Sunscreen Sticks Are The Ultimate SPF Hack
"Hearst Magazines and Yahoo may earn commission or revenue on some items through these links."
The first rule of great skincare is that you can never skip your sunscreen. But the messy process of slathering it on isn't the most fun. Bet ya haven't tried sunscreen sticks, though. Sunscreen sticks are the perfect solution for applying sunscreen in a jiffy mess-free, and there are several types out there whether you're looking for something for oily, acne-prone, or sensitive skin.
Not only do sunscreen sticks keep your hands from getting super sticky, they also offer easy application and convenient storage. "I love the convenience and portability of a sunscreen stick. I almost always have one in my purse because they're small and don't take up too much space, and I don't have to worry about them leaking," says Hadley King, MD, a board-certified dermatologist. "Sunscreen sticks are ultra-portable, non-greasy, and convenient to take on-the-go," adds Joshua Zeichner, MD, associate professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC.
But, of course, sunscreen sticks also provide excellent sun protection against harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun, which is one of the leading causes of skin cancer. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, one in five Americans will be diagnosed in their lifetime, making it all the more important to make sure you are applying it on the daily.
If you tend to skip (or skimp) on applying sunscreen, investing in a sunscreen stick may be an easier way to make sure you're protecting yourself from UV rays. Here are the 13 best sunscreen sticks, according to dermatologists.
Clear Sunscreen Stick
If you like to put a full face of makeup on, this sunscreen stick is a great option that won't mess up your look, as it spreads evenly across the face. "This is ultralight, non-greasy, and can be worn on its own or under makeup," says Dr. Zeichner.
Sunforgettable Total Protection Sport Stick
For sweaty outdoor runs or cycling sessions, this sunscreen is a great option that won't run down your face and into your eyes. "It has all-mineral protection, is non-nano, and it's non-comedogenic," says Dr. King. "Plus, it's rich in antioxidants and water-resistant up to 80 minutes."
Beach Defense Sunscreen Stick
If you're looking to use a sunscreen stick for your body (not just your face), this is a great option since you can buy multiple at a budget-friendly price. "Neutrogena Beach Defense is a classic for a good reason. It’s easy to use, inexpensive for use across the whole body, and it has a nice scent," says Corey L. Hartman, MD, a board-certified dermatologist.
UV Stick Face and Body Sunscreen
Got sensitive skin? The non-greasy formula used in EltaMD's sunscreen won't irritate it, as customers rave about how how the sunscreen stick doesn't clog pores. "This all-mineral stick is great for all skin types," Dr. Zeichner says.
Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen Stick
If you're looking for a sunscreen stick that also packs a powerful moisturizing and nourishing punch, grab this one. "This sunscreen rubs in clear and contains aloe vera, shea butter, sunflower seed oil, and vitamin E to nourish the skin," says Dr. King. "It's non-comedogenic and does not contain parabens or fragrances, making it a good fit for sensitive skin, too."
Original Sunscreen Face Stick
Obsessed with that classic suntan lotion smell? You will love the nostalgic scent of this sunscreen stick. "It rubs on smoothly without leaving a white cast behind," says Dr. Zeichner. "Plus, it has a great scent that most consumers enjoy using."
Mineral Sunscreen Stick
If mineral sunscreen tends to leave a white cast on your skin, you'll want to try this one because it rubs on clear. "This sunscreen is all-mineral, and the lightweight formula spreads easily and dries clear," says Dr. King.
The sunscreen's formulation is also great for dry skin. "Hyaluronic acid helps to hydrate the skin, and ceramides and other emollients support the skin barrier," Dr. King adds.
Sheer Mineral Sunscreen Stick
Sunscreen can seriously irritate your skin if it's uber-sensitive or you struggle with skin allergies or conditions like eczema. If that sounds like you, this is one of the best sunscreen sticks for you.
"It's hypoallergenic and suitable for sensitive skin (it has the National Eczema Association seal of acceptance). "The sunscreen is also made with vitamin E to help protect the skin from free radicals, and emollients and occlusives to support the skin barrier and lock in moisture," adds Dr. King.
Organic Face Sunscreen
This chemical sunscreen is made with hydrating properties. "If you're okay with a chemical sunscreen formulation, this is a nice option that's rich in emollients and antioxidants," says Dr. King. The vegan sunscreen stick also has an incredible scent—tropical coconut—and is loaded with antioxidants found in ingredients like red raspberry seed oil, meadowfoam seed oil, and prickly pear extract.
