Best Moisturizers With SPF

SKIN CARE REVIEWS

07.16.21DISCLAIMER

The sun is responsible for 90% of the visible changes to the skin, so something as simple as making sunscreen a regular part of your routine can significantly impact the development of fine lines, wrinkles, sun spots, and loss of elasticity. Many people neglect to understand that you still need to protect your skin on cloudy days, too. The American Academy of Dermatology reports that, even when there’s cloud cover, up to 80 percent of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays can penetrate the skin.

Additionally, snow can reflect up to 80 percent of ultraviolet (UV) rays, increasing your risk of exposure to sun damage. Also, the higher the altitude, the greater the UV exposure, so sunscreen is crucial for ski vacations, too.

Despite these vital facts, a 2020 report revealed that while nearly two-thirds of Americans use anti-aging products as part of their daily skincare routine, only 11% wear sunscreen every day and, incredibly, almost half (46%) never wear it at all. One of the main reasons why? People claim they don’t have time — or are just a bit lazy.

Perhaps this is why the skincare industry combined two vital steps in one, giving birth to the concept of a moisturizer with an SPF. Let’s take a closer look at how this product rivals a traditional sunscreen, why you must wear it every day, and 20 hand-picked formulas to make it easier to start hydrating and protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful rays.

Related: Best Face Moisturizers

The List

CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30, $10.99

Garnier Green Labs Hyalu-Melon Replumping Serum Cream SPF 30, $22

No7 Lift and Illuminate Triple Action Day Cream with SPF 30, $27

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid SPF 60, $29.99

Cetaphil Pro Oil Absorbing Moisturizer SPF 30, $17.99

Olay Regenerist Whip SPF 25, $29.25

Skin Authority SkinSuit Face, $59

Murad Essential C Day Moisture Broad-Spectrum SPF 30 PA+++, $65

Shiseido White Lucent Day Emulsion Broad Spectrum SPF 23, $70

Pixi Sun Mist SPF 30, $18

Dr. Jart Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment, $19

Drunk Elephant Umbra Tinte Physical Daily Defense Sunscreen SPF 30, $36

Differin Oil Absorbing Moisturizer SPF 30, $9.74

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel With Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50, $16

Clarins Multi-Active Day Cream SPF 20, $55

Fenty Skin Hydra Vizor Invisible Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30, $25

Dermalogica Prisma Protect SPF 30, $65

Lancôme Renergie Lift Multi-Action Ultra Firming and Dark Spot Correcting Moisturizer

Elta MD UV Elements Tinted Broad-Spectrum SPF 44, $36.50

Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Premiere Intense Moisture and Renewal Activation Cream Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30

SPF Through History: A Major Evolution

Perhaps one of the reasons why it’s hard for people to jump on the SPF bandwagon is that its actual protection factor (and importance) wasn’t truly discovered until recently — let’s take a closer look.

  • Medicinal experiments by the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans aside, Australian chemist H. A. Milton Blake created the earliest form of sunscreen in the 30s. His experimental sunburn prevention cream, which later became Hamilton Sun and Skin, is still sold today. Several others followed suit during the 30s and 40s.
  • Does the name Coppertone ring a bell? The first significant summer skincare company debuted in the 1950s with a suntan lotion marketed as a way to achieve a “faster, deeper tan” while still protecting your skin from the sun. The company claimed the product only let in UV rays to promote tanning, which was later discovered as inaccurate — because discoloration and freckling still equate to damaged skin.
  • The term SPF (sun protection factor) was first introduced in the 60s. Unfortunately, only at a meager percentage of 2-4 SPF. Not to mention, the formulas were often oily, thick, and did not absorb into the skin quickly.
  • The 70s and 80s were two decades filled with false claims that tanning oils would “take care” of your skin while sunbathing (often accompanied with aluminum foil to enhance intensity.) In reality, they promote wrinkles, sunspots, and, unfortunately, cases of skin cancer.
  • Finally, during the 1990s, several innovations came to fruition. Sunscreens now contained UVA blockers. The application process became more manageable, thanks to spray and gel sunscreens. Sun protection started to be featured in other skincare products (like a moisturizer.) The SPF levels continued to increase to safer, credible levels of protection.
  • Today, the FDA regulates sunscreen labels to make them more consumer-friendly, so you know exactly what you’re buying and how much it will protect you.

