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How to Apply Sunscreen on Your Own Back

Spending some quality alone time in the sun? Here's how to prevent a painful sunburn when flying solo.


  • Step 1: Use the reach method Try the reach method. Put a generous amount of sunscreen on your right hand, reach over your left shoulder and spread it onto your back; repeat on the other side.
  • TIP: Apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before going out to allow it to absorb into your skin.
  • Step 2: Reach the lower parts of your back Reach your right hand under your left arm to get just below where your reach ended from going over your shoulder, and then reach your left hand under your right arm. Finally, twist your right hand behind the right side of your back and your left hand behind the left side of your back to get the rest.
  • TIP: Don't skimp on sunscreen. It takes 1 to 1 1/2 ounces -- the amount it takes to fill a shot glass -- to adequately cover the average body.
  • Step 3: Use a towel Apply your sunscreen to a towel and rub it back and forth over your back, as if you were toweling off after a shower. It's not the most economical way to apply sunscreen, but it works.
  • Step 4: Use an applicator Use a body lotion applicator, available at most health and beauty stores. These resemble paint rollers, but are designed for the thicker consistency of a lotion.
  • Step 5: Use a back scrubber Use a no-hands back scrubber, a sponge mounted on a handle usually used for washing your back. Substitute your sunscreen for soap or body wash, and you're covered.
  • Step 6: Use a back-scratcher Attach a soft sponge to the scratching end of a back-scratcher. Use tape, glue, or string to tie the sponge on, squirt the sunscreen onto the sponge head, and go to town.
  • Step 7: Get help Remember -- you can always ask an attractive stranger. It's a great way to break the ice.
  • FACT: Childhood sun exposure plays a critical role in the risk of developing skin cancer as an adult.

You Will Need

  • Towel
  • Body lotion applicator
  • No-hands back scrubber
  • Backscratcher
  • Sponge
  • Tape
  • glue
  • or string
  • Attractive stranger (optional)

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