Powders with SPF can seem a great alternative to sunscreen, especially if you have oily skin. They don’t feel oily or greasy on the skin, help control oil production and make your makeup last longer. But do they offer adequate sun protection too?
How much powder do I need for reliable protection?
Powders with SPF can provide the level of protection stated on the packaging, but only if applied liberally, which is impossible to do. According to Dr Leslie Baumann, “when scientists test facial powders to determine SPF (as mandated by the FDA), they typically assume that 2mg of product will be used per cm2 of skin. The average face is about 600cm2 (although that varies from person to person, of course), meaning that a person needs to apply about 1.2g of facial powder to get the SPF stated on the product’s label. Studies show that most women only apply about 0.085g of powder at a time. In a nutshell, you’d have to apply 14 times the amount of powder you usually do to be sufficiently protected against the sun!” There is no way anyone could apply that much powder to their faces, even if they want to!
So, are powders with SPF useless then?
No, they aren’t. While powders with SPF aren’t a substitute for sunscreen, they can enhance sun protection if applied over sunscreen or foundation with SPF. And if you need to do any touch ups throughout the day (provided that you don’t spend too much time outdoors, especially during the hot summer days), a powder with SPF is a good way to do it: this way you’ll be reapplying both your makeup and sunscreen. But make sure that your powder contains psychical sunscreen ingredients (Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide) as chemical ones need to get into contact with the skin to be activated and so, if applied on top of makeup, they won’t provide much protection at all. But in any case, powders with SPF are always good to set your makeup and keep oil at bay.
Do you use powders with SPF?