Are You Using the Right Sunscreen for Your Skin Type?

The American Academy of Dermatology reports that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. We don’t like those odds, so we asked Washington D.C. dermatologist Elizabeth Tanzi to give us a lesson on not only picking the right sunscreen, but more importantly, choosing the best formula for each skin type. 

How to decide between choosing a physical or chemical block: Dr. Tanzi recommends using a physical sunscreen regardless of your skin type (unless it’s superdry). “Physical blocks are not as irritating as chemical blocks and since they’re slightly drying, they won’t cause you to break out.”

If your skin is oily: “People with extremely oily skin can use a powder sunscreen with zinc to help absorb excess oil and deliver sun protection,” says Dr. Tanzi. 

Our Product Pick: Perfect for on-the-go sun protection, this SPF 30 powdered formula helps absorb excess oil and provides medium to full coverage leaving with you a dewy finish. Glō Minerals Protecting Powder SPF 30, $41

If your skin is dry: Dr. Tanzi suggests using a chemical sunscreen since they tend to be better for those with dry skin.

Our Product Pick: This lightweight, cooling gel lotion is just as refreshing as it is moisturizing and contains ingredients that defend cells from environmental aggressors, which can lead to dry skin. La Roche-Posay Anthelios 30 Cooling Water Lotion Sunscreen with Cell-Ox Shield XL, $36

If your skin is sensitive: “Physical sunscreens are always a better option for those with sensitive skin because there are no chemicals that can react,” Dr. Tanzi explains.

Our Product Pick: Formulated for those with sensitive skin, SkinCeuticals Physical UV Defense SPF 30 provides UVA/UVB protection and improves skin’s barrier function to minimize possible irritation. $34

But, no matter what kind of suncreen is right for you, Dr. Tanzi's top advice should be heeded by all of us: a minimum of SPF 30 needs to be worn each day and reapplied every two to three hours.