Springtime is here and particularly for those of us in Northern Europe now is the time to know how to protect yourself from the UV rays from the sun. The rest of the world – your seasons are probably different, but I hope that you find this blog post helpful anyway. Because the question I want to look into today is: can you use face cream with SPF as sun protection?
I decided to look for valid information and sources on the Internet. I have availed myself of articles from Consumer Council “Think” and Asthma And Allergy Association. As I am Danish I use sources who are well known for their interest in consumers and consumer health.
Different opinions on the Internet.
There are different opinions about if sun protection in a face cream is “enough”. There are those who write that a face cream is developed to add moisture to the skin and therefore are not “enough” SPF in to resist the dangerous rays of the sun. Then there are those who write that this is nonsense and that SPF is SPF. So what should we believe?
Consumer Council “Think” has tested two products
I have come across an article from Consumer Council Think where they have tested two common face creams that claim to contain SPF:
Nivea Visage Q10 Anti-wrinkle, indicating an SPF of 15, like a sunscreen. It says nothing about UVA protection. “Thinks” results showed an SPF of 22, which was actually higher than what it promises. They also tested the protection from UVA. The result: It also provides a sufficient protection against UVA; more than a third of the SPF,as normal for sunscreens.
L’Oreal Triple Active Day says on the box that UV-filter in the cream and ‘UV filter helps protect against harmful UV rays’ – but does not promise how much sun protection cream provides. Thinks results showed only an SPF of 2.4, which is significantly below the SPF 6 by the EU minimum recommends a sunscreen should have. A factor of 2 provides 50 percent protection from the sun, where the factor 10 protects 90 percent. UVA protection in L’Oreal cream is 1.6.
There may be good sense in using a face cream with sun protection:
Consumer Council “Think” have talked to a consultant from the Department of Dermatology Bispebjerg Hospital who recommends protection from the rays of the sun. At the same time he explains that we really should keep ourselves completely out of the sun when it shines strongly in the summer.
He can see a meaning in a UV face cream, even though it has a very low sun protection (SPF).
“A sun protection factor of two is not nothing. It means that you are out for a whole day but save yourself for being in the sun between 12 noon and 15, “he says.
It should be in your daily routine to apply SPF:
The doctor believes that the Danes are generally too poor to apply sunscreen/SPF. Therefore, he believes that it is fine if UV filters are found in both face dreams and cosmetics because it means that we actually apply some form of protection.
He further explains that most of us don’t need protection from the UV rays because we work while the sun is strongest between 12-15. Conversely, whenit’s vacation and weekend we tend to be more outside during the day and therefore we need SPF. (I think this will mostly apply for northern Europe! ) Here he does not believe that a face cream with a small or unknown SPF can replace a sunscreen with adequate protection.
Chemistry and environmental disruptors in sunscreen.
I once had a baby group where one of the mothers was a lab technician. She knew everything there is to know about chemistry found in body lotions, sunscreens etc. and the effectsthey have on our bodies. She wasn’t too happy about applying either herself or her baby with SPF. Why? Because sunscreen is filled with filters/chemistry that potentially can be harmful for our bodies and the environment. She was prone to protect her daughter in other ways e.g. through clothes and hats or simply keep her baby out of the sun.
Since we need to apply sunscreen some times, I have here the link to an article from the Asthma and Allergy Association, where you can read about good advices in choosing the right kind of sun protection. Read Asthma and Allergy Association’s good advice here
In my search I came across recommendations from people who have in the past used different brands as sun protection. I see it as an indication that these particular products keep their promises about sun protection. I think that they are safe to use on an everyday basis, as long as it’s not used for a whole day at the beach. I simply don’t know enough from this particular search to say that face creams with SPF is good enough for a day at the beach!
A few recommendations:
La Roche Posay ANTHELIOS SPF 50+ DRY TOUCH GEL-CREAM: This cream should be especially good for people who have solar exema.
Clinique Super Defense SPF 20 Daily Defense moiturizer. I have been using this particular moisturizer last year with great results!
Kiehl – Ultralight Daily UV Defense SPF 50. Not for people with oily skin, because of it’s ingredients and texsture.
I hope you found it helpful – do you have any brands you would like to recommend? I would love to know!