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  • Writer's pictureAnjana Rajbhandary

The best sunscreen for summer

Sunscreen for summer

Sunscreen, also known as sunblock, is a lotion, gel or spray that protects skin from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Some people think that sunscreen is only for those who burn easily. But the truth is, everyone should wear sunscreen every day.

Too much exposure to UV rays can cause sunburn, which can lead to skin cancer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. and is very preventable. So whether you burn, tan or your skin seems unaffected by the sun, you still need to wear sunscreen.

What are UV rays?

UV rays are electromagnetic radiation rays that come from the sun or artificial sources like tanning beds. Sunlight has three types of UV rays:

  • UVA rays: These rays transmit through the atmosphere and have the longest wavelength. UVA rays penetrate the middle layer of your skin (the dermis) and cause skin damage.

  • UVB rays: These have a shorter wavelength, and though the earth's ozone layer absorbs most of these rays, some can still reach the outer layer of your skin (the epidermis) to cause burns.

  • UVC rays: These rays have the shortest wavelength, and the ozone layer absorbs all of them. These rays do not affect the skin.

How does sunscreen protect your skin?

Sunscreen should be an essential aspect of your skincare regimen. It’s a good idea to integrate this into your daily routine since it protects your skin in a few different ways. Here’s how sunscreen protects your skin:

  • It reduces the risk of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and lowers your chances of developing melanoma. SCC is a form of skin cancer characterized by abnormal and accelerated growth of cells. Melanoma is a serious form of skin cancer that starts at the top layer of your skin and, if not treated early, can spread to your organs.

  • It helps prevent wrinkles, collagen breakdown and hyperpigmentation caused by sun exposure.

  • Sunscreen protects you if you have any dermatology concerns or take medications that make your skin more sensitive to the sun (photosensitivity).

  • It reduces your chance of skin damage on cloudy days. About 80% of the sun's UV rays still reach the earth on a cloudy day, so it's important to use sunscreen even if the sun is not out.

What is SPF?

SPF stands for sun protection factor. SPF measures how much your sunscreen protects your skin from UVB rays. When you buy sunscreen, make sure to find a broad-spectrum sunscreen since this will also protect you from UVA rays. Dermatologists recommend using SPF15 sunscreen or higher for daily protection and suggest you reapply every two hours.

Types of sunscreen

There are a few different kinds of sunscreen available. Some may work better than others, depending on your needs and skin type.

  • Physical sunscreen, or sunblock, uses various ingredients like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. These block and reflect UV rays before they penetrate your skin. They stay on your skin for as long as possible to protect the skin from damage.

  • Chemical sunscreen uses ingredients like avobenzone, oxybenzone, homosalate and octinoxate. These ingredients absorb UV rays before they damage your skin. Pregnant and nursing women should not use chemical sunscreen.

Best sunscreens for summer

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-In Sunscreen Milk SPF60: available at Ulta Beauty and Amazon This sunscreen is filled with antioxidants and protects you from UVA and UVB rays. It is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes and has a velvety texture.

CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion SPF30: available at Amazon This multitasking sunscreen uses ceramides, hyaluronic acid and niacinamide to protect and hydrate your skin. It is ideal for all skin types and won't leave any residue.

Supergoop Daily Dose Vitamin C +SPF40 Sunscreen: available at Sephora, Violet Grey and Supergoop This two-in-one mix of SPF40 and vitamin C brightens your skin while protecting it from UV rays and blue light from computer screens. It helps brighten skin and smooth wrinkles.

EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF46: available at SkinStore, LovelySkin and Amazon A dermatologist's favorite, this sunscreen protects you from UVA and UVB rays, treats skin discoloration and acne and reduces redness.

Murad Oil and Pore Control Mattifier Broad Spectrum SPF45: available at Murad, Sephora, and SkinStore This lightweight SPF moisturizer works to minimize pores and provides 10 hours of oil control. It keeps your skin looking matte and smooth while still providing hydration.

Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protector Lotion SPF50 + Sunscreen: available at Sephora, Ulta Beauty and Amazon If you're looking for an invisible sunscreen that doesn't leave residue, this is a great choice. And it gives you even more protection when exposed to heat, water and sweat.

La Mer The Broad-Spectrum SPF50 UV Protecting Fluid: available at Sephora, Violet Grey This innovative, lightweight sunscreen uses sea-sourced Miracle Broth, a famous healing elixir.

Dermalogica Prisma Protect SPF 30: available at Dermalogica, Ulta Beauty and Sephora In addition to protecting your skin from harmful UV rays, this uses matcha and sage to keep your skin smooth and hydrated.

Kinship Self Reflect Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF30: available at Credo Beauty, Ulta Beauty This sheer moisturizing sunscreen is perfect for all skin types. It also protects your skin from blue-light damage.

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen SPF70: available at Amazon and Ulta Beauty Neutrogena makes a light, non-greasy sunscreen with the highest level of UV protection. This high UV protection allows you to stay out in the sun for longer.

SkinCeuticals Sheer Physical UV Defense Sunscreen SPF50: available at LovelySkin, SkinStore This paraben-free sunscreen is lightweight, water-resistant and works well under makeup. It is also non-comedogenic, meaning it won't clog pores.

Dr. Barbara Sturm Sun Drops SPF50: available at Violet Grey This luxury brand is a favorite of celebrities because it provides superior protection against skin damage and burns. It also uses hyaluronic acid to keep skin moisturized.

Kiehl's Super Fluid Defense Spectrum SPF50+: available at Ulta Beauty, Sephora This protects skin from UV rays as well as pollution. This lightweight cream can also brighten skin and even out skin tone.

Sun Bum Face Lotion SPF 50: available at Ulta Beauty and Amazon Sun Bum's oil-free sunscreen meets the Skin Cancer Foundation's strict standards, so your skin stays protected and soft.

Coola Rosiliance Organic BB + Skin Tint SPF30: available at Ulta Beauty, Sephora and LovelySkin This SPF enhanced skin tint gives you a healthy glow and protects your skin. It is available in three universal shades and keeps your skin hydrated.


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