Published: 08 June 2022  (Updated: 14 June 2022)

It’s official! Suncream is a Self-Esteem Essential. So how should you apply it to get the best protection?

By Matthew Patey OBE, Chief Executive, British Skin Foundation


Research for CTPA released this week reveals that three quarters of us (72%) connect the way we feel about our skin to how we feel about ourselves, with this figure even higher among women (81%) compared to men (64%).

This connection is something that we certainly see, and often speak about, at the British Skin Foundation so it’s always really interesting to see it supported by new data. In this case, the findings form part of a survey of UK adults by research specialist Opinium.

Sunscreens voted a Top 10 Self Esteem Essential

The findings also indicate quite clearly that protecting our skin can help to protect our self-esteem. When asked what helps to give them a self-esteem boost, nearly two thirds of UK adults said ‘wearing sunscreen to protect my skin’ (65%). This figure rose to 74% of women and reduced to 56% among men.  Incidentally, this makes sun protection more important to our self-esteem than hair (56%) or make-up (35%).

So it’s perhaps no surprise to see that the nation has voted both moisturisers and sunscreens into its Top 10 Self-Esteem Essentials. Something we at the British Skin Foundation were, of course, delighted to see. While the role of sunscreens in protecting our skin is well-established, it’s fantastic that people are recognising the positive connotations for self-esteem too.

Tips for getting the best protection from your sunscreen

We’ve established that sunscreens can play a vital role in protecting us inside and out. Great! So how can you be sure that you are getting the very best protection from your product? Here are top tips on how to apply sunscreens to best effect from Dr Anjali Mahto, Consultant Dermatologist and British Skin Foundation spokesperson:  

  • Apply sunscreen at least every two hours and more often if you sweat, are rubbing your skin or have been in water.
  • Make sure you are using enough sunscreen. On average, an adult should apply more than half a teaspoon of sunscreen to each arm and the face/neck and just over one teaspoon to each leg, the front of the body and back of the body.
  • Wear sunscreen every day, even on cloudy days. The sun emits UV rays all year round so if you spend any significant amount of time outdoors, or indoors by a window, then you should be wearing sunscreen.
  • Check the expiry date of your sunscreen as they lose potency over time.

Click here to find out more about CTPA’s research into sunscreens and self-esteem.

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