We all know we’re supposed to wear sunscreen, but do we? Here where I live in “sunny California,” sunscreen should be a way of life, given the year-round sunshine we have. Yet I can tell that my fellow Californians are not necessarily incorporating this vital element into their skin routines. In other parts of the country where it’s not as constantly sunshiny, it’s easy to think you don’t need it until summer rolls around. Well, study after study says that we do.
Now is the time to develop the habit of wearing sunscreen regularly. Here are some of my fave sunscreens as well as some interesting newcomers…
1. Peter Thomas Roth – Ultra Lite Sunblock 30
I have had this sunscreen in my kit for years. It’s just a straight forward, broad spectrum, oil free, high SPF sunblock. Perfect for a day of outdoor shooting or layered over an oil-free moisturizer for daily use. What I always love about Peter Thomas Roth products is that they are clinically based; the formulations are gentle, and I never have to worry about using them even on the most sensitive of skins.
Dermalogica Super Sensitive Shield, SPF 30
Sunscreen is a tricky proposition for those with sensitive skin. Not only are the fragrances, alcohol and colorings regularly used in cosmetic lotion bases problematic, but the actual chemical sun blockers — such as oxybenzone or avobenzone — may irritate sensitive skin as well. For this reason physical/mineral sunblocks are generally recommended for sensitive skin.
The Blue Lizard Australian sunscreen brand is a well-respected line of sunscreens. Their Sensitive sunscreen is a broad-spectrum physical sunscreen that is gentle on skin but does not skip on protection. It’s thick and oily, so it’s best left for use on the body only. (Note: they do make a face sunscreen, but it’s a combo of physical and chemical sun-blockers and it is not designated as “sensitive.”)
For the face, Dermalogica is always one of my go to brands. Like Peter Thomas Roth, Dermalogica is a clinically based brand whose products are researched, developed and tested by skin care professionals (the company was founded by a para-medical esthetician) for maximum efficacy. The Super Sensitive Shield uses physical sunblock (titanium dioxide and zinc oxide) combined with good-for-you skincare ingredients (oats, camellia, lavender) so your skin is well protected and feels great. It’s not the cheapest product out there, but it works. And this is your FACE we’re talking about.
Pro Tip: Go easy on physical sunscreens. The sun blocking agents can often cause a white-cast on the face if you use too much.
3. Jason Natural – Facial Natural Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 20
If you prefer naturally derived products, you are no doubt familiar with the Jason Natural brand. Their Broad Spectrum 20 sunscreen is oil free, light in both weight and texture, and packed with antioxidants in a non-pore-clogging formula. I have used this sunscreen on myself personally and liked it very much even on my crazy oily skin. And Jason Naturals says that it can be used under makeup, and it won’t cause your foundation to change colors (which can happen with sunscreen).
4. Dermalogica – Oil Free Matte SPF 30
I have espoused my love for Dermalogica many times. I have long used Dermalogica’s Solar Defense Booster both on myself and in my kit. They now have a new sun protection product out made for the oily heads like myself. This is a lightweight, broad spectrum sunscreen that has oil absorbers to help keep the skin matte. Let’s face it: If you have a combination or oily complexion, a lot of sunscreens will make your already oily skin (or oily spots) all the more oily. I am very intrigued to see if this product actually helps keep the face a bit more matte while also keeping it sun protected.
5. Neutrogena – Clear Face Sunscreen
The other problem in wearing sunscreen on oily skin is that if you are breakout prone, sunscreens can often cause more breakouts. I have even had some sunscreens that claimed to be non-comedogenic and non-pore-clogging do a number on my skin. Neutrogena has been putting out excellent skin care — including sun protection — at affordable prices since forever. Their latest addition to their sun care line is an oil free liquid-lotion with a matte finish. In addition to their proprietary broad-spectrum “Helioplex® technology,” the Clear Face sunscreen is formulated with botanicals to help calm reactive, breakout prone skin. Clear Face is available in SPF 30 and SPF 55.
6. Dr. T’s Supergoop
An unappealing name for a very appealing line of products, Supergoop is the brainchild of cosmetics industry veteran Holly Thaggard. Her goal was to create a comprehensive line of sun protection products using the latest in available sunscreen guidelines and technologies but leaving out controversial ingredients such as parabens, petrochemicals, fragrances, and phthalates. The result is a line of highly effective products that are good for both body and planet. I have yet to try any of these products, but as my own personal preference is towards more naturally derived — or at least less chemical — products, I look forward to doing so.
We’d love to know what your go-to sunblocks are. Leave your favorites in the comments. And if you have any questions, or specific needs that weren’t addressed, feel free to ask away!