WEDNESDAY, April 3, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Use of moisturizer with sun protection factors (SPF) is associated with inferior coverage of facial and eyelid regions compared with sunscreen, according to a study published online April 3 in PLOS ONE.

Elizabeth A.J. Lourenco, from the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom, and colleagues compared SPF moisturizer and sunscreen in terms of coverage achieved and protection afforded. Eighty-four participants were exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation and were photographed using a UV-sensitive digital single-lens reflex camera before and after applying SPF30 sunscreen or moisturizer at two separate visits.

The researchers found that 16.6 percent of the in terms of area of the whole face missed, application of moisturizer was significantly worse than sunscreen (16.6 versus 11.1 percent missed, respectively). The difference was mainly attributed to decreased coverage of the eyelid regions (20.9 percent missed with moisturizer versus 14 percent missed with sunscreen). Participants were unaware of their incomplete coverage.

“The addition of SPF to daily moisturizers has lots of potential advantages in terms of likely increase in general protection in all weather conditions. However, our data show that those potential advantages may be offset by incomplete coverage to areas at high risk of skin cancer and a mistaken belief that the face is fully protected,” the authors write. “In many environments, the risk that you are unaware of poses the greatest danger and as such a more extensive public awareness campaign is warranted.”

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