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In the application of sunscreens, ‘fill up a handful of sunscreen and spread it all over your body’ has been used with the aim of increasing the applied sunscreen to obtain a quantity of 2 mg/cm2 to all accessible skin.
The aim of a new study published in Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology was to determine how this advice works in practice—evaluated by quantity of sunscreen applied and amount of covered skin.
Here, 17 volunteers wearing swimwear were applied sunscreen in the above-mentioned method. Before and after the application, volunteers were photographed in black light. The sunscreen container was weighed before and after to quantify the amount of sunscreen applied.
The result revealed that a median of 21% of the accessible skin remained without sunscreen coverage. While the 79% covered area had a median of 1.12 mg/cm2 applied sunscreen; that is, less than 2 mg/cm2.
Hence, the advice "Fill up a handful of sunscreen and spread it all over your body" led to a better but still modest protection, compared to the intended effect.
Source: Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology. 2020;1268:381-385.doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-46227-7_19.