Here’s How to Pick a Face Sunscreen

We’re well into summer, which means you’re probably already in the habit of slathering some SPF on your face before a day in the sun. But did you know that not all sunscreens are created equal? And when it comes to your face, things get even trickier. Some brands lack broad-spectrum protection, meaning they only protect you from UVB (and not UVA) rays. This can put you at risk for skin cancer and premature aging. Plus, you don’t necessarily want to use a one-size-fits-all approach and apply your favorite body sunscreen to your face. Doing so can cause clogged pores––basically an invitation for acne.

So, what should you look for in a face sunscreen? There are a few guidelines to keep in mind. At the most basic level, The American Academy of Dermatology recommends three things for your sunscreen. First, that it’s broad spectrum (which will usually be advertised on the label). Also, that it’s SPF 30 or higher––anything less won’t do the job. Finally, you want a water-resistant or waterproof formula to withstand sweat and swimming.

Beyond these three recs, you also want to make sure to choose a sunscreen that compliments your skin type, according to Prevention. Joshua Zeicher, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City told the site that if you have dry skin, you should opt for a formula with hyaluronic acid, ceramides, or another hydrating ingredient. Conversely, if you have oily skin you’ll want to go with a lighter gel formula or something with a matte finish to prevent shine. If you’re acne-prone, you’ll want to stay away from generic pharmacy brands and thicker creams, experts told New York Magazine.

With all of that info in mind, here are some top-rated formulas to get you started on your quest for the perfect face sunscreen:

Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 40

As the name unseen suggests, this lightweight formula from Supergoop! is completely clear, so it won’t leave you looking ghost-like. Plus, it contains red algae to help protect the skin from harmful blue light that’s emitted by your screens.

Neutrogena Clear Face Liquid-Lotion Sunblock SPF 30

Neutrogena is a trusted sun care brand for a reason. And this face sunscreen is no exception. It’s been clinically tested on acne-prone skin to ensure that it won’t cause breakouts.

Olay Complete Daily Defense All Day Moisturizer SPF 30 Sensitive Skin

If you’ve been searching for hydration with sun protection, look no further. This moisturizer comes recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation, and contains Vitamin E and aloe to soothe the skin while it protects against UVA and UVB rays.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Mineral Ultra-Light Sunscreen Fluid SPF 50

This splurge-worthy sunscreen brand is recommended by dermatologists and recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation. The lightweight fluid formula is fast-absorbing and leaves a matte finish so you’ll forget you’re even wearing it.


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