We don't need to tell you what you already know: Sunscreen is important. It's essential for preventing skin cancer, as well as preserving your skin's overall health and appearance. In anticipation of spending a lot more time in the sun over the coming months (hello, summer!), we rounded up our favorite sunscreens in the office, from budget-friendly to all-natural to help you find the right fit this summer:
I grew up in the sun, playing hours of soccer at a time, in the pool during swim practice, and running endless laps around a track. I also went through a pretty long phase in which my main goal while being outside was to get a tan. I would lie outside on my parents' deck without any sunscreen at all. And it wasn't until my 30s that I finally made a change. These days, instead of lying out in the sun, I rely on this self tanner (it's not only a clean product, but garners questions from other people about whether I just got back from a tropical vacation—it's that good). I also reach for sunscreens that feel like a far cry from the chalky, hard-to-blend variations I wore when I was young, and my all-time favorite version is by SuperGoop. After I apply my serum and moisturizer, I add a layer of sunscreen, which almost acts more like a clear skin primer, and ensures my makeup goes on nicely and actually stays put.
Go-To Products: Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 40 ($32)
As you may have read, I haven't had the best luck when it comes to sun exposure. When my dermatologist found skin cancer on the crown of my head nearly two years ago, I vowed to keep my time in the sun to a minimum and incorporate sunscreen into my routine. It's been tough avoiding the sun in Los Angeles (and I tend to feel my prettiest with a sun-kissed glow), but that means I've amassed quite the collection of sunscreen for various occasions. Every morning, I either use Neutrogena Ultra Sheer or Supergoop! Glow Stick Sunscreen over my serums, and finish off my makeup BareMinerals Original Foundation. I love Sun Bum Sunscreen for my arms, neck and legs (it smells incredible) and if I'm heading out on a run, hike or to spend time at the beach, I'll make it SPF 50 instead of 30. My dermatologist gave me a miniature version of CeraVe Face Lotion at my last appointment, so I opt for that when I'm traveling or heading somewhere a bit warmer.
My skin has two options: pale-white or lobster-red. That didn't stop me from trying to get a tan every teenage summer. I've had more red-blistered burns than I can count, including one my senior year of high school that nearly sent me to an emergency room and left freckles all over my arms and face when it faded. Lesson learned: Reapply sunscreen, especially at high altitude. As soon as I finally accepted I can't (and, more importantly shouldn't) tan, I went into full sun-protection mode. This adapted to take the UV Index into account after I read this article in Outdoor Magazine. These days I see a dermatologist I trust for a full skin scan every six months and put a natural zinc-based sunblock on my face twice everyday. When the UV Index is above a 3, I apply this sunblock to any exposed skin. I also keep these sleeves and gloves in the car for long drives in case I forget to apply, since I have nearly double the freckles on my left (driver's side) arm than my right. When the UV Index is below a 3 and I'm working inside most of the day, I skip body sunblock so I can absorb the countless benefits from Vitamin D, and avoid the questionable ingredients* in most sunblocks. (You can easily check the UV index by going to the Weather App on an iPhone and swiping up. Cool, right?)
*A quick note on "natural sunscreen:" While I do my best to use all-natural products whenever possible, I'm especially careful when it comes to those I'm spreading all over my body, like sunscreen (many of which contain endocrine and hormone disrupters like oxybenzone and octinoxate). The best place to double-check a product you're considering is the Environmental Working Group's database. The lower a product scores on a scale of 10, the better its ingredients are for you. The sunscreens I use are pricer than most of the sunscreens on this list, but score a 1 on the EWG scale. Whatever product you choose as right for you, just be sure to follow the instructions for reapplication!
I've been an active "sun avoider" basically my entire life. If you have that annoying friend who always needs to sit under an umbrella at the beach or on a restaurant patio, she's me. (For the eight years I've lived in L.A., I've carried a Target beach umbrella in my car at all times just in case.) To make matters worse, I have horribly sensitive, acne prone skin, and sunscreen does NOT like me. Using the wrong sunscreen can leave me with deep, under-the-skin cysts that literally last for a month. Although it tends to give me 80's lifeguard vibes when I don't have access to a mirror, Zinc Oxide is my very best friend because it keeps my face totally clear. For whatever reason, I've never had issues with back-ne or acne that isn't on my face, so I use delicious and cheap Hawaiian Tropic for my body and pretend like I'm on vacay.
Go-To Products: Coppertone Defend & Care Sensitive Skin for Faces SPF 50 ($10), Murad Oil Control Mattifier SPF 15 ($40), Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch SPF 30 ($7)
This title is not a joke. I am likely the most cautious person when it comes to the sun in the office: wearing hats and using UV umbrellas on office outings, finding the one sliver of shade when we're outside at a photo shoot, wearing matching protective gloves and face mask when I drive, and checking my UV tracking app more often than Instagram. For chemical sunscreens, I tend to favor European and Asian sunscreens as they use sun protectants not yet permitted in the U.S. that are considered more effective at UVA protection. For physical, there are many options that don't require international shipping and a three-week delivery period—just be sure to look for at least 20% Zinc Oxide for the most protection.
Go-To Products: Get prepared for some long names: Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ (great option for all skin tones-$40), Biore UV Sarasara Face Milk 30ml & Facial Sheet Mask, SPF50+/PA++++ ($19), DeVita Solar Protective Moisturizer SPF 30+ ($26), Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen Skincare Milk SPF50 PA++++ ($34). For daily powder touchup, I use Privacy UV Face Powder 50 Four Plus ($34)—but Supergoop and Paula's Choice offer easier to find options, although the colors are limited.
After reading everyone's answers about their effective skin protection over the years, I'm pretty embarrassed to say that this is my beauty weak point. I tan so easily in the summer that I often forget sun damage is more than just a sun burn. Luckily, Vogue's makeup tutorials have convinced me to become a sunscreen user (you'll be hard-pressed to find someone with perfect, glowy skin who doesn't use sunscreen). After a year of searching, I finally found my perfect budget-friendly combo: Glossier's Invisible Shield formula is incredibly light-weight and leaves no residue behind (key for applying makeup on top). For my body, I usually apply Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Weightless Spray since it smells amazing and comes in an easy-to-use spray bottle.
Go-To Products: Glossier Invisible Shield ($25), Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Weightless Sunscreen Spray ($5)
On a family trip to Hawaii a few years ago, I suffered the worst sunburn of my life (I hope). I found a full bottle of waterproof SPF 60 under the bathroom cabinet, lathered up, and spent the full day in the sun (10+ hours), going in and out of the water. It was the last day of our vacation so I decided if I got a little burned, we would be leaving the next day anyway and it would fade into a tan. It's hard to believe I was so naïve. When we got home from the beach, I literally looked like Lobster Will Ferrell. Not only did I forget to reapply, but the bottle expired 3 years previously. It goes without saying that ever since, I'm hyper-aware of sun exposure and wear sunscreen daily.
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