Can foundation interfere with sunscreen ingredients?

Thank you for your awesome website! Is it true that if you use a sunscreen and foundation with SPF, the SPF in the foundation can interfere with the sunscreen's ingredients, making it less effective. Also, I use a physical facial sunscreen (ZinClear) but was told today that the best sunscreens are ones that contain both physical and chemical ingredients. Do you agree?

Your welcome!   For a “physical” sunscreen that has actives that are zinc or titanium, the answer is no.   For the chemical sunscreens that rely on binding to skin cells to work, the answer is probably  –  but I’ve never seen any research done on this.   For chemical sunscreens it may make sense to put them on first or only over an antioxidant serum or gel. 

I absolutely disagree with the last statement.  Zinc oxide is the only sunscreen ingredient that blocks both UVB well and the full spectrum of UVA.  If you’re using a high percentage zinc sunscreen (8-20%) you don’t need a chemical sunscreen.   Not sure who told you that, but hopefully it wasn’t a dermatologist.   Link to sunscreens and more info on sunscreens.

Hope this helps,  Dr. I  

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin. I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skin care advocate.

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