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When to Apply SPF in Your Make-Up and Skincare Routine

Find out best practices for when to apply sunscreen in your skincare and make-up routine.

Tagged: Skin Cancer & Skin Disease

Author: Dr. Susan Mayou, BSc FRCP

Date: 8th June 2023

Medically Reviewed by:  Dr. Susan Mayou (GMC: 2405092)

Last reviewed: 10th January 2024

With summer just around the corner, protecting your skin from harmful UV rays becomes paramount. While sunscreen is a non-negotiable part of any sun protection routine, many people are unsure about when to apply sunscreen in relation to their makeup. In this article, we will guide you through the best practices for incorporating sunscreen into your makeup and skincare routine for maximum effectiveness and protection.

 

Understanding Sunscreen

Before diving into the application process, it's important to understand the basics of sunscreen. Sunscreen works by creating a protective barrier on the skin's surface, reflecting or absorbing the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays. There are two primary types of UV rays: UVA and UVB. UVA rays can cause premature ageing and contribute to skin cancer, while UVB rays are responsible for sunburns. When selecting a sunscreen, opt for a broad-spectrum formula that offers protection against both UVA and UVB rays. We can help you decipher between which sunscream you need - chemical or mineral.

 

Prepping Your Skin

Before applying sunscreen, it's crucial to start with a clean canvas. Begin your skincare routine by cleansing your face thoroughly to remove any dirt, excess oil, or previous makeup. Follow up with a toner to balance the pH of your skin and a lightweight moisturiser to hydrate and nourish the skin.

 

Applying Sunscreen

Once your skin is prepped, it's time to apply sunscreen. Experts recommend using a generous amount of sunscreen to ensure adequate coverage. Start by dispensing a teaspoon-sized amount of sunscreen onto your fingertips or the back of your hand.

For optimal protection, apply sunscreen in a gentle, upward motion, ensuring even coverage across your face, neck, and other exposed areas. Don't forget to extend the application to your ears, hairline, and the back of your neck if they're exposed to the sun. If you prefer using a spray sunscreen, make sure to spray it evenly on your skin and blend it in using your fingertips.

 

Makeup Application

After allowing the sunscreen to fully absorb into your skin (typically around 10 to 15 minutes), you can proceed with your makeup application. Start with a lightweight, oil-free primer that will create a smooth base for your foundation. Primers also help your makeup last longer and prevent it from settling into fine lines and wrinkles.

When choosing a foundation, look for options that provide additional sun protection, such as those labelled "SPF" or "sun protection." While these products offer some level of sun protection, they should not replace a dedicated sunscreen. Apply the foundation evenly, using a sponge, brush, or your fingertips, paying attention to blend it seamlessly into your hairline and jawline.

It's important to note that relying solely on SPF-infused makeup is not sufficient for proper sun protection. These products may not provide the necessary coverage or be applied in the recommended quantity to offer adequate defence against harmful UV rays. Hence, it's crucial to use a separate sunscreen as the first line of defence.

 

Fake Tan and SPF do not mix

Fake tans do not provide any sun protection. Use tinted sunscreen with a high SPF instead. “These days you can get pigmented ones or tinted ones which are more cosmetically acceptable,” says Dr Mayou. Also keep in mind that certain ingredients, like citric acid found in citrus fruits, can dissolve sunscreen. To avoid this issue, choose a mineral sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as the active ingredient, as they are resistant to this chemical reaction.

 

Correct storage is key

Lastly, correct storage is key to ensuring that your sunscreen stays effective. Store it away from UV light, heat, and moisture, as this can cause the formula to separate, reducing its effectiveness.

 

Reapplication is Key

To maintain the effectiveness of your sun protection throughout the day, reapplication is crucial. Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours or more frequently if you sweat excessively or engage in water-related activities. However, applying sunscreen over a fully made-up face can be challenging.

Fortunately, there are options available that allow for easy and convenient reapplication. Consider using a mineral powder sunscreen or a spray sunscreen that can be lightly applied over your makeup. These products help to maintain your sun protection while keeping your makeup intact.

 

What's Next?

When it comes to sun protection, incorporating sunscreen into your makeup and skincare routine is essential for safeguarding your skin from harmful UV rays. Start by prepping your skin with a clean canvas, followed by the application of a generous amount of broad-spectrum sunscreen. If you want to learn more or have concerns about your skin health, get in touch to speak to one of Leading Dermatologists.

 



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