Makeup is “the second most important anti-ageing product”, according to a leading Sydney dermatologist.

Speaking at the Australasian College of Dermatologists’ Annual Scientific Meeting, Dr Phillip Artemi said “functional coloured cosmetics such as foundation, powder, blush, eye shadow, eyeliner, mascara and lipstick were the second most important anti-ageing product after sunscreen”.

“[They] also reduce the incidence of skin cancer, particularly around the eye,” he said.

“We now know that it isn’t just solar radiation such as UVB and UVA that are bad for our skin.

“The sun also emits infra-red radiation and visible light, which can lead to skin damage resulting in dull skin, wrinkles and unsightly pigmentation.

“In addition, pollution has been shown to cause wrinkles and ageing of the skin, with traffic pollution set to become a major skin toxin as the population becomes more urbanised.

“The notion that not wearing make-up makes for healthier skin is no longer a valid one.”

Dr Artemi told his audience that “a combination of sunscreen, foundation, eye shadow and mascara can reduce the incidence of skin cancers around the eye better than the use of sunscreen alone”.

“Whilst sunscreens do a lot, they don’t do enough and should not be relied on solely for skin health.

“Now we can advise that functional coloured cosmetics (due to their unique blend of SPF ingredients, pigments, and reflectors of solar radiation) should be added to this long standing advice to further reduce the risk of skin cancer and premature ageing, as well as protecting against the increasing danger of air pollution.”

He stressed however that different types of makeup offer varying levels of sun protection. For example, he said lip gloss provides “little protection” compared to “darker and longer wearing” lipstick.

Dr Artemi is one of Australia’s leading dermatologists in the areas of skin cancer management, cosmetic dermatology, dermatologic surgery and laser surgery.

Meanwhile the Australasian College of Dermatologists’ recommends the following sun protection measures – slip on clothing; slop on sunscreen; slap on a broad-brimmed hat; seek shade; and slide on sunglasses.