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When to Apply SPF For the Face

What Everyone Should Know About Wearing SPF and Makeup

If you've ever been confused about the ins and outs of SPF for the face, especially while wearing makeup at the same time, I've got you covered — literally. Recently, reader isahrangme posed a question in the Bella Sugar Q and A group, wondering about the best way to reapply face sunblock while wearing makeup.

To find out the answer, I asked Dr. Neil Sadick of Sadick Dermatology in New York to provide us with some clarification on the topic, along with a few tips on what we should be doing to make our SPF all the more effective. Find out his advice when you read more.

BellaSugar: Do you have any tips on how we can apply sunscreen on top of makeup without making a mess?
Dr. Neil Sadick: You should not apply sunscreen on top of makeup; makeup should be applied over sunscreen.


BS: What SPF level do you recommend for the face?
NS: Depending on skin type, 30-60.

BS: Is wearing makeup that contains SPF enough, or do we need to be augmenting it with extra protection?
NS: There should be additional sunblock applied as there is not enough protection from just makeup if you are going to have significant sun exposure.

BS: How often do we need to reapply sunscreen on our faces throughout the day? Is once in the morning all we need?
NS: Every four to six hours is recommended or after excess sweating, i.e. immediately following sports or swimming.

Image Source: Thinkstock
Join The Conversation
prblms4loki prblms4loki 7 years
Wow in the time that it took me to log in, Anonymous went insane with Dermalogica. Anyways, to Eneriyma, I run into the same problem with sunscreen and makeup, and I talked to my derm. He said that as long as you're not sitting in the sun all day, your daily application of sunscreen in the morning should be sufficient to get you through the day. Sunscreen (I believe mostly chemical ones, not sure about physical) degrades usually within one hour of direct sunlight (or at least, that's what he told me, no matter how stable the sunscreens are supposed to me). So, if I go outside for lunch and sit in the sun, I'll be careful and carry my makeup with me so I can take off all of it, and reapply makeup once I've reapplied my sunscreen. Honestly, by that point, especially in the summer, I probably need to redo my foundation anyways.
la-dee-da-dee la-dee-da-dee 7 years
I apply it everyday even when it dark and gloomy uva and uvb rays can still get through those clouds!
Beauty Beauty 7 years
Renees3, I think if your moisturizer has SPF 30, that should be enough. However, if you want to use a sunscreen, moisturizer, and foundation, I'd put the sunscreen on first to allow the active ingredients to work. Let it dry, and then a moisturizer (if you still think you need it), and then your makeup. As far as reapplying every four to six hours goes, you really only need to do that if you are doing strenuous activity or you're sitting directly in the sun for an extended period of time.
eneriyma eneriyma 7 years
The drag is if you wear foundation or concealer, how are you supposed to re-apply sunscreen every 4 hours? Take everything off and re-apply? I understand this is simply how sunscreen works, but I'd like to hear some practical recommendations from dermatologists on how to deal with this. Right now, I put on my sunscreen, cover with concealer and/or foundation as needed, and re-apply SPF powder foundation throughout the day - that plus a lot of hats. But it's not always comfortable or practical to layer on more sunscreen (even a powder) - and not particularly good for my skin! I'd love to see a panel of dermatologists (who wear makeup!) discuss this.
Renees3 Renees3 7 years
What about if your moisturizer has SPF 30? Do I need to put more on top of that? And do I do moisturizer, then sunscreen, then makeup?
danizzle danizzle 7 years
people do not realize how important it is to wear sunscreen every single day! i live in miami and am constantly telling friends to never leave home without it! one ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
orbit87 orbit87 7 years
Peter Thomas Roth makes an excellent mineral SPF 30 you can just dust over your face like finishing powder in case you need to reapply but don't want to mess up your makeup. =)
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