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Whether we're consciously active in the sun, driving here and there, or sitting beside our living room window, facial features are regularly exposed to sun rays. Taking precautionary measures is necessary, and while we applaud you for using foundation and moisturizers with SPF, that's only the start.
We chatted with NYC cosmetic dermatologist Sejal Shah, founder of SmarterSkin Dermatology, to demystify some of our frequently asked questions about sunscreen. First and foremost, what even is SPF?
"SPF is a measure of protection against UVB," Shah explains. "SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB rays. SPF 30 blocks 97%. After that, the increase in protection is even more gradual. No sunscreen blocks 100% of UVB rays."
While she acknowledges that choosing the best sunscreen is important, it's even more crucial to use it correctly. "Make sure you're continuously reapplying throughout the day," she says.
We couldn't agree more! You'll need fewer anti-aging products if you use our favorite sunscreens right.
Sunscreen is the key to healthy skin care, and these formulas were made to prevent our most sensitive facial skin from feeling the burn. Read on for our picks of the best face sunscreens, along with tips from Dr. Shah on finding the right sunscreen for you.
Applying sunscreen wouldn't be a problem if it weren't necessary to reapply, reapply, and reapply again. Olay's ultra hydrating sunscreen won't last you all day — it'll last you a full 48 hours. Impressed? The brand's SolaSheer Technology combats premature sun damage with SPF 15 and vitamins B3, C, and E, so your skin is not only protected, but it's also completely nourished.
Supergoop's everyday sunscreen is multifunctional, and it caters to the needs of both the face and body.
"Many formulations can be used on both," Shah says. "Sunscreens formulated for the face are more likely to contain other beneficial ingredients (e.g. antioxidants, moisturizers) and may be better suited to wear with makeup."
We love this one for just that reason, as it's rich in antioxidants and enhanced with a trademarked Cellular Response Technology to protect against UVA/UVB and IRA rays, all while simultaneously keeping hydration levels on the up and up. Now that's super!
Best for Acne
For those prone to breakouts, Neutrogena's facial sunscreen won't result in acne. The formula is light, oil-free, and 100% waterproof, and it's formulated with Neutrogena's own Helioplex to guarantee maximum UVA/UVB protection. It also contains avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, and homosalate, all active ingredients that Shah recommends in a sunscreen.
Give your precious facial skin the ultimate protection with this powerful fluid from La Mer. Not only does it shield your skin from damaging UV rays, but it keeps it feeling (and looking) hydrated and soothed. This luxurious pick features La Mer's signature Miracle Broth, which helps boost skin's powers of renewal.
Best Lightweight Formula
If you find yourself on the run often, it's essential that your sunscreen can cope in every environment. Created to protect against UV rays, oxidation, and the overproduction of sebum, Shiseido's facial formula is super lightweight and applies easily. Boasting a strong SPF, the product also diminishes visible pores and takes away shine.
Best Tinted Sunscreen
This La Roche-Posay sunscreen is Shah-approved. "It's lightweight, water-resistant, comes in a mineral-only version, and contains antioxidants," she says. We love it for all the same reasons!
To be worn under makeup or solo, the Anthelios tinted sunscreen was designed with a Cell-Ox Shield technology that ultimately creates a veil of antioxidants against harmful UVA/UVB rays. Boasting an impressive SPF 50, the product also creates a stunning glow, so not only will you be burn-free, but you'll look good doing so. Hooray, Posay!
Best for Travel
This teeny, tiny sunscreen stick was designed to combat sun exposure to the face. Enhanced with vitamin E, the broad-spectrum protection stick is portable, super convenient, and effective, guaranteeing 80 minutes of water-resistant coverage. In Bum we trust.
Best Matte Finish
COOLA's freshly fragrant sunscreen is like a spa treatment for your face, but with even more health benefits. Infused with rose hip oil, vitamin C, evening primrose, and flaxseed oil, it's rich in omega-3 and plankton extract to protect skin cells against environmental stressors, as well as rebalance your complexion.
Best Sweat-Resistant Sunscreen
"If you're going to be working out outdoors or in the water, look for a sunscreen that’s water and sweat resistant," Shah suggests.
Exclusively made from 100% non-nano zinc, Babo Botanicals' latest lotion offers 80 minutes of water- and sweat-resistant protection. Enhanced with nourishing shea butter, avocado, and jojoba oil, it's certified organic and approved for babies, kids, and adults, too, so you'll definitely want to bring this along on your next trip.
TONYMOLY's giving skin a much-needed vacation, and you won't come back with burns or sun spots. This oil sunscreen is basically a wave of moisture for skin cells, and it also doubles as a makeup primer. Complete with a flower oil complex made from calendula, rose, and raspberry seed oil, it provides maximum protection against harmful rays with an SPF of 50+.