How Much Sunscreen to Use on Your Face

Sunscreen is a crucial part of any skincare routine to protect your face from harmful UV rays that can cause sunburn, premature aging, and skin cancer. But how much sunscreen should you actually use on your face?

Sunscreen Application Tips

The general rule of thumb is to apply about a nickel-sized dollop of sunscreen, or around 1/4 to 1/3 of a teaspoon, to fully cover your face and neck. This ensures you’re using enough to get the SPF protection stated on the label.

Some other tips:

  • Use the “two-finger method” – squeeze sunscreen along the length of your pointer and middle fingers to get the right amount
  • Don’t forget often-missed spots like your ears, around your eyes, and your neck
  • Rub the sunscreen in thoroughly so there are no white streaks

When To Apply Face Sunscreen

For best protection, apply sunscreen to your face about 15-30 minutes before going outside. This allows it time to absorb into your skin. Reapply every 2 hours, or more often if you’re swimming or sweating a lot.

Make it a daily morning habit to apply sunscreen – whether it’s sunny or cloudy. Up to 80% of UV rays can penetrate through clouds.

How To Choose A Face Sunscreen

When shopping for a facial sunscreen, look for:

  • Broad spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays
  • SPF 30 or higher
  • Non-comedogenic and fragrance-free if you have sensitive or acne-prone skin
  • A lightweight, non-greasy formula you’ll want to wear every day

The Perfect Amount Of Sunscreen For Your Face

So in summary, aim to use a nickel-sized amount of broad spectrum SPF 30+ sunscreen on your face every morning, and reapply every 2 hours when outdoors. 

While it can be tricky to tell if you’re applying enough, using too little can leave your skin vulnerable to damage. When in doubt, use a little more than you think you need.

The Importance Of Sunscreen

Daily sunscreen use is one of the best ways to protect your skin’s health and appearance. It can:

  • Lower your risk of skin cancer and precancerous skin lesions
  • Prevent premature skin aging like wrinkles, sagging, and age spots
  • Reduce skin discoloration and blotchiness

How much SPF sunscreen to use on your face?

Dermatologists recommend using a sunscreen with at least SPF 30 on your face daily. This blocks about 97% of the sun’s UV radiation. During extended outdoor time, consider SPF 50 which blocks around 98%.

How often do you need to reapply sunscreen to your face?

Reapply facial sunscreen at least every 2 hours when outdoors, or more frequently if you’re swimming or sweating heavily. 

Sunscreen can rub, sweat, or rinse off with water so reapplication is key to maintaining your protection.

Types of Sunscreen

There are two main types of sunscreen:

  1. Chemical sunscreens absorb UV rays with ingredients like avobenzone and oxybenzone. These tend to be lightweight and invisible on the skin.
  2. Mineral/physical sunscreens block UV rays with ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These can sometimes leave a white cast but are often gentler on sensitive skin.

Incorporating Sunscreen into Your Skincare Routine

Apply your facial sunscreen as the last step in your morning skincare routine. Use it after cleansing, toning, and moisturizing but before applying makeup. Give it a few minutes to absorb before putting on foundation.


Do I need to wear sunscreen even if I have darker skin?

Yes, people of all skin tones can get sun damage and skin cancer, even if you rarely burn.

Is SPF 100 better than SPF 30?

SPF 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays, while SPF 100 blocks 99%. So while there is a small difference, SPF 100 isn’t meaningfully better. Proper application and reapplication of SPF 30 is more important.

Can I skip moisturizer and just use sunscreen?

If your sunscreen is hydrating enough for your skin type, it’s okay to use it without a separate moisturizer. However, many people find they need both to keep their skin healthy and protected.


Using the right amount of facial sunscreen daily is essential for protecting your skin from sun damage. 

Aim for about 1/4 teaspoon of broad spectrum SPF 30+ for your face and neck, applied every morning and reapplied every 2 hours when outside. 

By making sunscreen a part of your daily routine, you can keep your skin looking healthy and youthful for years to come.

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