Your makeup and moisturizer contain SPF, but is that really enough? Just because your momma has good genes and flawless skin doesn’t mean you will, you need to protect what she gave you. Only a small percentage of aging is hereditary, the rest is affected by lifestyle and environment.
First things first: always, always, ALWAYS use a broad spectrum SPF.
Broad spectrum means you’re protected from UVA and UVB. They affect different layers of the skin and both cause skin problems, aging, and hyperpigmentation. Using sunscreen doesn’t prevent tanning but instead slows down the process, and that isn’t a bad thing. This gives your skin time to react and protect itself against free radical damage.
UVB rays penetrate the epidermis, associated with visible signs of redness and tanning caused by sun exposure, dryness, and skin cancer. Invisible signs include the destruction of hyaluronic acid and epidermal cells (the outer protective layer of your skin).
UVA penetrates deep into the dermis and handles collagen damage, loss of elasticity, wrinkles, and skin cancer forming at deeper levels of the skin. UVA is present wherever you find natural light, even on cloudy days, and through windows. Think your office, bedroom with that sunshine waking you up in the morning, or car windshield. Remember, I’m a psycho about this.
Back to the original question: The short answer is no, most products with SPF as their secondary function aren’t going to provide the same level of protection as a true sunscreen.
Makeup is generally applied as needed. Some areas we apply a thin layer for less coverage, others get more attention. Most of us don’t apply makeup to our neck, let alone our décolleté. SPF application should be heavy-handed and thorough, a nickel-size for your face alone. If you’re using makeup as your protection you would need to use the same amount, and that won’t look pretty.
Moisturizers give nourishment to the lower layers of the skin while SPF should sit on top to protect your skin. A moisturizer SPF combination is likely going to slack in one of those two categories, and neither should be compromised. If you do choose to use a moisturizer SPF use a separate moisturizer in the evening. Unless you sleep next to a window.
SPF combo products aren’t going to be as efficient as layering individual products made for their purpose. But your makeup or moisturizer SPF make great secondary measures to protect yourself from skin cancer and sun damage.
And I don’t care where you live, wear SPF every damn day.