Do Our Eyelids Need Sunscreen?

Supergoop Eyeshadow
Photo: supergoop/Instagram

The sunscreen category has seriously evolved. The only SPF I knew as a kid was stark white, thick, impossible-to-blend, fairly gloopy, and came along with a distinct smell that could overpower any "Pine" or "Balsam and Cedar" car freshener.

Now, you can pick up an SPF that applies invisibly to your skin, or a sunscreen that doesn't smell like anything at all. You can brush it on. You can spray it on. You can physically add it to other skincare products!

But nothing proves just how much the sunscreen category has changed and advanced quite like SPF-infused eyeshadow, Supergoop!'s latest invention.

In an effort to expand beyond traditional sunscreen and to provide protection to those often "forgotten" sun-exposed parts of the body, the brand has created four tinted, shimmery cream eyeshadows each infused with an impressive SPF 30.

As lovely and light as the formulas are, any niche launch like this inevitably brings up questions on if the world really even needs an SPF-infused eyeshadow, and more specifically in this circumstance, if we all really need to be applying SPF on our eyelids in the first place.

VIDEO: When You Apply Sunscreen in Your Skincare Routine Actually Matters A Lot

It might not be as stressed as, say, applying SPF to your nose, but still, the answer is still... Yes.

"The eyelids are one of the most commonly forgotten areas to be protected from the sun," notes board-certified dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner. "Just like any other part of the face, the eyelids can develop a sunburn. Fortunately, when your eyes are open, the eyelids are not exposed to UV light as much as other parts of the face. However, if you have your eyes closed, and your eyelids are not protected, they easily can develop a sunburn. Plus, even with the eyes open, The exposed eyelid skin is still at risk."

Basically, the risk is there, so your lids shouldn't be bare if you're outside.

While this SPF does, in fact, serve a purpose (and definitely multitasks thanks to its pretty neutral pigments), Dr. Zeichner says he'd still recommend applying regular SPF under this shadow.

"Eyeshadow with sunscreen in it can help protect eyelid skin," he notes. "However, it should be used in combination with traditional sunscreen. Similar to facial powder sunscreens, eyeshadows need to be applied in a thick enough layer to offer adequate protection."

You can use traditional facial SPF on the lids, but Dr. Zeichner says to be very cautious that you do not get the SPF ingredients inside the eye itself. "If you have sensitive skin, stick to mineral-based sunscreens that contain ingredients like zinc oxide by itself or in combination with titanium dioxide," he explains. "While sunscreens that contain chemical UV blockers are effective, they can be potentially irritating to the eyelids."

Lesson learned: Don't ignore your eyelids.

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