Is Foundation With Sunscreen Enough Protection for Your Skin?

If you wear foundation with SPF, do you need sunscreen also? We did the research. Know whether your face is adequately protected from sun damage.

Is SPF Sunscreen Enough, or Do You Need Sunscreen, Too?

Mornings are busy enough without adding steps in an already complex makeup routine, right? That might be what you are telling yourself when you skip the sunscreen or moisturizer with sunscreen and reach for your foundation with SPF. But is that enough protection from the sun’s damaging rays?

No, is the official answer of the Skin Cancer Foundation. A separate sunscreen should always be a part of your daily skincare regimen.

What Dermatologists Say About Foundation With Sunscreen

While two-in-one products may seem like tempting shortcuts, they often just leave you short. According to dermatologist Leslie Baumann, giving in to the temptation to skip a step and rely on the sunscreen included in your foundation makeup is a mistake. Makeup alone does not provide adequate sunscreen protection. You would need to apply about seven times the amount of liquid foundation that’s normally used in order to achieve the SPF results indicated on the bottle or about fourteen times the powder. If you were to cover your face with enough foundation to achieve proper coverage, you’d end up looking like you were wearing a mask.

According to Jeanine Downie, a dermatologist at Mountainside Hospital in Montclair, New Jersey, people don’t apply enough foundation or apply it evenly enough, to provide adequate protection. The same is true for tinted moisturizers with sunscreen. Besides not providing enough coverage for the face, foundations with sunscreen will still leave neck, chest, and ears unprotected. Most foundations with sunscreen offer only SPF fifteen to twenty, and dermatologists recommend an SPF of 30 or higher to protect against both skin cancer, and sun damage that causes aging.

It’s also important to note that SPFs are not cumulative. Meaning that adding SPF 15 foundation over SPF 15 moisturizer does not give you SPF 30 protection. It is still SPF fifteen. The concentration of active ingredients in an SPF 30 sunscreen and above is different than what’s found in an SPF 15 formula.

Another noteworthy fact is that most foundations with sunscreen only include UVB protection and not UVA, according to McClean Dermatology and Skincare Center. UVA rays can come through the clouds even on gray or snowy days, and filter right through car windows to damage your skin.

What’s the Best Sunscreen Solution?

According to dermatologists, the best solution is to find a daily moisturizer with a broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF thirty or higher. This should be gently massaged into the skin of your face, neck, and chest, paying special attention to the area from between the eyes to the sides of the nose and underneath the eyes, where the skin is much thinner than anywhere else on the face. This is the area that a typical sunscreen may feel as though it’s burning or stinging during application and some people tend to go to lightly or skip the area completely to avoid the stinging sensation.

Moisturizers containing sunscreen tend to be gentler on the skin than a heavy, beach-type sunscreen and sting less. They also typically work well under makeup. However, because it can be difficult to apply sunscreen in the vulnerable area close to the eyes, and it’s often rubbed away during the day, it’s a good idea to wear sunglasses with full-spectrum sun protection when outside in the sun.

Dermatologist, Anna Guanche, advises applying a moisturizing sunscreen of SPF thirty or higher in the morning after washing, waiting five minutes for the skin to fully absorb the sunscreen, and then adding your foundation. Touch-ups can be added mid-day by powdering with a mineral-type foundation powder containing sunscreen.

If you are going to be spending a great deal of your day outdoors, it’s probably worth using a full sunscreen rather than just a moisturizer with sunscreen for more complete protection.

So do you need to wear both sunscreen and SPF foundation?

So while more sunscreen protection is better than less, and it’s fine to go with a foundation with SPF protection added, it’s important to know that your foundation with sunscreen included is only additional protection and not meant to be your only source of protection from the damaging rays of the sun.

Resources— WebMD, Consumer Reports, Self.com, Women's Health

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