Why sunscreen should NOT also be a moisturizer. What are the benefits of keeping them separate?
Searching for the perfect type of protection from the sun may be a bit overwhelming. Do you go for the obvious sunscreen, or do you head for the product most like your favorite moisturizer that contains a significant amount of SPF? I’m sure you’d be down to use anything that protects from the many skin diseases and aging of skin directly linked to unprotected skin. However, the products you are looking to serve different purposes. Especially before hitting the beach, make sure to check out Bellagena’s guidelines for the perfect protection from the sun. John Benos of The Manliness Kit explains: “ Sunscreen is defined as a preparation, usually in cream or lotion form, that screens the sun by filtering the sun’s rays as they contact the skin. Sunscreen
is only given this label if the lotion holds an SPF number higher than 15…. Most of the best sunscreens for men on the market contain, at least, two of six of the following active ingredients: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate” (Beno’s par. 8-10).
Often, you’ll find that products, such as facial moisturizers, do not feature an SPF higher than 15 making it clearly different than sunscreen. Dermatologist and Skin Care Professionals alike agree that sunscreen and moisturizer should be kept separate even though both are crucial aspects of your daily skincare routine.
“Sunscreen is not an ingredient [of moisturizers with SPF],” explains Ulli Haslacher, the founder of Pour Moi Skincare to Byrdie
. “It should be treated as a very important layer in your skincare routine and should always be applied last (but before makeup). The purpose of sunscreen is to form a protective film on top of the skin to shield it—SPF is not there to restore moisture balance or deliver ingredients deeper into the skin.”
Nava Greenfield, MD, of Schweiger Dermatology Group in NYC also explained to Byrdie that moisturizers can penetrate the skin in a similar way that sunscreen does, but it will get diluted but the moisturizing agent itself. Therefore, your skin will only have SPF 10-12 of coverage (Gould par. 4-6). So what comes first? Moisturizer or Sunscreen?
I really stick with the advice suggested by Macaela Mackenzie in her article for Allure
: Apply a light moisturizer first, let it soak in completely, and finally, finish with your SPF. A good technique would be to double-dip and layer a moisturizer with sunscreen first. Let it fully absorb. Then, layer another bit of sunscreen on top (Mackenzie par. 6)