The Answers to All Of Your Sunscreen Questions & Complaints (+Best Tips & Tricks!)

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Other than the confessional, no place hears more deep, dark secrets than the beauty chair. There’s something about stepping into our soothing treatment rooms and shutting out the world that has people opening up and confessing their skincare sins in our chairs. 

And we’re glad patients do so because knowing what we’re working with helps us get the best possible results. 

But do you want to know the one confession that gets us just a wee bit riled? You can probably guess because it’s a very common one…

“I don’t wear sunscreen.”

Only 11% of Americans wear sunscreen daily, in fact. And according to the same RealSelf Sun Safety Report, only 64% wear sunscreen when they plan to be outside for a while.

As much as it pains us to think of your skin out there defenseless in the elements, we understand that there are a lot of hurdles standing between you and everyday sunscreen use. Like differing information. Or finding the right sunscreen for your skin tone.

We’ve heard your grievances, so we’ve created a blog post to address them. So buckle up because we’re about to bust some myths, answer majorly asked questions, and give you the best sunscreen tips and tricks.

Does Sunscreen Go On Before or After Moisturizer?

Should you finish off your skincare routine with moisturizer or sunscreen? If you’re using a chemical sunscreen, it should be applied first and topped off with your moisturizer so that the sunscreen can properly penetrate your skin (which directly impacts its effectiveness). 

If you’re using a physical (also known as mineral) sunscreen, you should apply your moisturizer and finish with the sunscreen. 

If you’re ever in doubt, just remember that putting on any sunscreen, no matter the order of your routine, is better than going out without any at all. 

Sunscreen or Makeup First?

You should apply sunscreen underneath your foundation. 

How about makeup with SPF? Does it mean you can skip your traditional sunscreen? No, it doesn’t. SPF in makeup products is notoriously unreliable in its level of protection. This is partly because it isn’t always applied evenly across your face and partly because makeup smudges and wears off easily. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t add makeup with SPF into your beauty routine at all. It just means that you should consider it as a bonus, not as your main form of protection.

Sunscreen to Apply Over Makeup

We all know that we’re supposed to reapply sunscreen every two hours. 

But what if you’re wearing makeup? 

Trying to reapply over your foundation sounds like a goopy mess. Well, there have been a lot of advancements in sunscreen formulation in recent years, and one of our faves is the Colorescience sunscreen brushes. 

The Sunforgettable Total Protection’s makeup brush applicator allows you to reapply every two hours without messing up your makeup. The brush gently glides over your makeup, and the sheer finish means you won’t see it at all.

Sunforgettable Brush-On Sunscreen

Bonus tip: Brush-on options are also the perfect sunscreen for the scalp. If you’ve ever winced with every stroke of your brush after a long day in the sun without a hat, you know what we’re talking about.

We stock all three of our clinics with Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Brush-on Shield in a range of shades. Stop by our El Dorado, Rocklin, or Sacramento clinic to grab one for your purse. 

Pro Tip: We love picking up an extra for our glove compartment so that we can quickly reapply before getting out of the car and into the rays.

Can Sunscreen Be Primer?

If we’re talking sunscreen and makeup, then we’ve got to let you in on this time-saving tip that also saves you money. Applying the right sunscreen under your makeup acts as a primer in addition to sun protection, so you can stop purchasing those pricey makeup primers. But it can’t be just any old sunscreen—it has to have a matte finish. 

Our favorite matte sunscreen is the Obagi Sun Shield Matte Broad Spectrum SPF 50. It has amazing staying power, and the high SPF level means great protection! Stop by any of our clinics to pick yours up.

Bonus tip: because matte sunscreens stay in place, they’re the perfect choice if you’re frustrated with sunscreens that run and end up stinging your eyes.

Sunscreen Without a White Cast

A common grievance folks have with sunscreen is how it creates a white film on their skin, leaving them looking like a ghostly version of themselves. That’s referred to as white cast. While offering excellent sun protection, physical sunscreens are particularly guilty of this. 

The good news is that many sunscreen brands have also heard the complaints and have formulated tinted sunscreens. Some options contain only enough tint to counteract the white cast, while others offer light coverage that even out skin, similar to a tinted moisturizer. 

The good news is that many sunscreen brands have also heard the complaints. So they’ve formulated tinted sunscreens with options ranging from just enough tint to counteract the white cast to more pigmented options offering light coverage to even out skin, similar to a tinted moisturizer.

