As tedious as applying SPF products on a daily basis can be, I do recall fretting over my skin theatrically after forgetting to put on sunscreen before leaving the house one time. Oh, the horror of my face falling victim to harmful UV rays! After my dramatic episode, I finally understood why dermatologists constantly harp on about applying sunscreen everyday. A quality SPF product not only helps prevent sunburns and reduces the risk of skin cancers, but it also targets hyper-pigmentation, premature aging and uneven skin tone so we can maintain a youthful, supple complexion.
Unfortunately, we too often associate sunscreens with a thick, greasy and pasty white mess. However what some of us don’t know is that many of the latest sunscreens also contain various antioxidant, anti- inflammatory and hydrating ingredients and technologies that offer skincare benefits beyond just sun protection. So, before getting into the 5 best products, here are a few things to keep in mind when purchasing your next face sunscreen.
Choosing your sunscreen
Regardless of the season or your skin tone, you need to protect your skin no matter what. Winter months aren’t too forgiving and those with darker complexions are just as affected by the sun’s harsh rays. Also, did you know that UV rays also travel indoors through windows?
The sunscreens: Both chemical and mineral (or physical) sunscreens work effectively to prevent sunburns. Chemical sunscreens contain avobenzone and homosalate that absorb UV light, whereas mineral sunscreens use zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to deflect UV rays. However, if you’ve got a medium-to-dark complexion, be mindful of mineral sunscreens as they may leave a white cast. So either opt for a chemical sunscreen, or ensure that the mineral sunscreen leaves no white residue.
The skin types: For dry skin, go for a hydrating, cream-based sunscreen which contains hyaluronic acid
and ceramides. For oily skin, choose a noncomedogenic sunscreen, meaning it won’t clog pores, which
also creates a matte finish. For sensitive skin, a mineral-based sunscreen is your best bet as it causes
The labels: Make sure that the face sunscreen label includes the words ‘broad spectrum’, meaning that it shields your skin against both UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) rays. You’ll also want the product to be at least SPF 30 as it’s the clinically adequate amount of protection against the sun. Not all sunscreens are waterproof, but if the label says the sunscreen is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, you’ll still need to reapply as directed.
Now that we’ve nailed the basics, let’s help you find your next derm-approved face sunscreen.
EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen SPF 46
Widely considered to be a supreme pick across all skin types and tones, EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen is a dermatologist and cult favorite for many reasons. The broad spectrum SPF 46 mineral sunscreen is lightweight, noncomedogenic, free of fragrance and oils with no ashy, white residue. In addition to that, it’s designed to target particular skin concerns, namely rosacea, acne and hyperpigmentation. The ingredient list includes skin-soothing niacinamide, oil-regulating lactic acid and moisturising hyaluronic acid, meaning this sunscreen controls oil while retaining moisture. If your skin is prone to breakouts, this fast-absorbing sunscreen is anti-blemish and will effectively guard your face to the core against skin-damaging free radicals.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-in Milk Body & Face Sunscreen Lotion SPF 100
What I love about this sunscreen is that you totally forget you’re wearing it as it really does melt into your skin. La Roche-Posay’s Melt-in Sunscreen Milk works for both face and body to provide a mineral- based full-spectrum protection of SPF 100 with a cast-free, non-greasy finish. Formulated with Cell-Ox Shield® Technology, it boasts an impressive ingredient list with powerful antioxidant and anti-aging protection, infused with tropical leaf extracts, ultra-nourishing Vitamin B5 and broad spectrum UV filters, keeping skin hydrated, smooth and protected. It’s also fragrance free, noncomedogenic and water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, so you don’t have to worry about any clogged pores or irritation this summer. With perfect scores across the board, this weightless multitasking lotion is the sunscreen both your face and body will thank you for.
Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40
Sunscreens don’t have to feel thick and greasy, which is why Supergoop has changed the sunscreen game with their velvety Unseen Sunscreen. It’s a broad spectrum SPF 40 mineral sunscreen with a clear, gel-based texture that doesn’t leave a trace, so it works great on all skin tones. The fact that it’s fast- absorbing and weightless makes it one of the most ideal sunscreens for those with oily skin. It’s also free of any oils and fragrances and has a soft matte dry-down which makes for a flawless makeup base. The sunscreen is packed with reef-friendly ingredients like red algae for blue light protection, frankincense to provide a soothing effect and meadowfoam seed to increase hydration – so your skin is safe with Supergoop!
CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30
A popular option for dry, sensitive skin. The lightweight SPF 30 facial moisturising lotion is oil-free and noncomedogenic, relying on skin-savers like anti-inflammatory niacinamide to soothe skin, ceramides to strengthen our skin’s natural barrier, as well as hyaluronic acid for that boost of hydration. It’s a chemical sunscreen, yet it’s gentle on the most sensitive, dry and even acne-prone skin as it’s fragrance- free with no oil build-up. The lotion absorbs rather quickly all while soothing and protecting, and doesn’t leave any white residue after rubbing it in, meaning it’s a suitable option for those with deeper skin tones. Do I sense a new morning skincare favorite?
Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protector Lotion SPF 50+
The perfect product for beach babes! Shiseido’s Ultimate Sun Protector Lotion is a water-resistant mineral sunscreen formulated with SPF 50+. It dispenses a clear, lightweight texture that creates an invisible, sun-proof veil thanks to the brand’s SuperVeil 360 technology, ensuring no pasty white cast is in sight. It’s also silky and blends seamlessly on any skin tone, setting up a beautifully sheen canvas prior to any makeup application. The high-performance sunscreen becomes more effective (for up to 80 minutes) when exposed to heat, sweat and water thanks to Shiseido’s WetForce and HeatForce technologies, making it a trusty companion on a scorching hot summer’s day.