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Consumer Reports: Experts say makeup with SPF is no substitute for sunscreen

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Posted at 6:20 AM, Jul 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-31 09:42:39-04

TUCSON, Ariz. - Many brands of foundation and tinted moisturizers are sold with SPF. But hold it right there. Consumer Reports says makeup with SPF is never a substitute for sunscreen because you’re probably not using enough to truly protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays.

“You should be using one whole teaspoon of sunscreen for your face and neck," says Consumer Reports Health Editor, Trisha Calvo. "That’s a lot. It would be hard to use the same amount of foundation with SPF to get effective coverage without looking like you’ve applied a makeup mask, and you're not likely to reapply every two hours”.

According to a new study by the journal, Plus One, participants who put on moisturizers with SPF were likely to miss areas around the eyes, a common site for skin cancer, than if they were putting on sunscreen alone. It’s also likely the SPF in your makeup is only SPF 15, and most dermatologists recommend you use at least SPF 30. A better option, CR recommends you first apply sunscreen, and then your makeup on top. After CR’s testing, two of the best performers are Equate Walmart Ultra Protection Lotion SPF 50 and Coppertone Ultra Guard Lotion SPF 70.

“Work it carefully around your face," says Calvo. "Make sure to wear sunglasses with a label of 99-100% UVA and UVB protection.”

And for sunscreen to be effective, it needs to be reapplied at least every two hours.

Another area that you shouldn’t overlook are your lips. Use lip balm with SPF 30 or above. And just in case you’re wondering, you don’t benefit from layering up SPF products. That is, using a moisturizer with SPF15 and foundation with SPF 15 won’t increase your protection to SPF 30.