The Best Sunscreen for Your Face (and for All Skin Types)
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We’re constantly hearing about the importance of sunscreen, but do you really have to wear it everyday? According to most dermatologists and skin experts, the answer is a resounding “Yes!”
“Sunscreen is definitely one of the most important steps to a regimen and should be worn daily as a day protection to the skin,” says Samantha Mims, a Licensed Skin Therapist who is founder of Dermasaa and a skin therapist at Brooklyn Face & Eye. According to Mims, finding a good sunscreen for your face is one of the best things you can do to keep your mug healthy.
Do You Need to Wear Sunscreen Every Day?
Although absorbing vitamin D from the sun is a pro, you also get the con of harmful UVA and UVB rays. These rays can cause early aging, spots, or cancer, so applying sunscreen everyday will protect your skin from damage whether you’re indoors or outdoors. If you’re wondering why you would wear sunscreen indoors, it’s because UV rays can still come through your windows. Unless you want to sit in front of closed shades all day, it’s also necessary to wear sunscreen even if you’re inside.
Sunscreen is also something you should be wearing throughout the years — not just during the summer months, Mims says. “Oftentimes people mistake sunscreen usage to be necessary during the warmer months and neglect this part of the routine in the winter,” she tells Rolling Stone. “Whether it be direct or indirect, we are constantly exposed to UV rays and the only way to protect our skin is through SPF application. Consider this the last step of your morning regimen,” she adds.
Physical Sunscreen vs. Chemical Sunscreen
There are two types of sunscreen you can choose to wear on your face. Knowing the difference will help you determine what’s best for your type of skin.
“Physical sunscreen is made of minerals that sit on top of the skin to help combat UV rays and is good for all skin types,” Mims explains. “Chemical sunscreen is absorbed by the skin to protect it from UV rays.” Though it works differently, Mims confirms that chemical sunscreen “can [also] be used on most skin types.”
One thing to keep in mind when shopping for a good face sunscreen: chemical sunscreen is less noticeable when applied, so you’re likely to avoid the white shading on your face you get from sunblock. If you have oily or acne-prone skin, however, physical sunscreen may be your best option.
What Are the Best Sunscreens for Your Face?
In addition to considering your skin type (oily, sensitive, dry), Mims says that you should choose a sunscreen that feels and sits right on your skin. Look for the SPF level too. Ideally, Mims say, a Broad Spectrum rating of 30 and up is best for the face, while 50 and above is best for your body.
Below, we review six of the best sunscreens for your face that you can buy online. These are all suitable for daily use, whether you’re just sitting by a window at work, or on your big beach vacation.
1. TULA Skin Care Protect + Glow Daily Sunscreen Gel
This sunscreen by TULA Skincare also offers blue light protection (the kind of harmful light emitted from our phone and computer screens). The brand combines powerful probiotic extracts and skin superfoods for a non-comedogenic formula that’s healthy and doesn’t clog your pores. You’re not only protected from the sun, but get a dewy glow too. The ingredient list also contains pineapple, papaya, and wild butterfly ginger root to strengthen and protect skin. The bonus is that it won’t leave a white cast either and can be worn on its own or under makeup. This gel-style sunscreen is rated Broad Spectrum SPF 30.
Buy TULA Protect + Glow Sunscreen Gel $36.97
2. EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen
As recommended by many dermatologists, including Mims, EltaMD’s UV Clear Facial Sunscreen has a broad spectrum SPF 46, and is ideal for sensitive and acne-prone skin since it’s oil-free (It’s also Amazon’s #1 Bestseller in the “facial sunscreen” category).
This physical sunscreen uses mineral-based ingredients and is enriched with zinc oxide that protects against UVA and UVB rays. It helps calm and protect skin types prone to acne, rosacea, and discoloration.
Buy EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen $41.00
3. Supergoop! SPF From Head-to-Toe Kit
Your whole body needs protection from the sun — not just your face — so this Supergoop! kit is perfect for the whole package. It includes the top-rated Unseen Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 40. It’s weightless, fast-absorbing, and as the name suggests, invisible on the face.
The PLAY SPF 50 Everyday Lotion, meantime, is for the face and body. Both sunscreens are water and sweat-resistant. They’re also produced using clean, vegan formulas that are suitable for normal, dry and combination skin. Some reviewers say that the Unseen Sunscreen also works as a primer before makeup.
Buy Supergoop! SPF From Head-to-Toe Kit $28
4. Kiehl’s Super Fluid Daily UV Defense SPF 50+
Kiehl’s Super Fluid Daily UV Defense SPF 50 is another fast-absorbing sunscreen that leaves a matte finish. This lightweight, non-comedogenic formula also protects skin from environmental aggressors and prevents early signs of aging. It’s the priciest of the bunch, but many reviewers praise its absorption and non-greasy quality.
Another strong option by Kiehl’s for drier skin types is its Ultra Facial Moisturizer SPF 30, so you get both a moisturizer and SPF in one. We’ve tried this one and love that it’s both effective and hydrating when you’re experiencing dry skin.
Buy Kiehl's Super Fluid Daily UV Defense $62
5. CeraVe Ultra-Light Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30
CeraVe is a skincare favorite among dermatologists and consumers, so it’s no surprise that people love its moisturizing lotion with SPF 30. With skincare in mind, it contains hyaluronic acid and ceramides to restore and maintain the skin’s natural barrier. It’s perfect for normal to oily skin as it’s non-greasy, oil-free, and doesn’t leave a white cast. It’s also recommended for daily use by the Skin Cancer Foundation.
Buy CeraVe Ultra-Light Moisturizing Lotion $16.22
6. Neutrogena Clear Face Liquid Lotion Sunscreen
One of the most-trusted brands when it comes to makeup and skincare, Neutrogena also makes a pretty great unisex sunscreen too. Their Clear Face Liquid Lotion is a silky, lightweight formula that goes on smooth and distributes evenly (no white streaks here!). With Broad Spectrum SPF 55, Helioplex technology (basically a term denoting sunscreens engineered to provide superior protection from UVA/UVB damage), and featuring the active ingredient avobenzone, this sunscreen is a must for your daily facial care routine.
Because this is an oil-free formula, this is a great sunscreen for sensitive or acne-prone skin. Neutrogena says the sunscreen is also dermatologist-tested and non-comedogenic, so it won’t cause breakouts or clog pores.
The sun liquid sunscreen lotion formula is fragrance-free and water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.
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