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Does Makeup With SPF Provide Enough Protection?

Nov 05, 2013
Both science and experience have proven time and time again that the sun’s harmful rays can cause immense damage to the skin.

Does Makeup With SPF Provide Enough Protection?

Both science and experience have proven time and time again that the sun’s harmful rays can cause immense damage to the skin. This is significant not only to our skin’s appearance but also to our health; exposure to the sun can lead to skin cancer as well as signs of aging, such as wrinkles and sun spots. Since completely avoiding the sun is nearly impossible, applying sunscreen is one of the best ways to protect your skin. However, many people avoid putting sunblock on their face because it can sometimes make their skin oily or clog their pores. Many cosmetics now have built-in sun protection factors, but does the SPF in makeup alone provide effective protection from the sun’s damaging rays?

Broad-Spectrum Protection

The Skin Cancer Foundation’s skin cancer prevention guidelines recommend wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 for everyday activities. Most conventional sunscreens only block UVB radiation, which is what causes sunburn, but broad-spectrum sunscreens protect against UVB and UVA radiation. Even though UVA rays do not produce visible damage to the skin immediately, they cause premature aging of the skin (i.e., fine lines and wrinkles) as well as damage to the DNA of deeper skin cells, which can lead to skin cancer. So while makeup may have an SPF of 15 against UVB radiation, it does not always offer protection from UVA radiation as well.

Adequate Coverage

Although there are brands that do offer broad-spectrum foundations, makeup is generally not applied in an amount large enough to provide adequate sun protection. If you think about how much sunscreen you would normally apply to your face and use that same amount of makeup, you would soon realize that most people do not layer their makeup on that thickly. Those who only use powder foundations are especially unlikely to achieve enough coverage to protect their skin because of the translucent quality of most powders. To avoid caked-on makeup and still achieve the broad-spectrum protection that you need to reduce your chances of skin cancer and aging, consider finding a moisturizer with an SPF of 15 or higher.

The Solution

As an alternative to layering traditional sunscreen under your makeup or foregoing it altogether, the perfect solution would be to add a moisturizer with a broad-spectrum SPF to your routine before applying foundation. Moisturizer is essential for providing your skin with the nutrients and hydration it needs to maintain a youthful appearance, and the sun protection factor in this simple step during your morning routine will help keep your skin beautiful and healthy.

In addition to a broad-spectrum SPF of 15 or higher, the Skin Cancer Foundation also recommends moisturizers that contain zinc oxide, avobenzone (Parsol 1789), or ecamsule (Mexoryl) to provide the most refined results and best protection. After washing your face and putting on your moisturizer (don’t forget your neck and chest), applying makeup with an SPF will provide some additional protection, and topping off your routine with pressed powder can help keep your sunscreen in place longer into the day.

If your skin already displays signs of aging, such as sun spots, wrinkles, and fine lines, Dr. Verebelyi can help. To schedule a consultation, contact Colorado Skin & Vein by calling (303) 683-3235 or filling out our online contact form.