By Andrea Romano
July 29, 2019
Joe Polillio/Getty Images

It’s no secret that we all should be wearing sunscreen every day, even though so many people often forego this super essential personal routine. So, how much sunscreen do we actually need?

According to a study in the U.K. by The Hospital Group, 67 percent of people, unsurprisingly, are using too little sunscreen to be protected from UV rays. It’s important to note that this study was done on U.K. residents, so percentages may be different in other countries.

Still, the study’s findings are a big indicator of a more global problem: we’re all frying in the sun way too much. In fact, a U.S. study with similar results found that people should actually be using SPF 100 all summer long. Sadly, though, it’s probably harder to do than you think since many sunscreens on the market are mislabeled as having twice the SPF that they actually have. So that SPF 50 you bought for the beach is probably closer to SPF 25.

According to the study by the Hospital Group, the matter could be even more dire than simply not wearing enough sunscreen. In fact, the study found that 44 percent of its 1,500 participants actually used less than half of what they should apply. Only 33 percent of participants used the correct amount. 57 percent of people were actually aware they weren’t using enough as well.

So, to settle the debate, the study suggests to use a simple measurement to remember how much you need to apply. According to the Hospital Group, people should use six teaspoons of sunscreens for your whole body. Yes, that includes your face.

Here’s how you should divvy it up: The group recommends using half a teaspoon for your face and neck, one teaspoon for your arms, one teaspoon per leg, and the rest for your torso and other exposed areas. Don’t forget the top of your head, which is often neglected.

Despite 57 of people surveyed saying they got sunburned on their last vacation, the study found that one in five people in the U.K. would still risk burning in order to get a tan. According to the Mayo Clinic, sunburns increase your risk of melanoma, skin damage, and other diseases, so it might be worth being a little less sun-kissed if it keeps you healthy in the long run.

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