Are You Protected?

By Pacific Derm on June 5 2012

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You diligently apply your sun protection every morning, which is one of the ingredients in your foundation. Are you adequately protected from the sun?

Surprisingly, the sunscreen in many foundations and tinted moisturizers often does not provide enough protection: it does not have a minimum SPF of 30; it primarily offers protection against one type of ultraviolet ray and it is not applied as thoroughly as needed.

What Should You Do?

While it isn’t crucial to wear a sunscreen with all these qualities under or in your makeup every day, it is highly recommended if you are in the sun for extended periods of time and/or in extreme conditions such as high altitude, on water and peak sun hours.

Thorough coverage does not only mean applying sunscreen to any exposed skin —it means using the right amount. Proper application of sunscreen can be quantified as an ounce (think of a small shot glass) of sunscreen for the full body and a teaspoon for the face only.

SPF Misunderstandings

A common misunderstanding around sun protection is about SPFs. A product’s SPF only indicates its ability to defend against UVB rays, which are known to cause sunburns. Unless the labeling states that it is “broad spectrum”, the product does not defend significantly against UVA rays, which penetrate deeper into the skin and cause premature aging. So if you use an SPF of 50, you are not eliminating your risk of sun cancer: UV rays are ionizing rays with the ability to adversely affect DNA whether or not your skin gets burned.

Recognizing that this is a consumer-protection issue, the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is introducing new guidelines that require greater testing and clearer labeling on sun protection products, including cosmetics. These changes took effect on June 18th, 2012. While this will affect many of the US-originating products that we use in Canada, Health Canada is lagging behind the US FDA in taking a stance on this issue.


If you are looking for makeup with broad-spectrum sun protection, we now carry three great options: Jane Iredale, Colorescience Sunforgettableand SkinCeuticals Physical FusionContact our skin specialist, Candace, to find the best product for your skin.