It’s important to keep your skin safe when you’re out in the sun, but makeup with SPF isn’t enough to adequately protect yourself from potentially harmful rays.
Exposure to the sun’s UV rays without proper protection can lead to some serious health consequences, including skin cancer, so dermatologists strongly encourage the use of sunscreen every day (yes, even on cloudy days).
And even though you might be thinking that your makeup containing SPF is a suitable substitute for sunscreen, it’s likely not protecting you from sun damage as well as you think.
Even if your foundation contains SPF, you’re likely not wearing enough of it to actually protect your skin
Many dermatologists recommend people use an SPF of at least 30.
Using makeup that contains SPF isn’t a bad idea, but you probably aren’t applying enough of these products to actually protect yourself from the sun’s rays, said Dr. Papri Sarkar, a dermatologist based in Massachusetts.
Essentially, you’d need to evenly apply about a nickel-sized dollop of sunscreen to your face and neck to get adequate SPF protection. Sarkar said that people generally tend to use about half of that amount when applying makeup like foundation or concealer, so they’d have to be applying quite a bit to get enough protection.
Plus, many beauty products typically only contain SPF 15 or SPF 20 and most dermatologists recommend you use an SPF of at least 30.
To better protect your skin, try layering sunscreen beneath your foundation and then reapply every few hours using a special powder
Sunscreen comes in powder form.
If you want to be better protected from the sun, start by putting on a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 before applying makeup, said Dr. Caren Campbell, a board-certified dermatologist based in California.
“The term broad-spectrum means it protects against UVA and UVB rays,” she told INSIDER. UVA rays are the sun’s aging rays and UVB rays are the sun’s burning rays, she explained.
Once you have your face covered, Campbell said you also need just over an ounce of sunscreen to protect the rest of your body.
Reapplication is also necessary for total sun protection— and it’s a step that’s often overlooked when people are wearing makeup.
Sarkar said that if you get wet from swimming you should reapply immediately. If you’re outdoors and sweating, you should reapply every two hours. And, if you are neither sweating nor outside, Sarkar said you should reapply sunscreen every four to six hours to maintain your sun protection.
If you’re wearing makeup and don’t want to slather sunscreen on top of it, both Sarkar and Campbell suggested opting for a powderedsunscreen to brush on throughout the day.
Sarkar also noted that it’s important to remember that SPF doesn’t have an additive effect — so SPF 25 from your sunscreen, SPF 15 from your foundation, and SPF 20 from your powdered sunscreen doesn’t add up to SPF 60.
“No matter how many layers you apply, you can’t get to a higher SPF than the number listed on the bottle,” she said. “But you can certainly get less than that if you don’t apply enough.”