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Sunscreen in Your Make-up: Is it Enough?

By HERWriter
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is sunscreen in your make-up enough? B-D-S/PhotoSpin

New rules for sunscreen coverage have recently been put into effect by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for 2013. In order to claim broad-spectrum coverage, sunscreen of any type must provide UVA and UVB protection.

Make-up with an SPF of only 2 to 14 cannot claim to protect against skin cancer or early aging, it can only claim that it protects against sunburn.

However, even if the make-up claims a higher SPF above 15, you may still not be adequately protected.

According to Montclair, New Jersey dermatologist Dr. Jeanine Downie, since foundation is not put on evenly all over one’s face and usually is not applied to the neck, the SPF protection it provides is not consistent. She tells her patients to put on a generous amount of sunscreen first then apply their make-up over it, reported the New York Times.

Good Housekeeping discussed how make-up boosts its SPF capability by including the minerals zinc and titanium. This addition acts to diffuse the UV light before it can penetrate and damage your skin’s cells.

Brandith Irwin, M.D., a Seattle dermatologist, suggests that it is best to choose make-up containing both additives and to choose those products with higher SPF ratings.

Regardless of how high the SPF rating in make-up is, relying on it alone to block damaging rays is not enough, stated Fredric Brandt, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City and Miami. He pointed out that people simply do not put enough sunscreen on.

“You need about half a teaspoon for your face and neck to get the required thickness,” he told Good Housekeeping.

The Skin Cancer Foundation stated that after cleansing your face in the morning, you should start your facial routine with a moisturizer that has an SPF of 15 or above, and that states it is “broad spectrum”.

“Look for active ingredients that include zinc oxide, avobenzone (Parsol 1789) or ecamsule (Mexoryl) combined with octocrylene and avobenzone. These are the most cosmetically elegant, long-lasting broad-spectrum sunscreen ingredients found in moisturizers”.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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