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Différence d'efficacité entre crème de jour avec SPF et crème solaire.

Is a day cream with SPF as effective as a sunscreen?

We all know it: sun protection is crucial, and that means any sun product is better than none at all. Today, it is now included in a variety of skincare products, such as your daily moisturizer. Aside from the fact that it can simplify your daily skincare routine, is it truly effective in protecting the skin against the harmful UVA and UVB rays of the sun? Continue reading to discover how the SPF in moisturizers compares to traditional sunscreens.

Moisturizing creams combined with SPF and sunscreens: are they the same?

The daily use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen (UVA/UVB) with an SPF of at least 30 is widely recommended to protect against the harmful effects of UV radiation exposure, whether you plan to intentionally expose yourself to the sun or not. To be applied all year round, in all weather conditions and not just during sunny summer days, it is a preventive measure against skin cancer and premature aging.

Beyond traditional sun care products, you can now find a SPF in many alternative formulations, including in daily moisturizing creams. This type of product appears to be an effective, convenient, and simple way to incorporate sun protection into your daily skincare routine. However, many believe that this hybrid skincare product does not provide sufficient coverage and protection compared to standard sunscreens, but this is not true.

Although they have different textures, with a day moisturizing cream with SPF being thinner and lighter, and a sunscreen being thicker and richer, these two types of care are identical from a formulation standpoint. Contrary to what has been said, a moisturizing cream with SPF provides the same level of sun protection as a sunscreen. If a product claims a certain SPF, regardless of the type of product, it means that the SPF has been tested in accordance with standards.

Australia, which has some of the strictest sunscreen regulations in the world, categorizes moisturizers with an SPF as a "secondary sun protection" product, as it is presented as having a primary function other than sun protection, although it does provide some skin protection against UV rays. Additionally, it cites moisturizers with an SPF lower than 15 as an example of a "non-sunscreen" product.

However, this only works if you apply the correct amount of product (2 mg/cm2 of skin) to achieve the same sun protection factor as indicated on the label, which few people do, and even fewer with a moisturizing cream with SPF. As a result, the many potential benefits that this type of cream can offer may be offset by incomplete coverage.

Furthermore, a 2019 clinical study aimed to compare the application habits of a moisturizing cream with SPF to that of a traditional sunscreen among 84 participants. They found that a greater number of facial areas are not covered when using a moisturizing cream with sun protection compared to a classic sunscreen.

Just like standard sunscreen, a day cream with SPF alone is not enough to fully protect the skin from the sun's rays. Additional sun protection measures (seeking shade, wearing protective clothing, etc.) should always be followed.

However, mixing a moisturizer with a sunscreen yourself is not a good idea. This combination can dilute the SPF, not to mention potential incompatibilities of active ingredients. In this case, it is better to keep the two products separate and layer them during application in order to benefit from all the advantages of the SPF and the moisturizer.

All moisturizing creams with SPF are not the same. There is a variety of formulas, but it is essential to choose a face moisturizing cream with an SPF equal to or greater than 30.


  • McCORMICK A. G. & al. Application of SPF moisturisers is inferior to sunscreens in coverage of facial and eyelid regions. PLoS One (2019).

  • Australian Government - Department of Health & Aged Care (Therapeutic Goods Administration). Proposed adoption of the Australian/New Zealand Sunscreen Standard AS/NZS 2604:2021. (2024).


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