Sunscreen Contouring Is One Trend You Should Definitely Steer Clear Of

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You might be able to guess what sunscreen contouring is by its name. It involves using sunscreen to contour parts of your face with the sun. Basically, you apply SPF to the high points of your face — much like highlighter — while leaving the other parts of your face sunscreen-free.

The premise is that the sun would provide a contoured effect in the places where you haven’t applied sunscreen. Pretty unsurprisingly, this trend has gained popularity amongst users on TikTok but it’s not the first time sunscreen contouring has been recommended.

In fact, in 2018, model Joan Smalls told Us Weekly that she dabbled in sunscreen contouring as it leaves a more permanent highlighted look to the skin. “It makes the skin lighter because you’re not tanning as much there,” Smalls said.

This method is also used by celebrity makeup artist Sir John, but in this instance, Sir John uses different SPF levels of sunscreen to achieve the look. “Whenever you’re at the beach, or whenever you’re in the sun, put on SPF 15-20 everywhere skin is exposed to give your face a veil of protection,” John told

“Then, take an SPF 50-80 and put it under the eyes, in a line going down the center of the nose, and a bit on the brow bones as a highlight. Now you’re ready to go lay out!”

While Sir John’s method is ever so *slightly* better, it still has its issues. It’s best if you actively avoid sunscreen contouring at all costs. Why? Well, the sun is extremely dangerous and can also damage your skin. Sunscreen is one of the easiest ways to prevent potentially life-threatening skin cancers, which are largely caused by UV rays from the sun.

“The key environmental risk factor for melanoma, estimated to be responsible for more than 90% of melanomas, is UV radiation from the sun,” dermatologist Dr Annika Smith told The Latch. “So excess sun exposure is responsible for the majority of melanomas, while about 10% of melanomas will have a genetic basis. And in those cases that might be evident by a strong family history of melanoma with multiple family members affected.”

Skin cancer is a real concern, especially for Australians given the intensity of the sun in this part of the world. In fact, according to Sun Smart, approximately two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70.

Additionally, sunscreen is the only real form of anti-ageing you have at your disposal — alongside protective clothing, sunglasses and hats. UV radiation is “the key contributor to photo-ageing or premature ageing of the skin,” Dr Smith told The Latch. So to prevent it, these are the products you’ll want to be using.

UV radiation can also cause fine lines and wrinkles as well as brown spots, pigment irregularity and broken capillaries. If you spend money on skincare products that target ageing, the best thing you can do is work to prevent the damage as much as possible with the help of SPF.

While sunscreen contouring might be out, this doesn’t mean you can’t still contour your face the old fashioned way with bronzer and a makeup brush.

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