The 'teaspoon method' is the newest way to apply sunscreen and prevent sunburn Advertisement

The ‘teaspoon method’ is the newest way to apply sunscreen and prevent sunburn

One teaspoon of sunscreen a day will keep skin cancer away

By Katie O’Malley  July 26th, 2018

That pink embroidered tunic from Topshop, Chloé Nile Bracelet shoulder bag, and a Meghan Markle-inspired panama hat might be on your holiday packing wish-list this summer, but we have another item to add: a teaspoon.

Nope, cutlery isn’t set to be a new trend for AW18, nor a “fail-safe” musical instrument if your Spotify loses 4G on the beach. Rather, a spoon might be your go-to device to save you from painful burns, tan lines and skin cancer.

According to a new study from King’s College London, sunbathers are risking skin cancer by failing to put on enough sunscreen and should be using the ‘teaspoon method’ to ensure adequate protection.

Bare with us on this one.

sun tan1

Scientists have found that people are actually getting less than half the sun protection they think from their suncream because they apply such thin layer.

So, how much cream are we meant to be applying?

Well, the Telegraph reports suncream manufacturers calculate SPF protection layers based on 2mg of cream per cm2 of skin. However, the majority of people use just 0.8mg for the same area which is equal to 40 per cent of what they should be using.

As a result, scientists suggest sun worshippers should apply at least half a teaspoon (3ml) to each arm, the face and neck. A full teaspoon (6ml) should then be applied to each leg, and the front and back of the body.

sun tan 2

Author of the report Anthony Young, Professor of Experimental Photobiology at KCL, said that an average-sized woman wearing a bikini in the sun should be applying suncream at least three times a day. As a result, she should be going through one 100ml bottle of lotion per day.

“Most people who use an SPF 20 sunscreen will actually be getting something like SPF 4 because they aren’t applying enough,” claims Professor Young. “They overestimate the protection they are getting and they stay out in the sun too long and get burned.”

This might explain why we’re currently rocking a lovely lobster red hue at the moment…

sun tan 3

Professor Young also suggested that as people don’t use suncream in the same way they’re tested by manufacturers, people should use “a much higher SPF than they think is necessary”.

The scientists’ study involved separating 16 volunteers into two groups of eight. The first cohort were exposed to ultra violet tradition to simulate sunlight over one day, while wearing suncream of varying thickness. The second group received exposure over five days to mimic sunbathing conditions on holiday.

Researchers found sunburn was reduced by 40 per cent when cream was applied correctly. Skin biopsies also showed that proper sun cream application lowered sun damage 7.5 times compared to using no sun protection.

So, when it comes to applying suncream this summer, it’s not just about what SPF you’re applying, but how much and how often.

Who knew a spoon could help us figure out how much cream to apply this summer? Genius.

ELLE Edit: 10 of the best sun creams to prevent sunburn

Vichy Solar protective water

Rs. 2,064 BUY

If heavy, paint-like white creams aren't your bag (are they anyone's??) then this super lightweight spray is for you. Formulated with hero ingredient hyaluronic acid, this keeps parched skin hydrated and protected.

Avène Mineral Fluid SPF50+

Rs. 1,187.98 BUY

Using broad spectrum mineral filters to protect your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays, this chic sun cream has a matte finish so you can wave greasy looking skin goodbye

Institut esthederm adaptasun body lotion strong sun

Rs. 4,139 BUY

Based around the concept of using melanin to train your skin to protect itself against the sun, this SPF-free lotion lets you tan the safe way.

Soleil toujours organic sheer sunscreen mist spf 50

Rs. 2,415.85 BUY

One for the organic lovers out there, this sun cream is fortified with green tea leaf extract to prevent burning and stop those wrinkles. Anti-aging sun cream = a yes from us.

Nivea Caring Roll-On Spf50+

Rs. 658 BUY

A roll-on sun cream?! Yup, Nivea's game-changing roll-on delivers SPF50 for under a fiver.

Sisley Super Soin Solaire Brume Lactee Corps Uva Spf30

Rs. 6,124 BUY

Possibly the most indulgent sun cream ever, this lightweight mist protects against harmful UVA and UVB rays helping to protect against the effects of photo-aging.

Rs. 1,302 BUY

One application of this genius sun cream is enough for ten hours worth of protection which means no messy lotions while you're trekking through the jungle. Or, you know, sitting by the pool...

Natura Bissé C+C Crema Antioxidante Dry Oil Spf30

Rs. 4,106 BUY 

Enriched with powerful antioxidants to shield against the damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation, you can use this multi-tasking sun cream on your skin and hair.

Clarins sunscreen care milk-lotion spray spf 50

Rs. 2,438 BUY

After 30 minutes this high protection SPF is water and sweat resistant (not a sexy fact, but very important none the less), plus the handy spray makes for easy application and leaves skin with a sexy shine.


Piz buin protect and cool refreshing sun mousse spf 30

Rs. 546 BUY

A sun cream that cools your skin whilst it protects? Our sun-parched holiday selves are all about this refreshing mousse.