How Often You Should Really Be Reapplying Sunscreen

As summer heats up, you're likely enjoying time outside and in the sun. Whether you're lounging by the pool or going for a hike, wearing sunscreen is important. While we are more aware of applying sunscreen in the summer months when we're outside soaking up the rays, it is important to apply sunscreen daily regardless of the season.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, wearing sunscreen on a daily basis can drastically reduce your chance of getting skin cancer. A simple SPF 15 can reduce your chance of getting squamous cell carcinoma by 40% and melanoma by 50%.

Aside from preventing skin cancer, though, applying sunscreen daily can also help prevent your skin from aging prematurely. You will be less likely to experience wrinkles, skin sagging, and age spots by protecting yourself from the sun's rays (via Yale Medicine).

Applying your daily SPF is the easy part. What can be tricky is knowing how often you need to reapply it. So, just how often should you pick up your can of sunscreen throughout the day?

Remembering to reapply your SPF is key

While the question of how often sunscreen should be reapplied sounds like an intimidating one, the answer is actually rather simple. According to Joshua Zeichner, MD and an associate professor of dermatology, sunscreen should be reapplied often. "No matter what SPF value your sunscreen is, it always needs to be reapplied every 2 hours — or immediately after heavy sweating or swimming," Zeichner told Healthline.

Of course, you should reapply sunscreen after getting out of the water or post-sweat session, but sometimes we forget about putting on more sunscreen throughout the day. The reason you need to reapply your SPF regardless of activity is because of how the UV rays interact with your sunscreen. UV rays make your sunscreen less effective as the day goes on.

So, whether you're spending the day by the pool or not, put on some sunscreen and remember to reapply it every two hours.