Foundations, primers and even setting powders now contain SPF - so frequently so, that I am often shocked when I stumble across a base product without sunscreen. It may be the norm but is the sunscreen within make-up beneficial and does it offer enough protection to skip a separate SPF?
The short answer is no! We don't apply enough foundation (liquid, powder or even primer) in terms of volume of product, or regularly enough to gain adequate protection. For instance did you know that to fully protect a small area such as the face you need 2ml of SPF? No me neither but that is around the size of a lid from a water bottle. I don't know about you but I seldom if ever apply that quantity of foundation to my face. If you do skimp, for instance say you apply closer to 1ml daily then you half your sun protection - i.e an SPF of 30 will reduce to a 15 and so forth, something no cosmetic product label highlights.
It is also recommended that when outdoors on a sunny day you should reapply SPF every two hours, again not something the average person will ever do in regards to make up. Can you imagine how horrid the skin would feel with endless layers of foundation in a warm climate, let alone the cost of such foundation habit.
Now I know what you are thinking, yes a standalone facial SPF (factor 30 and above is what is recommend) will offer more protection but what good is it, if it needs to be applied every two hours? Well as stand alone SPF has been designed to protect the skin from UV rays, it will protect the skin for longer and more effectively when applied liberally and is more likely to be a broad spectrum SPF (protects the skin from both UVA and UVB rays). To top up protection throughout the day (more important in warm/sunny weather than the Autumn/Winter) my dermatologist recommends using a powder SPF (Bare Minerals SPF25 Mineral Veil is great) or at the very least a pressed powder containing SPF. Powder is more dense than liquid, and therefore more likely to stay in place as far as cosmetics are concerned thus will be more protective.
Personally on a really warm day and when not sun seeking (I don't wear foundation to the beach or around the pool), I have been known to mist SPF on top of my make up. I know that is not for everyone but I do find it is more comfortable than copious layers of zinc based powder. The trick is to find a light weight facial SPF spray that won't irritate the skin nor clog pores. I recommend and use La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light Spray SPF 50+, on the go. Yes it leaves my skin with a light sheen but it is far from greasy and doesn't tend to remove my make up, not to mention it is quick and easy to use.
Although experts state that sun screen found within beauty products is often more for vanity purposes rather than truly protective, I do think it is better than nothing. Yes stand alone SPF for the face is a great idea and routine to get into to shield the skin and prevent premature ageing; I do think the low SPF found in foundation et al serves some purpose and shouldn't be overlooked completely. Surely it is better to have a low SPF than none at all?
What are your thoughts?
Do you find you get enough SPF from your make-up products?