I have such a love/hate relationship with Gwyneth Paltrow. I think she’s gorgeous and funny and a great actress. I’m pretty obsessed with Goop skincare and think it really does work well. But her views on “wellness” when it comes to nutrition and sexual health really lose me and I think can be pretty harmful. It turns out, some of her skincare practices are, too. In a new Vogue video, Paltrow talks sunscreen and well, she flat out gets it wrong. Allow me to explain.
Listen, Paltrow is a 48-year-old woman and she can do what she wants with her skin. But many look to her for advice. So, when she reveals her “beauty secrets,” people listen. Unfortunately, they shouldn’t listen to her about sun protection. While she talks about great mental health things like meditation in the video, she goes on to chat skincare. She begins by using some really stellar products, including Goopglow Microderm Instant Glow Exfoliator ($125 at Goop), Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum ($185 at Detox Market), Weleda Skin Food Original Ultra-Rich Cream ($18.99 at Ulta) and Jillian Dempsey Hydrating Eye Mask ($75 at Goop). Then her advice takes a turn.
Paltrow grabs Unsun Cosmetics Mineral Tinted Face Sunscreen Lotion ($15.99 at Target), a great option for sun protection. But she completely ruins it during application. “I’m not, you know, a sort of head-to-toe slatherer of sunscreen,” she says. “But I like to put some kind of on my nose and the area where the sun really hits.” She continues to dab it on her face like she’s applying highlighter or some other makeup product that doesn’t, you know, help prevent skin cancer.
The sound you just heard is skincare experts everywhere screaming.
One look on my own social media and I saw the experts in my life upset about Paltrow spreading such a dangerous message. Celebrity esthetician Renée Rouleau took to her Instagram stories to call Paltrow’s sunscreen application “basically useless.” Not only is she not using enough, but she’s also applying it in the wrong order when she uses moisturizer after SPF. “Oils and moisturizers can dissolve away sunscreen and make them less effective,” adds Rouleau.
Dr. Adeline Kikam, DO, MS, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist who works with Ole Henriksen, agrees. “Sunscreen is not for spot application of areas we feel like applying. It’s not a highlighter,” she tells STYLECASTER. “It has an intended purpose in our skincare and skin health in cancer prevention amongst other things but for it to be effective it needs to be used appropriately.”
“As dermatologists we treat skin cancers all the time and see that they can manifest on practically any area of the body including the face,” Dr. Kikam continues. “You don’t get to pick where you get melanoma, so spot application is dangerous. Sunscreen should be applied liberally not selectively.”
Dr. Kikam recommends using a broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen of SPF 30 or above. When it comes to the amount you need, be sure you’re using a shot glass to the entire body and 1/2 teaspoon to the face and neck. Reapply in two hours if you’ll be in the sun. We’re sorry to tell you that makeup with SPF isn’t enough because when do you use a teaspoon of foundation? But it’s still a great option along with your sunscreen. I like to use a hydrating one in place of my moisturizer daily.
Don’t forget those little areas like your ears and lips. There are so many great lip balms with SPF 30 you can apply throughout the day. You’ll be reducing your risk of skin cancer as well as premature aging from the sun. And when in doubt, listen to your skincare experts instead of entertainers.