Is Glitter Sunscreen Actually Safe? We Asked Two Dermatologists
Even though we know that wearing sunscreen every day (yes, even when it’s cloudy, or when we’re inside) is crucial for our skin’s health, we’re into anything that makes it more fun to wear. Enter glitter sunscreen, the Kirakira worthy product taking over your Insta feeds this spring. It looks amazing and is obviously more fun than the chalky white lotions we’re used to, but is it actually safe?
We talked to two dermatologists to get the sparkly scoop on these trendy new products, and although both agreed that glitter sunscreen is safe, there is some confusion about the effect of glitter on the skin.
Dr. Lisa Garner, a Texas-based dermatologist, told us, “The glitter should not affect the efficacy of the sunscreen itself. The efficacy is determined by its SPF (sun protection factor, which tells how well a sunscreen will protect against the sun’s UVB rays), UVA coverage (broad spectrum) and water resistance.”
Dr. Joshua Zeichner, a New York-based dermatologist agrees, adding, “Any product labeled with an SPF value has to have gone through testing that is compliant with FDA standards for sunscreen. Sunscreens are considered over the counter drugs and as such are regulated here in the United States.”
But glitter, by its very nature, consists of light-reflecting particles, so wouldn’t your skin absorb more of the sun’s harmful rays if it’s covered in glitter? The experts differed, with Garner saying, “Glitter reflects light but does not actually attract it.”
According to Zeichner, “It is unclear what the effect of glitter actually has on the sunscreen. It likely reflects light, but we don’t know whether the glitter reflects light away from the skin or perhaps traps it in the skin.”
“To be safe,” he adds, “I recommend applying a broad spectrum, high SPF sunscreen as your base layer then apply this product on top of it just as you would use makeup with sunscreen.” Noted. Instead of using trendy takes on SPF as your sole sun protection, glitter sunscreen should be added on top of your base layer of standard sunscreen.
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Garner agrees, adding, “Sunscreen needs to be reapplied [at least] every 1.5 hours in the sun or water so there might be an issue with ‘too much’ glitter with multiple reapplications that could potentially deter proper use.” For example, skin irritation or water or sweat getting the product into your eyes.
It seems with proper, consistent use, you can shine bright like a diamond all summer long… as long as you reapply and cover all areas of exposed skin. And, as with any product, if you experience stinging, itching, burning, or any irritation, you should discontinue use immediately. Otherwise, get your glow on.
(Feature Image via Getty)
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