Why Should You Wear Sunscreen Every Day?

The sun may feel good on your skin and boost your mood, but these are the main reasons why it’s crucial to wear sunscreen — or a sunscreen moisturizer — daily.

 

Protection From UV Rays

The depletion of the ozone layer has made our skin even more vulnerable to the harmful effects of UV rays. An SPF blocks these rays, significantly reducing the probability of sun damage.

 

Lowers Your Risk of Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than 96,400 people will be diagnosed with melanoma every year, the most dangerous type of skin cancer, and about 7,200 will die from it. By simply applying sunscreen each day, you cut your risk of contracting skin cancer in half.

 

Maintains an Even Skin Tone

Sun exposure causes your skin to increase its production of melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color. Sunscreen helps prevent discoloration and dark spots caused by sun damage.

 

Prevents Premature Aging

Photoaged skin looks thick, leathery, discolored, wrinkled, and saggy. Studies show that those 55 and under who apply sunscreen regularly have a 24 percent less chance of developing signs of aging than those who don’t.

Is A Moisturizer With SPF as Good as a Sunscreen?

While experts recommend using both a moisturizer and a separate sunscreen, the reasoning comes from more than just the products’ ability to penetrate your skin. “A moisturizer should generally be applied before your SPF product to ensure that you don’t disrupt the protection it creates on your skin. If you apply your moisturizer over an SPF, it can reduce the protection from the sun,” says Elle MacLeman, biochemist, skincare specialist, and head technical writer for The Derm Review.

“Additionally, In terms of moisturizers that contain SPF, they generally don’t contain enough SPF — not in terms of strength (i.e., SPF 15 or 30) but in terms of concentration. There isn’t enough sunscreen in the moisturizer to adequately protect your skin,” MacLeman goes on to explain. “SPF moisturizers can be great for indoor use to protect your skin from UVA rays that pass through glass. However, if you are in direct or strong indirect sunlight, you are always best to apply the best sunscreens for the face after your moisturizer. A good general rule is to use a teaspoon of sunscreen for your face. Many people don’t apply enough to protect the skin.”

Still, while it’s not professionally recommended, applying a moisturizer with SPF is better than applying no SPF at all. It can make it easier for those to sneak in sun protection who tend to be lax with their skincare routine.

The Difference Between Different Levels of SPF

According to MacLeman, it’s worth talking about the difference between the different strengths of SPF. “SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB rays, SPF 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays, and SPF 50 blocks 98% of UVB rays,” she explains. “Since there isn’t a lot of difference between the strengths in terms of protection, reapplication is the most important part of using an SPF product.”

MacLeman’s takeaway tip: “You should reapply every two hours. There are plenty of products that you can use over the top of your makeup as not to disturb, not disturb, or move your foundation, powders, or blush. Some of these products include powder sunscreen, sunscreen mists, and using a beauty blender to reapply your liquid sunscreen.”

How to Choose a Moisturizer With An SPF

When choosing a two-in-one product such as a moisturizer with an SPF, there are a few tips to consider.

Related: Best Moisturizers for Dry Skin

 

Read Labels Thoroughly

Make sure it’s a moisturizer with an SPF that’s designated as a face (and neck) sunscreen, not the body. Not only may it not be potent enough to protect your skin entirely, but it could also cause clogged pores and breakouts.

 

Identify Your Skin Type

Chances are, you probably already know what your skin type is. It’s vital that you do because finding the right moisturizer with SPF can be a bit tricky. Look for non-comedogenic, fragrance- and oil-free on the label — especially if you’re prone to breakouts and clogged pores.

 

Don’t Forget the Hydration Element

Regardless of skin type, your moisturizer with SPF should be hydrating. Look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid, ceramides, glycerin, shea butter, avocado oil, and aloe vera.

Best Face Moisturizers With SPF

What is the best face moisturizer with SPF? We’ve got 20 of them.

 

Best Drugstore Moisturizer With SPF

CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30, $10.99
Recommended by the National Skin Cancer Foundation, this non-comedogenic face moisturizer with SPF is also oil- and fragrance-free, so it’s also suitable for sensitive skin types, as well as those with oily and acne-prone skin. Hyaluronic acid and ceramides work together to restore and moisturize the skin, niacinamide (a form of vitamin B3) soothes, and zinc oxide provides broad-spectrum protection. It’s considered the best face moisturizer with SPF recommended by dermatologists.

