to reach 3 or above, sunscreen should be applied to the face, ears, scalp if uncovered, neck and all parts of the body not covered by clothing. Sunscreen should be re-applied every 2 hours or more frequently if swimming, sweating or towel drying. Sunscreens should not be used to promote tanning, but rather as one of five strategies (along with shade, hats, clothing, sunglasses) to reduce exposure to harmful UV radiation.


David C. Whiteman "When to apply sunscreen: a consensus statement for Australia and New Zealand" Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health 2019


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