Should You Apply Sunscreen or Makeup First?

Should You Apply Sunscreen or Makeup First?

Summer is here, and you’re out in the sun. For those days when you’re wearing makeup and may be outside all day long, you need all-day protection from the sun’s powerful rays. 

How do you protect yourself? Should your sunscreen come first or your makeup? What about reapplying sunscreen over makeup? 

Our board-certified dermatologists at Seacoast Dermatology are physicians with special expertise in skin care. We want to answer all of your questions about protecting your skin from the sun so you’re not one of the millions of people diagnosed with skin cancer this year. 

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer. More than 58 million people have a precancerous skin condition, actinic keratosis, which is usually characterized by a rough, scaly patch of skin. 

More than 5 million people are diagnosed each year with basal and squamous skin cancer. The numbers have skyrocketed in the past few decades.

Should I apply sunscreen or makeup first? 

The answer depends on which type of sunscreen you’re using. Chemical sunscreens don’t block the sun’s rays; instead, they absorb damaging UV rays. 

Oxybenzone or avobenzone are ingredients in chemical sunscreens. Apply these before moisturizers because they need to be absorbed into your skin to be effective. Wait several minutes to apply moisturizer. 

Physical sunscreens are mineral sunscreens. They protect your skin by creating a barrier between the sun and your skin and directing UV rays away from your skin. Zinc oxide and titanium oxide are two common ingredients to look for in mineral sunscreens. These sunscreens can be applied after your moisturizer but before your makeup. Look for brands with tinted zinc oxide to avoid a chalky cast on your skin. 

The point to remember is that you need to apply sunscreen with a strong sun protection factor (SPF) daily. If you’re really fair and burn easily, use a sunscreen with SPF 50 for protection. 

The easiest way to know that you’re protected is to apply sunscreen first every day. That way you don’t forget it or hesitate to put it on after your makeup is perfect. 

Can makeup with SPF provide enough protection? 

No. While makeup has some SPF in it, it’s not enough to protect you. And you don’t use makeup on your ears or neck, which need to be protected with sunscreen. Follow the advice of dermatologists and use your sunscreen every day for protection from skin cancer. 

How do I reapply sunscreen over makeup? 

You’re out all day long or at the beach. You know you need to reapply sunscreen, but you’re wearing makeup. What’s the best approach? You have several options. 

You can reapply sunscreen with your fingers, a makeup brush, or a sponge. Sunscreen comes in many forms now. 

If you prefer dusting your face with powder, you can use a powder with a mineral base. This leaves a beautiful matte finish and is a great option if your skin is oily. Dust the powder over your face with the brush and be generous with your application. 

If you use liquid or a cream, blot the sunscreen over your makeup using a sponge. Just add the sunscreen to the sponge and blot it until all areas are covered and it’s all been absorbed. 

How often should I reapply sunscreen if I’m in the sun? 

Reapply your sunscreen every 30 minutes if you’re in direct sun; otherwise, reapply every two to three hours. 

Remember to schedule your annual skin checkup 

Have you scheduled your annual skin checkup? Making an appointment for next year’s checkup at the end of your visit this year ensures that you put it on the schedule. During the year, check your skin for any changes. If a mole looks different or you have a new skin condition, make an appointment. 

Call us at Seacoast Dermatology today for all of your skin care concerns. We have offices in Portsmouth, Exeter, and Dover, New Hampshire.

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