Is SPF in Your Makeup Enough?

June 21, 2016 3 min read 0 Comments

by: Miles

When I was working as a school nurse in one of the highschools here in our town, I was required to join the Sports Fest as a coach and as a player at the same time. So before the event, we had been practicing volleyball and basketball with my team almost everyday. And since most of my teammates doesn’t know how to play the sport, we never choose the right time to play and practice. We play even in the hottest part of the day.  

And since I was always exposed to the sun, my routine before playing was;I will wear long sleeves and gym pants and put on my BB Cream with SPF 50 all over my face and neck. I use it because it looks really natural on my face and at the same time, I really thought that it’s enough to provide the shield that I needed against the harmful rays of the sun. I did this everyday thinking that I am okay and there’s really nothing to worry about.

Then, just days before the Sports Fest, I noticed that there are areas on my face that are burnt and really dark (I was really tan because of everyday sun exposure). So I reached for my compact mirror and examined my forehead. It looks like I was using a contour powder on the top of my forehead and I was shiny! There were blemishes too! I never had blemishes.

This made me think of what had gone wrong. Then I picked my BB Cream and read the description. There’s enough SPF for me! But still, I made my research since I know something’s missing.

I stopped playing for two days. During my rest day, I went to town and did my weekly groceries. I made sure that a good sunscreen will be included on my basket. So, I went to the skin care/sun protection section and I carefully read the description of each product. I decided to buy Banana Boat Ultra Protect Suncreen Lotion.

Then, I went home and I was thinking if the product can really protect me. The BB Cream that I’m using had enough SPF, I could not argue with that. However, based on my research, there are other factors or stuff in my BB Cream that prohibits the total protection that I need.

Here are some of the reasons why SPF in our makeup is not enough:

Liquid Foundation/BB or CC Creams

In order to get the full protection of any SPF product, you should use about a teaspoon on the face and neck. Basically you need 7 times the normal amount of the formula. That is too much and most people only use pea-size amount and only focuses on the face and not on the neck area. Also, many apply product unevenly, making SPF coverage uneven.

Powder Formulas

According to one study, powder foundations will not provide a uniform shield or protection since they are composed of millions of particles and they let too much light to pass through when used in your skin. Also, you need 14 times the normal amount of powder to get the sun protection that you need.

And since I did my research on this, I had also find out on how I can use the sunscreen properly to get the protection that I need. Let me share what I had learned.

  • First, choosing the right product.Select a sunscreen that both blocks UVA and UVB rays. These two are main contributors for having skin cancer. Get a product with a SPF  rating of at least 15.Ingredients such as zinc oxide, avobenzone (Parsol 1789) or ecamsule (Mexoryl), combined with octocrylene and avobenzone work best with makeup and provide broad spectrum sun protection.
  • Second, learn how to apply over make up.All you need to do is to apply a thin, even coat, approximately one teaspoon for face, neck, and ears. Make sure to soak your skin with the products and dab the excess with a cloth or tissue. Then apply your makeup.

Most of the people that I actually know don’t want to use sunscreen before applying makeup since it makes them shiny. One tip that I can share though is if your sunscreen makes your skin appear oily, try applying a mattifying primer before your foundation. And remember, only expose yourself to the sun when needed.


I followed all of these. And during the sports fest, I played and enjoyed without worrying that my skin is lacking the protection that it needs. No more dry and burnt areas and no more blemishes for me. We ranked 3rd place on the games but what mattered is that we all enjoyed playing under the sun!

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