All of the experts we consulted unanimously agreed on one thing: that sunscreen is, hands down, the most crucial skin-care product. It’s of utmost importance as part of your year-round regimen. Daily and consistent sunscreen use helps to prevent the development of fine lines and wrinkles, textural imperfections, and changes in the appearance of pores over time. More importantly, daily sunscreen use can help to prevent the formation of certain skin cancers. To make it easy to remember, experts recommend using a daily moisturizer with a built-in broad spectrum SPF of at least 30.
Decoding Sunscreen Formulas
There’s a lot of debate over which sunscreens are best and safest for your complexion.
You have two types of ingredients in formulas:
Chemical ingredients, such as oxybenzone and octinoxate, which are absorbed into your skin to counteract the damage from ultraviolet light
Lightweight, easy to apply and transparent on the skin.
Can irritate and cause reactions in those with sensitive skin.
Certain ingredients like oxybenzone have raised health concerns and carry a “high hazard” rating on the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database.
Physical ingredients, such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, that sit on top of your skin to deflect or prevent UV rays from entering your body.
Very little risk of irritation or health concerns.
Often leave a white or grayish tint on the skin, particularly in those with darker skin tones.
Insider tip:c “I typically advocate the use of sunscreens that contain a combination of physical and chemical blocking components,” Dr. Charles says. “These will provide protection from both UVA and UVB rays, and typically do not create any visible residue.”
Sunscreen Application 101
Consider this your rule of thumb: “Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before sun exposure, and reapply at least every two hours. Chemical sunscreens should be applied directly to clean skin, while physical blockers can be applied last in your skin-care regimen, but before makeup is applied. About two tablespoons of sunscreen are appropriate to cover your face and exposed areas of your body; within that amount, use a nickel-size dollop to cover your face.”