Beyond the beach
Dr. Paolo Giacomoni, executive director of research and development for Clinique, gives us the facts on cosmetics with SPF.
What are the challenges of incorporating sunscreen ingredients into non-beach products, such as foundations and skin creams?
“With moisturizers, very high concentrations of sunscreen are used in the formulations to attain the desired SPF. Due to the texture of the sunscreens themselves, different formulating techniques and added ingredients are required to balance the texture and overall performance of the product. For example, chemical sunscreens have a gluey consistency that needs to be emulsified so that the final product doesn’t end up resembling something like molasses, whereas physical sunscreen is more sandlike in composition. With foundations, sunscreen affects both texture and colour. A physical sunscreen like titanium dioxide has a greying effect on colour, so when you add it to a foundation, you need to adjust the existing pigments and colour particles to get the desired shade.”
Beach products require frequent reapplication. But women don’t reapply foundation every couple of hours, so does the SPF protection of a makeup product diminish over a day’s wear?
“It’s recommended that you reapply a sun-protection product every two hours because with beach conditions, you have extended exposure to direct sunlight and activities like swimming and towelling, and, most important, you sweat. All of these factors impact an SPF product’s adhesion to the skin. Sunscreen dissipates at a much quicker rate when it’s exposed to water, friction and sweat, so it’s important to reapply often. The sunscreen in a moisturizer or foundation lasts longer because far fewer physical demands are made on it, so frequent reapplication isn’t necessary. For example, applying a product like Clinique Superdefense Age Defense Moisturizer SPF 25 in the morning would be sufficient to get you through a typical workday.”
What’s the difference between applying a sunscreen and then a foundation versus applying a foundation with sunscreen in it?
“It really comes down to personal preference and convenience. If your favourite foundation doesn’t offer sun protection, you could certainly apply a sunscreen followed by foundation, provided that the aesthetic is pleasing to you.”