The best SPF moisturisers for super simple, everyday protection

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  • Because SPF is a must, seven days a week, 365 days per year

    So you’re looking for one of the best SPF moisturisers. Well, you’ve definitely come to the right place.

    The sun is one of the biggest contributing factors to skin ageing. Why? Because the sun damages your skin and causes inflammation (we’re not just talking about sunburn). As Paula Begoun, founder of Paula’s Choice explains, ‘Inflammation destroys the structure of our skin.’

    So, if we want healthy, and youthful-looking skin, then we really must protect it from the sun every-single-day. (Yes, even in Winter; even while working from home.)

    We know that incorporating a decent daily sun protection regimen can be tricky, but by adding an essential SPF to one of the best moisturisers, you’ll be protecting your skin everyday, without having to worry too much about it.

    SPF moisturisers vs facial sunscreen

    First things first though, we need to address a common confusion: the difference between an SPF moisturiser and a facial sunscreen.

    In short, an SPF moisturiser is great as a basic level of defence against sun-related damage. Protecting against the sun isn’t its only job, it’s also doing the job of a moisturiser too. Think soothing dryness, fighting discolouration in the same vein as a brilliant hyperpigmentation treatment, and diffusing the appearance of wrinkles.

    A facial sunscreen, on the other hand, has only one job: protect the skin on your face from the sun’s rays.

    SPF moisturisers are ideal in the autumn and winter months when the sun isn’t as strong. You should wear an SPF every day, even if it’s cloudy and overcast, as UVA rays can still permeate cloudy skies and windows. So good luck coming up with excuses as to why you’re skipping it.

    Come summer, and holidays of course, an SPF moisturiser isn’t enough protection and you will need to double up. This is when you need to get your hands on the best facial sunscreens.

    You’ll need to wear a separate sun cream on top of your SPF moisturiser if you are sunbathing or outside for prolonged periods of time. Consider it the last step in your skincare routine.

    ‘Many people believe that having an SPF in their moisturiser will suffice,’ says consultant dermatologist Dr Justine Kluk. ‘But according to the British Association of Dermatologists, moisturiser with an SPF will only help protect you against small amounts of UV exposure – for example, when you walk to the car.’

    But what it won’t do, is provide the same degree of sun protection as the best facial sunscreens. Especially for longer, more deliberate UV exposure.

    It’s true, SPF in a moisturiser is tested the same way as SPF in sunscreen. So technically speaking, an SPF30 moisturiser should provide an SPF of 30.

    ‘But to achieve the SPF on the label, you would have to apply at least half a teaspoon to the face, which people rarely do,’ says Kluk. ‘What’s more, SPF moisturisers are less likely to be rub-resistant and water-resistant. For these reasons they won’t offer the same level of protection as the best sun creams.’

    It’s also worth noting that moisturisers containing an SPF don’t always contain protection against UVA rays, either. ‘As a result, they will not protect against UV ageing in the same way as a broad-spectrum sunscreen would,’ adds Kluk.

    However, having an SPF in your daily moisturiser is such a good idea. Because on those days when you’re working from home or it’s cloudy out, that added bit of daily defence is needed. Here’s our pick of some of the best…

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