The problem with SPF moisturizer

People miss certain spots, which can lead to skin damage.

Researchers at the University of Liverpool in England asked people to apply either SPF moisturizer or sunscreen to their faces. Then, they photographed them with a special camera to see where the skin was protected or exposed.

The research, which was presented at the British Association of Dermatologists’ annual conference, found that people covered 91 percent of their faces and 86 percent of their eyelids (a common site for cancer) with sunscreen, but only 84 percent and 79 percent, respectively, with the moisturizer.
The participants thought they covered their faces better than they did, says study author Kevin Hamill, Ph.D., a lecturer in eye and vision science at the University of Liverpool in England.

People often use SPF moisturizer as an extra protective step, but if you’re not thorough it won’t really help: When people consistently miss certain parts of their faces, the same cells are repeatedly exposed to UV light and DNA damage builds up, which can lead to wrinkles and cancer.

Even if your moisturizer has SPF, you should still be meticulous about application. “Following a routine pattern can help you cover the whole face,” Hamill says. You could move from the left side to the right, from top to bottom, or apply the product to each feature in a certain order. To be on the safe side, wear sunglasses with UV protection to protect the skin surrounding your eyes.