This Holy-Grail Face Sunscreen Is "Light and Effective," Says a Dermatologist

Updated 05/09/19
best face sunscreens

Now that summer is just days away (28 to be exact), we're breaking out the rosé, stacking beach-friendly books on our to-read piles, and pinning summer salads to our recipe boards on Pinterest. With sunnier days on the horizon, we here at MyDomaine headquarters are also editing our skincare routines in anticipation of spending blissful hours sitting by the pool and lounging on the shore. And of course we're going to need top shelf–worthy sunscreen.

To learn more about this skincare staple, we tapped some of our go-to dermatologists for expert-approved picks to add to our beach bags. From affordable finds to splurge-worthy buys, these are the products that come with glowing recommendations from the pros. While you might opt for a sunscreen with a 30 SPF in the winter and spring, the summer calls for something a bit stronger, according to dermatologists. "In the summer months, I recommend sunscreens that are SPF 50+," advises Gary Goldenberg, MD, of Goldenberg Dermatology.

"Any sunscreen with a lower SPF should be avoided since it won't provide you with sufficient protection," he explains. "Avoid sunscreens that contain oils since they may cause breakouts," he recommends.

Ahead, dermatologists weigh in on the best face sunscreens, including a $13 drugstore buy that's perfect for sensitive skin (and not at all greasy).

EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 $33

"This product is broad-spectrum and contains zinc oxide, making it very effective," explains Gary Goldenberg. Also, "the product is not oily and is great for acne-prone people," he adds.

ISDIN Eryfotona Actinica Ultralight Emulsion $50

"This sunscreen is new in the U.S.," according to Goldenberg. "It's made by a company based in Spain. Not only is it SPF 50+ and cosmetically elegant, it also contains photolyase enzymes (the company calls these "repairsomes") and vitamin E, which both help repair already damaged cells in the skin," he explains. "I love it because it helps repair already damaged cells and prevents future damage with a broad-spectrum sunscreen."

Aquaphor Lip Repair + Protect SPF 30, Pack of 3 $14

"This product effectively protects the skin from the sun and also actively hydrates dry skin," says Goldenberg. "This is a great product for someone with lip dryness and irritation."

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Clear Skin Dry Touch Sunscreen SPF 60 $20 $15

"This product has been consistently rated as a top sunscreen by consumer reports," says Goldenberg. "It's light and rubs in well and offers great protection from the sun's harmful rays."

Ultimate Sun Protection Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ Wetforce For Face 2 oz/ 60 mL
Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ Wetforce $36

"This sunscreen is broad-spectrum, SPF 50, and water-resistant," explains Goldenberg. "It is light but very effective. I like this product because its light vehicle makes it easy to use with makeup," he adds.

DNA Renewal Skincare DNA Defense SPF 50+ $75

"This broad-spectrum, multifaceted sunscreen helps reverse past sun damage with DNA Repair Enzymes," says Ronald Moy, MD, FAAD, of Moy, Fincher, Chipps Dermatology. It is fast-absorbing, non-greasy and works for the face and body. Naturally derived DNA Repair Enzymes work to repair past sun damage beneath the skin. Micro-fine zinc goes on sheer and scatters and reflects damaging UV rays."

Neova DNA Damage Control Everyday SPF 44 $39

"DNA repair technology in this SPF reduces visible signs of the aging and burning effects of UVA and UVB rays," explains Moy. "Neova along with DNA Renewal were among the first brands to understand the link between DNA damage and premature skin aging."

ProactivMD 3-Piece System $35

"Formulated to work within the ProactivMD 3-piece system for mild-to-moderate acne, this product is much more than a broad-spectrum sunscreen," says Ted Lain, MD, of Sanova Dermatology. "It contains technology to reduce oil and shine, all while moisturizing and calming the skin with soothing ingredients," he explains. "With prescription-strength adapalene 0.1% gel as the primary acne-fighting ingredient within the system, the Daily Oil Control Moisturizer SPF 30 complements it to reduce any dryness or sensitivity."

La Roche-Posay Double Repair Moisturizer SPF 30 $20

"The Toleriane line contains special thermal spring water, which helps restore the skin's microbiome (the correct balance of bacteria to help protect and keep skin healthy), and moisturizing factors for barrier repair and inflammation," says Lain. "These are important for acneic skin since the many of the treatments alter the microbiome, leaving the skin susceptible to further infection or redness," he explains. "The broad-spectrum sunscreen rounds out this multi-talented product."

Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Lotion SPF 50 $13

"I recommend this chemical- and oil-free sunscreen for my patients with the most sensitive skin," explains. "Formulated with only the mineral zinc oxide, in a micronized and elegant cream, I trust this broad-spectrum sunscreen to fully protect the face with little possibility to cause a reaction."

SkinMedica Total Defense + Repair SPF 50+ $68

"This is one of the few sunscreens that protects you from the whole range of light spectrums, from visible to ultraviolet to infrared," Mona Gohara, MD, of Advanced DermCare explains. "It's one of my go-tos."

EltaMD UV Facial Broad-Spectrum SPF 30+ $26

This sunscreen "doubles as a cosmetically elegant facial moisturizer in the morning," says Gohara.

Colorescience Sunforgettable Brush-On Sunscreen SPF 30 $65

"Perfect for reapplication during the work day," says Gohara. "Colorescience is a powder block that I love for providing broad-spectrum UV protection with micronized titanium dioxide particles," says Dendy Engelman, MD, of Medical Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery Centers. "This is so great for reapplication throughout the day—especially over makeup where liquid sunscreens are less than ideal."

Prevage® City Smart Spf50 Hydrating Shield
Elizabeth Arden Prevage City Smart Spf50 Hydrating Shield $68

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of a cure, so use sunscreen no matter where you are," says Engelman. "I love CitySmart, which has SPF 50+ and DNA repair."

Jack Black Sun Guard Oil-Free Sunscreen SPF 45 $10

"This oil-free, vitamin-enriched, water- and sweat-resistant lotion offers superior broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection and absorbs quickly without greasy or heavy residue," recommends Engelman.

Want even more dermatologist-approved skin care recommendations? Up next, the pros share the 16 best eye creams for fine lines they swear by.

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