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You know you should be wearing sunscreen on your face every. single. day, whether it's the dead of winter or the middle of July. “Many people assume you only need to wear sunscreen on sunny summer days, though it really should be applied year-round,” says dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD.
Peep some of the best dermatologist-recommended sunscreens for the face, below:
Which face sunscreens do dermatologists recommend?
- Mineral or chemical SPF: Dr. Gohara and dermatologist Julie Russak, MD, both prefer mineral sunscreens over chemical sunscreens because they work for all skin types (even acne-prone or sensitive skin), aren't as irritating, and create a barrier to block UV rays. While mineral sunscreens reflect the sun's rays off the skin, chemical sunscreens absorb them.
- Ingredients: Sunscreen filters like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are responsible for protecting against UV damage, so they're the most important ingredients to look for. "They're the most valuable for skin health and cosmetic benefit, seeing as a majority of the signs of aging come from unprotected UV exposure," Dr. Gohara says.
- Formula: Choose a formula that you'll actually enjoy wearing. If you have oily skin or just like using more lightweight products, opt for a serum or gel. Those of you with dry or sensitive skin will want to opt for a more traditional cream formula.
- SPF number: The most important thing is to choose a broad spectrum SPF 30 or higher so that the face is protected from all rays are protected against, says Dr. Gohara.
Whether you've got oily or sensitive skin, want a dewy glow, prefer a matte finish, or even want something with a tint to it, there's a facial sunscreen for you.
See below for the most popular dermatologist-recommended sunscreens for every skin type.
Why is it so important to wear sunscreen every day?
“The sun’s rays penetrate the clouds even on cold, overcast days, allowing harmful UV rays to reach the skin," says Dr. Gohara. "Wearing sunscreen daily protects your skin from those UV rays emitted by the sun and from electronic blue light. It also lowers your risk for developing skin cancer, and prevents premature signs of aging."
While she notes that the sun's UV rays can cause hyperpigmentation, fine lines, and wrinkles, the risk of skin cancer is obviously more important to think about. "UV rays even go through windows," explains Dr. Nussbaum. "That's why it's critical to wear sunscreen daily on your face, even if you're just staying home."
Neha Tandon is the senior commerce editor of Women's Health—she's an expert in discovering the best products and services you can buy and giving recommendations. She discovered her love for magazines when as a teen, she started stealing her mother's magazines. Determined to see more women who look like her and her family members on the glossy covers of magazines, she was guided by seasoned editors and mentors to write for brands including New York Magazine, Cosmopolitan, BRIDES, Harper's Bazaar, Business Insider, Byrdie, and Well+Good. When she’s not grilling dermatologists about the latest skincare trends, she’s doing candlelit yoga or watching Humphrey Bogart movies over vegan pizza. Follow her on Instagram.
Addison Aloian (she/her) is an editorial assistant at Women’s Health. When she’s not writing about all things pop culture, health, beauty, and fashion, she loves hitting leg day at the gym, shopping at Trader Joe’s, and watching whichever hockey game is on TV. Her work has also appeared in Allure, StyleCaster, L’Officiel USA, V Magazine, and Modern Luxury Media.
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