Relying on Makeup for Sunscreen Leaves Skin Unprotected

To protect the skin from premature aging,. One past study found that ultraviolet (UV) light exposure was responsible for 80 percent of visible facial aging signs, including wrinkles and pigmentation changes.

But if you’re relying on makeup containing SPF to block harmful UV rays, you may not be sufficiently protecting your skin. “Most makeup protects against UVB rays but doesn’t block UVA rays, which cause fine lines, brown spots, enlarged pores, and crepey-ness,” says Dee Anna Glaser, MD, a board-certified dermatologist, a professor, and the interim chair of the dermatology department at St. Louis University School of Medicine in Missouri.

Plus, you’d need to slather on a lot of cosmetics to get the sunscreen benefit. “Makeup will give added protection along with SPF, but alone it is probably not enough,” Frank says.

Skin solution Apply a sunscreen or moisturizer with broad-spectrum SPF before putting on your makeup. Broad-spectrum means the product will protect your skin against UVA rays, which contribute to skin aging, and UVB rays, which can cause sunburn, per the Skin Cancer Foundation. “People need SPF as a separate application from their makeup,” Frank says. “SPF 30 is usually the acceptable number for protection.”

Studies suggest that when we apply sunscreen, we skip spots, Dr. Glaser says. A research published in April 2019 in  found that 20 percent of the 84 study participants missed the area around the eyelids when they applied moisturizer with SPF, and 14 percent of people who applied sunscreen rather than moisturizer missed the eye area as well. “So if you put on lotion and then makeup, you’re more likely to cover those missed areas,” Glaser says.

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