Is It Really Necessary To Reapply Sunscreen Every 2 Or 3 Hours?

Sunscreen application is the most important part of our skincare routine and every morning, before going to work, school or just out to run errands we should slather it on our faces to protect our skin from the harmful sun rays. We’re also constantly told to reapply it every 2 or 3 hours to make sure our skin stays protected for the entire day but most women wear makeup too and taking it off every few hours to slather on sunscreen again and again is, let’s face it, not a feasible option.

Sure, powders with SPF are a nice way to add some sun protection to your skin as the day progresses, but is it really necessary to reapply sunscreen so often every day? Or are there exceptions to this rule?

Should I reapply sunscreen every few hours?

To answer this very important question, we need to know how long sunscreen lasts. And that depends on the weather and your activities. Let me explain. The active ingredients in sunscreen break down when exposed to the sun rays and so, after a few hours, they lose their efficacy. In addition, if you swim, play sports or do any other activity that makes you sweat a lot, then the sunscreen will slide off your face leaving, again, your skin unprotected.

That’s why when you go to the beach or just spend a lot of time outdoors when the sun is shining bright in the skin, reapplying sunscreen every two or three hours is necessary. If you forget, you may get sunburnt, not to mention all the other damaging effects UV rays have such as premature aging and cancer. But if you’re spending a lot of time indoors or the weather is just gloomy, rainy and the sun can barely be seen, then the sunscreen you applied in the morning will stay be intact throughout the day. No need for reapplication! Isn’t that great?

Do you reapply sunscreen throughout the day?

13 Comment

  1. A very good question again, that comes with a very good answer :)
    I’m kind of sunscreen-obsessed, which is not suprising, as I tend to have allergies caused by the sun…it’s strange tough, becsause I have beige-olive toned skin, that tans easily.
    I use pretty much the same method as You wrote – I don’t reapply my sunscreen during day (only with my spf powder, but in a normal day, it’s for the anti-shine effect) and I frequently reapply it when I’m on the beach or during a very hot, sunny day (like when I spend my holiday somewhere hot and sunny and walking in the city all day long)
    But lately I’ve been using some mineral sunscrens (like Bioderma’s mineral spf 50 or Avene’s mineral or some japanese brands) and I only use some powder on the top, or use a chemical with less spf and with a foundation with spf and powder with spf.
    I’m thinking about no puchasing a pure chemical sunsreen any more, as there are fabulous minerals out there (especial oney from japan, theh you can get from sasa.com for example) and the mineral screen don’t oxidize like chemical.
    The sunscreen that my foundation contains is just enough cemical.
    bagaela´s last blog post ..Get Creative!My Profile

    • Bagaela, thanks. I’m sunscreen-obsessed like you as I think it is so important to protect our skin from the sun but at the same time, there’s no need to be paranoid about it and reapply it too often if it is not necessary like when you’re not spending time outdoors.

      I had never tried mineral sunscreens but you are tempting me too. They sound wonderful. I hope they will soon become more easily available everywhere.

  2. I normally wear sunscreen that has Zinc Oxide in it, which doesn’t break down in the sun. But I still reapply every two hours if I’m out at the pool or beach. I wear sunscreen every day under my makeup, but I still get paranoid I don’t have enough protection! Recently I bought a powder foundation with SPF 50 that I’m going to wear this summer over my regular sunscreen and makeup – here in Las Vegas you need as much protection as you can get.
    Jeni´s last blog post ..Lip Smackers Go NaturalMy Profile

    • Jeni, I love sunscreens with Zinc Oxide too and I think if one spends a lot of time in the sun, it’s still important to reapply it. Even if it doesn’t break down in the sun, it may always slide off your face if you sweat so I’d rather be cautious. :) But I think what you are doing is enough to protect your skin from UV rays. :)

    • Makeup Morsels, lol. Yes, there is no need to reapply it unless you spend a lot of time outdoors and sweat or swim. :)

    • Xin, that’s what I do too. I think it’s great that you don’t have to reapply sunscreen if you stay indoors. :)

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