The 9 Best Moisturizers With SPF to Protect and Hydrate Your Skin

You might think you're doubling up on hydration and sun protection if you slip a moisturizer with SPF into your skincare routine. But the reality is that if your favorite lightweight cream contains anything lower than the dermatologist-recommend SPF 30, your skin might be moisturized, but it's not getting the protection it needs from UV/UVA rays.

"Most people when applying creams with SPF don’t apply the recommended amount," says Dr. Marie Hayag, a New York-based board-certified dermatologist and sunscreen expert. "Use at least a product with SPF 30, but SPF only measures how well a sunscreen blocks UVB rays (burning rays) which causes sunburn. UVA (aging rays), which penetrate deeper in the skin, causes reactive oxidative species (ROS) formation and collagen destruction, which accelerates photoaging." Dr. Hayag also recommends a formula that contains solid UV/UVA filters.

On top of the SPF level, it's important to also consider the active sunscreen ingredients in the product you use. Dr. Hayag says there are only a few UVA filters that cover the whole UVA spectrum approved for use in the US. The physical filters include titanium dioxide and zinc oxide (these are limited in formulation because they tend to be chalky), while the chemical filters are avobenzone and ecamsule (Mexoryl SX).

As for the concern over the safety of chemical sunscreen ingredients oxybenzone and octinoxate, studies have shown they do enter the bloodstream, but further research needs to be conducted to determine if they contribute to hormonal abnormalities, and this isn't reason enough to stop wearing it. However, Hawaii did pass a law in 2018 set to take effect in 2021 banning personal care products containing these two ingredients because they cause damage to the coral reefs.

When all is said and done, a moisturizer containing SPF can adequately protect your skin when they are used correctly. "I do recommend another SPF (preferably a physical block sunscreen) on top if you will be outdoors for more than two hours or if you are in intense sun such as sunny vacations, high altitude skiing/hiking, or outdoor sports," says Dr. Hayag.

NEOVA DNA Damage Control Everyday Facial Fluid SPF 44

If you're looking for a double-duty moisturizer, this NEOVA one is a safe bet. "It contains complete photoprotection and DNA repair enzymes so not only does it protect from UVA/UVB, but also repairs any skin insults while hydrating your skin,” the MD says.

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