I recently had a client ask if I applied sunscreen to my clients during my makeup applications and it was a huge learning moment for me. Whether you are a destination bride, having a garden wedding, attending a daytime gala or just taking a lot of outdoor photo’s, you should be thinking about sun protection, and as your makeup artist – so should I!
Suddenly I was down an internet rabbit hole of sunscreen research: asking peers on social media, reading articles, as well as checking in with Health Canada and other reputable sites.
Heres what Health Canada had to say;
Exposure to UV rays, mainly UVB, can cause sunburns and may eventually cause skin cancer. While sunscreens can help reduce sunburn, they are not as effective against the other harmful effects of UV rays, like premature aging of the skin and weakening of the immune system.
All sunscreens have a sun protection factor (SPF) on their labels. The SPF tells you the length of time that your sunscreen-protected skin can be exposed to UVB rays before it starts to get red, compared to the length of time it takes on your unprotected skin. In other words, it tells you how much longer you can be exposed to the sun before getting a sunburn.
The amount of time it takes for unprotected skin to burn depends on skin type. In general, fair skin burns more quickly than darker skin.
If you have the type of skin that would burn after 20 minutes in the sun without protection, then properly applying sunscreen with SPF 30 would allow you to spend up to 600 minutes (30 times longer) in the sun without getting a sunburn. However, this does not mean that your skin is protected from all UV effects. Damage to your skin, other than sunburning, may have already started.
The SPF varies depending on the nature of the sunblocking ingredients in the product. Since the SPF refers only to protection against UVB, it is important to choose a “broad-spectrum” sunscreen that also protects you from UVA radiation.
600 minutes sure sounds like a long time, but what is properly applying? The Canadian Dermatology Association says “To be effective, all sunscreens need to be liberally applied; for example, one palm‐full for each arm and one for each leg”. This sounds to me like you need quite a bit on your face as well – I found varying numbers from 1/4 teaspoon to a tablespoon! I know I’m guilty of using a pea sized amount on my own face, even when not wearing makeup, so what does this mean when you’re getting glammed up for a summer wedding? And how can we be sure it’s broad spectrum?
Chemical filters absorb some of the UVA and UVB radiation and convert it into heat. There are more chemical filters that absorb UVB rays than absorb UVA rays.
Physical filters are small particles (usually zinc oxide or titanium dioxide) that scatter and reflect both UVB and UVA radiation.
Physical sunscreens are the best bet for broad spectrum protection, but have received a bad rap for causing the dreaded red carpet flashback. But did you know that most event photographers do not use direct flash? They use soft boxes, indirect flash, and are skilled at taking photo’s in great natural light. You may still have to worry about uncle John’s point and shoot flash, but the majority of the photo’s taken at a wedding won’t be taken in a condition to produce flashback.
At Carley Artistry we recommend using a physical sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher applied directly to the face about 15 minutes prior to makeup application. Use enough to cover your whole face and let it sink in and bond to the skin. Choose one that works for you, feels light when applied, and doesn’t make you sweaty or greasy throughout the day. Try it with makeup and without, to ensure that it gives you the protection you need for your skin type while feeling comfortable. If you’re going to be out for a few hours or more, you will need to reapply.
Neutrogena Sunscreen Lotion SPF 45, Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sun Cream, Water Resistant, 88mL
La Roche Posay
La Roche Posay Anthelios XL SPF 50+ PPD 31 Dry Touch Gel-cream 50ml
And for the lips;
Roche Posay Anthelios Lip Stick 50+ 3ml
Still not sure if your sunscreen will protect you for a whole day? If your event takes place mostly outdoors, here are some great products that you can mist on throughout the day for added protection!