This article originally appeared in the March 06th, 2020 edition of InStyle.
Stop the excuses. This is the easiest way to keep your skin safe
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team.
You might think you’re doubling up on hydration and sun protection if you slip a moisturizer with SPF into your skincare routine. But the reality is that if your favorite lightweight cream contains anything lower than the dermatologist-recommend SPF 30, your skin might be moisturized, but it’s not getting the protection it needs from UV/UVA rays.
“Most people when applying creams with SPF don’t apply the recommended amount,” says Dr. Marie Hayag, a New York-based board-certified dermatologist and sunscreen expert. “Use at least a product with SPF 30, but SPF only measures how well a sunscreen blocks UVB rays (burning rays) which causes sunburn. UVA (aging rays), which penetrate deeper in the skin, causes reactive oxidative species (ROS) formation and collagen destruction, which accelerates photoaging.” Dr. Hayag also recommends a formula that contains solid UV/UVA filters.
On top of the SPF level, it’s important to also consider the active sunscreen ingredients in the product you use. Dr. Hayag says there are only a few UVA filters that cover the whole UVA spectrum approved for use in the US. The physical filters include titanium dioxide and zinc oxide (these are limited in formulation because they tend to be chalky), while the chemical filters are avobenzone and ecamsule (Mexoryl SX).
As for the concern over the safety of chemical sunscreen ingredients oxybenzone and octinoxate, studies have shown they do enter the bloodstream, but further research needs to be conducted to determine if they contribute to hormonal abnormalities, and this isn’t reason enough to stop wearing it. However, Hawaii did pass a law in 2018 set to take effect in 2021 banning personal care products containing these two ingredients because they cause damage to the coral reefs.
When all is said and done, a moisturizer containing SPF can adequately protect your skin when they are used correctly. “I do recommend another SPF (preferably a physical block sunscreen) on top if you will be outdoors for more than two hours or if you are in intense sun such as sunny vacations, high altitude skiing/hiking, or outdoor sports,” says Dr. Hayag.
Here, find nine moisturizers with sunscreen that both moisturize and shield your skin from the sun, including Dr. Hayag’s favorite picks.
- La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-In Sunscreen Milk Body & Face Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 60
- Supergoop! Zincscreen 100% Mineral Broad Spectrum SPF 40 Sunscreen
- MDSolarSciences Mineral Tinted Creme
- EltaMD UV Daily Facial Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 40
- Neova DNA Damage Control Everyday Facial Fluid
- Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen SPF 100+
- CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion With Broad Spectrum SPF 30
- Kiehl’s Super Multi-Corrective Ceam SPF 30
- Urban Skin Rx Complexion Protection Moisturizer SPF 30
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-In Sunscreen Milk Body & Face Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 60
Dr. Hayag loves this popular face and body lotion because “it contains ecamsule (Mexoryl SX), which is very photostable and absorbs light better than a lot of the other chemical sunscreen ingredients.” She suggests using it as a daily moisturizer, too because “it does contain glycerin and also has antioxidants.”
Supergoop! Zincscreen 100% Mineral Broad Spectrum SPF 40 Sunscreen
If have oily, acne-prone skin, Dr. Hayag says this Supergoop! physical sunscreen is a great option. The lightweight lotion contains non-nano zinc oxide, but its pink tint makes it super-blendable and not chalky. A mix of coconut and blueberry extracts hydrate skin and offer antioxidant protection.
MD Solar Sciences Mineral Tinted Creme SPF 30
Even though this physical sunscreen contains 17% zinc oxide, it goes on smooth and doesn’t leave a white cast. “It also has a number of antioxidants,” says Dr. Hayag.
Elta MD UV Daily Broad-Spectrum SPF 40
Neova DNA Damage Control Everyday Facial Fluid SPF 44
If you’re looking for a double-duty moisturizer, this Neova one is a safe bet. “It contains complete photoprotection and DNA repair enzymes so not only does it protect from UVA/UVB, but also repairs any skin insults while hydrating your skin,” the MD says.
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 100+
A solid drugstore option, Neutrogena’s sunscreen absorbs quickly and goes on clear, so it’s perfect for layering under makeup.
CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion With Broad Spectrum SPF 30
On top of SPF 30 coverage, CeraVe’s lotion is formulated with three different ceramides as well as lipids that strengthen and protect the skin barrier so moisture doesn’t get out. Consider it a good choice for dry skin.
Kiehl’s Super Multi-Corrective Cream SPF 30
Thanks to jasmonic acid, hyaluronic acid, and beech tree extract, this multi-purpose cream also treats signs of aging, including fine lines, wrinkles, and loss of firmness.
Urban Skin RX Complexion Protection Moisturizer SPF 30
For anyone whose number one skin concern is hyperpigmentation, this moisturizer contains squalene, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin E to correct dark marks and improve skin tone.