Garnier Green Labs Hyalu-Melon Replumping Serum Cream SPF 30, $22
This unique formula is a face serum, moisturizer, and sunscreen in one. It contains skin-plumping hyaluronic acid and watermelon, which work together synergistically to fade fine lines and improve elasticity. Despite its ultra-hydrating properties, it’s lightweight and absorbs quickly into the skin.

No7 Lift and Illuminate Triple Action Day Cream with SPF 30, $27
This day cream features No7’s proprietary Double Defence technology and age-defying actives to reduce three key signs of aging: wrinkles, tone, and texture — all of which are improved in two weeks, more so after time. Skin remains moisturized for up to 24-hours after application.

 

Best SPF Moisturizer for Oily Skin

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid SPF 60, $29.99
This light, matte formula quickly absorbs into the skin, making it an ideal makeup base and an effective moisturizer and sun protectant. It’s also chock-full of free radical-fighting antioxidants to help battle the signs of skin aging, including fine lines and discoloration. Not to mention, it’s a face moisturizer with SPF 50, which is harder to come by.

Cetaphil Pro Oil Absorbing Moisturizer SPF 30, $17.99
Formulated specifically for oily skin types, this mattifying moisturizer with SPF won’t trigger breakouts or irritate existing acne. Glycerin pulls and locks in moisture, dimethicone prevents water loss without clogging pores, and an SPF 30 provides broad-spectrum sun protection.

Olay Regenerist Whip SPF 25, $29.25
What is the best moisturizer for oily skin? Consider this one of the best moisturizers with SPF for even the oiliest of skin types. Its whipped texture absorbs oil in seconds, leaving behind a velvety smooth finish that doubles as a makeup base. It also has anti-aging benefits. Over time, elasticity is improved, wrinkles are softened, and the skin has a firmer, more lifted appearance.

 

Best Anti-Aging Moisturizer With SPF

Skin Authority SkinSuit Face, $59
There are moisturizers with SPF, and then there’s this super formula from Skin Authority. For starters, it has a broad spectrum SPF of 50, which can be hard to come by. But it’s also a high-performing moisturizer that protects against blue light, infrared radiation, activity-induced heat, and pollution. We can’t forget to add that the formula contains retinol (an anti-aging powerhouse) and vitamins C and E — up to 200%. Even though this moisturizer seems to do pretty much everything, it’s void of parabens and fragrance.

Murad Essential C Day Moisture Broad-Spectrum SPF 30 PA+++, $65
Vitamin C helps brighten minor cases of melasma, but the added sun protection keeps dark patches from getting out of hand. Of course, C is also a powerful antioxidant that helps protect against environmental stressors. Lastly, it provides the perfect amount of moisture that all skin types can benefit from.

Shiseido White Lucent Day Emulsion Broad Spectrum SPF 23, $70
Formulated with Shiseido’s proprietary ReNeura Technology+, this daytime SPF improves the appearance of dark spots and the signs of aging while promoting a vibrant, bright complexion. Additionally, it protects the skin from pollen and air pollutants while providing moisture to lessen the fine lines and dryness.

 

Best Face Moisturizer With SPF For Sensitive Skin

Pixi Sun Mist SPF 30, $18
For an easy midday sunscreen refresh, try this sun mist from Pixi. Not only does it provide your skin with a much-needed SPF 30 boost, but it also contains bamboo, aloe leaf, and chamomile extract that calms, conditions, and soothes your skin. The perfect afternoon moisture and sunscreen mist.

Dr. Jart Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment, $19
The Dr. Jart Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment is a green-to-beige color-correcting treatment that corrects redness and helps protect skin from environmental aggressors. It provides SPF 30 protection from UV light, and it forms a dust barrier to protect the skin from the environment while enhancing the skin’s viability.

Drunk Elephant Umbra Tinte Physical Daily Defense Sunscreen SPF 30, $36
This natural sunscreen — perfect for sensitive skin types — contains an impressive 20% zinc oxide, but you’d never know it because it blends so well into the skin. Additionally, algae and sunflower sprout extract provide antioxidant protection.

