Does SPF in Makeup and Moisturizers Work?

woman applying foundation

Streamlining your busy morning routine by using a foundation or moisturizer that contains SPF might sound like a great idea, but does this really offer your skin adequate sun protection? The answer, unfortunately, is no – you shouldn’t rely on SPF in makeup and moisturizers to keep your skin protected from sun damage and skin cancer.

This guide explains why SPF in makeup is not an effective way to protect your skin, as well as better SPF practices and two SPF products that you should include in your daily routine.

The Trouble with SPF in Makeup

While it might sound good in theory, there are many problems with using a two-in-one makeup and SPF product. First, you would need to apply a lot – seven times the normal amount of foundation and 14 times the normal amount of powder – in order to get the SPF listed on the bottle.

Secondly, you need to reapply sunscreen every hour when you’re outside in the sun or after swimming. If you’re relying on SPF in your makeup or moisturizer, you’re probably not going to reapply it throughout the day like you should.

What’s the Best Way to Wear Sunscreen?

You can still use your favorite SPF foundation or moisturizer, but you should always pair it with a standalone sunscreen. Because of the recent bans on chemical sunscreens, we recommend using a mineral-based sunscreen. These products use ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to create a physical barrier between your skin and the sun’s UV rays. EltaMD Physical is a great product that is generally well-tolerated by all Baumann Skin Types®, including those with sensitive and acne-prone skin.

Use SPF 15 or higher on a daily basis, applied on top of treatment products and moisturizers. If you are going to be outside on a boat or golfing all day, wear a higher SPF and remember to reapply it every hour. Note that your SPF protection is the highest level of SPF you are wearing – you cannot combine SPF 15 and SPF 30 products to to get SPF 45.

Which Makeup Products Should Contain SPF?

There are two SPF-containing makeup products that are worth wearing: lip balm and a cream eyeshadow. Your lips and eyelids are highly susceptible areas, and many people forget to apply SPF there. Your lips do not produce sebum (oil), which contains vitamin E, a natural antioxidant. The skin on your lips is also much thinner than on other parts of your face and body, therefore making it more susceptible to sun damage. Aim for using a matte lip balm rather than a gloss, since shiny lip gloss can attract UV rays. EltaMD also makes an SPF lip balm that provides UVA and UVB protection and doubles as a lip moisturizer.

Eyelids are an often missed area when applying sunscreen, so it doesn’t hurt to use an eyeshadow that contains SPF to give yourself some extra protection. BareMinerals makes a broad-spectrum SPF eyeshadow cream, as well as many other leading makeup brands.

Bottom Line

Don’t rely solely on your makeup or moisturizer to get your daily dose of SPF. That doesn’t mean that you have to quit using your favorite SPF-containing products, but you should pair them with standalone sunscreens of at least SPF 15.

For more skin care information, advice, and how-to videos from Dr. Leslie Baumann, don’t forget to follow Baumann Cosmetic on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Feel free to share your favorite SPF products and sun protection tips with us there!

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May 20, 2019 Skincare