Sunscreen Basics: Body Application Tips From a Sun Protection Stickler

Sunscreen Basics: Body Application Tips From a Sun Protection Stickler

Sunscreen usage on the body is where I find the largest variance in people’s routines. I’ve gone over some sunscreen basics and talked about my face sunscreen routine here; now let’s get into the body discussion.


What Body Sunscreen I Apply

I know, it may be a bit of a shock for such a strong sunscreen advocate as myself, but I don’t apply sunscreen on my body when I’m not outdoors for more than 30 minutes. Since I tend to stay indoors or under shade during my daily activities, I really only use sunscreen on my body during something like a beach or amusement park visit. Ideally, I would find a daily body lotion with some SPF in it to apply in the mornings, but I just haven’t found a match yet.

I’m also much less picky about my body sunscreens than the ones that go on my face in terms of the filters used. I don’t really care if inorganic/physical or organic/chemical filters are used. Again, these sunscreens don’t get used daily, so I’ve never used one long enough to notice any irritation caused by long-term use.

However, I’m still a stickler when it comes to texture. A lot of body sunscreens can be really sticky or oily. I find they feel gross going on and get even stickier throughout the day—no, thank you. If I have to use sunscreen in a tube, I typically stick to thinner lotion consistencies that I can liberally apply. My true preference is the spray sunscreen format because of the even coverage.

I made this switch to sprays because of my vacation to a tropical beach about six years ago. I slapped on some lotion sunscreen thinking I had covered my shoulders. I learned they were definitely not covered when I returned to my room an hour later to find the outline of my fingers in white where the sunscreen was surrounded by bright red and burned skin. It was very, very painful.


How I Apply Body Sunscreen

Since it’s important to give your sunscreen time to form that protective layer on your skin, that’s my focus for initial application. If I’m wearing shorts, I’ll roll them up and also roll up the sleeves of my shirt or wait to put my shirt on if I’m wearing something sleeveless. I spray a layer on all exposed skin from the neck down and give it 15 before I unroll and am ready to leave.

Honestly, I look a bit silly during the process, but it’s worth it. I find if I don’t roll up all sleeves/shorts, as I walk around and move, I can get a little toasted on the little bits of exposed skin. Just like my aforementioned sunburnt handprints, I learned this the hard way when I had a few weird crescents of sunburnt skin on my thighs after several hours on a beach in California. Don’t be me. Roll up your shorts and sleeves, apply, wait 15 minutes, and then unroll. I beg you.


The Application Part 2: Reapplication

Much like with my face sunscreen routine, reapplication tends to be a much less elegant process. That’s a big reason as to why I’m so particular about my initial application—the sequel is just not as good. Spray sunscreens that apply on wet skin is what I primarily use for reapplication. I’m not always at the pool or the beach, but a lot of times I am sweaty. It’s not a proven claim, but I do feel like using spray sunscreen that works on wet skin applies better when I’m sweating compared to “regular” sunscreen.

sunscreen body

I already keep an eye on the clock to ensure I reapply my face sunscreen every two to three hours, so I just reapply my body sunscreen at the same time. I rarely travel alone, so I have my partner or nearest available friend/family member mist my shoulders and the back of my neck. I’ll spray my chest and then actually squirt some into my hand and pat down the front of my neck. I’ve had random gusts of wind blow sunscreen into my face while spraying the front half of my body. It tastes awful.

I’m both surprised that I had this much to say about the basics of sunscreen and also not surprised at all. It’s something I’m such a firm believer in and encourage everyone to use frequently for both aesthetics as well as general health. I hope I’ve guided some of you along in your sunscreen quest. Please leave any questions below and as always, I’m wishing all of you a fantastic week!


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