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When it comes to maintaining healthy, beautiful skin, using sunscreen is a win-win. “It’s the most important way to minimize the risk of skin cancer and slow signs of aging,” says Christine Choi Kim, M.D., a dermatologist in Santa Monica, CA. The key is finding one you love. Whatever your needs, here are six sunscreens to suit every application.
1. For daily use: Coppertone ClearlySheer has a light matte finish that’s ideal when worn under makeup. ($9, retailers nationwide)
2. For dry or sensitive skin: Dr. Jart+ Every Sun Day Sunscreen SPF 50 protects with nonirritating natural ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, plus it’s packed with plant extracts such as aloe vera, calendula, hollyhock, and purslane to smooth and soothe your complexion. ($34, sephora.com)
3. For beach lovers: Leave the sand at the shore! Banana Boat SunComfort Lotion SPF 30 won’t feel sticky when it’s on your skin, so sand simply brushes off. ($7.50, retailers nationwide)
4. For spray fans: Ocean Potion H2O Sport Wetskin Tech Instant Dry Continuous Spray SPF 50 is engineered to be sprayed at any angle, which makes covering hard-to-reach places like the middle of your back a breeze. ($10, retailers nationwide)
5. For swimmers: Sweat, water, and chlorine can wash away sunscreen, but Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion SPF 50+ with WetForce Technology is formulated to become even more effective when it’s exposed to water. ($40, shiseido.com)
6. For touch-ups: The mineral-based 100% Pure Everywhere Sun Stick SPF 30 glides on easily to protect often-overlooked spots like your ears, the back of your neck, and along the tops of your feet. ($19, 100percentpure.com)
Ace your sunscreen application with these easy tips.
Look for a sunscreen that’s broad-spectrum (so it protects against both UVB rays, which are responsible for burning skin, and UVA rays, which can age skin) and has an SPF of at least 30. If you’re outside for an extended period, opt for one that’s water-resistant up to 80 minutes.
Use one ounce—about the amount in a full shot glass—and coat all exposed areas of the body. Apply to dry skin 15 minutes before going outside, and reapply every two hours or after excessive perspiration, swimming, or toweling off. If you use a spray, rub it in well and apply generously or you may not be able to tell where it’s been applied, says Kim.
“Sunscreen is just one component of being sun-safe,” says Kim. Seek shade during peak hours of UVB exposure of between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and wear sun-protective accessories like wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses. Or look for clothes with a built-in UPF 50. (A typical white T-shirt has about a 4 UPF.)