Many associate sunscreen with summertime activities, like going to the beach or picnicking in the park. It makes sense: With warm weather comes more time spent outside. In reality, though, sunscreen is necessary all year long, not just when you’re basking in the hot summer sun. It helps protect your skin from ultraviolet rays and reduces the risk of developing sun-induced skin damage. Still, it can be easy to forget to apply sunscreen every morning, especially if you don’t plan to be outside. That’s where face moisturizer with SPF comes in.
Though sunscreen-spiked moisturizer isn’t a replacement for heavy-duty sunscreen, it can help protect your skin while you’re going about your daily activities, like driving to the grocery store or running out for lunch. Ahead, we’ll explain what SPF is, and the difference between sunscreen and SPF moisturizer. We’ll also introduce you to five of our best moisturizers with SPF to add to your daily skincare routine. Keep reading to find the best SPF moisturizer for your skin type.
What Is SPF?
Strap in, because SPF is way more complicated than most people think. The sun emits energy in the form of ultraviolet radiation (also known as “UV radiation”). When we go outside without sufficient sun protection, our skin absorbs this radiation, which in the short-term leads to sunburns and tans, and in the long-term causes photodamage, like wrinkles and sun spots. A product’s SPF, or sun protection factor, is a measurement of how well it protects your skin from this radiation.
Here’s where it gets a little bit more complicated. Some people believe that SPF indicates how long a given product, like sunscreen, can protect your skin from UV rays. In reality, it’s more complicated than that: SPF actually refers to the amount of solar radiation a product can absorb. And while time spent in the sun does influence how much solar radiation you’re exposed to, that’s not all that matters. Other factors, including the time of day, where you are in the world, and the weather, also affect how much solar radiation reaches your skin (direct sunlight at midday, for example, produces more solar radiation than direct sunlight at 6 pm).
Like we said, it’s complicated. Generally speaking, though, you can use a product’s SPF to roughly determine how well-protected you are from the sun. Experts typically recommend using an SPF of at least 15 daily for basic sun safety. But if you plan to spend a lot of time in the sun, a higher SPF product—which provides more UV protection—may be needed.
What’s The Difference Between Sunscreen and Moisturizer With SPF?
The primary difference between sunscreen and SPF moisturizer is the most obvious: The former is designed solely to protect your skin from UV radiation, while the latter is a face moisturizer that offers a small degree of sun protection. SPF moisturizers can be useful for daily protection when you don’t anticipate spending more than a few minutes in the sun at a time.
No matter how high the SPF, however, SPF moisturizers are not a substitute for sunscreen. If you’re going to be spending a chunk of time outside, layer a facial sunscreen, like Super Fluid Daily UV Defense SPF 50+, over your moisturizer. The lightweight, non-comedogenic formula absorbs quickly with a matte finish and protects against UVA and UVB rays. It’s also infused with skin-friendly antioxidants to help protect against other damaging environmental stressors, like pollution.
If you have problem skin or prefer mineral sunscreen, try Super Fluid Daily UV Mineral Defense, which offers the same long-lasting protection but contains mineral sunblock instead of chemical sunscreens. The gentle formula is non-comedogenic and suitable for even the most sensitive skin.
Apply a generous amount to your face and neck as the final step in your face care routine whenever you plan to spend time outside. And be sure to reapply it every two hours for lasting protection.
Our Best Moisturizers With SPF To Try This Summer
Now that you’re caught up on what SPF is—and how sunscreen and SPF moisturizer differ—we can get to the good stuff. Ahead, discover our best moisturizers with SPF to add to your daily skincare routine for basic sun protection.
Best SPF Moisturizer For All Skin Types: Ultra Facial Cream SPF 30
Keep your skin hydrated and healthy-looking, no matter your skin type, with Ultra Facial Cream SPF 30. This non-greasy moisturizer with glacial glycoprotein and fountain plant extract nourishes the skin with lightweight, 24-hour hydration. It absorbs quickly, leaving the skin feeling smooth and balanced, and provides broad-spectrum SPF 30 protection against the sun’s damaging rays.
Best SPF Moisturizer For Mature Skin: Powerful Wrinkle-Reducing Cream SPF 30
If existing lines and wrinkles are your primary skin concern, swap out your usual moisturizer for Powerful Wrinkle-Reducing Cream SPF 30. This effective face cream for mature skin contains copper PCA and calcium PCA. It helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and is clinically-demonstrated to boost skin’s elasticity by 20% after just one month of use.* It’s suitable for all skin types and can be used daily to help reveal smoother, younger-looking skin.
*Skin elasticity significantly improved by 20% for SPF 30 cream after four weeks. Tested on 50 women aged 35 to 55.
For Men’s Skin: Facial Fuel Energizing Men’s Moisturizer With SPF 20
Guys, you can benefit from using an SPF moisturizer in your daily skincare routine, too. Try Facial Fuel Energizing Men’s Moisturizer With SPF 20, which is suitable for all men’s skin types. The energizing formula with caffeine and vitamin C helps hydrate and visibly revive dull, tired-looking skin. Additionally, the broad-spectrum SPF 20 formula contains protective antioxidants and helps men’s skin resist damage incurred by environmental stressors, like pollution. We recommend using this invigorating formula as the last step in your men’s skincare routine to help refresh your skin and promote a more energized, healthy appearance.
For Your Lips: Butterstick SPF 30
Even those who wear sunscreen religiously often forget to apply SPF to their lips. Unfortunately, since the skin on your lips is so thin, it’s also one of the areas most vulnerable to sun damage. Keep your lips hydrated and protected with an SPF-infused lip balm, like Butterstick Lip Treatment SPF 30. This nourishing lip treatment with coconut oil melts on to deliver 12 hours of lightweight hydration with broad-spectrum UV protection. It’s available in a classic untinted variety as well as five lightly-tinted shades for a subtle pop of color.
Can You Use Moisturizer With SPF On Your Body?
In addition to practicing sun safety habits, like avoiding direct sunlight at midday and staying in the shade whenever possible, it’s essential to ensure that your entire body is protected when you’re outside—not just your face. For the skin below your neck, we recommend Activated Sun Protector Water-Light Lotion For Face & Body. This SPF 30 sunscreen helps defend against damaging UV rays and free radicals without a heavy or greasy finish common in many body sunscreens. It’s water-resistant for up to 80 minutes and suitable for all skin types, even sensitive skin.
After getting out of the shower, prep your skin with your favorite hydrating body lotion (see a few of our favorite picks here). Once your moisturizer fully absorbs, layer your body sunscreen over it—you want to use around two ounces (or roughly a shot glass-sized amount) for your entire body. Wait at least 15 minutes before going outside, and be sure to reapply your SPF every two hours, or after sweating or swimming, for lasting protection.