Friday, March 25, 2022

Is The SPF In Your Makeup Enough Sunscreen?


When I go shopping for makeup and moisturizers, I notice that some of them include sunscreen.  I know I'm supposed to wear sunscreen all the time but if makeup has the sunscreen already, I wondered if it was enough so I didn't have to wear any additional or remember to keep it stocked.

If you check the makeup aisle, you'll find SPF listed for everything from foundations, to tinted moisturizers, to loose powders, to skin cremes.  Lets start with what SPF is. 

SPF stands for sun protection factor which is actually a clinical measurement that tests the effectiveness of any product in protecting against sunburn.  The number tells you how long you can be in the sun before you start to burn compared with the time it takes to burn when you don't wear any sunscreen at all.  In actuality, the SPF in makeup is provided by adding sunscreen to it.

So if your makeup contains sunscreen, do you really need to wear sunscreen? The answer is a surprising yes because sunscreen ratings are based on a fairly heavy application of sunscreen, usually 2mg/cm^2.  This means you need 6 to 7 times the normal amount of makeup to achieve the the same amount of protection as a normal application of sunscreen. Furthermore, most skin care companies lather on an extra thick layer so the SPF rating is said to be higher than it actually is. 

The rule of thumb is that you are probably getting about half of the rating so if the foundation says SPF 30, you are probably getting about an SPF 15 coverage.  In addition, the FDA has a fairly strict definition for a sunscreen so even if the makeup product contains the ingredients found in sunscreen, they cannot make claims on the amount of sun protection the product provides.

If you do have makeup stating it has SPF in it, you can still use them.  These products with sunscreen should be used in addition to a regular sunscreen.  Choose a sunscreen that is broad spectrum with a rating of at least 30 for best protection. The best way to use it is to begin by cleaning your face in the normal way before applying 1/4 to 1/2 a teaspoon of sunscreen over the face and neck.  Then put on your makeup with or without sunscreen. This way your face is fully protected.

It becomes difficult to adhere to the two hour rule.  The two hour rule is that your sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours and it is certainly not practical for most people to clean their faces so they can reapply everything including the sunscreen. So the best alternative is to use setting sprays or powders containing sunscreen and apply them on top of your makeup.  

It is important to use sunscreen in addition to any makeup containing sunscreen every day, summer or winter.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

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