Here are some of our faves that we carry:

  • Alastin HydraTint Pro Mineral Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 36: evens and brightens skin with a glowing tint; only one shade
  • EltaMD is a cult-favorite sunscreen brand that’s won numerous awards for its formulation. Their Elements Tinted is an ultra-hydrating sunscreen thanks to added hyaluronic acid. It comes in one universal tint that fits most skin types but isn’t ideal for fair or deep skin tones.
  • Obagi Sun Shield Tint Broad Spectrum SPF 50 has a sheer finish and offers light coverage. It’s available in Cool or Warm (ideal for skin with a yellow, golden, or olive undertone).

Which Sunscreen Is Best for Brown Skin? And the Best Sunscreen for Black Skin.

Our sunscreen faves listed below are perfect for medium to dark skin tones. Instead of a one-shade-fits-all, these options offer more selection.

  • Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Face Shield Flex SPF 50 comes in four tone-adapting shades that bloom once they touch your skin. Flex delivers buildable coverage with a demi-matte finish.
  • Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Brush-on Shield SPF 50 comes in four shades (fair, medium, tan, and deep) that counteract the white cast.
  • Sunbetter Tone Smart SPF 68 Sunscreen Compact is a tone-adapting sunscreen that offers a hint of blendable color and can be layered for buildable coverage. Its patented tone-adapting technology adjusts to your unique skin tone once applied.

Sunscreen for Acne-prone Skin

Quite a few clients confess to skipping sunscreen because they’re nervous about how sunscreen will impact their acne-prone skin. 

We’re going to tell you what we tell our beloved clients: sun exposure makes acne worse, and it opens you up to the risk of another type of spot: hyperpigmentation. 

The key for acne-prone skin is to find a sunscreen that’s non-comedogenic, like the EltaMD UV Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 46. 

Will Sunscreen Block Vitamin D?

There has been a Vitamin D deficiency scare lately, leading to people skipping their daily sunscreen, so we want to set the record straight. 

While we do produce vitamin D through sun exposure, it isn’t the only option—but it is the riskier option. Sun exposure increases the risk of developing skin cancer. 

Therefore, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends getting vitamin D from a healthy diet that includes foods naturally rich in vitamin D, foods and beverages fortified with vitamin D, and/or vitamin D supplements. Foods naturally rich in vitamin D include salmon, tuna, swordfish, and eggs, and fortified food sources include milk, orange juice, and yogurt. 

If you’d prefer a different option or feel like you need to supplement your intake, vitamin D supplements are sold over the counter at drug stores.

Can You Still Tan With Sunscreen?

Sunscreen does prevent tanning, but even SPF 100 only blocks 99% of UVB rays. This doesn’t mean that you’ll get the deep tan that most people crave, though. Thankfully, we live in a time when we have options, options, options.

You can always use one of the many sunless tanners on the market, but did you know that there are sunscreens with bronzers? For your face and body? Yeah, you can now protect against sun damage and fake a gorgeous tan at the same time. Colorescience has an entire line of sunscreens with bronzer, called the Sunforgettable line that we carry In our clinics.

Pro Tip: For a light-coverage look, you can use a combination of tinted and bronzed sunscreens in place of your foundation and bronzer. Start with a tinted sunscreen all over your face, contour with Colorescience’s Sunforgettable sunscreen, and highlight with Colorescience’s Sunforgettable sunscreen in Glow (infused with a pearlescent luminosity).

Why Is My Sunscreen Pilling? And How to Fix It.

Your sunscreen is balling up on your face, also known as pilling, because your skin care products aren’t being absorbed into the skin. When you have a lot of layers sitting atop your skin and not sinking into the skin, you end up with pilling when you try to apply your sunscreen.

If this happens to you, you may be layering too many products on your skin or layering them in the wrong order. You want to let each layer dry well before you apply the next so that it has a chance to sink into the skin. Or you may be experiencing pilling because your skin is congested. If this is the case, you should gently exfoliate. 

Sunscreen pilling isn’t a pain just because it’s unattractive but also because it leaves your skin vulnerable. If you’re using a chemical sunscreen that isn’t absorbed into the skin, its efficacy is reduced. Unfortunately, this means you aren’t getting the full amount of sun protection advertised on the bottle.

The perfect sunscreen for your skin does exist. 

We’ve curated the best sunscreens for our shelves and our staff are experts, so come into any of our three locations and let us help you find your sunscreen soulmate.

El Dorado Hills:









Call us at (916) 941-9400

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