Is sunscreen in makeup enough?

Dr. Irwin, My makeup (bobbi brown) and moisturizer (purpose) contain spf in them. Is it necessary to use an additional sunscreen for everyday exposure? I live in Northern California where it is often sunny. Also, my husband wears a moisturizer with spf in it. Is that enough coverage for everyday exposure? Will the amount of spf found in moisturizers and make-up prevent wrinkles and sunspots? We are both very fair and burn easily. Thanks, pale in California

Good question.  A think a lot of people are confused about this one.   The answer to this depends somewhat on what you do.  If you are commuting in your car and then indoors all day, it’s probably enough for winter if you’re commute isn’t too long.  Remember that UVA goes through window glass and that includes cars.   You want to look for a product that contains a UVA blocker – at least 5-10% zinc or titanium (try SkinCeuticals SPF 20)  or 3% Mexoryl (try Helioplex). 

Starting about April through October (3 months on either side of the summer solstice which is our peak UVA and UVB), then you want to put a sunscreen with the ingredients I mentioned above under your makeup with spf or over the moisturzer with spf (for your husband).  Don’t forget to take your Vitamin D!!

If you are outdoors a lot for your daily activities, then always use a suncreen with your spf makeup or spf moistuizer.  No sunscreen, moisturizer or makeup blocks all UV rays so you’ll still get a little sun damage even through all of it.   Hope this isn’t too confusing!  Dr. I

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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