Is moisturiser with SPF as good as sun cream? A scientist weighs in

Many skincare brands offer some sun protection with their face creams; we find out if it's as effective as the real thing.

Hair & Beauty

Even though we should be wearing SPF every day, it's easy to forget to use it outside the summer months - especially with the . With many opting for a moisturiser with SPF, rather than SPF as another step after moisturiser, Chartered Scientist, and founder of SOS Serum Skincare range, Bruce Green explains why this might not be as effective as we thought...

Bruce says "Due to the structure of our skin, we should be integrating broth 'hydrating' and 'moisturising' products into our daily skincare since good moisturisation will benefit all skin types. Whilst double-duty products may make steps shorter and seem more efficient, you cannot always rely on your daily moisturisers or make-up products to give you adequate protection as often the SPF is too low (SPF 15) and to maintain an optimum level of sun protection requires regular application and re-application.

Woman standing on a balcony looking at the sea

If you’re using a serum or cream that is less than SPF 30, you should opt for a higher SPF in order to have effective skin protection. There’s also the matter of whether you’re relying on a makeup product with SPF such as foundation to protect against SPF, as this won’t give adequate sun protection. Wear a separate SPF product and apply this last in your skincare steps.

SPF is important to wear every day, and the type of sun cream you apply can affect its effectiveness. For example a stick form applicator can be less accurate and more damaging to skin by applying inaccurately and too little. Applying too thinly can reduce the level of protection.

Check the label to see if the sun cream you have protects against both UVA and UVB. SPF only accounts for the UVB rays, so it's imperative to choose a sunscreen that says “broad spectrum” on the label, as this indicates the product helps protect the skin from UVA rays as well.

How to apply SPF

"Remember, no matter how good or effective your sun protection purchase is, it will only be as good as its application and re-application. I recommend every 2 hours – lots of swimming and sweating then more frequently. But apply liberally and uniformly for the best protection possible.

As a guide (NHS), adults should aim to apply around 2 teaspoons of sunscreen if you’re covering your head, arms and neck, and two table spoons if you are covering your entire body whilst wearing a swimsuit.

Afro haired woman swimming and smiling at camera

Lips are sensitive and not protecting them from the sun can lead to skin cancers such as Squamous and basal cell carcinoma, both common forms of skin cancer on the lips. Without wearing SPF on your lips, the lack of sweat glands actually on your lips means that they become dryer than the other areas on our face.

The skin on our eyelids is much finer and delicate than other areas of the face, and is actually the thinnest layer of skin compared to anywhere else on our body, making it important to look after. Wearing sunglasses isn’t enough to protect from sun exposure and you should avoid chemical-based SPF’s which can sting. Instead, apply a mineral-based SPF with simple, natural ingredients.

Ears are also an area of thin skin and can be the prevalent place for sun burn, as well as an area where skin cancer can develop. Many people may think that wearing a hat will do the protecting, but along with your face and neck, you should be applying SPF on your ears, focusing behind and on the top of your ears."

❤ Picked for you ❤

Go Up