Many of you will be heading to the beach or spending time outdoors this holiday weekend. What better time to revamp your sunscreen routine? Now that summer’s here (unofficially), you’ll be reaching for the SPF more frequently. Long gone are the days of goopy zinc; sunscreens today glide on easily, smell amazing, and provide excellent sun protection. Buy a formula you love to make applying it daily a habit you’ll want to keep year-round.
1. Neutrogena Beach Defense SPF 30 Lotion ($10 for 6.7 oz.): This water & sun barrier cream contains Helioplex® Broad Spectrum to shield against UVA & UVB rays. It says it’s “beach-strength” protection, which means you can safely spend a few hours outdoors in this. Also comes in SPF70 for $11.
2. Coppertone Water Babies Pure & Simple Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50 ($10 for 8 oz.): Excellent sun protection for the little ones in your life. The Water Babies “Pure & Simple” line makes sunscreen that is fragrance-, oil-, and dye-free, so it’ll be gentle on baby’s skin. Water Babies is the #1 pediatrician-recommended brand.
3. Sun Bum SPF 30 Sunscreen Lotion ($16 for 8 oz.): Who says sunscreen packaging can’t have great design? This faux-bois bottle proves you can protect yourself in style. The lotion inside is fortified with vitamin E and smells like bananas.
4. Coppertone Oil Free Sunscreen Lotion for Faces SPF 30 ($9 for 3 oz.): If you’re prone to acne or breakouts, this is a great option for your face. The oil-free, fragrance-free formula gives you lightweight protection that you can reapply without worrying about breaking out. It’s also available in SPF50 for even higher sun protection.
5. Banana Boat UltraMist Sport Performance Sunscreen SPF 50 ($10.50 for 6 oz.): Perfect for those who hate waiting for sunscreen to absorb. This spray gives quick & easy application even in hard-to-reach areas, and the clear mist dries in seconds without feeling greasy. It stands up to sweat and water without fading, too–perfect if you’re active outdoors.
6. Clarins Sun Control Stick SPF 30 ($26): Hate the stinging feeling or sunscreen dripping into yours eyes, or despise spending time rubbing in lotion? A stick may work better for you. This one from Clarins’ extensive suncare line has good SPF and a creamy stick formula that melts in quickly. This natural mineral sunscreen won’t irritate sensitive skin.
7. Aveeno Active Naturals Protect + Hydrate SPF 70 Lotion ($11 for 3 oz.): This lotion ups the ante with SPF70. It’s also super-moisturizing; this would be great in the summer when your skin has had it share of exposure to sun, sand, saltwater, chlorine, and other drying agents.
8. Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen Sensitive SPF 30+ ($27 for 8.75 oz.): This Australian brand of sunscreen is chemical-free, but contains physical sunblocks like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to give you irritation-free protection.
After the jump: SUPER IMPORTANT sunscreen application tips from a noted dermatologist. Make sure you read these before heading outdoors this weekend!
Sunscreen Application Tips (Read this before heading outdoors!)
Many people don’t apply enough sunscreen to get adequate protection. Here’s a refresher on how to properly apply sunscreen, from Dr. Elizabeth K. Hale, clinical associate professor of dermatology at NYU School of Medicine and dermatologist at Laser & Skin Surgery Center of NY (via skincancer.org).
1. In order to achieve the SPF on the bottle, apply about a shot glass’s worth of sunscreen to exposed skin.
2. You need a dollop about the size of a nickel to cover your face alone.
3. If you’re using a spray, mist it on until an even sheen appears on your skin.
4. Reapply every two hours–more frequently if you’re swimming.
5. Use SPF15 or higher. Ideally, SPF30+ should be used any time you’re going to be outdoors for more than a few minutes.
And to all you sun-worshippers and tanning bed lovers: please stop! Sun exposure increases your risk of melanoma and other skin cancers–and that’s such a scary thing. Also, it will age you terribly if you keep it up. Who wants wrinkles or leathery skin?
(PS: Have you scheduled your annual skin checkup with your dermatologist? Now is a good time to do it, since you’re thinking about it!)
Enjoy your long weekend and safe sunning!