How Much SPF Does Your Face Really Need?

There's a viral video circulating around TikTok of a woman absolutely slathering her face with sunscreen, claiming that she puts nearly two palm fulls of it everyday in order to protect her face from the sun. By the end of the video, she manages to blend it all into her skin so it is no longer noticeable — but it took her a good minute (and some fancy camera work) to do so. Maren Reed, the self-proclaimed "sun screen queen," received a whopping 7.3 million views on the video and countless comments desperately enquiring if this is how much sunscreen we're meant to put on our faces for proper sun protection. Well, we're here to respond to this question. 

We all know that putting SPF on our faces – even while we're just hanging out inside – is the number one way not only to stay protected from the sun's dangerous UV rays, but also to prevent premature aging. But as it turns out, applying SPF might not be as simple as we had thought.

These are the qualities you should be looking for in your face sunscreen

Before discussing how to apply your face sunscreen, we'll mention that the kind of SPF you use is essential. According to Dr. Sophie Shotter, a renowned aesthetician, your choice is SPF is crucial to protecting your skin from the sun. 

"As a rule of thumb, do not use less than SPF 30," she explained, per Harper's Bazaar. "In the summer months, use SPF 50 and reapply every few hours throughout the day if you are outside in the sunshine." 

In addition, your sunscreen should contain both UVA and UVB protection, which guard your skin against aging rays and burning rays, respectively (via Healthline). As for the quantity, Shotter's recommendation is to think of a specific utensil in terms of size. "You should generally think of a dessert spoon amount when applying SPF to your face," she explained. "You must cover your eyelids and lips, too. So if you need more, go for it!"

Consistent sunscreen application will be more than enough to protect your skin

It's clear that the narrative surrounding face sunscreen is to always wear it, regardless of weather, conditions, temperature, or day of the week. But dermatologist and clinical professor from Yale University, Mona Gohara, reminds us all to take a deep breath when it comes to our sunscreen use. She advised that you don't need to layer SPF products, as one product with SPF 30 or higher will be enough. "Only one of the products you use each morning needs to have SPF of 30 or higher," she said. "SPF is SPF, regardless of whether it's in your foundation or moisturizer" (via Allure).

It is advised that sunscreen should be the last step to your skincare routine, and that your application should consist of putting the product on your index and pointer fingers to then apply to your face and neck. And for all you visual learners out there, Dr. Libby Rhee recommended "about 1/3 to 1/2 teaspoon of sunscreen for your whole face and neck to ensure coverage. Or, the size of a single edamame bean up to a lima bean," she explained, per Well + Good.

So don't worry if you don't end up looking like a snowman by the end of your SPF application — chances are, if you're taking the time to apply that SPF, you're already ahead of the game.