The debate regarding the effectiveness of mineral powder sunscreen has been raging for some time. Sunscreen makeup powder is the product of the moment for sun protection, but there are some who question the protective properties of mineral sunscreen in general.
Truth is, the facts regarding the effectiveness of powder sunscreen are actually quite straightforward. When used correctly, SPF powder can play a key role in protecting the skin from the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays.
Mineral powder sunscreen can boost the effectiveness of a base layer of SPF lotion, helping safeguard the skin from aging prematurely and reducing the risk of skin cancer.
However, mineral sunscreen is not designed to be used in place of a base layer of SPF lotion.
In Brief: The Benefits of Powder Sunscreen
Dermatologists and skincare professionals agree that the following are by far the biggest benefits of high-quality mineral powder sunscreens:
- They are exceptionally easy to use and convenient to carry
- They can be applied throughout the day as a helpful top-up
- They can be applied over make-up without smearing or smudging
- They have a fantastically lightweight feel and a matte finish
- They can have an SPF rating as high as 50
- They are suitable for most skin types including dry and sensitive skin
- They can effectively control shine for a more balanced look
- They are highly cost-effective as a little goes a long way
Just eight of the many reasons why millions are bringing mineral powder sunscreens into their daily health and beauty regimes.
But what exactly is a powder sunscreen, and how much protection do they provide?
What Are Powder Sunscreens?
As the name suggests, a powder sunscreen is a specialist skincare product designed to provide protection from the sun’s harmful rays in the form of a powder. Some mineral sunscreens are capable of effectively blocking both UVA and UVB rays, while others are limited in their protection from UVA radiation.
Mineral sunscreen powder contains a variety of active ingredients, mixed with other ingredients in a dry powder form, similar to conventional mineral-based makeup. Most high-quality powder sunscreens are safe for sensitive skin, hypoallergenic and extremely easy to use.
Can I Use Powder Sunscreen Instead of Lotion?
No – mineral sunscreen is only able to provide effective protection from the sun’s rays when used in conjunction with a standard SPF base layer.
Dermatologists recommend adding a layer of mineral sunscreen after applying conventional SPF and makeup, in order to maximize the skin’s protection from harmful radiation. Some powder sunscreens may even recommend using a setting spray to help lock in the sunscreen protection.
What Are the Active Ingredients in Mineral Sunscreens?
There are two main active ingredients that go into the composition of mineral sunscreens, in order to give them their protective properties:
- Zinc oxide:Considered the better of the two ingredients by most dermatologists, as it offers broad-spectrum protection from both UVA and UVB radiation.
- Titanium dioxideHighly capable of protecting the skin from UVB radiation, but with limited effectiveness against UVA radiation.
The very best powder sunscreens are those that contain both of these active ingredients in the concentrations required for the skin the best possible broad-spectrum protection.
Where on the Body Can Powder Sunscreen Be Used?
Mineral powder sunscreen is just as versatile as conventional sunscreen, and can be used to provide additional protection from the sun on any part of the body. However, it is typically designed with the face, neck, ears, chest, scalp and hands in mind – parts of the body most exposed to the sun. Your face, neck, chest, and hands are always the first to experience aging.
Some SPF powder is designed to double as a type of complementary make-up, making it better suited to facial application. This will help minimize the number of steps in your skin care routine.
How Effective Are Powder Sunscreens?
Suggestions that powder sunscreens are ineffective are rooted in their widespread misuse. Contrary to popular belief, mineral sunscreen is not designed to be used in place of a base layer of SPF lotion. Instead, it is a complementary product that can significantly boost the effectiveness of conventional sunscreen.
Mineral powder SPF with an SPF of up to 50 is designed to be the last thing you apply – even after makeup. It can also be reapplied throughout the day to maximize protection from the skin, without the risk of smudging or smearing.
Which SPF Products Are Best?
To ensure effective and efficient protection from the sun’s harmful rays throughout the day, we recommend adding the following three products to your everyday skincare regime:
Sunforgettable EnviroScreen is a premium mineral powder with an SPF rating of 50, packed with antioxidants and patented ingredients to provide effective protection against free radicals. It also contains hyaluronic acid to hydrate the skin, while providing broad-spectrum protection from harmful radiation. Suitable for all skin tones, Sunforgettable EnviroScreen can be worn alone or with make-up.
Luxurious yet non-greasy sunscreen, ZO Sunscreen + Primer dries in seconds to a matte finish and provides effective UVA and UVB protection with an SPF rating of 30. It contains natural melanin to safeguard the skin from accelerated ageing, and can be worn alone or under makeup for an even longer-lasting effect.
Practically weightless for a comfortable and airy feel, Skinceuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense features advanced translucent color spheres for enhanced protection against UVA and UVB radiation. It dries to a sublime sheer finish in no time and is water-resistant for up to 40 minutes, making it great for days at the beach or anywhere else.
How Do You Apply Powder Sunscreen?
Powder sunscreen is applied in a similar way to most other types of mineral-based makeup. You simply prime the applicator with the powder, before gently brushing it onto the skin in a circular motion.
Each application should take about 60 seconds, and it is typically recommended to make two passes over the skin. As the powder is already dry, its protective properties are instantaneous, and it will not smudge or smear your make-up.
One important note – avoiding inhalation of powder sunscreen is advisable. High-quality mineral sunscreens are designed to be nontoxic, but it is still better to avoid breathing in mineral powder of any kind.
In addition, it is also essential to ensure that all other products you use prior to applying mineral powder sunscreen are given plenty of time to dry.
How Often Do I Need to Reapply Mineral Powder Sunscreen?
Full details will be included in the product manufacturer’s guidelines, but dermatologists typically recommend reapplying all SPF products every 2 hours.
This is to compensate for the fact that some of the powder will inevitably come away from your skin as you move, sweat and generally go about your business. Even the oil that naturally comes out of your pores will have an effect on the powder’s coverage and protection.
Of course, this doesn’t tend to be an issue with mineral powder sunscreen, as it is comprehensively quick and easy to apply. It also will not smudge or smear your makeup.
Is Powder Sunscreen Safe?
All studies conducted on powder sunscreen to date indicate it is a safe product, and it carries the recommendation of experienced dermatologists worldwide. But as is the case with all SPF products, the safety and effectiveness of mineral sunscreen will always be affected by how it is used.
The product itself is hypoallergenic, and suitable for all skin types. Even so, powder sunscreen is only considered effective when it is used in conjunction with a base layer of SPF lotion. Using it independently of other SPF products may therefore provide the skin with insufficient protection from the sun’s UVA and UVB rays.
In addition, the only powder sunscreens recommended by dermatologists are those that provide broad-spectrum protection – i.e. protection from both UVA and UVB radiation.
What Should I Look for in a Powder Sunscreen?
Last up, the popularity of mineral powder sunscreen has triggered a huge surge in the availability of powder SPF products worldwide. As is typically the case, not all of these mineral SPF products are of the same high-quality standard.
Beyond a manufacturer’s claims and assurances, there are three things to be on the lookout for when shopping for a powder sunscreen:
- It needs to offer broad-spectrum protection, which means it must contain an adequate concentration of both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Otherwise, the skin will not be fully protected.
- The product should have a certified SPF rating of 30 or higher, in order to provide a level of protection facial skin needs throughout the day.
- All other ingredients that go into its composition should be kind to the skin and hypoallergenic.