Should you use a moisturiser with built in SPF?

I have heard conflicting information from many salons. The last facial specialist recommended using a separate moisturiser and then using a separate SPF on top. What is correct?
Asked by lomi-lomi

12 answers

Top answer
The main concern is getting the correct concentration of UVA / UVB sunscreen on your skin.
Many combined products don't have enough sunscreen to be effective.
To achieve the advertised level of SPF you need to use two milligrams of sunscreen per square centimeter of skin - which is quite a generous amount of product.
Most commercially available High St or department store combined moisturisers with spf (sun protection factor) just don't contain enough sunscreen to be effective without you using so much product that you'd look like you'd had a custard pie in your face!
So if you do want to use a combined product you need a clinical or cosmeceutical grade product. You are looking for Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide which are physical sunscreens. They are minerals which act like reflectors on the skin rather than chemicals which can penetrate the skin and can cause irritation.
Ranges by Medik8, Heliocare Cream, Circadia by Dr Pugliese and Image - for example, do offer excellent products with the correct concentration of physical suncreen for an elegant aesthetic.
World leaders in skin health protection - Skinceuticals - don't offer a combined product as they promote the layering system of penetrating serums, protecting hydrators and elegant physical suncreens on top.
It's down to personal choice BUT do choose a clinical or cosmeceutical grade product range with evidence based documentation to support them.
My personal favourites are:
* Image Daily Defense range SPF 30 & 35 - combined
* Medik8 Hydr8 SPF 25 - combined
* Circadia Light Day Cream SPF 30 - combined
* Heliocare Cream SPF 50 & 90 - combined
Sunscreen only:
* Skinceuticals Sheer Mineral Defense SPF 50 - excellent, soothing, sheer, silky, sits beautifully over any moisturiser and makes an excellent base for make up
If you choose a combined Sunscreen and moisturiser you really should use a different cream at night -
Lastly - don't think of sunscreen just as a defense from the hot sun............they should be called LIGHTSCREEN or UV Screen because all light is potentially damaging and ageing to the skin....................even our dull days here in Manchester.
UVA light - A for Ageing......passes through glass too.
Britain has a VERY high incidence of skin cancer which could be reduced just by regular use of sunscreen (and antioxidant serums) !
Diane Nivern
Diane Nivern Clinic of Holistic & Medical Skincare
Tel; 0161 796 1169
Twitter @Diane Nivern
Facebook Diane Nivern Clinic Ltd
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Ideally your moisturiser and SPF should be separate products.
The reason being that when the two products are combined you don't achieve the proper levels of moisturisation, or proper coverage of SPF. It is also very important to wear a physical SPF as opposed to a chemical SPF.
The difference being; physical has natural ingredients in it (zinc, titanium) that provide immediate sun protection from the moment it is applied (Dermaquest Zinclear SPF30 £48, Epionce SPF50 £40). Chemical is unfortunately what most SPFs on the market are, and they take up to 30mins for the cream to "sink in" and "activate".
Depending on your skin type it will depend on what kind of skin care regime is best for your skin.
For clients with a drier skin they find that using both products separately works perfectly for them. But we also have many clients who have oily skin that prefer not to put layer upon layer of serums and creams on their face, and they feel that using both a moisturiser and an SPF is too rich and heavy for their skin.
In this case we suggest an oil free moisturiser (such as Agera Oil Free Moisturiser £27) used in combination with either a mineral makeup containing SPF (Dermaquest Breathable Coverage Foundation SPF30 £50) or Dermaquest also do a transluscent SPF30 powder called On The Go Finishing Powder which is an amazing product. It just brushes on over your makeup, or onto bare skin, and provides an immediate SPF protection (£52). It's just as effective and a perfect alternative to a SPF cream.
SPF is titanium dioxide. Titanium dioxide (TO) is used in a range of products from food to cosmetic and sunblock. Is titanium dioxide safe to use? That is entirely depends on the size of the titanium dioxide particle. If the moisturizer uses coarse (less than 10 microns) or fine (less than 2.5 microns) particle size of TO, it is perfectly fine to use them. If the moisturizer uses ultrafine (less than 0.1 microns or 100 nanometres) particle.
70 nanometres can enter alveolar surface of lung
50 nanometres can enter cells
30 nanometres can enter central nervous systems.
Danger to cell is dependent on particle size of TO. The small the particle size, the more toxic. When they penetrate the cells, leading to photocatalysis within cells, causing DNA damage after exposure to sunlight. The fear of that this could lead to skin cancer.
If your moisturizers function is treatment cream, it should not contain SPF. If your moisturizer's function is protection, which would contain SPF. Better yet, use moisturizer without SPF and apply SPF foundation.
For your night time skincare routine, no product should include SPF.
I hope this would help.
I would agree with the majority of posts; it is necessary to use a separate SPF, rather than to use a moisturiser which contains an SPF. For reasons that have been explained in some of the other posts, the levels of protection that you would gain from a combined product are not as efficient as 'layering' your products - day cream, eye gel/cream and finally your SPF.
If you can find a Broad Spectrum SPF, this would be ideal, as it protects from all light-based damage, including indoor lighting, computer screens, and should be used every day, even during the winter.
We use a product from Environ skincare; RAD. This is not only a broad spectrum sunscreen, but also contains an anti-oxidant combination. Anti-oxidants are useful in defending the skin from free radicals - for instance, when sitting in front of your computer screen, you will be receiving wavelengths of light which cause free radical activity (damage) to your skin.
Anti-oxidants - Vitamins A, C, & E, help to defend against free radicals by reducing their damaging effects. They are a powerful combination, and should be included as part of a healthy skin care routine.
You can find Vitamins A C & E in all Environ skincare products.
which ever way of applying these products is fine as long as you are using an SPF. So if your moisturiser has SPF in it you wont need a seperate one.
Hi, There is no right or wrong answer to that, its all down to personal preference. Also it depends on which treatment your having done. Due to the fact that some moisturisers do not have a higher enough factor in them to protect after having the treatment. So for day to day use its fine, but when it comes to treatments and the aftercare always ask your therapist.
Regards Colorseum
TEL: 077 303 96690 EMAIL:
At times, treatment creams do not have builtin SPF. This is fine as they are
built for lifting, wrinkles, hydration.
You can use a product with SPF on top of the treatment cream Only during the day.
Not Needed at night, there is no sun.
Some Products have both in them. You need to check if they will also provide
the correct treatment for your age, skin, needs.
Your SPF and moisturiser should always be separate!
Moisturiser should give nourishment to the lower layers of the skin and SPF should sit on top of your skin to protect it. If you combine to two in one product the SPF will then be in the lower layers of the skin and not protecting the upper layers so therefore being more susceptible to burning.
If you take a look at higher end products ranges (ie Elemis) they never combine moisturiser and SPF for this very reason.
I hope that makes sense.
Rhiannon x
Always you must wear SFP to proctect your skin from ultra violet and sun, and any moisturiser
or a cleanse facial, chemicall peels. Sun block is very important for the skin.
H Iomi - its very important to use sunscreen on a daily basis - it makes more sense to use a smart product such as SkinScription Sunscript SPF17 which will provide sun protection along with nourishing moisture in one easy step. This would save you using 2 products and overloading the skin - also allowing it to breathe! For more see our product page and let your skin radiate brighter than the sun without the damage!
Always use a seperate SPF otherwise during your evening routine you are putting unnecessary chemicals on your face
You should always wear a moisturiser that contains SPF as skin damage and aging is caused by Ultra Violet which is present even on a cloudy day. In strong sunlight you will need higher protection such as a sun screen product but always used one that is specifically for the face otherwise it may clog your pores.
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