How Do I Choose the Best SPF Moisturizer?

Sherry Holetzky

You can find sun protection factor (SPF) moisturizer in formulas that offer various levels of protection. It is a good idea to determine the strength you need for everyday use. It is also wise to consider choosing a stronger SPF moisturizer for days when you plan to spend a lot of time outdoors. This is especially important if you will be in direct sunlight for a lengthy period of time.

Regardless of skin type, choose a facial moisturizer that offers a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15.
Regardless of skin type, choose a facial moisturizer that offers a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15.

When choosing SPF moisturizer, it makes sense to test a little bit on a small area of skin before applying it all over to make sure it does not irritate your skin. This concern is even more important if you have sensitive skin. There are formulas created for those that need something gentle and some of those sensitive skin formulas may be fragrance free. If fragrance is important to you, you may have to compare several options before you find the right balance of mildness and fragrance.

Testing a small amount of SPF moisturizer on the hand or wrist is a good idea before applying it to the face.
Testing a small amount of SPF moisturizer on the hand or wrist is a good idea before applying it to the face.

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Consider other skin products, over the counter products, and medications that you use on a regular basis when you are choosing SPF moisturizer as well. Acne products, other facial treatments, and certain medicines, are prone to causing photo-sensitivity. Such an issue may require you to seek a greater degree of protection in your SPF moisturizer. If you have concerns regarding other products, it is wise to consult with your dermatologist or another professional for advice.

A broad-spectrum sunscreen will protect against the Sun's UVA and UVB rays.
A broad-spectrum sunscreen will protect against the Sun's UVA and UVB rays.

You may need to choose a moisturizer that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Many do not unless the label specifically says so. Most SPF products generally protect against UVB rays. UVB rays are the ones most commonly associated with sunburn but UVA rays also damage skin. In fact, UVA rays go deeper into the skin, and not only create wrinkling but can also lead to skin cancer.

UVB rays are most potent during the midday hours. Keep in mind that UVA rays are far more common throughout the day as well as during colder weather. Due to this fact, you may want to choose a product that offers more constant protection against UVA rays.

An SPF moisturizer with a higher number protection factor will help protect your skin during the harshest hours. You may choose to use a lower number if you plan to be out during early morning, late afternoon, or when you go outdoors during less sunny seasons of the year. Many experts indicate that the bare minimum in SPF protection should be SPF 15, so this is a good choice for everyday use. You may want a stronger formula for sunny days or those times when you will be outdoors longer.

A moisturizer with a higher-number sun protection factor will protect your skin from the harshest sun hours, including midday.
A moisturizer with a higher-number sun protection factor will protect your skin from the harshest sun hours, including midday.

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