Gone are the days of making excuses for skimping on SPF—sunscreen now comes in a multitude of different forms and easy-to-apply methods, making it simpler than ever to stay covered even in record-breaking temperatures. During the heat of summer though, SPF is only the first line of defense when battling UVA/UVB rays. Antioxidants fight visible signs of aging and aid in the recovery of sun-damaged skin. We talked to some of the top dermatologists across the country to find out exactly what they apply before and after sun exposure. Below are the nine products that they simply cannot live without this season. Warning: these skin-savers can convince even the biggest skeptic to apply SPF and antioxidants every single day.
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She-EOs on the go: take note. This hero product from Colorescience is both our favorite innovative sun protectant and favorite SPF to apply on the run. Application is fool-proof (seriously, all you have to do is brush it on) and the product is long-wearing. “This small powder-dispensing brush provides an easy way to re-apply your moisturizer without removing your makeup. It’s perfect to pop in your bag when you’re on the go, so your skin is always moisturized. The new and improved formula is SPF 50 and not only protects your skin from sun-damage, but also premature aging. And best of all, it’s water resistant!” says Greenwich, CT dermatologist Kim Nichols, MD. It’s time to send a break-up text to messy SPF.
It’s no mystery why Alastin’s HydraTint non-greasy sunscreen is such a hit with the pros. “It’s like 4 products in one,” says Chicago dermatologist Rachel Pritzker, MD. “Sunscreen, coverage, moisturizer, AND antioxidants that shield against pollution.” The velvet-smooth formula is truly a second skin: just a thin layer provides SPF coverage to protect against the elements while the subtle tint evens skin tone to give that supermodel-in-Saint-Lucia glow. Also filed under: How to Convince your Friends and Family that you Just Spent a Week in the Tropics.
Cher famously crooned about her desire to turn back time. We’re sending her a box of RoC Retinol Deep Wrinkle Night Cream immediately because this elixir might just be the closest thing we have to time travel. We know what you’re probably thinking—retinol in the summer? Enter Mt Pleasant, SC dermatologist, Marguerite Germain, MD. She says, “Even though some people think that they should take a break from their retinol in the summer because it can make them more sun sensitive, retinol should be used all year long, especially in the summer to rejuvenate the skin and help prevent skin cancer.” When daylight savings rolls around in the fall, we’ll be setting our clocks back…15 years.
If there’s something we love about waking up in the mornings, it’s hitting snooze and catching a few more z’s before our day actually begins. Glo’s lightweight formula allows us to do that—forget applying a barrage of products in the morning to achieve sun defense, moisture, and color correction. This one wonderproduct does all of that and more. Among’s Glo’s many dedicated fans is Dr. Nichols. “The #1 product to prevent signs of aging is a sunscreen and this lightweight moisturizer has dual functioning as an SPF primer first and a moisturizer second. Not only does it provide the UVA/UVB protection you need, but it also gives a tinted glow as well!”
SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic ($116)
There’s nothing quite like a classic, and this tried-and-true formula with over 500 5-star reviews on Dermstore has us fully convinced of that fact. Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and ferulic acid work to minimize the appearance of wrinkles while amping up collagen production. With a chorus of dermatologists and skincare experts singing its praises—including Dr. Pritzker and Dr. Germain—we’ve officially quit our search for the fountain of youth. “For a super strong antioxidant that protects from free radicals and ozone damage, SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic is still king,” says Dr. Pritzker.
Sun protection doesn’t just stop at the skin. Aveda created this powerful veil (Read: liquid armor in a convenient spray bottle) that guards both hair and scalp from the sun’s rays. Glenn Dale, MD dermatologist Valerie Callender, MD loves this product because it’s “water resistant, provides UVA/UVB protection and helps to keep hair from drying out, especially color treated hair.” If this magic potion can’t convince you to finally hit “check out” on those summer vacation tickets—two to paradise, anyone?—we’re not sure what will.
The ideal way to get our caffeine—and antioxidant— fix, Replenix Power of Three Cream is loaded with potent agents like green tea, caffeine, and resveratrol that protect skin from sun damage and resulting collagen loss. Dr. Germain recommends that everyone use an antioxidant cream or serum in the summer. “Sunscreen is the first line of defense, antioxidants is the second line of defense.” This holy trinity of polutant-fighting power is always stocked on our shelves, rain or shine.
ISDIN Skin Drops ($52)
Going to the gym and working out is helpful to keeping our bodies in the best shape. Pumping iron (oxide) is also important when keeping our skin and faces healthy, too. “Iron oxides help to prevent skin darkening in patients with melasma who may be sensitive to visible light,” says Dr. Callender. We can’t stop using this light-as-air formula from ISDIN. Coverage is entirely buildable, so the tinted formula is personalizable. Dr. Callender suggests applying the skin drops after sunscreen for best results.
If we were stranded on a desert island and could only have one skin care supplement, this would be it. Heliocare’s antioxidant formula has us snacking on sunshine (defense) with an age-combating fern extract. Dr. Callender highly recommends this ingestible for those struggling with discoloration because it “provides an added layer of protection from UV radiation for patients with hyperpigmentation, such as melisma.” Fighting the signs of sun exposure has never been easier—or more delicious.