The truth about foundation and SPF: Scientist shows how much makeup you REALLY need to apply for proper protection – and it might surprise you
- Australian scientist Hannah English has explained why sunscreen is so important
- She wrote online that the average adult needs to apply a teaspoon for each limb
- Your face, neck and ears require one teaspoon in total of protective cream daily
- Hannah said that’s why using your portion of foundation with SPF won’t work
- Because using a full teaspoon of foundation will look like ‘cake’ and won’t stick
An Australian scientist has explained why you can’t rely on the SPF in your foundation or tinted moisturiser alone to protect your face from sun damage.
Self-confessed ‘skincare lover’ Hannah English is an avid applier of SPF50+ sunscreen so as to protect her ivory skin from the harmful UVA and UVB rays emitted from the sun.
In an educational experiment Ms English proved why you can’t rely on makeup with SPF included to shield you, because of how much you would have to apply.
In a photo she uploaded to Instagram Hannah poured five grams worth of her IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better Illuminating CC Cream SPF50+ onto a teaspoon, which is the amount she required to reach the full SPF spectrum
In a photo she uploaded to Instagram Hannah poured five grams worth of her IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better Illuminating CC Cream SPF50+ onto a teaspoon, which is the amount required to reach the full SPF spectrum.
Then she applied it to her face.
The result was a thick, ‘cakey’ mess with the pigment developing into a far darker colour than her actual skin tone. She would never be able to wear this look out, let alone reapply every two hours as recommended.
The average-sized adult would also need a five grams – or a teaspoon – of sun protection liquid for each limb, as well as for the front and back of their torso, equal to 35ml in total – which you can’t rely on makeup for.
Hannah (pictured) would ordinarily only apply a pea-sized amount of foundation to her face
Top tips for using sun cream:
* Put it on clean, dry skin 15 to 30 minutes before you go out in the sun to allow it time to interact with your skin. Re-apply it just before you go out – you’ll increase the amount applied and be more likely to get the stated SPF benefit.
* Cover all parts of the body not protected by clothing (don’t forget your ears, the back of your neck, the backs of your hands and the tops of your feet).
* Apply it evenly, and don’t rub it in excessively – most sunscreens will absorb into the outer layer of skin and don’t need to be rubbed in vigorously.
* Re-apply at least once every two hours and after swimming or exercise.
* Think beyond the beach and pool – use sunscreen whenever you go outdoors for a significant amount of time, such as to the park, a lunchtime walk to the shops, playing sports or gardening.
* Store your sunscreen at a temperature of less than 30 degrees Celsius. If you leave it in the glovebox of your car or in the sun, it may lose its effectiveness. Keep it in the esky with the drinks, in the shade or wrapped in a towel.
* Don’t use sunscreens that have passed their expiry date as they may have lost their effectiveness.
‘Well, at least 14-year-old me was getting adequate SPF in her foundation application,’ one person joked.
‘This looks gross. My skin would suffocate. Luckily I use sunscreen,’ said another.
A third added: ‘Even if my tinted moisturiser is SPF30+ it’s not enough. Good to know’.
SPF is a multiplication of your skin’s sensitivity to sunburn. So if your skin would burn outside in 10 minutes, applying SPF30+ sunscreen gives you 300 minutes outside before burning.
So long as you’re applying sunscreen twice a day – once in the morning and again at midday – you shouldn’t need anymore than an SPF30+ protection.
However, the amount you apply each time is equally as important. Your face and neck alone should be swiped with five grams – or a teaspoon full of sunscreen – for it to be effective for that amount of time, Hannah said.
Hannah said that there are plenty of Australian-made and owned brands like We Are Feel Good Inc and Ultra Violette that have created sunscreens that don’t leave a white cast or are greasy in nature – the main reason people rely on the SPF in their makeup.
So there is no excuse to apply less than the required dosage.
Hannah said that there are plenty of Australian-made and owned brands like We Are Feel Good Inc and Ultra Violette (both ladies wearing) that have created sunscreens that don’t leave a white cast or are greasy in nature – the main reason people rely on the SPF in their makeup
‘Sunscreen is the most important step in your regimen for the long-term health of your skin,’ Hannah said (stock image)
‘Sunscreen is the most important step in your regimen for the long-term health of your skin,’ Hannah said.
‘You need to wear (and reapply) SPF30 or above every single day, regardless of your skin type and colour.
‘My favourite facial sunscreens contain filters for UVA and UVB light, and work well under or over makeup.’
UVB rays reach down into the first layer of your skin, the dermis, causing immediate sunburn, but UVA reaches down into the third layer of your skin, the hyperdermis, causing photo-ageing and a breakdown of your collagen stores.
So for greater protection overall sun lovers should be choosing a sunscreen that targets both.