Your SPF Moisturizer Is Not As Effective As Sunscreen, Says Study

Here's why your SPF probably isn't cutting it.

Your SPF Moisturizer Is Not As Effective As Sunscreen, Says Study
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It’s officially summer, which means there’s no time to mess around with UV protection for your skin. This is not the time to call in the JV squad line of defense. This is when you tap your first string to win the game!

According to a new study, released at the British Association of Dermatologists’ Annual Conference earlier this month, moisturizer with added SPF might not be that great if you’re trying to avoid skin cancer. And the reason boils down to basic laziness.

Researchers from the University of Liverpool (“It’s sunny there?” – Everyone) measured the amount of UV light that was hitting the skin of participants after applying different types of sun protection: SPF 30 sunscreen and SPF 30 moisturizer. Researchers then measured how well each blocked UV rays.

Results found that the moisturizer led to sub-par results because participants didn’t apply enough. According to the study:

Analysis of the photos showed that when applying moisturiser people missed 16 per cent of their face on average, whereas when applying sunscreen this dropped to 11 per cent. When just the high-risk eyelid areas were analysed sunscreen users missed 14 per cent compared with 21 per cent with moisturiser. The eyelid area is a common site for skin cancers.

In addition to this, the study suggests that people do not apply the moisturiser as thickly as sunscreen, and therefore do not receive the full benefits of the SPF.

“Although skin moisturiser with SPF does provide sun protection, our research suggests that it’s not to the same degree as sunscreen. We do recommend moisturisers and makeup that contain UV protection – it is better than no protection at all, but for prolonged periods in the sun we recommend the application of sunscreen with high SPF,” explained Austin McCormick, Consultant Ophthalmic and Oculoplastic Surgeon, and one of the researchers.

Matthew Gass of the British Association of Dermatologists, said you shouldn’t rely on just sunscreen to protect you from rays because people often miss areas of their face when applying protection and that “a good way to prevent this from becoming an issue is to wear sunglasses and reapply sunscreen regularly. This should help protect the bits you miss from being exposed to excessive sun.”

[h/t Allure]

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