Sunscreen is arguably the most important beauty product you can buy. In a cruel twist of fate, it’s also one of the most difficult to decipher when it comes to deciding which one to purchase. After all, the sheer volume of options available on the market is enormous.
So, how should you choose the best SPF for your skin? Most of us generally pick all of our other skin-care products according to our skin type, so it’s natural to wonder if we should do the same with sunscreen. Here, we tapped Hamden, CT dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD to set the record straight.
First, why is it important to wear sunscreen every day?
Before we get into how to choose a sunscreen, we need to reiterate why it’s so important to wear in the first place. “We know that skin cancer is largely preventable, and it starts with practicing sun-safety tips, including wearing broad-spectrum sunscreen every day,” explains Dr. Gohara. “When skin is unprotected and is exposed to the sun’s harmful UV rays, not only do our chances of developing skin cancer increase over time, but we also know that 90 percent of the visible signs of aging are caused by the sun.”
Long story short, sunscreen should be a part of everyone’s daily skin-care regimen and should be seen as an anti-aging treatment that both protects and prevents future skin damage.
Should you choose your sunscreen based on your skin type?
According to Dr. Gohara, it’s smart to choose a sunscreen that does match your skin type. “The best sunscreen is the one you will use every day,” says Dr. Gohara. “Choose one that is right for your skin type, condition, tone and lifestyle.”
For those with sensitive skin, choose a mineral sunscreen over a chemical one as it’s less likely to irritate the skin. Choose an oil-free and non-comedogenic option if you have oily skin, and those with dry skin should look for options with hydrating ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid.
Ultimately, it’s important that you choose a sunscreen you feel comfortable using daily. Think of your sunscreen as part of your regular skin-care regimen—never walk out the door without it on.
Is there a sunscreen that you recommend for all skin types?
Luckily, there are sunscreens available that are considered good for all skin types, so you won’t have to dig through the beauty aisles to find one that fits your particular skin type if you don’t want to. “The EltaMD UV Restore Broad-Spectrum SPF 40 ($36.50) is dye-free, fragrance-free, gluten-free, oil-free, paraben-free, and non-comedogenic, making it great for sensitive and acne-prone skin,” says Dr. Gohara. “It’s also formulated with ginger root extract and saccharide Isomerate which promote a healthy complexion by improving skin smoothness, minimizing dark spots and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.”
A great everyday sunscreen for anyone, UV Restore also contains antioxidants that combat skin-aging free radicals associated with ultraviolet and infrared radiation and offers high-energy visible light protection. “This sunscreen also comes in both an untinted and tinted version,” adds Dr. Gohara.
What is the correct way to use the EltaMD UV Restore Broad-Spectrum SPF 40?
“According to the American Academy of Dermatology, it’s recommended to use an SPF 30 or higher on your face,” says Dr. Gohara. “Sunscreen should be worn every day as the last part of your skin-care routine.”
Pro tip: Dr. Gohara recommends leaving your SPF next to your toothpaste as a reminder to apply every morning before you leave your house. “And don’t forget to apply it on all areas of your face including your nose, ears, and lips,” she adds.
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