Are you ruining the strength of your SPF?

You might not even realize you’re doing it.
oliviacefaluoliviacefalu
Jan. 20
campaign, cherie
Slathering on SPF on a daily basis can seem like a chore, especially if you don’t have one that you particularly love. It’s the grand finale to one’s skincare routine and you certainly don’t want to skimp. While SPF is the easiest way to fight anti-aging throughout life, it doesn’t do its job without some exceptions. We know of few rules when it comes to sunscreen other than ‘reapply’ and always check the expiration dates. But as it turns out, SPF is a bit more complicated than we think. You can actually ruin the efficacy of your SPF before it even reaches your face. The skincare sin in question? Mixing your SPF with other products. The most common case being with moisturizer. This is something everyone is guilty of at doing at least once in their lives, following suit with pimple popping and falling asleep with makeup on. Everyone is always looking for ways to cut down the length of their routine but let it be known that this ‘hack’ is simply not it. To get the SPF facts we needed, we spoke to Dr. Caren Campbell, San Francisco based Board Certified Dermatologist. She says, it’s all about keeping the formula stable. Skip the mixing Basically, it all comes down to chemistry. Sunscreen is heavily tested, regulated, and managed by the FDA more than any other type of skincare product on the market. It’s something made to deliver daily protection and we have to be able to rely on it for safety purposes. “It's [ sunscreen ] been rigorously tested by the FDA in its current formulation and you are diluting it, altering it and potentially decreasing its effectiveness when you mix it with other topicals for the skin,” explains Dr. Campbell. 2-in-1 products are completely different! Don’t panic. And certainly don’t run to the trash to dump your SPF moisturizer or foundation. Consider yourself in the clear. The FDA regulates these formulas, remember? Which means your 2-in-1 is intended exactly as it should be and will deliver on it’s SPF promise! “Most of the "all-in-ones" contain chemical sunscreens, which do not protect against as broad a spectrum of rays and absorb the UV rays rather than reflecting which can make sun sensitive conditions worse (ie - melasma, rosacea).” says Dr. Campbell. While 2-in-1 products certainly deliver on the SPF level they advertise, they’re not for everyone. And most do not deliver on the broad spectrum front. A long day laying out on the beach under direct sun exposure isn’t exactly the best setting for a 2-in-1. An occasion that ensures a lower sun exposure risk, like working from home, is perhaps a better choice for this type of product. If you can weaken SPF, can you somehow make it stronger? You sure can! It doesn’t work in the sense that you can turn an SPF 30 into an SPF 50 though. Skincare isn’t that magical unfortunately. But you can broaden the number of things you’re protected from, like free radicals. Think of any kind of environmental pollution as a free radical. Things like cigarette smoke, dust, smog, and pesticides can all create free radicals in the air. Free radicals dehydrate your skin overtime leading to dullness, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation. “Vitamin C makes your sunscreen work better as it is a topical antioxidant that fights free radical damage from UV rays so applying you vitamin C prior to your sunscreen is a great idea, but not mixing them,” says Dr. Campbell. Making sure your morning skincare routine includes a Vitamin C serum or moisturizer (opt for something that doesn’t get washed off) is key in providing your skin the antioxidant protection it needs in conjunction with your SPF. Stick to layering If you mix your favorite moisturizer with your SPF 30, you can’t exactly count on it delivering that SPF protection level anymore. The active ingredients have been diluted and the formula isn’t in its intended form. If we’re thinking in terms of how SPF builds a protective barrier on our face, it can’t fully build a barrier against UV light and rays if it’s being broken apart by ingredients in your moisturizer. It can no longer give you the physical or chemical (depending on how you like your SPFs) protection it’s intended to give if it is made to be weak. Mixing the two may have you finished with your skincare routine in record time and you might be achieving a dreamy texture due to your cocktailing effortis. But the bottom line is, if you want to stay as protected as possible you need to layer your products. Or find a 2-in-1 product if you think it suits your routine and lifestyle better. My Sunscreen Suggestions
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