Regardless of your amount of sun exposure, you need to be wearing sunscreen every day. Taking precautionary measures is necessary, and while we adore foundations with SPF, that’s only helping to fight half the battle.
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.
Supergoop! Everyday Sunscreen SPF 50
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!
Image Skincare Prevention+ Daily Moisturizer SPF 50
Think of Image Skincare’s sunscreen as a moisturizer that just so happens to contain SPF 50. This one does not feel like your typical sunscreen, and glides on like a hydrating cream. It features apple stem cells, antioxidant plant extracts, and other skin-soothing ingredients to combat the effects of sun damage as it shields you from the sun’s rays. This one also pairs well with makeup!
Olay Complete Daily Defense Moisturizer SPF 30
Olay’s Daily Defense Moisturizer is packed with vitamin E, B-3, and aloe to nourish your skin as you protect it from the sun. It’s specifically formulated without fragrance or oil to ensure it’s safe for even the most sensitive skin, and will not cause irritation.
Colorescience Sunforgettable Mineral SPF 50
If you are the type of person who wants coverage on your beach vacation without feeling like you’re wearing too much makeup, look no further. This powder is pigmented, allowing you to conceal imperfections as you hide from the sun’s rays.
Perfectly portable and easy to apply thanks to its innovative brush, it offers powerful protection with a sheer, natural-looking finish.
Neutrogena Clear Face Sunscreen SPF 55
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.
La Mer The Broad Spectrum SPF 50 UV Protecting Fluid
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.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Tinted Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50
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!
Sun Bum Premium Sunscreen Face Stick SPF 30
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.
COOLA Mineral Suncare for Face SPF 30
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.