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  • #Baby & Child Skin
  • #Baby Skin Types
  • #Sun Protection
  • #Suncare

How Much Sunscreen To Use On Your Face: Expert Tips

Updated on June 13, 2024
how_much_sunscreen_to_use_on_face_7 - Mustela USA - 1

You know the drill: Wear daily facial sunscreen to keep your skin healthy and vibrant! But when it comes to how much sunscreen to use on your face, how can you know you’re using the right amount? That’s exactly what we’ll discuss in this article.

In addition to how much sunscreen to use, we’ll also cover when to apply face sunscreen and how to choose one that effectively wards off the sun’s rays and is safe for your and your family’s skin, too.

Don’t just slap some sunscreen on and hope for the best. Keep reading to feel confident about your skin care!

Table Of Contents

How Much Sunscreen To Use On Your Face

 Woman wondering how much sunscreen to use on face

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends applying “enough sunscreen to cover all skin that clothing will not cover.” They go on to note that, for most adults, this will be around one ounce of sunscreen for one application on the whole body.

But what about just your face?

In general, you’ll need between ¼ to ½ of a teaspoon for your face (and a bit less for your child’s face). Pull out a measuring spoon to get an idea of how much this is. Or, think of a dollop about the size of a nickel.

That said, the exact amount depends on how big your face is and whether or not you’re also applying sunscreen to your exposed decolletage. If you need more than ½ a teaspoon to provide adequate coverage, go for it.

For sunscreens that can’t be measured in dollops (such as stick sunscreens), ensure that you’re covering your whole face — no skin left behind! — and rubbing it in well. You’ll learn to get a feel for whether or not you’ve applied enough for your whole face.

 fragrance-free SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen Stick

Our fragrance-free SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen Stick comes in a conveniently small size, making it travel-friendly and ideal for both face and body. This is a great option for protecting wiggly kids’s faces from the sun!

Regardless of the type of sunscreen you use, the quantity doesn’t matter much if you aren’t applying it evenly over your face. For lotion sunscreen, put a dollop in your hand and then dot it over your face before gently rubbing it in.

Keep your whole face in mind, even the easily-forgotten areas, like your hairline, the tops of your ears, and the skin just behind your ears.

When To Apply Face Sunscreen

 Kid applying stick sunscreen

Now, we turn our attention to when to apply facial sunscreen. Every day? When you hit the beach? Twice a day? Before or after makeup? Let’s take a look.

First things first, apply facial sunscreen every day to your whole family! You’re exposed to the sun daily even if you aren’t spending hours outside. Think about the time you spend running errands, watching your kids’ sports practice, and the like.

Even on cloudy days, it’s a good idea to wear sunscreen. The American Academy of Dermatology notes that up to 80% of the sun’s rays can make their way through the clouds and hit your skin.

In addition, UVA rays are capable of going through glass. So, even on the days you spend inside, you can still be exposed to UVA rays if you’re near a window.

And remember that the sun still shines in the wintertime! We recommend applying sunscreen on yourself and your kids every day and all year long.

As far as what time of day to apply facial sunscreen, we recommend making it part of your family’s morning routine. That way, you’re good to go for the day, and you’ll be more likely to make it a habit.

Apply sunscreen after your normal skincare routine (including moisturizer) and before applying makeup. For days outside enjoying the sun, reapply every two hours and more often if you’re sweating or in and out of the water.

How To Choose A Face Sunscreen

 Kid holding mineral sunscreen for face and body

Now that we’ve discussed how much sunscreen to use on your face and when to apply it, let’s wrap up by discussing how to choose a facial sunscreen. We’ll mention what to look for in a sunscreen that is safe and gentle on even the most sensitive skin.

Broad-Spectrum Protection

We already mentioned UVA rays (which can go through glass), but the sun also produces UVB and UVC rays. The UVC rays don’t make it to the surface of the earth, but we do need protection from UVA and UVB rays.

That’s where the term “broad-spectrum” comes into play. A broad-spectrum sunscreen wards off both UVA and UVB rays, not just one or the other.

The good news is that it’s easy to tell if your sunscreen offers this type of protection since “broad-spectrum” will typically be listed on the sunscreen bottle.


In addition to opting for broad-spectrum protection, choose the appropriate SPF (sun protection factor). This is listed in numbers such as 15, 25, 30, and 50 and appears clearly on the sunscreen label.

The Skin Cancer Foundation offers two seals for sunscreen: The Daily Use seal and the Active Use seal. The sunscreens they recommend for daily use offer SPF 15 or higher. This is appropriate for sun exposure you might have during everyday activities, like walking to the car.

Meanwhile, the Active Use seal is for sunscreens with SPF 30 or higher. These are recommended for longer sun exposure during outdoor activities and fun in the sun.

That said, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. Rest assured that all Mustela sunscreens are either SPF 30 or SPF 50.

Mineral Protection

 Bottle of mineral sunscreen at the beach

When choosing sunscreen for your face, we also recommend one that provides mineral protection. If you aren’t sure about the difference between mineral and chemical sunscreen, here’s the short rundown.

The difference is in the active ingredients, which are the ingredients in a sunscreen that do the heavy lifting of blocking the sun’s rays.

Chemical sunscreens use chemical ingredients (such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, octinoxate, or homosalate) to absorb and dissipate the rays. Mineral sunscreens, on the other hand, use zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to provide a physical barrier and deflect the rays off of your skin.

We recommend mineral sunscreen since it uses natural ingredients instead of questionable chemical ingredients. In fact, zinc oxide, one of the minerals used in mineral sunscreen, is so skin-healthy that it’s used in many diaper creams!

Meanwhile, chemical sunscreens protect your skin from the sun, but at the same time, they can be irritating to your skin at best and harmful at worst.

Your skin absorbs those chemical ingredients, which can be bad news for those with sensitive skin. Plus, small amounts of chemicals can make their way into your blood and other body fluids, such as breastmilk.

You can understand why we think it’s better to steer clear of chemical sunscreen altogether.

Natural Ingredients

Active ingredients save your skin from the sun. Inactive ingredients contribute to your sunscreen’s texture or scent. Choose gentle, natural ingredients all the way around.

We’ve already mentioned how to go the natural route with active ingredients. What about inactive ingredients?

Look for plant-based ingredients that come straight from the earth, such as coconut oil, macadamia oil, shea butter, avocado oil, sunflower seed oil, aloe vera, calendula, chamomile flower extract, and jojoba.

For example, our SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen Lotion is made with 93% naturally derived ingredients, including coconut oil, macadamia oil, and vitamin E to hydrate your skin. The lightweight, sheer texture blends easily and does not leave a white cast on the skin.

Gentle enough to use on babies and compliant with Hawaii’s sunscreen ingredient requirement, this sunscreen is a win for everyone — your whole family and the ocean, too!

The Perfect Amount Of Sunscreen For Your Face

 Young girl learning how much sunscreen to use on face

Now that you’ve read this article, there’s no need to second-guess how much sunscreen to use on your face every time you slather it on.

The perfect amount of sunscreen is whatever will adequately cover all of your skin, providing the protection you need. While that can vary a bit from person to person, aim for the typical recommendation of ¼ to ½ of a teaspoon.

If you use a stick sunscreen, such as our SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen Stick, apply it to all areas of your and your kids’ faces and rub it in well. If you prefer a lotion sunscreen, consider our SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen Lotion.

With the right amount of skin-safe mineral sunscreen and good application techniques, you can rest easy knowing that your family’s skin is well cared for. Time to take on the day!

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