How Much Sunscreen Should I Use?

Written by on August 23, 2011 in Sunscreens for Rosacea Sufferers with 3 Comments

Another fabulous data visualisation from Information is Beautiful. This time David McCandless tackles the thorny issue of How Much Suncreen Should I Wear ?

The Sunscreen Smokescreen

July 11, 2011

It started with a question. It always does. This time, the question was simple: How much sunscreen should I wear?

I’m a pale geek who burns. I wanted to know the optimal. A simple question with a simple answer, right?


This simple question took me on a massive journey through the data, information myths and misinformation that surround our perception of sunscreen. I’m calling it the Sunscreen Smokescreen.


One of the important messages, especially for those living in high Melanoma countries like Australia, is that most people do not apply enough sunscreen – leading to users experiencing far less protection than they probably expect.

According to this graphic, you should 2 index fingers worth of sunscreen just for the face.

Do You Use Enough?

Do you use that much if you are heading out into the full sun?

I like to think I lather up pretty well before heading out, but who really does use enough I wonder.

Also, personally I would never even contemplate a sunscreen as low as SP15. This is way too low in my books. SPF30+ all the way for me, especially living in a sunny city.

What Sunscreen do I use?

Now is as a good time as any to review what sunscreens I use.

I primarily use 3 sunscreens. Sounds a bit excessive now that I think about it, but each one serves a different purpose.

Feel free to let us know what you currently like in the comments below.

Tinted ZincO Cream


My daily sunscreen is Linda Sy’s Tinted ZincO Cream. It is now sold by RosaceaCare as Tinted ZincO Cream.

It has a nice tint to cover redness and is very mild.

Hamilton Sensitive


The ZincO Cream isn’t sweat proof and isn’t really suitable for exercising. For when I will be outside for an extended period, especially if I’m going to be exercising I used Hamilton Sensitive for Hyper-Sensitive Skin. It isn’t as sheer as Untinted ZincO Cream, so you can see it, but it offers excellent protection.

Not sure how easily you can get this outside Australia.

Sunscreen For Body


For arms and legs and back of the neck etc. I use one of the Cancer Council Everyday Suncreens. It is cheap and easy to spread over large areas and they normally rub in quite well. I find that I can pretty well tolerate chemical sunscreens on my body.

These sorts of sunscreens are easily available in Australia.

I would love to try the Vanicream Range if it was more easily available in Australia.

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About the Author

About the Author: David Pascoe started the Rosacea Support Group in October 1998. .

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3 Reader Comments

  1. shannon says:

    I love Clinique City Block. It is not greasy. It has a light tint that is not noticeable at all. It has no chemical sunscreens in it. I think it has zinc oxide and titanium oxide.

  2. Susan says:

    I’ve been using the ZincO for years but happened across information that the fine zinc in sunscreen isn’t adequate against UVA:

    A very annoying disappointment!

    I’ll be on the lookout for Tinosorb S/M in sunscreens… and hoping this doesn’t pan out to be another mistake in years to come!

  3. happy day says:

    I’ve been using Blue Lizard (face) spf 30 which is an Australian broad-spectrum sunscreen that is very well rated on the EWG site. I’ve read articles about using higher spf ratings and it is something like protecting yourself only 1% more, so the difference between spf 30 and spf 70 is almost non-existent. You’re better off reapplying. I like that the Blue Lizard (face) is not as greasy as other sunscreens I’ve tried on the face, and its ingredients are safe. I put it on every single day. I walk to work, but even just going from the car to my workplace, if I was to drive, could really add up on my skin, so I don’t take any chances. I also work at a school and have been told school and hospital lights do a number on our skin. So I like to think sunscreen is protecting me indoors and out. Walking home, I don’t like to re-apply the sunscreen again, so I just wear a wide-brimmed hat, with a 4 inch brim, and it does the trick. I currently live overseas in a very sunny tropical climate, so I’m all about covering up.

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