How much sunscreen is enough on the face?

How much sunscreen do I need to apply to my face to get the full SPF? I read that you need 1/2 teaspoon. I measured it and tried to put it on but it was difficult to put that much on my face. Is this the correct amount and if I don\'t put that much on am I not getting that much protection? Does it differ with chemical versus physical sunscreen?

I know what you mean – it’s a lot.  But I think common sense can apply here and these are guidelines really.  If I were outdoors, midday in Hawaii and surfing, I would apply all that and more. I’d probably use the Elta MD water-resistant Sport and layer over that the Colorescience powder sunscreen (it really does stay on in the water!) and reapply often.   If I were walking in N.Y. on a cloudy day, I’d probably use the Elta MD Physical Block or SkinMedica Environmental Protection sunscreen and apply about 1/2 that amount (1/4 tsp) and maybe then put a little makeup with SPF over it.   If I were cycling for a couple of hours in the LA area, I’d probably use the Dermaquest Zinclear about 1/4 tsp (more zinc) and put the Colorescience over that as well depending on how bright it was.

This might be TOO complicated so I apologize in advance but my point is that – you can adjust for your circumstances and it’s fine. Here is more information on these good sunscreens. Dr. I

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

Ask me your skincare question!

Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin, and I believe that consumers need and deserve a medically trained and unbiased skincare advocate.

  • All our content is written and researched by myself and my trained staff.
  • My medical office in Seattle has experience treating thousands of patients.
  • This site is not affiliated or financially tied to any product line.
Ask Me Something
SkinTour Skincare
One of the best investments in your skin is your daily skincare. Why? Because you can prevent many problems with blotchy skin color, lack of glow, texture, some types of acne, and fine lines with good skincare products. You can also correct some of these problems with effective skincare products. Great skincare is often more expensive because quality ingredients are expensive. Some companies spend on research/development which benefits all of us and adds to the cost. Are they worth it? In general - yes!