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Do I Still Need Sunscreen If My Foundation Has SPF?

Makeup with SPF may be enough to protect your skin from the sun — or not.
junio 22, 2022

We constantly stress the importance of protecting your skin from UV damage by applying SPF daily. We also suggest using moisturizer with sunscreen for built-in protection while you hydrate your skin. But you may be left wondering: If I wear foundation with SPF in the formula, do I still need to wear sunscreen? 

We consulted with Dr. Michelle Henry, NYC-based board-certified dermatologist and L’Oréal Paris consultant, to find out the truth about whether sunscreen makeup really works for sun protection, and what is the most effective way to layer SPF and makeup. 

Is Makeup With SPF As Good As Sunscreen? 

If you wear foundation or other makeup products with SPF, you might think it’s okay to skip applying sunscreen. But according to Henry, you should think again. 

“When we apply makeup, we don’t apply it as evenly as we apply sunscreen,” she says. “When sunscreen is tested for its protection, it’s applied in a much thicker layer than makeup is.” She explains that you’re simply not applying enough of the makeup on your skin to garner the full SPF benefits. 

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, in order to adequately protect your skin, you need to apply two tablespoons full of SPF to your body, and at least one nickel size amount of SPF to your face. Chances are, the average person isn’t applying that much foundation over their complexion — especially in the summer and especially if it’s full coverage. 

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) also recommends that everyone wears a sunscreen that offers SPF of 30 or greater — which isn’t always the case for the SPF found in foundations. Some SPF is better than none if we’re talking additional protection, but the amount in your foundation just may not cut it by derm standards.

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