Sunscreen or Moisturizer?

by Jessica Wright
(last updated October 15, 2014)

Moisturizers are used to increase the moisture in our skin, by increasing the water content in the skin. As skin care products go they are an essential part of any beauty regime. Most moisturizers have three basic ingredients in them: humectants, emollients, and occlusives. If you look at the ingredients in sunscreen you may find that most sunscreens have two or three of these same ingredients that are used in moisturizers.

The three moistening ingredients found in moisturizers are:

  • Humectants. These increase water content in the skin by getting natural moisture from the dermis into the epidermis.
  • Emollients. These make a barrier to keep the natural moisture in the skin from evaporating.
  • Occlusives. These create an oily barrier on the skin, slowing down the natural evaporation of water.

When the sunscreen contains these ingredients there is no need to use a moisturizer for the day. However, if you have extremely dry skin or your sunscreen doesn't have enough of the moisturizing contents then you will want to consider using a moisturizer.

For a healthier skin one should apply sunscreen everyday. Whether you are planning on playing in the sun or just a normal day of going from one place to another one should always apply sunscreen. This helps to protect the skin from any harmful sun rays.

While moisturizers are great and they do what they are supposed to do, when using both sunscreen and moisturizer you may actually be over moisturizing. If using a quality sunscreen that has moisturizer in it then adding moisturizer on top of the sunscreen is usually over doing it and can create an oily mess.

When applying sunscreen, always apply it to a clean face. The only time that you put anything on before applying sunscreen would be a clear gel serum. By applying the sunscreen first to the skin it allows the sunscreen to bond with the skin. You will want to wait at least thirty minutes before applying anything else to your skin. If you put something on top of the sunscreen before it has time to bond you run the risk of diluting the sunscreen and it won't be as effective as it could be.

Sunscreen should be applied every two hours to stay effective. If you are out in the water or it's extremely hot, you will want to apply it sooner than the two hours. Under normal circumstances sunscreen should be reapplied at least once a day.

The thing to remember is that if you are using a sunscreen, you may be able to skip the moisturizer. Just be sure to use a sunscreen with at least SPF 15 or higher. You will also want to use what is necessary to get adequate protection from the sun.

(Thanks to Sara Cleveland for contributing to this tip.)

Author Bio

Jessica Wright

Jessica is a communications major studying for her masters and working full time. Growing up in a household of girls, she learned young the fun of trying new beauty ideas. Jessica enjoys playing the piano, dating, and having a good time with family and friends. ...

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