3 Reasons Why the Sunscreen Contouring TikTok Trend Is Dangerous for Your Skin

Girls at the beach trying the sunscreen contouring tiktok trend with sun & earth zinc


TikTok is your kid’s favourite app. And while you might not be an adept, it is important to pay attention to the platform’s latest trend this format advertises: sunscreen contouring. 

The trend promotes the use of sunscreen (which is great) but in a way that promotes uneven sunscreen use (which is not so great). Let us explain. 

Contouring is a method used with makeup to enhance shadows and light on the face. With sunscreen contouring, youngsters don’t apply sunscreen all over their face, rather they specifically protect or expose skin, using tan lines as a semi-permanent contour that is “natural”.

The trend emerged after popular TikToker and Beyonce’s makeup artist advertised the “hack” on the video app. They advise applying a light SPF 15 (or nothing at all) on the face, supplemented by an SPF 50 in specific spots: “underneath the eyes, around the eyes, a thin line down the centre of the nose, maybe touch a bit on your chin, or anywhere you naturally use your highlighter to contour and highlight”.

But here’s why the sunscreen contouring trend is dangerous for the skin: 

1.The face is the most likely to suffer from sun exposure

Sunscreen contouring implies that most of the forehead, cheeks and jawline are heavily exposed to UV rays. 

Unfortunately, while it is as important to protect the skin around the eyes and the centre of the nose, the rest of the face is highly likely to suffer from sun exposure: think premature ageing, photodamage, pigmentation, and heatstroke. Additionally, it’s important to note that the face isn’t exempt from being at risk of new moles and possible melanomas.

2. Mixing two SPF products is never a good idea

There are two reasons why you should never do that. First, mixing two different brands means that there’s a possibility one can dilute the other, resulting in a lower protection. 

Second, there is a big misconception of what SPF actually stands for. SPF is a measure that relates to the length of time you can spend in the sun, rather than the strength of the protection. If your skin naturally “burns” after 20 minutes, a SPF 15 would protect you less - against sunburn and UV damage - than an SPF 50. 

So when it comes to sunscreen contouring, this basically means that not only uneven protection will ultimately lead to sunburn, but mixing two products can ultimately lead to overall poor UV coverage. 

3. There is no “good” tan when it comes to the skin

A tan is, first and foremost, a defence mechanism created by the skin to protect cells from being damaged. The skin starts producing melanin, which darkens through oxidation. Unprotected and overexposure to UV radiation leads to DNA cell damage, which triggers all the skin conditions you’d want to avoid: ageing, photo-damage and cancerous cells. 


In short, contouring your face with sunscreen is never a good idea - no matter what influencers or makeup artists claim it to be. The face’s skin is sensitive, more prone to lasting damage, and not worth the damage. Plus, we know that a “sunkissed glow” can be achieved without resorting to dangerous trends like sunscreen contouring. 

Our best advice? Avoid it, and pass on the infos to your kids. A generous and even sunscreen application on the face is always best - And natural sunscreen is even better!

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