Is Glitter Sunscreen Stupid? An Investigation
Let me start off by saying I have nothing against glitter. I'm a grown adult and I love sparkly stuff. Pat McGrath's ruby glitter lips? I've never liked red lipstick more. Stila's Magnificent Metals Eyeshadow? Yes, please make my eyelids look like disco balls.
But there are some places where glitter doesn't belong, and one of them is in your sunscreen, a utilitarian product that's meant to shield your skin against the sun's harmful UVA/UVB rays. Earlier this week, Florida-based brand Sunshine & Glitter went viral thanks to its line of glitter-infused sunscreens like SeaStar Sparkle SPF 50+ Party Cake with Rainbow Glitter ($19; sunshineglitter.com) and Mango Tango with Gold Glitter ($19; sunshineglitter.com).
Listen, if you're going to a music festival or Burning Man, I get the appeal of glitter sunscreen. But do these formulas sacrifice skin health? I turned to a top dermatologist to find out if glitter sunscreen can actually protect your skin from the sun this summer.
Ava Shamban, dermatologist and founder of SKIN FIVE in Beverly Hills, says that any sunscreen that carries an SPF with a number like Sunshine & Glitter's products must be cleared by FDA-approved testing, so it does, indeed, carry SPF.
She goes on to say that it's more about what's in the actual sunscreen than the glitter itself. "Glitter in general is non-toxic, the only risk is if it gets into your eyes," she tells us. Glitter & Sunshine's formulas are water-resistant, but it's important to regularly apply whatever sunscreen you use every two hours so that it's still shielding your skin from UVA/UVB rays—and not just because some of your sparkles washed off.
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"It [Sunshine & Glitter] sounds like kind of a cool retro fun idea, and perhaps all those tiny little reflectors will indeed reflect back some of that UV radiation while making you look like a Fourth of July sparkler," says Dr. Shamban. So glitter sunscreens are safe. Be the most extra by sparkling all you want this summer, if that's what you're into.