How Often Should You Reapply Suncreen?

How Often Should You Reapply Suncreen?

Sunscreen, such as mineral and chemical sunscreen, is a must when it comes to maintaining the health and look of your skin—but your one-time sunscreen application just before you head out the door in the morning isn’t going to cut it. 

So, exactly how often should you reapply sunscreen, and what does reapplication do?

Some suggest that reapplying sunscreen should be done as often as every two hours. However, this is a rough guideline. Several factors go into determining how often you should reapply sunscreen, with the exact answer differing from person to person.



Sunscreen is an important tool in your skincare routine arsenal against UV rays from sun exposure. These rays can cause a plethora of problems, including but not limited to:

  • An increased risk of skin cancer
  • Premature aging of the skin
  • Long- and short-term skin damage, as seen with sunburns

You can use sunscreen as blanket protection for almost your entire body. An effective SPF 15 sunscreen blocks around 93% of UVB rays, while SPF 30 sunscreens block 97%.

Note that no sunscreen provides 100% protection from UV radiation.



So, how often should you reapply sunscreen? The answer, as mentioned, differs depending on a few factors.



Generally speaking, you want to reapply your sunscreen product every 2 hours to maintain maximum protection. However, you might be able to get away with less frequent reapplication if you work inside and away from windows meaning less sun exposure and sun damage on the skin.

When it comes to reapplying sunscreen, here’s something else to keep in mind: having a higher SPF doesn’t mean you’ll be able to go longer between reapplications. SPF refers solely to the level of UV radiation your sunscreen blocks and has nothing to do with how long it lasts.



Let’s say you’re sweating, spending time in the water, or hanging outside in intense sunlight. In these instances, you don’t want to go more than 40 to 80 minutes without reapplying your sunscreen. It also doesn’t hurt to apply more frequently than you think you might need.

Outside of sunscreen itself, you should take other steps to ensure your sun protection lasts as long as possible and you get the most out of it:

  • Wear clothing that covers your skin
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat
  • Keep the back of your neck covered
  • Stay in the shade during the hottest parts of the day (typically, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.)

In other words, sunscreen is just one of the steps you should take to protect yourself from UV ray exposure. Although it’s an important step, it works even better in tandem with other tools.



Plenty of debates center on SPF, or sun protection factor. For a while, sunscreen brands boasted that their products had sky-high SPFs, but more recent research has put an end to that trend.

Now, most professionals suggest an SPF of at least 30, as the increase in protection with higher SPFs is minimal. Here are a few other things to keep in mind when shopping for sunscreen:


You want protection from both UVA and UVB rays, and you can find it in broad-spectrum sunscreens. This is because both types of UV rays are harmful and can contribute to skin cancer, with UVA rays penetrating deeper and affecting skin’s youthfulness and UVB rays causing sunburns.


You don’t want your sunscreen to come right off the second you start sweating or take a dip into a refreshing body of water, so look for waterproof sunscreen.


SPF 30 blocks all but 3% of UV rays—SPF 50 allows 2% through. The higher the SPF goes, the fewer additional benefits you’ll see and the more expensive the products become, rendering an extremely high SPF mostly pointless.


You can also choose between two main types of blockers:


These ingredients work by absorbing UV rays. You need to wait around 20 minutes after applying a chemical sunscreen before going out into the sun to ensure it’ll work properly.


These ingredients literally block the sun out, reflecting UV rays away from the skin. Physical sunscreens also work immediately after application, and they tend to have broader coverage.

Choosing between chemical and physical blockers comes down to personal preference. Physical blockers are usually harder to rub into the skin and thicker, but they’re often better for people with sensitive skin.



The correct use of sunscreen is a big part of its effectiveness. If you don’t apply and reapply properly, you could be missing out on the strongest benefits.

To use sunscreen correctly, gauge what activities you’ll be doing, the environment you’re going into, and the SPF, consistency, and traits of the sunscreen you use. From there, you can choose when to reapply your coverage throughout the day.

Having a high-quality sunscreen is also part of the equation. With Seven:Thirty’s Daily Habit SPF 30 broad-spectrum sunscreen, you can treat your skin to top-of-the-line ingredients and powerful antioxidants that both nourish and protect, regardless of your skin type. 

Wear your sunscreen confidently with Seven:Thirty.




Johns Hopkins Medicine. Sunscreen and Your Morning Routine.


Skin Cancer Foundation. All About Sunscreen.


The Weather Channel. Swimming? Sweating? Here’s How Fast Your Sunscreen Wears Off.

UC Davis Health. What you should know about sunscreen, SPF, and protecting your family.

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