Sunscreen Q and A: And How To Re-Apply It During The Day


Sunscreen, we all know the importance of using it and living in Australia have it drilled into us every day …pretty much from the minute we’re born.

Anyway, it’s a non-negotiable when it comes to skincare. Plus, did you know that Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in THE WORLD? True story. Our sun is the worst.

Sunscreen is also the number one product you need to be using if you’re on the anti-ageing bandwagon. Because sure you can buy all the serums, and hydrating moisturisers in the world, but without sun protection? They’re pretty defunct.

However, do you find the whole ‘how to use sunscreen’ thing confusing? It can be right!

Like, how often do we apply? Do we need to take our makeup off and re-apply during the day?

And what is actually the difference between chemical and physical sun protection?

GAAAAH. It can all get a bit much. Which is why with spring finally here, and summer right around the corner I thought I’d sit down with Joanne Healy, National Education Manager at Advanced Skin Technology to give us the low down.

(And you know what? You’ll probably find this whole sunscreen application thing is not as hard as it seems.)

Try: Medik8 Physical Sunscreen – $74.00

My current go-to for every day! Physical and perfect for pregnancy too.


Can you describe the difference between a physical and chemical sunscreen?

Both physical and chemical sunscreens act at the skin’s surface but physical sunscreens reflect UV rays and chemical sunscreens absorb them.

In what situation should we be using a physical sunscreen and what situation would work for a chemical one?

Both are suitable for almost all situations but I would recommend physical especially for sensitive skins and those allergic to chemical sunscreens.

It is also important to note that all sunscreens are not effective if the skin is impaired or the barrier function is disrupted in any way. This is due to the fact that all sunscreens must be able to adhere to the skins surface to take effect. Make sure you use alternative methods of sun protection in cases like these.

As recommended by the cancer council it’s important to follow these guidelines:-

  • Sunscreen should never be used as the only line of defence against sun damage. It is also important to remember that sunburn is caused by UV radiation, which is not related to temperature. Whenever the UV Index is 3 or above, be sure to:
  • Slip on some sun-protective clothing that covers as much skin as possible – this offers the best protection.
  • Slop on broad spectrum, water resistant SPF30+ (or higher) sunscreen.
  • Slap on a hat – broad brim or legionnaire style to protect your face, head, neck and ears.
  • Seek shade.
  • Slide on some sunglasses – make sure they meet Australian Standards.

Try: Aspect Gold Envirostat SPF 50 – $26.00

A light weight chemical sunscreen with Vitamin E that provides broad spectrum dry-touch protection. Also water resistant for four hours.


How much sunscreen should we be applying to our face every day?

As recommended by the cancer council sunscreen should be applied 20 minutes before exposure to UV in order to create the intended protective barrier. It should be applied liberally and evenly to clean and dry skin.

For an adult, the recommended application is 5ml (approximately one teaspoon) for each arm, leg, body front, body back and face (including neck and ears). That equates to a total of 35ml (approximately seven teaspoons) for a full body application.

What is the best application method for sunscreen when wearing makeup?

It’s best to apply all sunscreens prior to moisturiser and makeup because it allows sunscreen to adhere to the skin’s surface effectively.  This includes physical sunscreen.

Powdered physical sunscreens are most effective over the top of makeup.

Does using makeup with added SPF provide added protection in the long run, or is it too much? 

Yes, it is not too much. In fact, the more the better to provide a complete coverage! However, it is important to note that layering one on top of the other does not increase the SPF. Whatever the highest SPF you have applied is the highest you can achieve. Eg layering 15 + 30 + 50 does not equal SPF 95 only SPF 50. It’s just improved coverage.

Try: Cosmedix Reflect – $77.00

A titanium dioxide-based, non-chemical spray on environmental protector that offers broad spectrum SPF in a non-irritating, oil-free formula.


Do cream, liquid or powder formulas of makeup work best over sunscreen? Are there any types of textures that clash?

They all work fine over sunscreens.

How would you recommend we re-apply sunscreen during the day when wearing makeup? And how often should it be re-applied? 

Re-apply every two hours as recommended by the cancer council. Powders are the easiest and most user friendly to re-apply. You can just keep it in your hand-bag and top up throughout the day to protect and refresh!

Do we need to take our makeup off and start again or is there any easier way?

There’s no need to take your makeup off. You can reapply with a powder product such as the:

Colorescience Sunforgettable SPF 50 – $65.00

 A portable, lightweight mineral powder that provides instant UVA and UVB sun protection. (I literally use this all the time! The best way to re-apply sunscreen without ruining your makeup. Gives you a matte finish too so will help you battle oily, summer skin.) To learn more about this product click here.


Is physical sunscreen protection better over makeup than chemical sunscreen? Why?

Yes. Powdered physical sunscreens will have a better chance of attaching and adhering to be effective over the top of makeup.

Try: We Are Feel Good Inc. Sensitive Sunscreen Lotion 50+ – $27.95

Blessed with sensitive skin? This sunscreen has been formulated for you. Free from crap it’s safe for use on babies and children too!


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Tell me babez, what other sunscreen related questions do you have?

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