Sun 101 – Why you need Sunscreen AND Moisturizer for Daily Age Prevention
By now you know that daily sun protection is a must for preventing photo-aging (wrinkles, brown spots, sagging skin and other nasties) and daily, consistent use can halt up to 90% of these unwanted and dreaded signs of aging skin, not to mention helping to prevent skin cancers. But how about using a moisturizer with an added sunscreen for daily protection? Seems like a twofer and a great idea right…. NO, WRONG. So, what’s the deal, why not use a combo moisturizer/sunscreen? It’s a good question and one I hear all the time. Allow me to explain the ground rules of moisturizer vs sunscreen and why you need to use both separately, every day.
First of all sunscreen is not an ingredient; its sole purpose is to form a protective film to shield your skin from harmful UV rays and should be the last layer of skin care you apply (but before makeup). It is not designed to restore moisture, fortify the natural moisture barrier or deliver active ingredients into the skin. Sunscreens are regulated as OTC’s (over the counter) drugs and as such are required to contain specific amounts of SPF ingredients to be effective and pass the mandatory SPF testing; this requires precise formulation and adding additional actives could potentially dilute the SPF protection and/or interfere with the efficacy of the final product.
Another important point, if the moisturizer claims an SPF of 15 or 30, you typically don’t apply enough on your face to get the full SPF coverage and the sunscreen can be even more diluted by the moisturizer. This really becomes a problem as the day wears on as sunscreens begin to break down over time.
Ok, so now that you understand sunscreen, let’s cover the moisturizer issue. Everyone needs a moisturizer to hydrate, smooth, and plump but ours do so much more! In addition to the sun’s UV rays, there are many other harmful, icky (yes, I said icky) environmental factors in the air that can damage and age your skin – like pollution, free radicals (unstable molecules all around us), infrared light, electromagnetic radiation and yes, the blue light emitted from constant exposure to computers and cell phones – our moisturizers protect from all of the above! PLUS they help restore the natural moisture barrier, your first line of defense against outside invaders and essential for maximum moisture maintenance. Rest assured our skin defending moisturizers cover all the bases.
So now for the easy part! To insure you’re getting the full benefits and maximum protection from your daily skin care regimen:
1) Apply moisturizer first 2) Use a separate sunscreen over top (SPF 30 or preferably higher) as the final layer. If you choose a tinted sunscreen you can skip foundation makeup; now that’s a twofer that works!
Sunscreen Basics Review - Mentioned in an Earlier Blog but Always Worth Repeating
- Your hands and face are exposed year round and are the first places you’ll show signs of aging. Most of us tend to develop brown spots on the left side of our face first. Why? UV exposure occurs through windows and even light clothing – and we rarely guard against sun exposure through the driver’s side window.
- For daily coverage use a sunscreen with Broad Spectrum UVA/UVB protection with an SPF of 30 or higher. After extensive research, I recommend using sunscreens primarily featuring Zinc Oxide, (yes, the white stuff we used on our noses as kids, but a new sheer version). Unlike many of the drugstore products that contain cheaper chemical sunscreens which absorb UV, Zinc Oxide is a physical sunscreen that blocks UV and in my view is the best option for all around protection, safety, efficacy and silky texture. Our Age Prevention Protection Extreme SPF 45 and our Colour Vérité Real Skin Flawless Facial Tints SPF 45 all feature sheer Zinc Oxide, are non-greasy, blend beautifully and are perfect for daily use.
- DO NOT rely solely on foundation makeup for adequate protection! Most foundation makeup, even with SPF typically does NOT provide broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection and may fade and lose potency throughout the day; so if you must use foundation, combine with sunscreen or use over top.
- Alpha hydroxy acids and retinoic acids typically increase sun sensitivity; if you’re using either, daily sun protection is an absolute must.