EltaMD UV Elements Tinted Sunscreen Moisturizer, SPF 44
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Water Resistant Sunscreen, SPF 70
Best High-SPF Facial Sunscreen
Isdin Eryfotona Actinica Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 50+
Best Facial Sunscreen for Sun-Damaged Skin
Vanicream Lip Protectant Sunscreen Tube, SPF 30
BEST SUNSCREEN FOR LIPS
Banana Boat Protection + Vitamins Sunscreen for Face, SPF 50
BEST FACIAL SUNSCREEN for dry skin
Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Moisturizing Face Sunscreen, SPF 60
BEST FACIAL SUNSCREEN FOR SKIN REPAIR
Derma-E Sun Defense Mineral Oil-Free Sunscreen for Face, SPF 30
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CeraVe Sunscreen Stick, SPF 50
BEST FACIAL SUNSCREEN STICK
After more than a decade as a beauty editor, with fair skin that's basically begging to be burned, I use sunscreen on my face every day. I slather it on as part of my morning routine to help minimize the UV damage that may cause cancer — but I'm also trying to prevent premature aging (think wrinkles, sun spots, uneven texture and tone, redness and loss of elasticity.) I love getting info straight from the source, so I'm regularly asking doctors which products they use themselves. To find the very best facial sunscreens around, I polled top-rated dermatologists on the key ingredients to look for, as well as application tips and tricks. We've got something in the mix for every skin type, whether you're sensitive, dry, oily or something in between. Below, we've rounded up the 7 best sunscreens for your face that dermatologists recommend — and actually use themselves.
How often should you apply sunscreen for your face?
Spoiler alert: All the time. Forget about whether it's sunny or not — UV rays will get to you no matter what, so it's important to add this step to your morning routine. Dermatologists don’t just talk about the importance of regularly wearing sunscreen — they practice what they preach. “I wear a tinted mineral sunscreen every single day of the year,” Dr. Wolinsky tells Yahoo Life. She starts her a.m. routine with Skinceuticals CE Ferulic (a powerful vitamin C antioxidant serum), followed by EltaMD Elements Tinted Mineral Sunscreen SPF 45 and then puts on her makeup.
And they make it easy to remember: “I actually incorporate sunscreen into my daily grooming routine and apply it right after shaving,” Dr. Zeichner tells Yahoo Life. Even if you are diligent about applying sunblock every morning, don't forget to reapply throughout the day — especially if you are spending a lot of time in the sun. Every two hours is what dermatologists recommend during outdoor activity, and don't sleep on sun exposure when you're in a car or sitting at a desk by a window. While most UVB rays (which lead to sunburn) are blocked by a window, over 50% of UVA rays (contributors to premature skin aging), can penetrate glass, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.
As far as the amount of sunscreen to apply, Dr. Wolinsky suggests two full finger lengths (of cream) for the entire face.
How do dermatologists shop for facial sunscreen?
You may already be familiar with the basics, but we asked Dr. Deanne Mraz Robinson, Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology at Yale New Haven Hospital, for a refresher. "The two most important things to look for are the terms broad spectrum (meaning it protects against UVA and UVB rays) and an SPF indicator of 30+ (if I am being picky, I’d nudge you to 50+). Additional things to consider are a water-resistance indicator, which is helpful if you’ll be outside for extended amounts of time, in the water and/or sweating, as well as the words oil-free and noncomedogenic if you are acne-prone."
"I always use mineral sunscreens with the active ingredients [of] either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide," says Dr. Kristina Collins, a board-certified dermatologist based in Austin, TX. "I also think mineral sunscreens protect the skin more effectively because they act as a true shield, stopping harmful UV rays from penetrating. Mineral sunscreens are safer for coral reefs and for the environment. For people with melasma, mineral sunscreen is much more effective at preventing recurrence than chemical sunscreens."
Other than that, a lot boils down to personal preference. “Whether it’s a lotion or gel, stick or spray, the best sunscreen is ultimately the one you are actually using on your skin,” Dr. Zeichner offers.