Should You Use Sunscreen as a Moisturizer?

Many people believe that sunscreen can act as a moisturizer or a treatment cream. However, you should apply both, but in a certain order.
Should You Use Sunscreen as a Moisturizer?
Karla Henríquez

Written and verified by the doctor Karla Henríquez.

Last update: 27 May, 2022

You might be wondering whether or not you can use your sunscreen as a moisturizer. Especially in summer when it’s hot, using too many creams could make you sweat and feel uncomfortable. However, the function of each isn’t quite the same.

Below we’ll give you some details about using sunblock as a moisturizer. In addition, you’ll be able to briefly learn about the function of each one in case you have any doubts.

Things to know before you use sunscreen as a moisturizer

A woman with some sunscreen.

1. The purpose of sunscreen

First, we should stop to analyze the function of the sunscreen in the first place. This product is designed to protect your skin from ultraviolet (UV) rays. It keeps them from penetrating into your skin and causing damage that could lead to skin cancer later in life.

However, sunscreens aren’t cosmetic products they’re skin protection.

You may find some sunscreen that’s also moisturizing, but you must remember that its main function is to protect your skin from the sun.

2. Moisturizers with SPF

On the other hand, as mentioned above, there are sunscreens that also include some moisturizer. However, it’s possible that sometimes, when sunscreen is mixed with this type of cream, its effectiveness is reduced. For this reason, experts recommend always using sunscreen with a high sun protection factor (SPF).

Also, this doesn’t mean that you can’t apply sunscreen a few hours after applying the moisturizer. Since in this case, by not applying them at the same time, the sunscreen won’t reduce its effectiveness.

3. Should you apply sunscreen first or second?

Based on what we know so far, it’s important not to use sunscreen as a moisturizer. However, another question remains. Should you apply it before or after you apply your regular moisturizing cream?

A woman unsure if she should use sunscreen as a moisturizer.

According to Elsevier magazine, the answer is that you should always apply your moisturizer before the sunblock. If you put on the sunscreen right after, you could make the sunscreen not be as effective, as we said above.

However, you must remember the product shouldn’t be used for any purpose other than its intended purpose. That is to say, it’s recommended that you apply the moisturizer if you have dry skin.

Nevertheless, if you are going to expose yourself to the sun, it’s best to opt for sunscreen. In any case, you shouldn’t forget the importance of using sunscreen whenever possible.

Ask your dermatologist about your options and follow their indications. Avoid being guided by general guidelines and advice from friends, as each skin type is different and should be cared for in a specific way.


As we’ve seen, each product has its own function and therefore it wouldn’t be advisable to replace moisturizer with sunscreen or other products that don’t have the same main function. Even if you only apply sunblock occasionally, don’t make it a habit, as it’s important to moisturize your skin.

If you don’t want to apply moisturizer before sunblock because you find it leaves your skin “heavy” and shiny, then look for a lotion with a light texture, for combination skin (if this is your skin type) so you can apply it without problems.

Additionally, remember that if you have any doubts about how you should take care of your skin on a daily basis, it’s best to consult your dermatologist, as they’ll be the best person to guide you and give you all the advice you need for your day-to-day life.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.