How Long Does Sunscreen Last on Skin Once Applied? Do They Expire?

From the beginning, we should always use precautions to make our skin look healthy. We try different products and do a skincare routine to make our skin look young and beautiful. Between all of that Sunscreen is one of those products.

Sunscreen is crucial for every one of us even those who do not care about having good skin. But not everyone knows about their features, right? You may have questions like how long does sunscreen last on skin? How long does it last on the face? and many more.

Now, let’s address the elephant in the room: How Long Does Sunscreen Last on Skin? It’s just like food in your pantry or beauty products on your shelf, sunscreens also come with an expiration date.

Therefore, we are here to answer all of your unresolved worries with this blog. You just need to keep up with us. You must know that Sunscreen is our skin’s best friend to fight the blazing sun.

What Is Sunscreen?

When we go out in the sunshine, our sunscreen helps to shield us from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Likewise, sunscreen is a skincare product that is used to protect the skin from the harmful effects of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

It works by either absorbing or reflecting the UV rays. In general, they contain active ingredients such as organic compounds (chemical filters) or minerals (physical or mineral filters) that act as a barrier against UV rays.

how long does sunscreen last on skin
how often should you reapply sunscreen?

You must have seen the sunscreen before right? Even if you don’t have them, you must know that they come in various forms, like lotions, creams, gels, sprays, and sticks. They are easy to apply to different parts of the body.

It’s very important to use it every day before going under the sun. Therefore, regular use of sunscreen helps the risk of sunburn, premature skin aging, and skin cancer caused by UV exposure.

When was sunscreen invented?

Everything has its long story, like where it first came from, who made it, and many more. Sunscreen also has its own beginning. From the very beginning, people have used different things to protect their skin from the sun.

For example: In the ancient Greeks, they used olive oil, and Egyptians used mixes of rice, jasmine, and lupine extracts. From the way back, they already knew zinc oxide paste was good for protecting the skin.

Similarly, in Southeast Asia, people made a paste called borak or burak from water weeds, rice, and spices. In Myanmar, they’ve been using Thanaka, a paste made from tree bark, for ages. And in Madagascar, there’s Masonjoany, a paste made from wood.

However, the very first real sunscreen came in 1932 in Australia. Further, in 1974, they started using SPF to measure how good a sunscreen is. Similarly, also read to find out How to choose the right skincare products for your skin.

It was during World War II, that made sunscreen a must thing one should use. It was first started by the soldiers. They even made special sun protection for them as they needed it during the war field.

Likewise, in Austria, chemist Franz Greiter made a product, called Gletscher Crème, which later became Piz Buin. Since then, sunscreen has evolved so much. Nowadays, it comes with many qualities and features like waterproof, environment friendly, and better at protecting against all the different kinds of bad sun rays.

How does sunscreen work?

Sunscreens work like Captain America’s shield, protecting our skin from the sun’s harmful rays. There are two main ways they do this: First, by absorbing UV rays or reflecting them off our skin.

The good sunscreens contain ingredients like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. These chemicals work like tiny mirrors, reflecting the UV rays. They create a physical barrier that blocks the sun’s rays from entering our skin.

These chemicals absorb both UV-A and UV-B rays. Sunscreen’s main job is to keep them from reaching the deeper layers of our skin and prevent further damage.

According to Cetaphil,

“A sunscreen with SPF 15 blocks out 93% of UVB rays, SPF 30 blocks 97%, and SPF 50 blocks 98%.”

As we have already learned Sunscreen is our shield to protect us from the sun’s harmful rays, let’s find out how long does sunscreen last on skin.

How long does sunscreen last on skin?

Though you may wear it every day, it doesn’t last forever once applied to your skin.

Similarly, there are some myths that, sunscreen lasts more, if you wear one that has more SPF (Sun Protection Factor). They aren’t solely determined by the SPF level.

A lady with cream on how long does sunscreen last on skin once applied.
SPF and the period you stay in the sun matter on how long does sunscreen last on skin once applied.

Likewise, sunscreen begins to lose its effectiveness after a few hours of applying it. Professionals and experts recommend reapplying sunscreen every two hours. Therefore, despite the SPF plays a role in protecting you, it’s also important to know that regular reapplication is key to staying safe in the sun.

How long does Sunscreen last on skin on face with makeup on?

Whether you’re wearing makeup or not it’s important to apply sunscreen on your face. You should always be aware of how long does sunscreen last on skin, which you use daily. Nowadays, there are varieties of makeup products that have SPF.

However, though it has SPF, most products only offer a low SPF of around 3 or 4. They are not enough to shield your skin from the sun’s rays. Even if your makeup includes a higher SPF, you still have to apply sunscreen underneath.

Additionally, just like regular sunscreen, the sunscreen protection provided by makeup wears off over time. Therefore, dermatologists recommend reapplying sunscreen to your face every two hours. This should be done whether you have makeup on or not.

How much sunscreen to use on face?

When we apply sunscreen we always tend to question, how much is enough to use sunscreen. It’s important for everyone to use the ideal amount of sunscreen so that it can protect you from UV rays.

But how much? Experts say for your whole body, use about an ounce. This much amount is like filling a shot glass. Coming to the face, which covers 4% of your body, you will need .04 ounces, according to Healthline.

But how can we measure the exact amount? To measure it you can use milliliters, grams, or even just your fingers. About 1-2 milliliters or grams should do it. Or, if you are using a fingertip then from the tip to the first crease—that’s the right amount.

We can also go with SPF to know you much sunscreen is needed on the face. You should at least need above SPF 30 to block the UV rays. And don’t try to mix SPF 15 to make SPF 30, that’s not how it works.

