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What Women Need to Know About SPF Makeup

By March 16, 2017May 11th, 2023Dermatology

Most women are aware that wearing sunscreen every day is not only an important cancer prevention step, but it also wards off signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles. But is the sun protection factor (SPF) in makeup enough to truly protect skin from the sun’s rays? While cosmetics can effectively block UV rays, it’s important to apply the right makeup the right way for optimal protection. Here’s a skincare routine to try.

Choose the Right Products

Not all SPF makeups are created equal. For best results, look for mineral powders made with zinc oxide or titanium oxide, both of which provide natural UV blockage. Moisturizers and lip balms should have an SPF of at least 15, and foundations should have an SPF of at least 8. For these products, check the ingredient list for zinc oxide or ecamsule (Mexoryl) paired with octocrylene and avobenzone.

Layer Protection

A smart, everyday sun protection regimen should include moisturizer, eye cream, foundation, lip balm, and powder. Eliminating any of these skin care elements will reduce the effectiveness. First, apply moisturizer to the face, neck, ears, and upper chest. The eye cream is specifically designed for the delicate skin around the eyes, which is susceptible to sun damage. Foundation applies an additional layer of protection that should be topped off with mineral makeup powder for a matte finish that offers another UV barrier. The lips are sensitive to the sun and should also be protected.

Know When to Step It Up

While this makeup routine is effective for most levels of sun exposure, certain conditions require additional protection. When out in the sun for a long time—whether for leisure, playing sports, or swimming—choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, and reapply it every two hours (or more frequently if swimming or sweating). The dermatologist can help women choose the right SPF makeup to add to a complete skin care regimen.