Is the Sunscreen in Your Moisturizer Hurting You?

Well, okay, not exactly hurting you…but definitely putting you at risk. When women come in and ask for a moisturizer with SPF in it, I immediately get nervous. My response is generally to ask what “other” sunscreen they are using. The answer is usually “none” or “my tinted moisturizer also has some SPF.” Why is this a problem? Well, it’s a problem for a few reasons.

First, as we’ve mentioned before, you simply do not put on as much moisturizer as required by SPF. Nor do you slather your face in it, as you would if you were heading to the beach, yet that is precisely the coverage required to be effective.

Second, when you put your moisturizer on and then finish with makeup, you are not likely to reapply your sunscreen in a few hours. No way you’re going to mess up your foundation.

Third, the false security provided by the fact that you’ve put your sunscreen on in the morning, thinking you’re good to go for the day. As we know, sunscreen has to be re-applied several times a day. You wouldn’t go to the beach and put it on once in the morning and call it a day. You’d be careful to re-apply a few times.

So what is the solution? The trick is to layer your sunscreen. Slather sunscreen all over your face. If you really can’t stand the feel of it and are wed to your SPF moisturizer, then carry a sunscreen setting spray or mineral dusting powder with SPF in your purse and use it every three hours — more frequently if you are active outdoors.


“Well, I’m indoors most of the day, I really don’t need sunscreen.”


Nope. Did you know that infrared rays (IRA), those that come from the heat of the sun or those associated with electronic devices like your computer or hairdryer, penetrate deeper than UVA and UVB rays? The best defense to those rays is to combine an electron donating anti-oxidant like Vitamin C or Green Tea with your sunscreen. And yes, you need to do this even when you are indoors or it’s cloudy outside.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to moisturizer with SPF. I’m just opposed to it doing all the heavy lifting. Still not convinced?

This videographer used an infrared camera to show people what’s really going on with their skin and then had them put sunscreen on. It’s both fascinating and instructive and after watching it, I was scrambling for my sunscreen.


  • The latest from Angela
I have been a beauty junkie for what seems like forever, but before I did anything about it, I went to law school. (Yes, my life is a little like the reverse of Legally Blonde.) Then, I worked as a prosecutor in Sonoma County after which I moved to the DC area with my husband in ’97. I served as Majority Counsel to the Senate Banking Committee followed by a year-long stint at a lobbying firm. You get the picture. It was then that I decided to act on my dream of becoming an entrepreneur. Finding my favorite beauty products proved to be impossible without stepping foot in a mall–the horror. So, I decided to bring my favorites to Alexandria. A few trips to New York and a flight to France and Bellacara was born in March 2000.

Located in historic Old Town Alexandria, for more than 17 years Bellacara has been Northern Virginia's preeminent boutique for high end cosmetic, skincare and haircare products. At Bellacara you will find premiere beauty products that have been carefully edited by the store’s owner, Angela Sitilides, who personally tests all the products sold in store. The boutique carries only the best product lines – Kiehl’s, Jouer, Dr. Dennis Gross, Christophe Robin, Moroccan Oil, Bumble & Bumble, Fresh, Molton Brown, Skinceuticals, Smashbox, Stila, Mario Badescu, Clarins, Dermalogica, Kevyn Aucoin, Kai, Child, St. Tropez, Smith and Cult, and many more.

1000 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314


1 Comment

  1. Avatar Sandra Caughlin says:

    Wow! What an eye opener – thanks for posting.

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