12 Sunscreens Top Dermatologists Actually Use on Themselves
The SPF aisle is packed with products and can be super-confusing, so we cut to the chase and asked dermatologists which UV protectors they trust enough to use on themselves.
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Don’t skimp on sunscreen
Yes, you need to wear sunscreen year-round (even on cloudy, winter days). And you need to make sure you cover these critical spots, too. Consider opting for one of the following sunscreens and other sun protectants that top dermatologists actually use.
Best basic face sunscreen
“It’s not just UV rays but also infrared light and heat that cause cellular damage and pigmentation. SkinMedica Total Defense & Repair SPF 50+ is the only sunscreen to offer this trifecta of protection. My daily regime includes a tinted sunscreen with SPF 30, 40, or 50. It’s important to keep in mind that makeup with SPF 20 sunscreen math favors only the highest SPF, not the sum of them all: SPF 40 + SPF 20 = SPF 40, not SPF 60. —Ellen Marmur, MD, dermatologist at Marmur Medical, Associate Clinical Professor of Dermatology at The Mount Sinai Medical Center. This is exactly what you have to look for in a sunscreen.
Best anti-pollution sunscreen
“ALASTIN HydraTint ProMineral Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 36 is exactly what I’ve been looking for—an all-in-one product that combines all-physical block, environmental protection, moisturizer, age-defying antioxidants, and foundation in a beautiful formulation and convenient pump. It goes on easily, feels lightweight, looks great, and is easy to remove. This will easily become a favorite for everyone who tries it.” —Roberta F. Palestine, MD, dermatologist in Maryland. These are sunscreen dos and don’ts you’ll wish you knew sooner.
Best sunscreen for sensitive skin
“Having sensitive skin, I am always cautious with my product choices and look for products that are clinically proven not to cause any irritation or sensitivity. My favorite sunscreen for daily wear is the new Epionce Daily Shield Lotion Tinted SPF 50. Not only are the ingredients featured in the formula known to be good for sensitive and allergy-prone skin, but the product was clinically proven to be safe for sensitive skin using the Repeat Insult Patch Test (RIPT). I also love that the tinted coverage smooths out my complexion, saving me a step in my morning routine.” —Joie Torvend, licensed medical esthetician at the dermatology office Carl Thornfeldt, MD, in New York
Best on-the-go sunscreen
“Colorescience Sunforgettable Brush-On Sunscreen SPF 30 or 50 is a dermatologist must-have because it’s amazing sun protection and it looks like beautiful pressed powder. You can wear it all day, even to the beach, and it looks polished and provides excellent protection. I was at a bike-outing with three fellow dermatologists in Southern California and we each had a Colorscience powder stick in our bag.” —Elizabeth Tanzi, MD, founder and director of Capital Laser and Skin Care, assistant clinical professor, Department of Dermatology, George Washington University Medical Center
Best sunscreen for hair
“I’m blonde so I use Clarins Sunscreen Care Oil Spray Broad Spectrum SPF 30 to protect my hair from sun damage, chlorine, and salt water. It contains sun filters and extracts of Gold Cob, Sycamore, and Aloe, which protect against drying.” —Whitney Bowe, MD, Assistant Medical Director of Laser & Cosmetic Services at Advanced Dermatology, P.C.
Best sun protection for head
“I like the Coolibar Shapeable Travel Sun Hat. It’s cute, affordable, provides really good sun protection, and can literally be shoved in a handbag. I pop it on whenever I’m outside—not just at the beach.” —Elizabeth Tanzi, MD. Learn more about the label on your sunscreen.
Best sunscreen for eye area
“CeraVe Sunscreen Stick Broad Spectrum SPF 50 for eyes is great both because it’s unlikely to irritate delicate eyelid skin and because its wax base will it stay put, even while you’re sweating.” —S. Manjula Jegasothy, MD, Founder, Miami Skin Institute, Clinical Associate Professor of Dermatology, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
Best sunscreen for lips
“Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15 contains sugar that exfoliates my lips and oil to repair them. It also contains antioxidants that help repair free radical damage. My favorite is fig; I love the hint of color.” —Whitney Bowe, MD. Find out the sunscreen myths that make dermatologists cringe.
Best sunscreen for body
“I use La Roche Posay SPF 60 Anthelios, but the whole Anthelios line is fantastic: lightweight, good protection and noncomedogenic—the gold standard for sunscreen!” —Elizabeth Tanzi, MD.
Best cover-up for body
“The best sunscreen for your body is clothes! UVF fabrics, like the ones from Mott50, are more elegant than ever and are the best way to protect the shoulders and chest, which seems to soak up the UV rays even with sunscreen.” —Ellen Marmur, MD. For better protection, avoid these sunscreen mistakes.
Best sunscreen for kids
“Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Face + Body Stick Sunscreen SPF 70 is my top choice. Kids hate when moms slather on the sunscreen, so give them a little control to apply it on their own, but with help, in a stick formula. An added bonus: no leaky bottles or tubes in the mom’s bag.” —Elizabeth Tanzi, MD
Best after-sun treatment
“We know that damage from the sun continues to occur in the skin long after the sun goes down and into the night, so I’m a fan of Organic Pharmacy Cellular After Sun Cream. This product is ideal after a day spent at the beach or the pool. Sometimes we all may have had too much sun and need to hydrate and relieve heat from our skin. This light and nourishing cream helps hydrate and calm skin. I always apply an after-sun product to my skin in the summer time to avoid dryness.” —Whitney Bowe, MD. Next, read about these hidden signs you’re about to get a serious sunburn.
- Ellen Marmur, MD, dermatologist at Marmur Medical, Associate Clinical Professor of Dermatology at The Mount Sinai Medical Center.
- Roberta F. Palestine, MD, dermatologist in Maryland
- Joie Torvend, licensed medical esthetician at the dermatology office Carl Thornfeldt, MD, in New York
- Elizabeth Tanzi, MD, founder and director of Capital Laser and Skin Care, assistant clinical professor, Department of Dermatology, George Washington University Medical Center
- Whitney Bowe, MD, Assistant Medical Director of Laser & Cosmetic Services at Advanced Dermatology, P.C
- S. Manjula Jegasothy, MD, Founder, Miami Skin Institute, Clinical Associate Professor of Dermatology, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine