The Truth About SPF in Cosmetics

With all the information about the dangers of sun damage we should be more educated than ever on how to protect ourselves. Many of us think we're doing all we can, but are we?
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With all the information about the dangers of sun damage we should be more educated than ever on how to protect ourselves. Many of us think we're doing all we can, but are we?

According to the American Cancer Society, in the last 40 years skin cancer is on the rise at over 200%. That's more than breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer combined. Nearly five million people are treated for skin cancer each year. The American Cancer Society also advises an SPF15 or greater for protection and to apply it every two hours. Apply every two hours! Just want to make sure you didn't miss that.

The beauty industry is overflowing with makeup products containing SPF (Sun Protection Factor) ... up to 50 and even 70 in the US. SPF is featured in skincare, primers, foundations and powders promising to deliver sunscreen protection. Although these makeup products have sunscreen ingredients, they do not have the proper amount of coverage or the capabilities to protect against UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) rays.

Most of us would need to reapply that SPF foundation at least five to ten times a day to get the SPF coverage stated on that packaging. How many times do you apply and reapply your foundation? I apply my foundation and makeup once a day early in the morning... and it lasts all day long (thank goodness).

But wait, there is more... How many publicize the amount of product needed to be reapplied at least every two hours in order to have the claimed effective sun protection? To cover your face would require a blob the size of a half-dollar coin reapplied every two hours. I purposely keep mentioning "every two hours," to help it register.

Do you think this might be creating a false sense of protection? Inadvertently misleading us to believe that those SPF cosmetics are protecting us from the harmful rays, when they are not?

Did you think applying cosmetic products with SPF and seeing the visible signs of makeup meant you were protected? When in reality you were NOT. Simply put, without the capabilities to protect against UVA and UVB rays, sunscreen makeup simply does not live up to the expectations.

It is time we took responsibility for our skin, with knowledge, choices and follow-through. If you want to protect your skin from the sun you can apply actual sunscreen. A 30-50 SPF will give you protection up to 96 percent. Apply and reapply in summer and winter... as needed. There are also things like a hat, sunglasses, clothing and more. Let's not forget, the most natural way to get vitamin D is by exposing your bare skin to sunlight. As with most things, everything in moderation!

Stay connected; there will be a follow up on how to use your favorite sunscreen in conjunction your favorite foundations and beauty products.


Some more facts:

Sunscreen, what is it?

  • Sunscreen is used to block ultraviolet light from damaging the skin.
  • The two categories of UV light that we consider in terms of sunscreen are UVA and UVB.
  • UVB causes sunburn, and UVA has more long-term damaging effects on the skin, such as premature aging

SPF (Sun Protection Factor), what is it, exactly?

  • SPF number is calculated by looking at how long it takes for skin to go red with the product on, compared to how long it takes for the skin to go red without it.

What do the numbers mean?

  • Sunscreen's SPF is determined by testing sun-sensitive people and measure the amount of UV rays it takes them to burn without sunscreen. Then, they perform a separate test with sunscreen. The "with sunscreen" number is divided by the "without sunscreen" number, and the result is rounded down to the nearest five. (this part is confusing)

Lets use information properly. No fear. No false hope. Everything in moderation. Carry sun block with you...and use it as needed..."every two hours."