Sunscreen vs Moisturiser With SPF -- Which Should You Use?

Some of you might be using only sunscreen, or only moisturiser with SPF, some of you might be layering both. What is better, and is there a difference?

The answer is that there are several reasons why you should be using separate, specialised products instead of a two-in-one:



People apply moisturisers with SPF very ineffectively

This Liverpool study showed that moisturisers with SPF are applied less thickly than sunscreen, which does not receive them the full benefits of the SPF. They also applied the product on a smaller area of the face, and missed the areas around the eyelids and nose as well the hairline and in front of the ears. These are all common sites for skin cancer.
Most of us are much more slap-dash when we apply moisturiser. It doesn't help that the texture is often thin and watery. Sunscreen is applied more deliberately, with thoughts of sun exposure. And even though a lot of people don't apply enough and rub it in instead of patting it on, they are still more thorough. 

Men were worse then women when it came to application

Moisturisers are not waterproof

Neither are all sunscreen products, but a lot are -- this means they will stay on when you sweat instead of running off. We often underestimate how much our skin perspires during the summer!

Sunscreen products are regulated

Sunscreen is classified and regulated differently in most countries. Skin care and makeup with SPF doesn't have to prove their sun protection claims, often protection against UVA rays isn't listed. Not to say that there aren't problems with sunscreen regulation (USA, NZ), but skin care with SPF flies below the radar. In European and east Asian sunscreen you are likely to see on the packaging whether the protection is full-spectrum, as well as the PA value.

Moisturisers with SPF aren't optimal moisturisers

You can't take a moisturiser and just add SPF on top, the product has to be formulated around the sunscreen ingredients. These are usually fat-soluble and feel heavy on the skin. To provide enough protection there needs to be quite a lot of them in the product. All of this places quite a lot of restrictions on the rest of the ingredients that go into the product. 
Because of this it makes sense to use moisturisers without SPF which are formulated purely around skin care.
Finally, zinc oxide (pretty much the only ingredient that provides protection from the full spectrum of UVA) is drying, so unless your skin is oily you need a good highly moisturising product to balance that out.

I hope this was useful. I use this sunscreen since several years, it has come out in a couple of more shades. 

Photo credit: Photo by Julia Stetsiuk on Unsplash

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