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Is Makeup with Sunscreen Enough to Protect Your Skin from the Sun?

by kelly / February, 5 2014 01:30

Ok let me give you the answer right off the bat. Experts agree makeup with SPF is not enough to protect your skin. I made this mistake for so long, up until I started working on Block Island Organics actually.

I used to believe my SPF 15 cream foundation was enough everyday protection against the sun. I didn't wear actual sunblock on my face unless I was going to the beach for the day.

Of course I now know differently and wear mineral sunscreen on my face everyday over which I put on my cream foundation.

Dermatologists Agree: SPF Makeup Not Enough

Not convinced? According to dermatologist Dr. F. Victor Rueckl:

"Even though some makeup has sunscreen ingredients, it doesn't have the proper amount of coverage or the capabilities to protect against UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) rays. Additionally, for most people, one needs to use 7-14 times the normal amount of powder or foundation to get the SPF coverage stated on the makeup packaging."

Another point to consider, if you are using makeup with sunscreen as your main protection you are probably missing key parts of your body that are exposed to the sun every day. For example, I never put my cream foundation on my neck or hands.

Even the NY Times recently covered this topic. They interviewed prominent dermatologists, including Dr. Jeanine Downie, a dermatologist based in Montclair, N.J., and a contributor to She concurred that makeup with SPF doesn't fully protect:

"Because if you put on foundation, it’s thicker in some places and thinner in some places. Also, you’re probably not putting it on your neck. So I tell people, you need to first put a generous amount of sunblock and then your makeup on."

Skin Cancer Foundation: SPF Makeup at Most a Second Line of Defense

That's not to say your makeup with SPF isn't without use when it comes to sun protection - it's more that it can't be your only form of protection. The Skin Cancer Foundation suggests using makeup with SPF as your second line of skin defense, with your first being a sunscreen.

"First, select a sunscreen-containing moisturizer. Look for a product labeled "broad-spectrum" that has an SPF rating that is 15 or higher...Your second line of skin defense can be found in your foundation. When choosing a foundation, look for one with an SPF rating between 8 and 15. While this may seem like overkill, the truth is that most people do not get the most out of their sunscreen because either they do not apply enough of it, or they apply it unevenly."

Sunscreen really is the best protection against skin aging.

My New Routine: Sunblock 1st, Makeup 2nd

My daily facial routine changed because of all this information. At first I was hesitant to add another step into it but with all these resounding facts, it was hard not to change my ways. And it hasn't turned out to take much more time, I was just stuck in my habits! So now I have a new habit: face moisturizer, mineral sunblock and then cream foundation. I also put the mineral sunscreen on my neck and hands because I don't want to miss these often neglected parts of my body.

Hope that was helpful. I'd love to hear what your routines are and how you incorporate sunscreen into them.

Want more? Check out our Suncare Smarts, anti-aging, and skin care articles.

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