Related: Best Moisturizers For Oily Skin

 

Best Moisturizer With SPF For Acne-Prone Skin

Differin Oil Absorbing Moisturizer SPF 30, $9.74
SPF and moisturizers coupled with acne can create complications, but not this formula. It’s ideal for acne-prone skin because it’s free of irritating fragrances and pore-clogging oils. It absorbs on contact, leaving behind a matte finish.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel With Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50, $16
This gel-cream moisturizer is formulated with hyaluronic acid to keep the skin soft, supple, and smooth all day long without clogging the pores or aggravating acne-prone skin. Since many ingredients that treat breakouts make the skin more sun-sensitive, it contains an impressive SPF of 50 for ultimate protection.

Best Moisturizers With SPF For Combination Skin

Clarins Multi-Active Day Cream SPF 20, $55
Combination skin can be challenging to tackle, but this SPF moisturizer is formulated to suit all skin types — even finicky ones. It also helps prevent and visibly correct the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, thanks to myrothamnus extract. Note it’s not the best option for those with ultra-sensitive skin due to the lower SPF level.

Fenty Skin Hydra Vizor Invisible Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30, $25
This light-as-air hydration provides invisible sun protection while brightening the skin. Void of oxybenzone or octinoxate, this combination skin-friendly SPF reduces the look of pores, discoloration, fine lines, wrinkles, and elasticity over time.

Dermalogica Prisma Protect SPF 30, $65
If you love the sun but still want to protect your skin, this high-tech moisturizer is your go-to. This light-activated SPF moisturizer helps maintain an even skin tone and provides all-day hydration for visibly smooth skin.

 

Best Moisturizer With SPF For Mature Skin

Lancôme Renergie Lift Multi-Action Ultra Firming and Dark Spot Correcting Moisturizer SPF 30, $109
This day cream is an excellent choice for those battling with mature skin associated with dark patches. Hydroquinone-free, glycolic acid is the key ingredient that improves skin texture and reduces wrinkles, pigmentation, lifts, and firms. The addition of an SPF 30 protects the skin from the sun’s damaging rays.

Elta MD UV Elements Tinted Broad-Spectrum SPF 44, $36.50
Suitable for all skin types (even sensitive), this two-in-one formula contains zinc oxide and titanium dioxide (a broad spectrum of 44) to provide superior sun protection and hyaluronic acid to deeply hydrate and soften the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. To top it all off, It has a flattering natural tint. Best tinted moisturizer with SPF for Mature skin (KW)

Relate:Best Tinted Moisturizer

Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Premiere Intense Moisture and Renewal Activation Cream Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30
If you’re looking for a nourishing moisturizer that doesn’t skimp on protection and anti-aging benefits, this is it. It deeply moisturizes the skin while it works to revitalize the appearance and texture. When applied, the cream strengthens the skin’s natural barriers and boosts collagen production. It’s formulated with the brand’s powerful retinol complex, calcium, and amino acids to strengthen the skin. It’s one of the best moisturizers with SPF for dry skin.

Best Moisturizers With SPF: The Bottom Line

The sun is responsible for 90% of the visible changes to the skin, so something as simple as making sunscreen a regular part of your routine can significantly impact the development of fine lines, wrinkles, sun spots, and loss of elasticity.

Despite this vital fact, a 2020 report revealed that while nearly two-thirds of Americans use anti-aging products as part of their daily skincare routine, only 11% wear sunscreen every day and, incredibly, almost half (46%) never wear it at all. One of the main reasons why? People claim they don’t have time — or are just a bit lazy.

Perhaps this is why the skincare industry combined two vital steps in one, giving birth to the concept of a moisturizer with an SPF.

References:
Photoaging: What You Need to Know About the Other Kind of Aging,”Skin Cancer Foundation.
Sunscreen FAQs,”American Department of Dermatology Association.”
Most Americans Don’t Use Sunscreen Daily,”Center for Dermatology and Laser Skin Surgery.”
The Sun and Your Skin: What You Need to Know,” Skin Cancer Foundation.
Skin Cancer,”Prevent Cancer.
Daily Sunscreen May Prevent Skin Aging,”Reuters.

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