If your makeup has SPF, do you still need to wear sunscreen underneath? An expert answers.

I have very fair skin which means a) I glow in the dark and b) I burn easily. Very easily. As in, spend 10 minutes in the sun unprotected and I’m doing a solid lobster impression.

As a result, I’m careful about always wearing at least factor 30 sunscreen and opting for foundations that include SPF.

Turns out, that isn’t always enough though, particularly in the makeup department.

While choosing a face product with SPF is a good start, the belief that that’s enough to protect your skin is false.

Image: Getty

"Makeup with SPF is tested in the same way [as skincare or sunscreen] in terms of the amount you have to put on to get that protection," explains Dr Frauke Nauser, Olay Senior Scientist.


"So in terms of a foundation or a powder, the amount you would have to use to get the SPF it says on the pack, there's no way you're going to going to use that much because you're going to look like a clown."

That's not to say makeup with SPF is bad or a waste of time, though.

Listen: The sunscreen pledge every woman needs to make this summer. Post continues after audio.

"It's a great extra step, and if you have a choice of a powder with or without SPF then go for the one with SPF but that can't be the only product you rely on for sunscreen protection," says Dr Nauser.

That wasn't the only SPF behaviour bombshell she dropped.

Another popular misconception? Higher is better.

Of course, the higher the SPF the more your skin will be protected and especially if you're outside or surfing or at the beach, then the bigger the better. But that's only if you're using it properly.

"Dermatologists say, 'You should use at least a 50' and I ask them why they do that and they tell me, 'No-one uses enough SPF so if I recommend high SPF and if they don't use enough then at least they're getting more than nothing', but it doesn't make sense," she says.

applying sunscreen
Image via iStock.

"The way the SPF system works is it's not linear. So if you use an SPF 30 and you only use half of the recommended amount then you don't get SPF 15, you actually get an SPF of around about seven or eight because of the curve of how we calculate SPF."

According to Dr Nauser, you're better off using an SPF 15 that's light and you like and using the right amount rather than using SPF 30 and not using enough.

Click through to see some of our favourite SPF products. (Post continues. after gallery...)

"The SPF 50s are often terrible products so people use a tiny amount. If you use an SPF 15 everyday, it's better than using an SPF 30 every other day."

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