If You’re Applying Sunscreen Like Gwyneth Paltrow, You’re Doing It Wrong

The 48-year-old wellness mogul roiled dermatologists with a recent video

paltrow sunscreen
As it turns out, Paltrow is the one in need of a skin care tutorial.
Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for Dior

In a recent video for Vogue, actor/model/wellness mogul Gwyneth Paltrow shared her full morning beauty routine. It includes the expected goop fare. Think smoothies with almond butter, facial massagers, exfoliating creams. There’s only one product Paltrow recommends during the 11-minute tutorial that we definitely all need: sunscreen.

As dermatologists have been quick to point out, though, Paltrow doesn’t apply it correctly. She just puts a thimble on the crown of her nose and the tops of her cheekbones, then quickly rubs it in until it disappears. “I’m not a head-to-toe slatherer,” Paltrow says. “I like to put some on my nose and in the area where the sun really hits.”

What’s worse — especially if this video is meant to be followed chronologically — Paltrow follows that effort by rubbing a moisturizing serum into the exact same area of her face. That’s a big no-no, according to skin care experts. Some ingredients in moisturizer can actually neutralize the efforts of sunscreen. You need to wait for sunscreen to fully absorb into the skin before throwing another remedy atop it.

In the past, the 48-year-old has wandered into public health discussions that are probably best left to medical professionals. (Her comments on how to “cure” long COVID come to mind.) But it’s puzzling in this instance, as the founder of a billion-dollar brand that deals in skin care products, that she doesn’t have a more nuanced understanding of everyday sunscreen application. It’s important to not just apply sunscreen to the face, of course, but all over the body. It it should be a liberal amount, too — about two tablespoons of lotion to the body’s exposed section.

In fairness, Paltrow did do a couple things right; her sunscreen of choice was SPF 30 (you always want to be above SPF 15), and she chose a mineral-based option — too many sun lotions contain toxic chemicals, which not only can irritate the skin, but also end up bleaching coral reefs when you wear them into the ocean.

Still, it’s a shame her tutorial could give some people the wrong idea, especially for those prone to skipping sunscreen. Proper application is super important for anyone, and especially for younger guys. Keep in mind: from 1995 to 2014, head and neck melanoma jumped by 51%. And more than 60% of those who died from it were men under the age of 39. Is that demographic watching videos of Paltrow’s morning beauty routine? Probably not. But with an issue this deadly, any sort of misinformation from someone with a huge platform isn’t helping.

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