How to Protect Yourself from the Sun Using Makeup and Sunscreen

by Eileen Bailey Health Writer

Sunscreen is important. You know you should wear it everyday to protect your face from from dangerous rays of the sun. You should also reapply it every two hours. How do you manage to do this while wearing makeup?

My Makeup Has Sunscreen. Do I Need More?

The short answer is...yes you need sunscreen in addition to makeup. It is recommended that you use an SPF of 30 or more. Some makeups have SPFs this high, some don't. Even so, your makeup alone isn't enough. The proper amount of sunscreen to apply to your face is about 1 teaspoon. Chances are, you don't apply that much foundation to your face each morning; therefore, foundation alone isn't going to give you the protection you need.

That means you need to apply your sunscreen in addition to your foundation. Remember, you can't add up your "SPF points" to arrive at 30. If your foundation has an SPF of 15 and you also put on moisturizer with an SPF of 15, it doesn't give you any more protection than 15. You only get the protection of the highest SPF you used.

How to Apply Sunscreen and Makeup

Your sunscreen should go on your face first. Use a teaspoon of sunscreen to cover your face, neck and ears. Once you apply the sunscreen, wait at least 15 minutes to give your face a chance to dry completely. This makes sure it isn't diluted by other products and is absorbed into your skin at the right strength. Look for an oil-free sunscreen so it doesn't interfere with your makeup.

If you also apply a moisturizer, apply that next. Again, wait about 15 minutes before applying anything else to your face. Once your moisturizer has been absorbed and your face is dry, continue on to your foundation and apply as you normally do. If you prefer, add a powder after your foundation to help make sure you have covered all the areas of your face.

Reapplying Makeup

Sunscreen should be applied every two hours when you are outdoors. But reapplying sunscreen over your makeup can make it look messy. If you don't want to go through the process of cleansing/sunscreen/makeup throughout the day, consider using a tinted sunscreen for reapplications throughout the day. This helps you stay looking fresh while giving you sun protection. If you can't find a tinted sunscreen (30 SPF or more), use the tint that best matches and then use a lightweight powder over the sunscreen closer to your skin color. Be sure to wait a few minutes in between the sunscreen and the powder to avoid caking. You can also keep a translucent powder with you to apply after your sunscreen to keep the shine down.

Keep in Mind

Even if you aren't outdoors, you can still be exposed to the sun. UV rays penetrate windows. That means if you are in a car or bus, you are still "out in the sun." If you sit near a window at work, you are still exposed to the sun's rays and should reapply sunscreen throughout the day.

Don't forget your lips. Look for lipsticks that have an SPF of at least 15. Reapply whenever going outside or throughout the day if you are near windows. If you prefer not to wear lipstick, use a lip balm with sunscreen. Avoid wearing high gloss lipstick or lip gloss that doesn't have a lot of color. Stick with opaque shades. If you want the wet shiny look, apply lipstick with an SPF of 15 or more first, then apply the high gloss to your lips.

Cosmetics are a great way to boost your sun protection, but they aren't enough when used alone. Protect your face from the sun by following a daily regimen of sunscreen. When out in the sun, wear a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses. Not only will these measures reduce your risk of skin cancer, they help prevent wrinkles and premature aging of your skin.

Eileen Bailey
Meet Our Writer
Eileen Bailey

Eileen Bailey is an award-winning author of six books on health and parenting topics and freelance writer specializing in health topics including ADHD, Anxiety, Sexual Health, Skin Care, Psoriasis and Skin Cancer. Her wish is to provide readers with relevant and practical information on health conditions to help them make informed decisions regarding their health care.