Discovering the most recent life-improvement tips can be a significant dopamine booster for those of us who are addicted to the beauty and makeup sections of TikTok. Some of these tips are really jewels that provide you instant gratification, like SPF sticks that make applying sunscreen while on the road a snap or mixing blush with your concealer for a more radiant face.
However, a hack is not necessarily effective or even safe just because it gains popularity. The advancements made, tried, and endorsed by qualified skin-care experts differ greatly from the hacks developed by regular people. For instance, adding sunscreen to an empty compact may seem like a wonderful idea, but when you look more closely at the science, it’s not that clever.
What trend – this time, it’s the “sun contouring” craze. Which is it? In order to achieve a “natural” contour, such as one that results from tanning the skin, some people forgo putting sunscreen on their eyes, lips, and the middle of their nose. Eli Withrow, a model, gained notoriety for her method, which entails applying SPF 90 over a “base layer” of SPF 35 where highlighter is generally applied. Her argument that “the sun will contour your face” leads her to lay in the sun after that.
Intentionally creating tan lines across the face, this “sunscreen hack” allows users to forego their morning contour and opt for a makeup-free look all summer long. Content creators post videos of themselves with white sunscreen streaks covering their cheekbones, noses, and foreheads. While the practice may seem strange at first, later posts reveal chiseled contours.
Sun contouring is intriguing, but it is also potentially harmful and scientifically flawed. “Sun contouring leaves areas of the skin vulnerable to UV damage, increasing the risk of sunburn, skin cancer, sun spots, fine lines, wrinkles, photo-damage and more,” dermatologist Dr. Marisa Garshick, MD, FAAD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Dermatology, New York Presbyterian-Cornell, tells GRAZIA.
Everyone is aware of this and is constantly reminded to use full-face SPF protection to lessen the risk of skin cancer and sun damage.
What is SPF contouring?
SPF contouring, sometimes known as “sunscreen contouring,” is a technique that contours the face or other body areas, such as the stomach, by strategically applying sunscreen. Areas of the face where bronzer is generally applied are covered with a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or lower, allowing these sections of the face to tan. (Some users opt to never apply sunscreen.)Then, where concealer or highlighter is generally layered, a sunscreen formula with a higher SPF is applied to complete the contouring look, leaving those areas lighter after time in the sun. The theory is that by applying fake tan lines all over the face, the user will appear to have a naturally sun-kissed complexion without applying any makeup.
Is SPF contouring safe?
The UV rays that give you a summer tan are also the ones that harm your skin, resulting in wrinkles, age spots, and, most seriously, skin cancer. According to Jeanne Graf, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City
“Patients are putting their skin in danger when they choose to expose [it] to the sun with no sunscreen protection. When you are contouring with sunscreen, you are exposing your skin to radiation.”
The idea that browned skin helps to prevent sunburns and, thus, will also help to prevent other harmful consequences of the sun is another widespread myth. That is another urban legend that dermatologists can dispel with ease.
“It is the simple truth that no tan is safe for your skin, any tan means your DNA has been harmed,” says Sheilagh Maguiness, MD, a board-certified dermatologist. “The areas that tan have been damaged and will be more prone to photo-aging and skin cancers in the long run.”
True, some proponents of SPF contour apply a foundation layer of SPF 30 to the entire face, which technically satisfies the experts’ minimum SPF guideline. Could dermatologists endorse this trend if an SPF 30 sunscreen is applied to the entire face? In conclusion, the majority of dermatologists continue to oppose it.
“Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours while exposed, or more frequently if sweating or swimming,” Dr. Maguiness continues. “I think that trying to reapply the sunscreen in these specific contouring areas might deter people from doing the re-application, again leading to increased risks for sunburn.”
But is SPF contouring effective?
Perhaps some advice from makeup artist Hilary Clark can convince you not to try this trend if the risks of the sun aren’t enough to deter you. She tells Allure – there is little to no chance of creating a contoured appearance or “snatched” appearance.
“Achieving the intended contour appearance is impossible” since you can’t control how the sun will hit your face, as well as reflections off of surfaces like sand, pavement, buildings, and water.The darker-hued parts of the face will develop “sun spots, sagging, fine lines, and wrinkles, as well as an increased risk of cancer,” Dr. Graf says, which is even worse than the effects of contouring with sunscreen over a prolonged period of time.
Does SPF contour work with self-tanner?
There is a method to wake up with a contour without wearing makeup, even though we now know that SPF contouring is a definite no-no. It’s more simpler than remembering to reapply various sunscreens and, most importantly, there is no risk of sunburn or melanoma.Utilize a self-tanner, advises Clark, to give you contour below your cheekbones, at your temples, and even on your neck.
If you really want to get fancy, you may regulate the depth of the contour or create a gradient by using two tanner intensities, one for lighter skin tones and one for darker skin tones.
Apply it similarly to how you would a more transient bronzer: squirt a little quantity of bronzing stain onto a plate or a palette, then use a pointed or angled foundation brush to apply it to the skin where you want to contour. Make sure to soften the edges so that they mix organically and that you don’t get a sharp demarcation line and streak.