Bad News: Your SPF-Infused Moisturiser Isn't Working Hard Enough
Eek, not to be the Debbie Downers of your Thursday (praise be, we're almost there!), but we're about to be the Debbie Downers of your Thurssday. However, on the bright side, we might just save your skin—and your life. Or at least, we're relaying the new science-backed information and findings that might. Keep reading.
To be honest, we've had our suspicions regarding multi-purpose SPF products for a while now. SPF-enriched versions of our favourite moisturisers, foundations, concealers, and lip balms? How cool! How brilliant! How perfect for our multi-tasker-loving selves! Except, of course, studies now say they may not be so brilliant after all. The gist: these 2-in-1 alternatives aren't nearly as effective at protecting our skin as we've been lead to think.
According to a brand new research from the University of Liverpool, (which was recently presented at during British Association of Dermatologists’ Annual Meeting in Edinburgh), studies show moisturisers boasting SPF provide less protection from the sun's harmful rays than an SPF formula (of equivalent strength) that's served straight-up—AKA one that's not mixed into a cult-favorite day cream. The study also found when applying the multi-purpose products, consumers were far more likely to miss crucial areas of their face where damage can run rampant. (If you want a scare, just take a look at these photographs taken with a special camera—the dark areas show where product has been thoroughly applied and absorbed, and lighter areas show the where product was missed and less thoroughly absorbed.)
"Although moisturisers with SPF do provide sun protection, our research suggests that it’s not on the same level as sunscreen. We would not recommend it as a like-for-like replacement for your sun protection needs," states Austin McCormick, Consultant Ophthalmic and Oculoplastic Surgeon, and one of the lead researchers in the case.
And Matthew Gass of the British Association of Dermatologists agrees. “Unfortunately, moisturiser with SPF just doesn’t perform particularly well in real-world situations compared to sunscreen. Although it may say SPF 30 on the box, this study is just further evidence that lab testing conditions for these products don’t reflect how they are used." In other words, a lab session isn't necessarily accounting for the fact that we're not slapping on our day cream with the same vigor we might our sunscreen.
So, while you most definitely can continue to use your multi-tasking moisturiser (it can't hurt after all), to gain a significant enough amount of protection, it needs to be paired with a strict sunscreen potion as well. Fear not, we've rounded up Byrdie HQ's forever go-to sunscreen formulas. Keep scrolling for all of our favourites.