Derms are real quick to school you on how important it is to slap on sunscreen even if there’s only a tiny chance you’ll see the sun during the day. We agree with them, obvi. Though it gives us life – literally – the sun is a potent beast that doesn’t discriminate against anything in its path. Its UV rays cast down like targeted laser beams that cause all those unwelcome signs of premature aging, including sun spots, fine lines, wrinkles, and thin skin. Worst of all, consistent exposure can cause skin cancer.
We get it. Sometimes sunscreen is hella annoying to apply. It’s historically known for being chalky, greasy, streaky, and thick, which feels gross on your skin and even messes with your makeup plans. It’s 2019, though, and we’re blessed with waaay better SPF formulations than we’ve ever had access to before.
Those same derms who always recommend sunscreen? Well, they apply religiously themselves. We hit up a few of them to ask which SPFs they swear by.
The Sunscreen: EltaMD UV Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 46 Moisturizing Facial Sunscreen, $25
Perfect For: Sensitive Skin
“I really like this sunscreen for my patients with sensitive skin because it helps calm and protect sensitive skin types that are prone to acne, rosacea, and discoloration,” says Dr. Pooja Sodha, a board-certified dermatologist for FaceMD+. “It is mineral-based, lightweight, and keeps your face looking and feeling smooth.”
Turns out, Dr. Sodha isn’t the only one obsessed with this one. Allure did a story on how derms fangirl over it. The formula is v sheer and contains skin-plumping hyaluronic acid, lightly exfoliating lactic acid, and skin strengthening niacinamide.
The Sunscreen: DDF Weightless Defense Oil-Free Hydrator with Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 45, $39
Perfect For: Dry Skin & Anti-Aging
“I highly recommend clients start using this lightweight protective hydrator as an anti-aging preventative, not only to protect against UVA and UVB rays, but also to minimize lines and wrinkles. It contains antioxidants that moisturize and provide a more youthful look,” says Dr. Howard Sobel, a board-certified dermatologist and the founder of NYC’s Sobel Skin. In addition to antioxidants, it’s got hydrating hyaluronic acid and grape seed oil, vitamin E, and retinol esters.
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The Sunscreen: La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios 60 Ultra-Light Sunscreen Fluid, $30
Perfect For: Under-Makeup Moisturizer
Dr. Sobel says, “Unless you’re really caking on the coverage, the sunscreen in your makeup isn’t enough to protect your skin from the sun. It would require seven times the normal amount of foundation to provide enough coverage, so it’s important to wear a separate moisturizer that offers SPF protection.”
He says to layer a lightweight liquid sunscreen under your makeup and then double up on protection with an SPF foundation or BB cream. His fave for this is La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios, and another awesome option is Supergoop’s Superscreen Daily Moisturizer, $38.
The Sunscreen: Coppertone Sport Sunscreen Spray SPF 50, $9
Perfect For: Beach, Pool, and Sweat Days
It’s not the chicest can of sunscreen, but if it’s good enough for Dr. Sobel, then it’s good enough for anyone. He says, “This water-resistant sunscreen spray stays put even when you sweat, meaning it won’t run into the eyes and sting. Plus, it offers broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection with active ingredients that absorb damaging UV radiation before it reaches the skin. It’s moderately priced, which is great.”
The Sunscreen: Revision Intellishade Tinted SPF 45, $75
Perfect For: Multi-Tasking
“One of my favorites — and one I use often — is Revision Intellishade,” says Dr. Jenny Sobera, a board-certified dermatologist based in Birmingham, Alabama. “This multi-tasking sunscreen does more than protect from harmful UVA and UVB rays. While it does that very well, Intellishade also ‘intelligently’ matches most skin tones and contains three anti-aging peptides as well as emollients.”
The price tag will give your wallet a bit of a shock, but if you consider it a triple threat SPF, sheer coverage base, and anti-aging treatment then you could technically be saving yourself some dough, so that’s a win!
The Sunscreen: Colorescience Brush on Sunforgettable SPF 50, $65
Perfect For: On-the-Go Touch Ups
“I always carry a powder SPF in my purse for reapplication during the day,” says Dr. Shari Marchbein, a board-certified dermatologist at NYC’s Manhattan Dermatology. “My favorite is Colorescience’s Brush on Sunforgettable. It’s a translucent powder that’s preloaded with a retractable brush, which is ideal for reapplying over makeup and easy to carry around to help protect exposed skin during short periods of day to day sun exposure.”
She does note that powder SPFs are only recommended for easy touch-ups and should be supplemental to your base sunscreen.
Check out our fave sunscreens that work well under makeup here.