Tinted sunscreen is popular among individuals who want to simplify their skincare routine while achieving a natural, flawless look. It comes in various shades to suit different skin tones, allowing users to find the perfect match for their complexion while providing sun protection. Whether heading to the beach or running errands, tinted sunscreen offers a convenient solution for protecting and enhancing skin. Discover if tinted sunscreen is worth incorporating into your skincare regimen.
Tinted sunscreen offers sun protection and lightweight coverage to complete a natural complexion.
Tinted sunscreens shield the skin from ultraviolet radiation, including visible light.
Some tinted sunscreens may increase the likelihood of breakouts if they are not oil free and non-comedogenic. It is extremely rare that iron oxide causes an allergic reaction.
Look for tinted sunscreens that contain an SPF of 30 or higher. The ideal formula will depend on your skin type.
Makeup foundations and tinted moisturizers that contain SPF should not replace the use of a general sunscreen.
What is tinted sunscreen?
Tinted sunscreen is a cosmetic product that protects the skin from ultraviolet (UV) rays that can cause premature aging, cancers, and sunburns. Most sunscreens are known for their main ingredients, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, while tinted sunscreens have an iron oxide component. Iron oxide is a compound that gives tinted sunscreens their pigmentation, helps reduce the appearance of the white cast effect that is common in non-tinted sunscreens, and reflects away visible light.
Visible light is the wavelength the human eye can see. Examples are lightbulbs, candles, or fireworks. Furthermore, if you think you're safe from the sun by being home all day, think again. Research suggests blue light, which is a form of visible light emitted from smartphones and tablets, can negatively impact the skin as it can penetrate much deeper than UV radiation.
The effectiveness of tinted sunscreens
While non-tinted sunscreens effectively protect against sun rays, they may not be adequate in protecting the skin from visible light. Current literature shares that visible light may cause redness in light skin tones and in people with darker skin tones.
According to research, to protect the skin from visible light, there needs to be a sunscreen that is visible on the skin. Most non-tinted sunscreens use micronized zinc oxide and titanium dioxide particles, which are smaller in size and absorb easily into the skin. These smaller micronized particles make sunscreens less visible to avoid the white pasty look. In contrast, tinted sunscreens are visible on the skin but do not give the "ghostly" look because of their skin-colored pigmentation derived from iron oxide.
In addition, one clinical study claims tinted sunscreens are more effective in reducing melasma relapses than non-tinted sunscreens. Another study also suggests tinted sunscreens help to reduce hyperpigmentation.
The advantages and flaws of tinted sunscreen
While research does support the effectiveness of tinted sunscreens, here are additional factors to review on the pros and cons of this cosmetic product.
Tips when looking for a tinted sunscreen
When overwhelmed with the number of tinted sunscreens available at the drugstore, consider these tips to narrow your selection.
Sun protection factor
The sun protection factor, better known as your SPF, should be considered when looking into any sunscreen product. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, you should have an SPF of 30 or higher. Broad-spectrum sunscreens protect the skin from damage from both types of UV rays.
There are two types of sunscreens available — chemical and physical/mineral. Chemical sunscreens absorb better into the skin without leaving the white paste and work as a sponge to absorb UV rays into the skin and convert them to harmless heat. Mineral or physical sunscreens sit on the skin's surface as a shield to block the sun's rays from penetrating the skin.
Despite their differences, both are effective in sun protection. You can narrow your choices by considering your skin type. For instance, look for non-comedogenic sunscreens if you have oily or acne-prone skin. If you have sensitive skin, look into tinted mineral sunscreens because chemical sunscreens contain additional ingredients that can stress the skin. Dry skin types can find tinted sunscreens with other hydrating elements, such as hyaluronic acid.
How to apply tinted sunscreen
Once you've purchased your tinted sunscreen, follow the manufacturer's instructions on how to apply your sunscreen. You can also follow the guidance below on applying tinted sunscreen effectively:
- Start with a clean face. Complete your skincare regimen first.
- You can use a base sunscreen, followed by your tinted sunscreen, as an extra layer of protection.
- The recommended amount of sunscreen on the face would be about a nickel size. You can use your fingertips to apply your tinted sunscreen.
- You can also use a brush or blending sponge to even out the product for a smooth finish. There are tinted sunscreens that are buildable or even provide full coverage.
- Using a setting powder or spray can help to lock and keep your tinted sunscreen in place.
Tinted sunscreen provides the necessary SPF to shield the skin from harmful UV rays and acts as a foundation, giving the complexion a more even and natural appearance. Whether you decide to use tinted sunscreen or not, always use sunscreen in your everyday skincare routine.
Can a tinted moisturizer replace a tinted sunscreen?
No. While some tinted moisturizers indicate on the bottle that they contain SPF, they may not offer enough sunscreen benefits because they are more responsible for hydrating your skin.
Do I still need sunscreen if my makeup foundation has SPF?
Yes. Like tinted moisturizers, you cannot rely on foundation containing SPF alone. Research shows that you may be applying only half the recommended amount of SPF with foundation and not achieve adequate protection. To achieve adequate protection with a combination product, you may have to add more SPF makeup which can result in a "cakey" look. It would be better for your skin to use separate sunscreen and foundation.
How can I reapply sunscreen without ruining my makeup?
Reapplication of sunscreen every 1-2 hours you are outside or driving is as essential as applying sunscreen in the first place, regardless if it is water-resistant. You can apply your tinted sunscreen over your makeup. It should blend in better than using non-tinted sunscreen over makeup.
- Harvard Health Publishing. Tinted sunscreens: benefits beyond an attractive glow.
- Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. Photoprotection beyond ultraviolet radiation: a review of tinted sunscreens.
- Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. Prevention of melasma relapses with sunscreen combining protection against UV and short wavelengths of visible light: a prospective randomized comparative trial.
- Photodermatology, Photoimmunology & Photomedicine. Influence of visible light on cutaneous hyperchromias: clinical efficacy of broad-spectrum sunscreens.
- Cleveland Clinic. Is the sunscreen in your makeup enough?
- Dermatitis. Eyelid allergic contact dermatitis to black iron oxide.