When it comes to protecting yourself from potentially life threatening skin cancers, visible signs of ageing like wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation, you’ll need to enlist the help of a decent sunscreen with a high SPF rating. To understand the answer to the queries around the effectiveness of a combo moisturiser and sunscreen, we need to first understand the difference between the two and their individual purposes.
What’s the difference?
The two are quite different when it comes to the actions of the ingredients. Sunscreen is made to sit on the top of the skin to act as a defense between the sun and your skin, as sunscreen is formulated to block out harmful UV rays, and not meant to penetrate the skin. Moisturisers on the other hand are specifically designed to penetrate the upper layers of skin to provide topical hydration and promote regeneration in the deeper layers. So, in short, SPF is a preventative shield and moisturiser is there to be restorative.
What to look for in an effective combo product
In an ideal world we would all have plenty of time to spend on our skincare routines in the morning and evening. Cleansing, layering our serums, moisturisers and incorporating a good sunscreen and giving them all the appropriate amounts of time they need to do their thing on your skin. Unfortunately for most people, that extra time is hard to come by, especially when you lead a busy life and find yourself time poor in the mornings. It is for this exact reason that combination products exist, so here’s what to keep an eye out for when shopping for a moisturiser and SPF in one:
Broad Spectrum - if the moisturiser with SPF is labelled as having broad spectrum coverage that protects from harmful UVA and UVB rays that cause havoc for your skin, then it is safe.
Higher SPF - as long as the Sun Protection Factor is rated at 30 and above, you will be covered.
Easy to reapply - make sure if you do choose a combo product that you buy one that you’re comfortable with reapplying throughout the day as you will need to do this as per a normal sunscreen. Follow the instructions on the bottle.
While it is always best practise to go for a dermatologically formulated broad spectrum sunscreen on it’s own, applying a moisturiser with SPF is ultimately more beneficial to your skin than not applying any SPF at all. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
Application is key
A good point to remember is that It's about how you apply it - if you’re willing to be vigilant with the moisturiser with SPF, then go for it. But most of the time people don’t even apply it correctly in the first place which can be problematic. When a moisturiser with SPF doesn’t work for your skin, it is most likely because you’re not using enough of it or spreading it evenly across your face. Applying less SPF, especially when it is diluted in moisturiser, means the protection you are getting will be dramatically reduced.