When can babies wear sunscreen?

Babies are very sensitive to the sun in their first few months. Moreover, their skin will be delicate and won’t have much protection. To use sunscreen on babies, it’s best to wait until they’re 6 months old.

Now, you may ask, how to protect them from the sun before 6 months? Don’t worry, there are various other ways to keep them safe! How long does sunscreen last on skin of babies? It is similar to adults which is 2 hours.

There is no difference in how long does sunscreen last on skin for babies and adults.
There is no difference in how long does sunscreen last on skin for babies and adults.

First off, always dress them in lightweight clothes that cover their arms and legs when going outside. And always make them wear wide-brimmed hats to shield their face, neck, and ears.

If you want to go out on a stroller with a sun cover it’s best to go before 10 AM or after 4 PM when the sun’s not as strong. Similarly, in the car use a mesh shield to block them because those rays can get through the windows.

Likewise, once your baby is 6 months old, you can use sunscreen. Despite that keep using all those preventions too! Use sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher that protects against UVA and UVB rays.

Buy sunscreen which has ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium oxide. They work better because they don’t have to sink into the skin to work. Wanna know the difference between beauty mark vs mole. Before applying it, test a little on your baby’s wrist to make sure it doesn’t cause any irritation.

Moreover, it’s not easy to apply things to little ones as they start moving around more, sunscreen can be a bit of a challenge to apply. Therefore, you can try different kinds like lotions, sticks, or sprays to see what works best.

Sunscreen for Black people:

Choosing the correct sunscreen is not a simple task. We all have different skin types and tones. Likewise, it is always better to buy products that are suitable for your skin type and skin tones. Bubble Skin Care also has good sunscreen.

Similarly, for people who have dark skin tones, they might want products that work well for them. Many products don’t have inclusivity, therefore, with the dark skin tone people it’s not easy to choose the right one. Here’s how to pick the best ones for black people:

  1. Protection Ingredients: While choosing sunscreens select the one which has ingredients to protect you from the UVA and UVB rays. It’s important because these rays can cause skin aging and sunburn, respectively.
  2. Type: Sunscreens are divided into two types, mineral and chemical types. Mineral sunscreens stay on the skin’s surface. They reflect UV light. On the other hand, chemical sunscreens absorb UV light. Mineral sunscreens leave a white cast, while chemical ones do not.
  3. SPF Protection: A minimum SPF of 30 or above is perfect to protect against UV rays, as per the American Academy of Dermatology’s guidelines.
  4. Consistency: Sunscreens come in various formulations like lotions, gels, sprays, powders, oils, and sticks. Always choose according to your personal preferences and needs.
  5. Water Resistance: Not all sunscreen is entirely waterproof, however, as much as possible, a water-resistant one is advisable. However, reapplication is still necessary as directed.

Sunscreens recommendation for dark skin tones:

  • Black Girl Sunscreen: For black people, the Black Girl Sunscreen brand is perfect. It is a Black-owned brand that offers SPF 30 protection without leaving a white cast. It’s made with ingredients like jojoba and avocado oil.
  • Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen: This is a chemical sunscreen. It has a gel consistency and provides broad-spectrum SPF 40 protection. It gives a natural finish and contains ingredients like red algae and frankincense.
  • EltaMD UV Clear Face Sunscreen: This sunscreen is suitable for all skin types. It comes as a fragrance-free and non-comedogenic. It has ingredients like niacinamide, which helps with acne-prone skin and reduces redness.
  • Mele No Shade Sunscreen Oil: It is lightweight and non-greasy. This sunscreen oil is designed for melanin-rich skin. It dries clear and is free of parabens, alcohol, and mineral oil.
  • Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection: This is a tinted sunscreen powder. It is easy to reapply throughout the day and comes in various shades. It’s hypoallergenic and noncomedogenic, suitable for sensitive skin.
  • CeraVe Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen Face Sheer Tint: Due to its sheer finish, this mineral sunscreen is ideal for dark skin. It’s noncomedogenic and has ingredients like ceramides to improve skin texture.
  • SkinMedica’s Total Defense + Repair: SkinMedica is a fast-absorbing sunscreen. This sunscreen blends easily into the skin and minimizes the risk of a white cast.
  • Neutrogena Clear Face: It is an oil-free sunscreen and is great for oily and acne-prone skin.
  • Round Lab Sunscreen: This sunscreen comes with an SPF above 50+. It has qualities like brightening, hydrating, moisturizing, softening, and UV protection. It is suitable for dry and all skin types. It contains an active ingredient, hyaluronic acid.


What is the best sunscreen?

According to the New York Times, their top pick for best sunscreen is Banana Boat Light as Air Face SPF 50+. It is a chemical sunscreen and has active ingredients such as Avobenzone, Homosalate, Octisalate, and Octocrylene. You may ask, how long does sunscreen last on skin? It is water-resistant and lasts for up to 80 minutes.

How long should I tan outside without sunscreen?

Tanning outside without sunscreen is not recommended at all. Do you know how long does a tan last? Due to the risk of skin damage and skin cancer tanning is not safe. However, if you still want to get tanned, start with short periods of sun exposure, use sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher, seek shade, and wear protective clothing. Do not forget, that any change in skin color means skin damage.

How often to reapply sunscreen?

You should reapply sunscreen every two hours. Otherwise, if you’re swimming, sweating heavily, or toweling off, you should apply it more frequently. Additionally, reapply sunscreen if you are doing more activities that may reduce its effectiveness, such as rubbing against clothing or spending extended periods in direct sunlight.

How long sunscreen last?

Typically sunscreen last on skin for two hours. Therefore, you have to reapply the sunscreen after every two hours

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