Sunblock – What to expect and How much is enough

What’s important to me when I choose my sunblock:

  1. Good UVA & UVB protection
  2. No fragrance
  3. Non-oily
  4. Not tinted
  5. Cheap enough to finish 50g in 3-4 weeks


I remember being told by a sales assistant at a cosmetics counter that 5 ‘dots’ of sunblock the amount of liquid foundation would be sufficient for my face.  (The 5 positions of the ‘dots’ she referred to are on the forehead, at the tip of the nose, on the cheekbones and on the chin.)

Really that’s not enough protection for anyone’s face.  Well, the sunblock she was selling cost a lot of money so I guessed she needed to convince me that the little amount I paid for could last a long time!

If you’ve read the link on a picture I posted in my article on sunblock, you’d have seen a suggestion of how much sunblock you should use for various parts of your body.

For my face, I squeeze out a blob of sunscreen of 1-inch diameter – about 1 teaspoon and  smear the product on my face before lightly patting it in.  I avoid the eye area because sunblock can get into the eyes and irritate them.

For the amount of sunscreen I use, I’m careful in selecting the product that’s right for me.  Some products are too oily or too white.  The product I’m using now is Key-Sun Clear Zinke.  It does what I expect in a sunblock :p

Something to bear in mind when you use sunscreen together with other products with SPF.

Sunblock SPF50 and Foundation SPF 25 does NOT equal SPF 75. It’s just SPF 50 at the most (provided you apply enough.)

  • SPF ratings refer only to the protection from UVB radiation.  A rating of SPF 15 means you can stay out in the sun for 15 times longer without burning.
  • Eg. Without sunblock – you get burned in 15 mins under the sun; with sunblock of SPF 15, you can stay out 15 mins x 15 = 3 ¾ hrs

PA+ / ++ / +++  are ratings referring to protection from UVA protection.  These ratings are seen in Japanese sunscreen products.

  • In other countries and continents, other ratings may be used.
  • For a product to offer UVA protection, these ingredients must be present:
  • Titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, avobenzone, tinosorb, ecamsule (Meroxyl).

Look out for products that have the ingredients above to ensure that you’re protected from both UVB and UVA rays.


  • Make sure you wear sunscreen under your makeup.  Unless you lather on your foundation thickly, you’re unlikely to get good sun protection from it.
  • Eye products with sunscreen are available from certain product lines like Shiseido, but like many products on specific areas, they cost a lot more.  I’d usually use my foundation or concealer with SPF for the eye area.
  • You should put sunscreen on your neck too.  Find a product that goes on clear so that it doesn’t settle into the white lines in your neck after you perspire.  Ditto for products you apply on your arm.

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