Find The Perfect Sunscreen For You – Skin Care Expert
Everyone needs to use sunscreen on a daily basis and reapply throughout the day to keep their skin looking young and to prevent skin cancer. But finding the right sunscreen for your skin can be a challenge. Keep reading to learn more about our choice of sunscreens.
Why You Need Sunscreen Daily
Everyone knows how important it is to use sunscreen on a daily basis. Not only does the daily use of sunscreen prevent fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots it also protects our skin from skin cancer. According to the Archives of Dermatology, the number of Americans who have had some type of skin cancer is five times greater than the number of Americans who have had prostate or breast cancer. Even more shocking? Only four out of ten top-selling sunscreens meet industry standards for sunscreens.
According to research from 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that only 14.3% of men and 29.9% of women regularly use sunscreen on their face and other exposed skin. Women are more likely to use sunscreen on their faces than men, but the majority of Americans simply skip using sunscreen daily. With all the health and cosmetic research available that shows that using sunscreen daily is the key to healthy, even-toned, and smooth skin there are no excuses for not using sunscreen every single day.
Because of so many sunscreen products on the market finding the right sunscreen for you can often be a challenge. When choosing a sunscreen to keep in mind, the 3 criteria dermatologists recommend that your sunscreen should have:
- Sunscreen should be at least SPF 30
- Your sunscreen should be broad-spectrum which means it protects you from both UVA and UVB rays
- Your sunscreen should be water (which includes sweat) resistant.
Everyone has a different opinion of how their sunscreen should feel like and look on their skin. The convenience of application is also very important. Once you find a sunscreen that you love to buy 2 or 3. Keep one in your bathroom, one in your purse, and one by the front door, so you never leave home without applying sunscreen. Remember – no matter what the weather outside you still need sunscreen.
Keeping the above criteria in mind here are our favorite sunscreens and sunscreen brands. All the products mentioned below are easily available for purchase via Amazon. No more excuses – no one should be without sunscreen every day, all day (at least while the sun is shining).
Supergoop! has a product for everyone. These elegantly formulated sun protection products feel great on the skin. You can choose from a body sunscreen that doesn’t smell or feel at all like the typical body sunscreens you have used before, an eye cream with SPF, or even a CC cream that both protects from the sun and perfects the look of your skin. If you are not sure where to start, buy one of the kits that contain sample sizes of popular products.
This is a company that has products for sensitive or oily skin and for different lifestyles like the busy, city dweller for example. Supergoop! Antioxidant-Infused Sunscreen Mist with Vitamin C SPF 50, in particular, meets all the requirements that dermatologists look for in a sunscreen. It’s a great option for when you are spending the day at the beach or even just sightseeing during a trip.
2. La Roche-Posay
There are many excuses for why people don’t use sunscreen daily. One excuse is that people don’t like how sunscreen feels on their skin; they say it feels too heavy. If that complaint sounds familiar to you, then consider picking up La Roche-Posay’s Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid. Everyone who tries this product loves it because after you put it on you don’t feel anything on your skin. You can find this product both in tinted and untinted versions, and this brand sells other lightweight sunscreens for the face and body as well. This sunscreen also meets all the criteria that dermatologists look for in a sunscreen.
3. Neutrogena Sunscreens
Neutrogena has a sunscreen solution for every man, woman, and child. From sprays to sticks and everything in-between Neutrogena has sunscreen for every person and at an affordable price. They also have sunscreens for sport and water enthusiasts so that you know you are always protected no matter what you are doing. Popular products include:
- Ultra Sheer® Dry-Touch Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30
- Wet Skin Sunscreen Spray Broad Spectrum SPF 85+,
- Pure & Free® Baby Faces Ultra Gentle Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 45+.
4. CeraVe SPF 50 Sunscreen Face Lotion
Basic yet effective, this product is great for all skin types. It is oil-free and lightweight which means it feels great on your skin and won’t cause breakouts. In addition, it meets dermatologists’ requirements for sunscreen since it is SPF 50, water-resistant, and broad-spectrum protecting you from both UVA and UVB rays. It’s a perfect option to have on hand for daily use.
5. Sun Bum Face Stick SPF 30
One of the simplest ways to apply sunscreen when you are on the go is with a stick sunscreen. This type of sunscreen fits into your bag or purse with ease, and all you have to do is swipe it across your face to get the protection you need. It is also perfect to use on kids.
Like all the other sunscreens mentioned in this article, this sunscreen meets all the requirements that dermatologists want you to have in your sunscreen – it is SPF 30, water-resistant, and broad-spectrum which implies that it protects you from UVA and UVB rays. It also goes on clear, so there is no white cast on your skin, and it smells like bananas.
