Is applying sunscreen once a day a waste of time?

A lot of people apply sunscreen once a day in the morning as part of their skincare routine. However every sunscreen I've seen tells you to reapply it every two hours. So does applying sunscreen in the morning give you some amount of UVB protection all day or is it a waste of time and your sunscreen won't be doing anything by the time you get to peak sun exposure hours in the afternoon? Thanks


  • I think anything you do is better than nothing. Consider that you are not sweating a lot or in water on a typical day. Particularly if you use a mineral sunscreen, it may not budge (chemical filters do break down).
  • To be honest I pretty much never reapply sunscreen and I haven't gotten a tan since I started using sun protection, except on my hands since I wash them (and then forget to reapply). I'm probably still losing protection throughout the day but I can't be bothered.

  • I think I read once somewhere that it depends on how much sun exposure you get in the day. If you're not getting very much sun exposure, the sunscreen doesn't break down as much, and it can last longer. If you're getting maximum sun exposure, then you need to re-apply after 2 hours because the sunscreen will break down and stop being effective at that point. The back of the bottle assumes maximum sun exposure.

    I'm not sure if that's correct, but from my own personal experience, I apply sunscreen just once in the morning and though I am very prone to sunburn/freckles on a normal day of sun exposure, with sunscreen applied I tend to avoid both.
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