Two skin doctors explain how well SPF makeup protects our skin, how to maximise our sun protection and why it never hurts to have more sun protection.
By now, we are all well aware that the diligent use of sunscreen is important in keeping our skin looking youthful. After all, sun damage, premature signs of ageing and even skin cancer are just some reasons why year-round SPF application – yes, even when it’s cloudy and raining – in our skincare routine is necessary.
These days we’re also seeing more SPF options that promise to help keep our skin protected– including SPF-infused makeup.
But how effective is SPF-infused makeup? And more importantly, does using them mean we can skip sunscreen?CNA Lifestyle asks the experts to share facts and tips on making the most out of our sun protection.
ARE YOU USING ENOUGH SUNSCREEN DAILY?
According to Dr Eileen Tan, consultant dermatologist at Eileen Tan Skin Clinic & Associates, “a good sunscreen should be one that provides a broad-spectrum coverage against ultraviolet B (UVB) and ultraviolet A (UVA)”.
In short, you should not only look just at a product’s sun protection factor (SPF), but also its protection grade (PA). This is because the SPF measures the length of time the product will protect your skin against UVB rays, while the PA focuses on UVA rays, also known as the rays that age you, explained Dr Tan.
As a good rule of thumb, a sunscreen of at least SPF30 is recommended, and it should applied liberally. If you’re wondering how liberal you should go, Dr Rachel Ho, aesthetic doctor at La Clinic, advised using “2mg/cm2 to get the amount that’s stated on the label”.
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That's approximately a quarter of a teaspoon for the face and five teaspoon worth for the entire body, said Dr Tan.
But let’s be real here: How many of us actually follow this rule? Not many.
“In reality, most people do not use this amount because of a lack of awareness and inconvenience,” said Dr Ho.
In fact, Dr Tan shared that she’s seen patients come in with severe sunburn on their upper back and neck regions from missed sunscreen application. Other areas that are often missed include the nose and ears.
SPF MAKEUP: HOW MUCH PROTECTION DOES IT GIVE?
But before you go skipping your sunscreen application just because your foundation or powder has SPF, here’s what you might want to know.
To get the adequate UV protection from your makeup, said Dr Ho, you’d need to apply the same amount – 2mg/cm2, of makeup every single time. Therein lies the problem. “In practice, this is a very large amount of powder, foundation or blusher that is impractical for daily use,” added Dr Ho.
But that’s not the only reason. Dr Tan also shared that SPF-infused makeup products should not be your sole protection against UV damage as they may not have the necessary ingredients to qualify as a broad-spectrum sunscreen. This could lead to the photoprotection being inadequate and inconsistent if you were to reply solely on SPF makeup for sun protection.
“Hence the realised amount of UV protection from makeup is lesser than expected,” stated Dr Ho.
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USING A SEPARATE SUNSCREEN IS NECESSARY
“In reality, most people use less than the desired amount of SPF makeup, so they don’t get enough UV protection from their makeup,” said Dr Ho. This is why the doctors recommend using a separate sunscreen before your SPF makeup.
Added Dr Ho: “This separate sunscreen layer, when used in the appropriate amount, will be the main layer of UV protection instead of the makeup with SPF”.
Just make sure that you use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF30, emphasised Dr Tan. And don’t forget to re-apply regularly if you’re under prolonged sun exposure.
EVERY LITTLE BIT COUNTS
But before you go dismissing the use of SPF makeup, both doctors shared that layering your sunscreen with SPF makeup is a better way to go.
“Using both regular sunscreen and makeup with SPF allows you to get adequate photoprotection and enjoy the benefits of wearing cosmetic products,” said Dr Tan.
In addition, they can also provide additional UV protection for the skin, and more so on areas of the face where sunscreen is often missed, such as the eyelids, shared Dr Ho.
“I would choose makeup with SPF to maximise my UV coverage, especially since many people often use less than adequate sunscreen so the amount of actual UV protection is often less than expected,” Dr Ho added.
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And lest you think that you can skip your sunscreen if you layer multiple SPF infused products, from primer to foundation and blusher, think again.
While layering a range of sun protection products will give somewhat better protection, it does not do so in a linear way, explained Dr Ho. That is to say, SPF50 primer, + SPF30 foundation and SPF30 eyeshadow + SPF15 lipstick will not give you SPF125 protection.
Instead, think of layering your SPF products, from sunscreen to makeup, as a way of improving the homogeneity of coverage, especially since we often have insufficient sunscreen application, said Dr Ho.
Ultimately, when it comes to sun protection, it’s definitely something you can never have too much of.
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CHECK OUT THESE SPF-INFUSED MAKEUP PRODUCTS
Allie Chrono Beauty Color On UV SPF50+/PA++++, S$21
With its high SPF properties, this can easily be considered as sunscreen for your cheeks. It delivers a soft healthy flush of colour (choose from Lucent Pink or Warm Orange), protects against damaging UV rays and is resistant to sweat, sebum and friction, making it great for days spent outdoors, like at the beach. There’s even a translucent option that’s perfect for highlighting cheek and brow bones for extra definition.
Ultra Violette Sheen Screen Hydrating Lip Balm SPF50, S$26
A nourishing lip balm that gives lips a delicate sheen of colour while protecting them against harmful UV rays. It’s also packed full of lip-caring actives like lanolin and shea and cacao seed butters to keep lips hydrated and soft. Wear it on its own or over your favourite lip colour for a high-shine finish.