Go! Mineral Defense Sport Sunscreen Stick
This sunscreen stick is big on its skincare benefits, thanks to ceramides and other moisturizing ingredients like jojoba and sunflower seed oil. "[Solar Suncare's] all-mineral sunscreen contains ceramides to help repair the skin barrier along with sunflower seed oil to help moisturize," says Dr. Zeichner. Plus, if you're into sustainability, the packaging in recyclable.
Mineral Sunscreen Stick
Zinc oxide is the main ingredient that will block UVA and UVB rays in this sunscreen stick. But, it's also made with olive fruit extract and shea and cocoa butter to help you achieve super soft skin. "This sunscreen stick is all zinc, non-nano, water-resistant up to 80 minutes, and suitable for sensitive skin," says Dr. King.
Face Sunscreen Stick
If you're into water sports and sustainability, this mineral sunscreen stick is great because it is reef-safe. It's also nourishing to the skin. "This all-mineral stick contains antioxidants to protect the skin against free radical damage," says Dr. Zeichner. "Plus it doesn't drip, so it's great for people who are active."
Tinted Solar Stick SPF 40
If you're a fan of tinted sunscreens, MDSolarSciences' is a great option that's enriched with vitamin C. "[When] looking for both broad spectrum UV protection and cosmetic coverage, this stick provides both," says Dr. Zeichner. "The universal shade can be used across a variety of skin tones for a an even, matte complexion."
Which sunscreen stick is the best?
Here are a few things you should consider when choosing the right sunscreen stick for you.
SPF level and coverage
First, select a sunscreen that is labeled as 'broad spectrum'. "Broad spectrum means it will protect against UVA rays, which age the skin, and UVB rays, which burn the skin," explains Dr. Hartman. "Look for a minimum of SPF 30."
The American Academy of Dermatology also recommends that you choose a sunscreen that has:
an SPF of 30 or higher
a water-resistant formula
Type of sunscreen
There are two types of sunscreens you can choose from.
Mineral sunscreens use mineral ingredients like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to block UV rays. Mineral sunscreens tend to be more gentle on the skin, but are notorious for leaving a white cast.
Chemical sunscreens are ones that opt for chemicals like avobenzone, octinoxate, and oxybenzone that penetrate the skin and dissipate UV rays. Chemical sunscreens may blend better into the skin, but they may be more irritating.
"Ultimately, the choice is up to the individual, depending on personal preferences," says Dr. Zeichner. There is a new generation of mineral sunscreen sticks that do not leave a heavy white cast like traditional products used to, he adds.
Dr. King says she is particularly a fan of mineral sunscreens that contain non-nano zinc oxide, which are larger zinc oxide particles that offer more UV filter than nano versions of zinc oxide."
Color And Feel
Finding the best sunscreen for you may take a little trial and error, as you won't know how the sunscreen reacts with your skin until you actually try it. After trying it, you'll also pretty soon discover whether it leaves a white cast behind and whether you're okay with that.
You'll also realize whether you prefer sunscreens that feel like lotions, or matte options with a less-greasy feel. The best sunscreen for you should ultimately be something you feel comfortable reapplying every two hours.
Do sunscreen sticks work?
It comes down to personal preference, but stick sunscreen can be more difficult to guarantee coverage when it comes to getting certain angles and hard to reach areas on your face. Dr. Zeichner has a tip for that.
"When applying sunscreen stick to the nose or other areas with crevices, you can apply it using the narrow edge, while using the broad edge for larger body surface areas," he suggests.
What’s the proper way to use sunscreen sticks?
Applying sunscreen with a sunscreen stick can be more tricky than traditional lotions. "You need to apply enough sunscreen to the skin in order to get the level of protection labeled on the bottle," says Dr. Zeichner.
"As a general rule, I recommend applying a sunscreen stick back-and-forth on the skin for four passes." After the sunscreen is applied, you also should rub it into the skin to make sure that there are no missed areas.
"When using a sunscreen stick for the face, start with the center of the face and apply the stick outward towards the border of the face and into the hairline," adds Dr. Zeichner. He says that his patients commonly forget sunscreen in those areas and end up getting a sunburn along the periphery of their faces.
Plus, don't forget to re-apply. "I see more patients get a sunburn from not re-applying enough when outside," says Dr. Hartman. "You should reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or sweating."
What's the best sunscreen stick for oily or acne-prone skin?
Sunscreen sticks may actually be less likely to clog pores and irritate oily skin compared to sunscreens in lotion form.
"Sunscreen sticks are advantageous for people who are heavy sweaters, or for those who have oily skin, or are acne-prone because the formulas tend to be less greasy and do not drip off of the skin the way that lotions can," says Dr. Zeichner.
To combat clogged pores, Dr. King says to be sure to look for a sunscreen stick that is labeled as non-comedogenic, aka non-pore clogging.
You Might Also Like