How much SPF protection do you need?
The answer to how much sun protection (SPF) people need depends on the intended outdoor activities. For casual sun exposure, such as commuting to work or walking from the car to a building, experts recommend a minimum of SPF 15. However, people should look for a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher for extended activities. More importantly, dermatologists implore individuals to ensure that any sunscreen used lists a broad spectrum on the label regardless of the SPF level. That statement ensures that the product protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
Is SPF-infused moisturizer effective?
Once again, the answer depends on several factors. At a minimum, people must pick a moisturizer with the proper SPF level to provide adequate protection. But, the topic gets dicey as user behavior and manufacturing practices can affect whether or not an SPF moisturizer can effectively prevent sun damage.
When user error is at play
The SPF level and application methods are two user behavior issues that can impact whether an SPF moisturizer can deliver on promises of sun protection. Picking a moisturizer with too low of an SPF will be ineffective, especially for people spending extended periods outside. But also, many people don’t apply enough moisturizer and often fail to reapply every two hours. Experts recommend that consumers apply what amounts to two milligrams of sunscreen per square centimeter of skin. Translated, people should apply about two tablespoons of sunscreen to all exposed areas and dedicate a nickel-sized dollop to the face. Also, note that the concern of applying too little product includes tinted moisturizers with SPF.
When the formulation is the problem
Unsurprisingly, user error is one of the biggest reasons sunscreen may not be as effective as society would like. However, with SPF moisturizers, the other issue is that the actual moisturizer can dilute the ingredients that provide sun protection. Just as bad as not applying enough SPF, a weaker formula means people aren’t getting the necessary protection. Likewise, most moisturizers aren’t water resistant, meaning the SPF can sweat off.
Practicing good sun health is essential for any individual heading outside, regardless of skin tone. While many dermatologists aren’t ready to say no to SPF moisturizers, being smart with applications is critical to getting the most protection. Regardless of whether a person picks an SPF moisturizer or a traditional sunscreen, use at least SPF 15 with both UVA and UVB protection, and be sure to reapply every two hours.