Available at Sephora.sg
Supergoop Shimmer Shade Eyeshadow SPF30, S$40
A cream eyeshadow that pulls double-duty. Eyes look bright and pretty thanks to its soft shimmer-infused colour pigments while being protected against harmful UV.
Available at Sephora.sg
Make Up For Ever UV Protector Step 1 Primer SPF50/PA+++, S$62
A hardworking, multi-tasking primer, it’s enriched with high SPF properties as well as cactus flower extract and blur reflecting pearl pigments to hydrate the skin, correct uneven and dull skin tone and of course, shield the skin against UV and external environment stressors. Skin looks instantly glow-y and makeup lasts longer.
Available at https://makeupforever.sg/
Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Gel Touch Foundation SPF30/PA+++, S$110
Its improved formula now offers triple protection thanks to the use of jasmine oil extract that works to not only hydrate the skin, but also protects against pollution, UV rays and oxidation. In addition, its photo-adaptive complex leaves your complexion looking dewy fresh all day.
Available at www.chanel.com/sg/makeup/
Related TopicsBeauty Makeup SPF sun protection
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But before you go dismissing the use of SPF makeup, both doctors shared that layering your sunscreen with SPF makeup is a better way to go. “Using both regular sunscreen and makeup with SPF allows you to get adequate photoprotection and enjoy the benefits of wearing cosmetic products,” said Dr Tan.Can I skip sunscreen if my foundation has SPF? ›
He also recommends waiting a few minutes before applying your foundation to allow your sun protection to set. So, yes, your morning routine should include applying sunscreen before your makeup — even if your makeup is infused with SPF. Don't skimp on application either.Is SPF in foundation bad for you? ›
You absolutely can use makeup that contains sunscreen for added benefit; just be sure to not have this be the only source of sun protection you're getting. When you can, touch up your makeup with setting sprays or powders that contain SPF to ensure you're taking all precautions against UV and UVB rays on a daily basis.Do I need sunscreen if my CC Cream has SPF? ›
Second, even if you apply Sun CC Cream with SPF 50 on your face, imagine your other body parts would still need a sunscreen. Also, when it comes to re-application, you are supposed to re-apply your sunscreen after every 2-3 hours. Re-applying a Sun CC Cream can really become a task for you.”Why not to use makeup with SPF? ›
Unfortunately, the SPF in makeup probably isn't enough to limit the harmful effects of the sun's skin-burning ultraviolet (UV) rays, says Dr. Kassouf. In fact, at best you're probably getting about half the protection you think.Does SPF over makeup work? ›
It's important to keep in mind that the skin on your face is very delicate and subject to sun damage, so reapplying sunscreen with SPF over makeup with full coverage is highly beneficial.Does SPF in foundation count? ›
You should also keep in mind that the SPF level in foundation isn't quite as strong as it claims. SPF 30 mixed into foundation isn't going to be as effective as a pure SPF 30 sunscreen, so you'd really need to slather it on thick in order to get the UV protection promised by the SPF rating on the bottle.What does SPF do in foundation? ›
The SPF number tells you how long the sun's UV radiation would take to redden your skin when using the product exactly as directed versus the amount of time without any sunscreen. So ideally, with SPF 30 it would take you 30 times longer to burn than if you weren't wearing sunscreen.What are the benefits of SPF foundation? ›
Better coverage: A foundation with sunscreen provides better coverage than normal sunscreen. You get the benefits of a foundation - evening out your skin tone, covering blemishes and imperfections - while also protecting your skin from the sun.Can you catch the sun with foundation on? ›
Research shows that makeup can act as a barrier between your skin and the sun and could cause uneven tanning. However, whether you're wearing foundation, powders, blush, eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara, or lipstick, you shouldn't use makeup as a replacement for sun protection.
According to dermatologists, you should be re-administering your SPF every two to three hours, which means that full face beat you put together early in the A.M. may get a little disheveled after the second slathering.Is BB cream with SPF enough or sunscreen? ›
Ans. Yes, SPF BB cream can be effective in protecting your skin from harmful UV rays. However, it is important to note that the level of protection can vary depending on the specific product and its SPF level. It is always recommended to use a separate sunscreen with a high SPF level for maximum protection.Do I need sunscreen if my BB cream has SPF 50? ›
Yes, you should still use sunscreen/sunblock even if you use a BB cream with SPF. While the BB cream may contain SPF, its coverage may not be as strong as a dedicated sunscreen/sunblock product.What are the negatives of SPF? ›
- It doesn't reflect or block all ultraviolet radiation: some still gets through.
- It is not exceedingly effective against UVA rays.
- It may encourage longer sun exposure and therefore greater sun damage.
- It only works on the areas to which it is applied.
One important way to ensure that you're truly protected from harmful UV rays is to apply your sunscreen as the last step in your morning skin care routine, but before you begin applying any makeup.Can foundation replace sunscreen? ›
That's why Batra says most makeup products aren't applied well enough to fully protect from the sun's rays on their own. “I tell my patients that the SPF in makeup is like icing on the cake; foundations and powders that contain SPF are helpful but they should not be their primary sun protection,” she says.Do I need SPF under foundation? ›
To get proper sun protection, you should apply sunscreen underneath your cosmetics. At SunSense, we recommend that your sunscreen should be SPF 50/50+ and broad spectrum to make sure you are protected against both UVA and UVB rays.Does SPF in foundation cause flashback? ›
All moisturizers, primers, concealers and foundations containing SPF (sunscreen) can potentially cause flashback. High SPF is increasing the risk for flashback. SPF will not cause flashback with digital photography, and not all SPF containing products will cause a white cast.