Summer Skin Care

This Moisturizing Sunscreen Is Like a Tall Drink of Water for Your Skin

Zoe Weiner

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Photo: Getty Images/ Tim Robberts

Considering the 10,000 things we have to do on a daily basis, it’s pretty much a given that we’re all looking to make our morning skin-care routines as quick and easy as possible. After all—there’s a reason why active cleansers, double-duty serums, and single-step complexion products hold such important real-estate in our bathrooms. But there’s one common multipurpose morning skin-care product that derms say we should reconsider: SPF moisturizer.

While it’s great to be able to slather on a single product and know that you’re hydrated and protected for the day ahead, board-certified dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD, cautions that many of the products we’re using may not be doing quite as much as they promise on the protection front. “Cosmetic products don’t have any FDA regulations on SPF, so there may be just a dollop of it in there,” she says.

Instead, she says, you should be using sun protection products with moisturizers in them. In other words, the shelf space that’s traditionally been reserved for an a.m. moisturizer that’s got SPF in it should be swapped, instead, for a sunscreen with moisturizing ingredients. Still with me? Since products that are marketed as sunscreen are subject to FDA regulations (which, as Dr. Gohara pointed out, moisturizers are not), you’ll be sure you’re getting the purported amount of SPF protection.

One of our favorite products that fits the bill? Biossance Squalane + Zinc Sheer Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 PA ($30). The product offers mineral protection by way 100-percent non-nano zinc oxide, but is also made with sugarcane-derived squalane to lock in moisture. Squalane is a lipid that’s naturally produced in our body that starts to deplete when we age, so (just like SPF) is an important ingredient to integrate into our routines as we get older. Derms have called it the “big gulp” of skin-care thanks to its hydrating abilities, and it’s also able to soothe and calm skin.

In addition to squalane, this SPF is packed with water lily extract to up its soothing-and-calming factor even further, and the combo of these two ingredients helps the SPF glide on easily and blend into skin seamlessly. The product was tested in a clinical trial of 35 women, and 100 percent of participants showed clinical improvement in skin hydration (and 94 percent said it was non-greasy), making it the perfect stand-in for your usual SPF moisturizer.

Unlike many mineral sunscreens on the market, it blends seamlessly into all skin tones, which means that it won’t leave you looking like a white-tinted ghost. When I tested it on my own olive skin, I was highly impressed with how quickly it disappeared. While it isn’t quite shimmery enough to qualify as a highlighter sunscreen, it leaves behind a subtle, dewy finish that looks gorgeous on its own or layered under makeup. So feel free to cut your morning routine down to a single post-cleanse step—just make sure a moisturizing SPF, like this one, is the star of the show.

Biossance Squalane + Zinc Sheer Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 PA +++, $30

Photo: Biossance

Want to learn more about sunscreen (and why it’s so dang important)? Press play on the video below. 

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