Why moisturizers with SPF are not very effective

Two for one

We suppose it’s an American thing since we see it here more than anywhere else. We are so accustomed to saving time and (we think) money that we don’t realize that moisturizers with SPF aren't really an effective sunscreen nor are they an effective moisturizer.

No room for actives

It has to do with the amount of room in a formula. All formulas are based on an emulsion of water, oils and butters with a small amount of room for the “active” ingredients. A hydrating moisturizer will take up at least 90% of the cream leaving only 10% for the active sunscreens. Most skin care with SPF can only give you SPF 15 or 20 because these small amounts are what keep them lighter and less opaque.

A good sunscreen isn't moisturizing

A very good sunscreen that does give you proper protection is not very moisturizing however, because the opposite is happening. The product is mostly sunscreen minerals and very little oil/water/butter emulsion.

FDA rules

Since moisturizers aren’t considered a drug by the FDA and sunscreens are, sunscreens must go under expensive testing. A cosmetic with a sunscreen in it doesn’t have to abide by the same rules making it easier and cheaper to get to market while the customer thinks they are getting a real sunscreen and also saving a step by using them.

Most of the daily moisturizers with SPF contain the chemical sunscreen avobenzone, which is degraded within two hours of use and is no longer effective. Most people don't know the product must be reapplied every 2 hours. 

European way

Traveling through Europe we never saw moisturizers with sunscreen in them. There are studies in Europe showing that people don't apply nearly enough sunscreen to their skin—to their face, in particular—when they use moisturizer with sunscreen as opposed to sunscreen alone. Europeans and Asians have always used separate products. Compare for a moment, the Korean 10-step beauty rituals with our American 1-stop shop routines.

If you love your moisturizer with SPF then keep using it, but know that you should probably put another sunscreen on top of it to get at least a 30 SPF. 

UV Repair

We are not sunscreen makers so we can’t help you there, but if you need some help repairing your skin from sun damage, take a look at our UV Repair Cream. With time it will restore ceramides (that plump waxy coating on baby skin) and repair it with niacinamide.

No worries if you've used less than stellar sun products in the past. Everyone deserves a second chance at great skin!

xo, Jacci & Laura

Jacci Russ

Our founder Jacci, combines her background in Marine Biology and Organic Cosmetic Science for high performance, yet clean skincare using ocean-based ingredients. She has traveled the world in search of strange spa treatments and perfect pizza. Dreamer and Doer. Adventuress, animal activist, recovering cheese addict. Read more about Jacci.