How should you use a sunscreen product?

Paula’s Choice is more than happy to provide you with information about products with sun protection, so that every day you can ensure you give your skin the best possible protection from harmful UV rays. Thankfully, that does not mean you have to keep reapplying a sunscreen every two hours.

Should you reapply a sunscreen product every two hours?

You really do not have to reapply sunscreen every two hours. Sunscreens are broken down by the effects of direct exposure to daylight, not by the passage of time. During an average day – a work day, let’s say – the sunscreen you applied in the morning will still offer enough protection at the end of the day. That is, assuming you have applied enough in the morning and that you will be doing most of your daily activities or your job indoors.

Take note: UV rays can pass through glass. You won't burn, but there is a risk of sun damage if you are sitting next to a window.

If you spend the main part of your day outside, then we do recommend that you reapply your sunscreen every two hours, especially if you perspire a lot or go swimming.

How much of a sunscreen product should you apply?

  • It is impossible to give clear guidelines as to how much of a product you should use, because people are different shapes and sizes and you will therefore need to apply the product to a greater or smaller skin surface. It is important that you apply the product generously. So don’t be too sparing.
  • The more skin covered by impermeable clothing, the less sun cream you will need.
  • Clothing alone is not sufficient if you spend a long day in direct sunlight. There are companies specialised in UV protective clothing.
  • If the amount applied feels too heavy on your skin, apply products with SPF in layers (e.g. a day cream, foundation and compact powder).

When should you use a sunscreen product?

  • Sun protection products should be used every day, rain or shine, because UV rays can penetrate through clouds. Sun protection should always be the final step in your daytime skincare routine. If you apply another skincare product on top of your SPF, the sunscreen will be less effective.
  • Use a day cream that contains other hydrating and skin-repairing ingredients as well as a sunscreen. Then you don’t have to use a separate cream under your sun cream.
  • Consider using a serum rich in antioxidants and apply it before you use the sunscreen. This provides additional protection against sun damage.

Is a day cream with SPF just as effective as a standard sun cream?

When a product has an SPF of at least 30, it provides active protection against UVA and UVB rays and is just an effective as a standard sunscreen. A day cream usually also contains additional ingredients that are beneficial to the skin (such as antioxidants and skin-repairing substances).

After applying a sunscreen, should you wait before going outside?

The best thing to do after applying a sunscreen product is to wait at least twenty minutes before going outside, as the active synthetic ingredients (such as avobenzone, octinoxate and oxybenzone) need some time to work effectively.

The active mineral ingredients (titanium dioxide and zinc oxide) do give instant protection against the sun. You should use a mineral sunscreen on your hands and reapply after washing them.

Can you apply a product with a mineral sunscreen on top of a product with a synthetic sunscreen?

Mineral and synthetic sunscreen products can definitely be used on top of one another. But using one of them is usually enough, as long as you apply it liberally and make sure it offers broad spectrum protection. At Paula’s Choice all our sunscreen products offer broad spectrum protection, protecting you from both UVA and UVB rays. Layering different sunscreen products is always an option if you need to touch up your sun protection during the day or are looking to maximise coverage.

Can you use a foundation without SPF over your sunscreen product?

You can apply foundation without SPF over your sunscreen without affecting your sun protection, if you follow these guidelines. Skincare is designed to be absorbed into skin’s uppermost layers, so give your SPF product time to settle in. Make-up remains on the skin’s surface, so apply your foundation carefully to prevent your sunscreen from becoming diluted, reducing its effectiveness. If you don’t want to wait, or are concerned that you have reduced your sun protection, choose a foundation or tinted day cream with an SPF of at least 30.

Remember that makeup with SPF is not enough on its own to protect yourself from the sun. Most people don’t apply enough foundation, BB or CC cream to have sufficient protection.

Compact powders or loose powders alone do not offer protection against the sun. However, they are suitable for touching up your make-up quickly and add a touch of additional protection against the sun.

Can you mix a tinted day cream or foundation with SPF to cover the white sheen of a mineral formula?

If the tinted moisturiser or foundation has a SPF of at least 30, it is fine to mix them. If the SPF is lower, you can only add a few drops. Otherwise you will dilute the sunscreen too much.

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