What You Should Look For in a Sunscreen – 5 Important Things to Consider When Buying Sunscreen
A New York Times article on the FDA’s new sunscreen rules stated that even with sunscreen sales approaching $1 billion a year, skin cancer rates continue to rise. Some health care experts believe that sunscreens (or rather, the claims that sunscreen manufacturers make) are actually to blame, by giving consumers a false sense of security, causing them to stay in the sun too long and without reapplying the product.
Sun Exposure & Skin of Color
In addition, many people of color are still under the impression that darker skin provides protection from the sun. The skin of color has a natural SPF of 13 – 15, but we are still vulnerable to skin cancer under the fingernails, toenails, palms of the hands, and soles of the feet where the skin is lighter.
Misleading Product Claims
Worries about false and misleading product claims and consumer confusion about products, usage, and other sun protection measures (as well as watchdog organization and consumer pressure) are some of the reasons why the FDA finally changed its rules on sunscreens.
Sun Protection Factor
Initially, sunscreens with SPF were only designed to protect against UVB, ultraviolet rays that cause sunburn. Now sunscreens are being formulated to also protect against UVA rays (that cause aging and skin damage).
Still, for some health care professionals and advocates, including the Environmental Working Group (EWG), this isn’t quite enough; they want SPF (sun protection factor) numbers on all sunscreen products to be capped at 50 (once again, because high SPF numbers can lead to a false sense of security). Plus, many companies can still market a product as a broad-spectrum sunscreen, but the actual percentage of UVB and UVA protection is not always clear. For the safety of consumers, advocates want even stricter requirements and better labeling (such as a star rating system for UVA protection) on sunscreens so that consumers know exactly what they are getting.
Until then, here are a few important things to consider when buying sunscreen:
1. Purchase a Broad Spectrum SPF 30+ Sunscreen
- Make sure that the sunscreen label states a broad spectrum and has an SPF of at least 30. To ensure that sunscreen has UVA protection you can also check the ingredient list for avobenzone, ecamsule, oxybenzone, sulisobenzone, titanium dioxide, or zinc oxide.
2. Educate Yourself About Sunscreen Ingredients
- Oxybenzone – The Environmental Working Group believes oxybenzone may cause biochemical changes, photo-allergenic and allergenic reactions, and endocrine disruption.
- Avobenzone – Look for stabilized avobenzone. If it is not stabilized, which is achieved by combining it with certain ingredients, it will break down when exposed to sunlight. According to EWG article The Trouble With Sunscreen Chemicals: Almost every chemical sunscreen includes avobenzone because it is the greatest agent for filtering skin-damaging UVA rays. However, avobenzone alone may break down when exposed to sunlight. Chemicals such as octocrylene must be added to the product to stabilize it. This practice has become more common in recent years.
- Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide – The Environmental Working Group (EWG) suggests using physical sunscreens zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide pose fewer risks of allergic or photochemical reactions and tend to cause fewer problems with acne. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide also protect the skin upon application, whereas chemical sunscreens need 20 minutes to absorb into the skin.
- One disadvantage of zinc and titanium is that some products made (and still make) the skin look gray or whitish on the skin of color after application. To address this problem, manufacturers began using nano-sized particles of zinc and titanium, which some say can be toxic when inhaled. Nanoparticles of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide have been linked to reproductive and developmental effects in animals.
- Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are considered to be safe in sunscreens. If you are concerned, use minerals that are pressed or in a lotion or cream form rather than loose minerals that create dust when applied to the face.
Zinc oxide is preferred over titanium dioxide, which can still turn gray with sweating, according to Dr. Mehmet Oz. The sunscreen should have at least 7 – 8% zinc oxide.
More About Sunscreen Ingredients
- Fragrance – Synthetic fragrance is an unnecessary chemical and potential allergen. Some fragrances are considered to be hormone disrupters.
- Vitamin A – Avoid products with vitamin A – retinol and derivatives such as retinyl palmitate and retinyl acetate. Some health authorities are concerned that these additives increase sun sensitivity leading to sunburn.
3. Avoid Sunscreen Sprays
- There is a concern with sprays that not enough sunscreen makes it onto the skin.
- In addition, there is concern that the spray can be inhaled into the lungs.
- If you use sprays, spray twice to make sure you cover all exposed areas.
- Don’t spray directly onto the face. Spray the product into your hand and then apply it to your face.
- Sprays are also flammable; so let them dry before going near an open flame.
4. The Sunscreen Should Have Your Seal of Approval
- The New York Times article mentions that the Skin Cancer Foundation gives a seal of recommendation to sunscreens only if the manufacturer has donated $10,000 to become a member of the organization.
5. Use Sunscreen in Conjunction With Sun Protection Measures
- Don’t depend on sunscreen alone. To be sure you’re protecting your skin follow the sun protection tips in this article.
Iskra Banović is our seasoned Editor-in-Chief at BlueFashion. She has been steering the website's content and editorial direction since 2013. With a rich background in fashion design, Iskra's expertise spans across fashion, interior design, beauty, lifestyle, travel, and culture.