Your Sunny Frenemy

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Have a love/hate relationship with the sun? It’s essential for Vitamin D, but too much exposure to harmful UV rays can be dangerous. Carolyn Jacob, MD, a dermatologist at Chicago Cosmetic Surgery and Dermatology, explains, “Without sunscreen, you’re at risk for developing a skin cancer. One in 32 Caucasians in the U.S. will develop basal cell cancer, and one in 67 will develop a melanoma.” With those stats, it’s easy to see the importance of adding sunscreen to your makeup routine.

According to Dr. Jacob, the key to good skin protection is how you apply SPF. “The American Academy of Dermatology has done a lot of studies about how people apply sunscreen and how easy it is to still burn,” she says. “Most people don’t apply sunscreen correctly; they don’t put on enough. Let’s pretend you put on SPF 15 but spread it out thinly. Then it might be more like SPF 7.”

So how do you apply SPF and makeup? “I tell patients to put sunscreen on first,” explains Dr. Jacob, who also cautions to avoid mixing sunscreen and foundation. “If you’re using old makeup, it can affect the effectiveness of the sunscreen.”

Many cosmetic companies offer foundations and primers that contain SPF. According to NARS National Stylist Jake Broullard, the majority of those products typically have an SPF of 12 to 20; some are at 30 or higher. It’s also important to remember to reapply throughout the day. “If you have an SPF primer, just put some in the palm of your hand and press it into your skin,” recommends the makeup pro. If you’re looking for something fast and simple, try a pressed powder foundation that contains SPF.

By Lauren Dwyer | Francois Nars Photograph

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