Joanne from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia asked:

Do face creams/moisturisers containing sunscreen increase your risk of skin cancer?

Using sun screen for the face

I heard this from my dermatologist. Is it true?

Our answer

Face creams and moisturisers do not cause skin cancer. If you are going to be indoors for most of the day, with only incidental sun exposure, a cosmetic with SPF30+ is adequate to protect from sunburn, but, like sunscreen, will only be effective for two hours. If you are going to be outdoors in the sun, we recommend you use sunscreen rather than a moisturiser that contains SPF. Use a sunscreen that is SPF 30+, water-resistant and broad spectrum, which means it protects against both UVA and UVB. If you are going to wear sunscreen and moisturisers or cosmetics, it’s best to apply your sunscreen first – on dry, clean skin. This will allow the sunscreen to disperse effectively. Some people mistakenly believe an SPF20 moisturiser and an SPF10 foundation used together form a protection of SPF30. This is not true. You will only be protected to the level of the highest SPF product – in this case, SPF20. Sunscreens on the Australian market have been approved by the Therapeutics Goods Association (TGA) as safe and effective.

This page was last updated on: July 1, 2014
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