Looking for sunscreen is just like looking for your soulmate. It’s not an easy task, but it’s certainly worth it.
Much like your soulmate is usually someone you’re comfortable with and who compliments your personality, the same goes for finding the right sunscreen. It should be the one you’re comfortable applying — and reapplying — every single day, and compliments your skin type.
5 must-know tips for applying sunscreen
- Always look for sunscreen with at least SPF 30 and broad-spectrum protection.
- Apply your sunscreen generously to get the maximum potential of protection. You’ll need about ½ teaspoon for your face and neck.
- Make sure to reapply your sunscreen every two to three hours, especially when you’re outdoors, and directly after you are exposed to water. If you’re wearing makeup, you can opt for face powder with SPF, though note it offers minimal amount of protection compared to lotion or a stick.
- Don’t rely only on SPF in your makeup product. If you apply sunscreen with a certain SPF then add makeup with additional SPF, you’re only protected to the extent of the product with the highest SPF, not the total of the two.
- Don’t forget to apply your products near your eye area and your ears.
With all the sunscreen options out there, it can be overwhelming to figure out what to look for and which one is best suited for your skin type. To get you started, here’s an overview of what to consider when you’re shopping for sunscreen.
Skin type #1: Dry skin
When you have dry skin, your main aim should be adding additional moisture. In this case, you can always benefit from a moisturizing sunscreen in the form of cream, which allows you to layer it on top of your moisturizer. Any sunscreen enriched with moisturizing ingredients such as ceramides, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, honey are ideal.
Sunscreen products for dry skin
- Supergoop Everyday SPF 50 Sunscreen, PA ++++
- Neogen Day-Light Protection Sunscreen, SPF 50, PA+++
- Aveeno Daily Nourishing Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30
Skin type #2: Oily skin
If you have oily skin, try to look for sunscreen in water-based or gel formulas with a matte finish. Ingredients such as green tea, tea tree oil, or niacinamide in your sunscreen can also help you to control oil production.
Sunscreen products for oily skin
- La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid SPF 60
- Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF 50+, PA++++
- Dear, Klairs Soft Airy UV Essence SPF50 PA++++
Skin Type #3: Normal skin
If you have normal skin, there’s not a lot you necessarily need to worry about when it comes to choosing the right sunscreen. No matter if it’s organic or inorganic, gel or cream, you can buy based on what you like most.
People do, however, tend to gravitate towards organic sunscreen thanks to its elegant texture and the fact that it often doesn’t leave any white residue. And if you’re looking to experiment, consider trying one of the many tinted SPFs that are currently on the market.
Sunscreen products for normal skin
- Kiehl’s Skin Tone Correcting & Beautifying BB Cream, Broad Spectrum SPF 50
- The Ordinary Mineral UV Filter SPF 30 with Antioxidants
- REN Clean Screen Mineral SPF 30 Mattifying Face Sunscreen
Skin Concern #4: Sensitive skin
If you have sensitive skin, there are several ingredients you’ll want to avoid when shopping for sunscreen. These ingredients could cause a reaction and include alcohol, fragrances, oxybenzone, para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), salicylates, and cinnamates.
Aiming for a mineral sunscreen with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide is your safest bet because it’s less likely to cause a negative reaction. In addition, ingredients such as panthenol, allantoin, and madecassoside all have soothing properties and may help to reduce irritation.
Sunscreen products for sensitive skin
- Dr. Jart+ Every Sun Day Mild Sun Moisturizing Sun Protector, SPF 43, PA+++
- SkinCeuticals Physical UV Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 30
- Purito Centella Green Level Safe Sun SPF 50+, PA ++++
Skin Concern #5: Acne-prone skin
Just like for sensitive skin, it’s always best to avoid using any sunscreen with ingredients that might aggravate inflammation that already exists. Therefore, mineral sunscreen is, again, your safest bet if you have acne-prone skin.
That said, it’s not absolute since some may find no issue applying organic sunscreen. Since many people with acne often have an issue with excessive sebum production, products for oily skin or sensitive skin are the perfect match. Try to opt for something that’s less likely to cause irritation in a lightweight, water-based formulation.
Sunscreen products for acne-prone skin
- Dr. Oracle A-thera Sunblock, SPF50+ PA+++
- Elta MD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen, Broad Spectrum SPF 46
- Blue Lizard Sensitive Sunscreen SPF 30
Finding the right sunscreen is a long-term investment
Remember, applying sunscreen daily is like having a long term investment for your skin — especially when the sunscreen is best suited for your skin type. You might not see its effect right away like a serum or exfoliating products, but ten years from now, the benefits are likely to be noticeable. So, if you’re looking for “the one” sunscreen that will accompany you on a daily basis, consider using this list to help get you started.
Claudia is a skin care and skin health enthusiast, educator, and writer. She’s currently pursuing her PhD in dermatology in South Korea and runs a skin care-focused blog so she can share her skin care knowledge with the world. Her hope is for more people to be conscious about what they put on their skin. You can also check out her Instagram for more skin-related articles and ideas.