A great moisturizer with SPF is an absolute must-have for every skincare routine. Whether it's sunny, cloudy, hot, or cold, this essential combo keeps your face hydrated and protected from sun damage, harsh UV rays, and free radicals that can cause signs of premature aging. While it may be tempting to just use the sunscreen lotion you use on your body on your face as well, it's worth investing in an SPF moisturizer that's specially formulated for your skin (and skin type).
"Facial skin is unique and has specific needs," says dermatologist Arash Akhavan, MD. "Any product being applied to the face, including sunscreen, needs to be formulated so that it is non-irritating and does not clog pores. Some sunscreens designed for the body are formulated with oils and other ingredients that can potentially clog pores, causing inflammation and conditions such as breakouts."
Below, we break down how to go about choosing the right moisturizing facial sunscreen for your skin type and what SPF factors to look for. We're even sharing a few of the best moisturizers with SPF for hydrated, healthy skin everyday.
About the Expert:
Like all skincare products, your skin type will play an important role when it comes to finding your perfect moisturizer match. If you have dry skin, you’ll want to look for a moisturizer with ultra-moisturizing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and vitamin E. On the flip side, if you have oily skin or are prone to breakouts, you'll want to consider a non-comedogenic, oil-free formula or one that features a matte-finish to help avoid extra shine. If you have sensitive skin, Akhavan suggests using "mineral sunscreens or products that contain the active ingredients of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, as opposed to chemical sun protection."
Not sure what your skin type is? We break down everything you need to know about finding and caring for your skin type here.
How often and how long you'll be in the sun is the main determining factor for how high of an SPF you should be looking for. For moderate sun exposure, Akhavan says, "I recommend wearing a daily sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher." If you plan to be in the sun all day long, reach for SPF 50. If your days are usually spent in an office or away from many of the sun's damaging UVA and UVB rays, then a moisturizing sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher should be enough to keep your skin protected. If you're unsure which SPF factor you should be looking for or if you have any specific concerns you want your face moisturizer to address, it's always a good idea to consult a dermatologist.
This lightweight moisturizer offers broad-spectrum protection with SPF 30, the daily recommended SPF level according to dermatologists. It also has a healthy dose of vitamin C to help even out skin tone and boost glow.
"This sunscreen is the best," says Ipster ecruz812. "I loved the hydration boost it added on my face as a primer."
This weightless gel formula is perfect for AM application. It absorbs into skin instantly so it’s perfect for prepping skin for makeup. Gel-based moisturizers are also a great choice for those with oil-prone skin as they're lightweight and breathable. This formula also features anti-inflammatory ginger, probiotics, and pineapple and papaya extracts for a balanced complexion with a subtle glow.
"This is a gem. Skin is super glowy," says Ipster ontariostorm. "Not sticky. Doesn’t have that sunscreen scent either. Loving how my skin looks."
Here is a natural formula that skips the questionable ingredients to give you healthy sun protection with a dose of SPF 25. This facial moisturizer protects with zinc oxide, and hydrates with antioxidants and grape stem cells—both of which promote a more youthful appearance by reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
"I love that it’s a combination of chemical and physical sunscreens," says Snowdragon76. "It absorbs nicely into the skin and I don’t get a white cast on my face. Smells nice and feels refreshing on my skin."
If your skin type tends to be on the dry side, reach for this ultra-moisturizing lotion that's formulated with shea butter and hyaluronic acid—two of the most trusted hydrating skincare ingredients out there. It also features green tea to naturally firm skin and reduce the look of dark spots and discoloration.
This formula offers healthy sun protection and a delightful sensory experience. The non-nano zinc oxide, broad-spectrum protection is backed by soothing aloe, hydrating glycerin, and nourishing oat bran extract. It also includes jasmine, noni, and orange peel extract that come together to create a tropical scent that will take you straight to Hawaii (for a brief moment at least).
If you're planning a sun-filled vacation or you know you'll be spending a day outside, bring along this mineral sunscreen that combines titanium dioxide and zinc oxide for protection against both UVA and UVB rays. It comes infused with aloe, rosehip, shea butter, and calendula to expertly balance skin while also shielding it from sun damage.
This crowd-pleasing face cream is an ideal pick for just about everyone. The lightweight texture makes it ideal for AM application. It comes with the daily recommended dose of SPF and it features powerful antioxidants like grape and pomegranate seed extracts to further shield skin from pollution and free radical damage. All in all, it's a great daily go-to for ultra-light protection that still packs a big punch.
This face sunscreen comes with a strong defense against UVA and UVB rays as well as hyaluronic acid to keep skin hydrated all day long. Additionally, this lotion also includes ingredients that can help perfect the look of skin overall. With regular use, this cream can help to reduce redness, scarring, and even stretch marks.
"This is the best facial sunscreen EVER, says lia-isa. "Light, not greasy and great under make-up!"
This tinted mineral sunscreen is specifically formulated for sensitive skin. The clean, zinc-forward formula is completely free of preservatives as well as oil, chemical sunscreen agents, fragrances, gluten, and phthalates. It also features a gentle eye formula that won't cause stinging. Plus, the tinted color means that if you're good with sheer coverage, you can skip foundation and cut your morning makeup routine in half.
"I used this every day during the summer," says one Ipster. "It gave my skin a radiant glow and the tint that I needed."
Stay cool, calm, collected, and protected with this oil-free, fragrance-free formula. The weightless texture will sink into your skin seamlessly, while non-nano zinc oxide protects your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays. It’s formulated with anti-aging plant stem cells and niacinamide, a popular ingredient to help soothe skin and balance oil production.
"This is nice for when I don’t want to put on a full face but I want sun protection," one Ipster writes. "It’s not too heavy and doesn’t smell like sunscreen at all."
This fragrance-free, non-greasy formula is lightweight enough to use every day as your daily moisturizer. It offers enough broad-spectrum SPF protection to combat damage caused by UV rays and free radicals, and it's gentle enough for sensitive skin. Blue lotus, vitamin E, white tea, and algae extracts all work together here to help prevent fine lines, calm, and soften skin.
"I love this moisturizer," says Ipster ljprescott. "I have combo skin and this isn't too oily and it still moisturizes my skin. Will repurchase when I run out."
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