Increased SPF doesn't mean you can apply less sunscreen.

Increased SPF doesn't mean you can apply less sunscreen.

Last month, the federal government finally gave the green light to allow SPF 50+ products to be sold in Australia (Europe and the States have been hip to the 50-factor for years now). But the added level of protection doesn't mean you can get away with wearing less sunscreen or spend more time in the sun.

According to Dermalogica education manager Emma Hobson, if it takes your skin eight minutes to burn without sunscreen, an SPF 50+, if applied correctly, should hypothetically protect the skin from burning rays for about 400 minutes. But here's the catch. Unlike the strict test-lab conditions, we rarely apply enough sunscreen to benefit from the full SPF. What's more, swimming, exercising and towel-drying can cause the product to wear off. "As a rule, always apply one teaspoon of product on each arm and leg, one each on the back and on the torso, and half a teaspoon for the face and neck, including the ears and the back of the neck," says Hobson.

And regardless of the SPF rating, it's essential that you reapply the product every two hours, especially if swimming or exercising.