“My ongoing question has always been this: why should I apply sunscreen every morning when it only lasts for 2 hours? How does this work practically? You can’t put sunscreen over foundation, nor would it be practical to redo your makeup just to reapply sunscreen. So why should I use it?” – Nicole W. via email.
Our readers, sending us excellent questions since 2010.
We felt this question deserved a bigger audience – and further research – considering Australia has the highest rate of UV radiation in the world. To be fair, we’re quite good with sun safety in this country; it’s the whole reapplying thing that gets us, so we’ve deferred to Australia’s top sun safety and skincare experts for solutions.
Sit tight (somewhere shady) and keep reading.
THE 2-HOUR RULE
Dr Scott Mcgregor, skin doctor and co-founder of no-nasties Aussie sunscreen line, We Are Feel Good Inc., reveals that “many sunscreens suggest to reapply every two hours due to current regulations that do not allow claims beyond four hours,” and that, “many of us wipe off [sunscreen] inadvertently when swimming, sweating and towelling”, which breaks down its effectiveness, hence the need to reapply regularly when outdoors.
“In an office setting, a general guide would be that if makeup is still on, then sunscreen (that was applied underneath) should still be on,” he adds, but insists it’s still wise to touch-up throughout the day, especially if you’re out and about, sitting in a car or nearby a window, because of incidental exposure.
…Which brings us back to Nicole’s question on practical ways to do this.
MAKEUP WITH SPF
Professor Sanchia Aranda, CEO of Cancer Council Australia, vouches for makeup with an SPF30 rating or higher as part of the solution, but reminds us that “cosmetics with an SPF are not water resistant and therefore aren’t suitable if you are swimming, sweating or going to be outside for a while”. In these instances, opt for waterproof sunscreens.
For those with office jobs, there is no excuse. These days, popular brands like IT Cosmetics, Perricone MD and MECCA Cosmetica offer everything from lipstick to blush to foundation with in-built SPF. Touching-up has also been made easy with SPF-pressed powders like Clinique SPF 30 Pressed Powder, Jane Iredale Powder-Me SPF Dry Sunscreen and IT Cosmetics CC+ Airbrush Perfecting Powder SPF 50+. If you’re partial to dewiness, try a mist like the innovative MECCA Cosmetica Sunbrella Invisible Superspray SPF50+ for face and body – this can be applied over the top of makeup. Hallelujah.
In addition to sunscreen, “keeping antioxidant reserves high is key to fighting oxidative stress and premature ageing caused by UV and blue-light exposure,” explains Meghan Horn, Alpha-H Education & Training Manager.
Most facial mists are packed with vitamin-rich antioxidants so generously spritzing your face after being outside will return both refreshing and pre-emptive benefits. The new Alpha-H Daily Essential Vitamin Mist is one such mist, delivering its encapsulated vitamin A, B, C, D and E formula deep into the skin, while protecting against pollution and ageing blue-light radiation emitted by our tech devices. “The mist can be applied throughout the day directly on top of makeup for continued protection from free radical damage,” assures Horn. We’ll tap that.
One of the most striking takeaways from speaking to the experts is that the most common mistake people make with SPF isn’t so much when we’re reapplying as it is how much we’re using. As a general rule, adults should be slapping on half a teaspoon of broad spectrum SPF (about the size of a 5-cent coin) on their face, and a shot-glass full to the entire body. Got that?
We hope that clears things up, Nicole – and anyone who’s been wondering the same. If you’ve got a bugging beauty question, post it below or send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tell us, do you reapply sunscreen or use a facial mist throughout the day?
How many of your cosmetics have an SPF rating?