Let’s face it: climate change, global warming, and the depletion of our ozone layer are real. As is the crisis your skin faces when it comes to the sun. With environmental crises combined, it’s safe to assume that the sun is not getting any kinder to your skin. Over time your skin will only become more prone to harmful UV rays, exposing it to damage, premature ageing, and burning. 

Fortunately, there are sunscreens you can always rely on to offset these rays and bounce them off your skin. With formulations becoming more creative and inclusive today, these sunscreens have even found their way into our daily makeup products. But here’s the catch: can they really protect your skin from the sun? Find out below. 

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How does SPF work for our skin?

If you still don’t have sunscreen in your daily skincare regimen, you’re doing it wrong. Sunscreen protects you from the harmful UV rays of the sun and all the havoc they can wreak upon your skin. UV rays are the main culprit behind cell damage, premature ageing, hyperpigmentation, and skin cancer. 

Sunscreens are typically categorized by their SPF number, a.k.a. Sun Protection Factor. It’s the number you see on your sunscreen labels, ranging from 0 to 100. (The most common ones are SPF 15, SPF 30, and SPF 50.) This number tells you how long you can stay under the sun without damaging your skin. It is also in comparison to the time it takes to burn when exposed to UV radiation without sunscreen.

Simply put: the higher the number is, the better the protection from the sun. 

What does SPF mean in makeup?

When there is SPF in makeup, it means that your product contains a certain amount of sunscreen or sunscreen-like ingredients. You may also mix sunscreen with your foundation, moisturizer, or powder to provide a layer of protection as you wear it. Take note, though – each makeup has a unique formulation. Just because they all have SPF on the label doesn’t mean they use the same sun protection level or ingredients. 

Does it give sufficient sun protection?

We hate to break it to you, but no. While SPF in makeup should work well enough (in theory!), it cannot provide adequate sun protection. 

Here’s why: the SPF rating system is based on applying 2 mg of sunscreen per square centimetre of skin. This means you have to use six to seven times more sunscreen-infused makeup to get enough protection. That’s way too much product, and it’s going to cake up on your skin. Plus, who wants to wear up to seven layers of foundation daily? 

Besides, just because it says SPF means it’s actually FDA-approved sunscreen. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) maintains strict criteria for that, and some makeup products don’t even meet those.

What should you do to protect your skin, even with makeup?

This is pretty straightforward, but all you need to do is wear sunscreen underneath your makeup. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen that can ward off both UVA and UVB rays and has SPF 30 or higher.

Additionally, use one that doesn’t leave a white cast to prevent any problems with your makeup later. You can also opt for tinted sunscreens if you want a light makeup look but still want to maintain sun protection. 

Of course, don’t forget to reapply your sunscreen every two hours. The protection in sunscreens typically fades after a few hours, so make sure to top it all up.

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