Here’s one thing we can all agree upon: Using the best sunscreen for face is nonnegotiable. Some dermatologists even suggest that a traditional skin care routine is useless if you aren’t slathering up in SPF first. After all, sun protection is crucial for, well, preventing sunburn, but also wrinkles and fine lines, sun spots, acne scarring, and skin cancer.
But finding the best sunscreen for your face is easier said than done. For starters, there are two types of sunscreen: physical (a.k.a. mineral) and chemical. The best mineral sunscreen acts as a physical block that shields skin from harmful UV rays, says Sonia Batra, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and cohost of the syndicated talk show The Doctors. Experts typically recommend these products for those with sensitive skin (it’s also good sunscreen for acne-prone skin). The downside: The active ingredients, zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide, tend to leave a white cast—not ideal for anyone, but especially annoying for those with a darker complexion. Chemical sunscreens—powered by active ingredients like oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate—are easier to rub in and work like a sponge to absorb the sun’s rays rather than deflect them.
No matter which direction you go, dermatologists say it’s important to look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen, which means it protects against both UVA and UVB rays, with an SPF 30 or higher. Water-resistance is also key, especially if you have plans to swim or exercise (though reapplication is crucial—derms suggest a frequency of every two hours or after swimming or sweating).
To help you find the best face sunscreens for every skin type, we polled dermatologists for their top picks and asked Glamour editors for their favorites, including the best tinted moisturizers with SPF that double as makeup, sunscreen sticks that are easy to apply, popular Korean sunscreen, and a few Glamour Beauty Award winners.
The best face sunscreens, at a glance:
Best Overall SPF for Face: EltaMD UV Sport Broad Spectrum SPF 50, $30
Best Drugstore Facial Sunscreen: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Water Resistant and Non-Greasy Sunscreen, $13
Best Everyday Face Sunscreen: Doctor Babor Protect RX Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30, $53
Best Anti-Aging Formula: La Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral Ultra-Light Face Sunscreen SPF 50, $37
Best Face Sunscreen for Mature Skin: Sonage Roux Tinted Day Creme With SPF 30, $60
Best Face Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin: Blue Lizard Sensitive Face Mineral Sunscreen, $17
Best Face Sunscreen for Oily Skin: Hero Cosmetics Force Shield Superlight Sunscreen, $18
Best Tinted Face Sunscreen: Tower 28 SunnyDays SPF 30 Tinted Sunscreen Foundation, $32
Best Clean Facial Sunscreen: Kosas DreamBeam Silicone-Free Mineral Sunscreen, $40
Read the full article here