Many foundations and concealers advertise built-in SPF as a selling point. But do these products really safeguard your skin from the harmful effects of the sun? The answer may surprise you. According to experts, these makeup products fall far short of providing adequate coverage. Here’s a closer look at the dangers of relying on makeup with SPF, along with tips for adopting a sun-safe skincare routine.
From minimizing wrinkles to maximizing cancer prevention, there are many reasons to make sunscreen part of your everyday life. SPF makeup seems like a perfect solution, especially for today’s busy women. However, the reality is that these products don't deliver on the promised protection.
For starters, most people only apply a small amount of foundation or concealer as opposed to slathering it on. Unfortunately, this layer is not thick enough to offer skin-protecting benefits. According to dermatologist Leslie Baumann, MD, “Makeup does not provide enough coverage. You need seven times the normal amount of foundation and 14 times the normal amount of powder to get the sun protection factor on the label.”
Not only that, but the majority of SPF makeup products only protect against UVB radiation. “Most [cosmetics with SPF] do not have any coverage against the UVA rays that will go through your car window, your home windows, goes through all the clouds, the rainstorms, and the snow,” explains dermatologist Lily Talakoub, MD. Simply put, if you think your foundation or powder is providing comprehensive protection, you could be putting yourself at risk for skin damage.
The best way to make sure your skin is sufficiently protected from the sun is to start by applying sunscreen with an SPF rating of at least 15. It should also be broad-spectrum, which means that it can block both UVA and UVB rays. Zinc oxide, avobenzone, and ecamsule are all ingredients that are known to work well with makeup while also providing excellent protection. Applying enough is also important – expect to use roughly one teaspoon’s worth for your face, neck, and ears.
After allowing the sunscreen to absorb into the skin, apply a foundation or tinted moisturizer, also with an SPF of 15 or more. Again, for these to offer the protection you need, they must be used with sunscreen. Finally, following up with a compressed powder not only offers additional sun protection but also sets your sunscreen and moisturizer.
Keep in mind, just as you reapply sunscreen to your body, you must also reapply sunscreen to your face – even if you're wearing makeup. Aim to reapply every two hours if you’re spending time outdoors. If you're worried about shine afterward, an SPF translucent powder can help keep your makeup looking its best.
While daily sunscreen application is necessary, it isn’t the only element of an effective sun safety routine. Rather, you should use a variety of different tactics to ensure your skin remains protected from sun damage. Staying out of the sun during peak hours and wearing sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats, and UPF 50+ clothing can further help you practice optimal sun safety.
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