The US Food and Drug Administration is proposing new sunscreen regulations on over-the-counter formulas — it addresses active ingredient safety, dosage requirements as well as SPF and broad-spectrum guidelines.
Sunscreen is one of the few sources of protection against sun damage (from aging to cancer), so finding the right formula that you’ll apply daily is key. “Be mindful of the level of protection the sunscreen offers,” Howard Sobel, cosmetic dermatologist and founder of Sobel Skin in New York City tells Yahoo Lifestyle. He advises looking for formulas with, “UVA and UVB [protection] to prevent sun spots, premature aging, loss of skin elasticity and burns.”
Whether you’re looking for a physical block with ingredients such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, or prefer a moisturizing chemical formula (Sobel suggests looking for octocrylene), we polled top dermatologists to get their recommendations.
Below, shop the best sunscreens according to dermatologists.
“EltaMD UV Broad-Spectrum sunscreen is a personal favorite that I also recommend to patients of all skin types. It is sensitive enough to use if you have acne, dryness or rosacea, but is also not greasy for those with oily skin. So many of my patients hate the feeling of a thick sunscreen that sits on top of the skin, but EltaMD spreads quickly and feels as if you don’t have any product on.” — Ellen Marmur, dermatologist and founder of Marmur Metamorphosis
“Unless you’re caking on the coverage, the sunscreen in your makeup isn’t enough to protect your skin from the sun. It would require seven times the normal amount of foundation to provide enough coverage, so it’s important to wear a separate moisturizer that offers SPF protection. Layer a lightweight liquid sunscreen under your makeup and double up on protection with an SPF foundation or BB cream.” — Howard Sobel, cosmetic dermatologist and founder of Sobel Skin
“I love Supergoop Unseen. It’s lightweight and absolutely transparent. I also love Isdin’s Eryfotona Actinica SPF 50+ [see below], which also contains DNA repair enzymes, vitamin E and zinc oxide. The DNA repair enzymes help to repair the damage being created by the sun.” — Michelle Henry, MD, clinical instructor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College
“My favorite sunscreen is Isdin Eryfotona Actinica Ultralight Emulsion SPF 50+ which is an effective and elegant physical sunscreen that also prevents actinic [sun] damage. This is an 11 percent zinc oxide without any chemical filters [and] with a potent antioxidant, vitamin E, and DNA repair enzymes. These DNA repair enzymes… repair about 45 percent of the damage [caused by] UV radiation, which is [why it’s] my go-to recommendation for my skin cancer or active, outdoorsy patients. While I’m not a skin cancer survivor, I use Isdin Eryfotona every day, as it’s an ultra-lightweight, elegant formula that melts into the skin with heat and friction, making it applicable for all skin types.” — Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, dermatologist and founder of Entière Dermatology
“Elizabeth Arden Prevage City Smart is a mineral sunscreen with a tint protects from both the sun and pollutants. Not only will this protect from harmful UV rays, but it also starts to repair the damage. The formula contains antioxidants, including idebenone, to protect skin against free radicals. Bonus: This weightless formula has a universal tint to blend flawlessly into all skin tones.” — dermatologist Dendy Engelman
“In the real world, we do not apply as much sunscreen as we should. This means that the SPF level written on the bottle gets diluted out. For this reason, I always recommend my patients use a sunscreen with the highest SPF level possible. This sunscreen has been tested in the real world and shown to offer significantly better protection than even another sunscreen with SPF 45.” — Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital
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