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The Best Everyday Sunscreens For Your Face (And Makeup)

While skincare trends may come and go, there’s one must-have that never goes out of fashion: sunscreen for your face. 

You can spend all the money you want on the best anti-aging creams out there, but the most effective way to stop those lines and wrinkles in the first place is to wear good sunscreen consistently.

Damage from the sun contributes to premature aging and wrinkling, otherwise known as photoaging, and while you can't avoid it altogether, you can slow this process by applying sunscreen daily and protecting your skin from harmful UV rays. 

But what’s the best sunscreen for the face and which ones are best for wearing under makeup? Let's take a look at the many benefits of facial sunscreens and how to find the best one for your skin. 

Why Sunscreen For The Face Is A Must-Have

Even if those stubborn clouds won't make way for the sun, you should still wear SPF every day. 

SPF (sun protection factor) is a measure of how much solar energy (UV radiation) is required to produce sunburn on your protected skin relative to the amount of solar energy required to produce sunburn on unprotected skin. As the SPF value increases, sunburn protection increases.

UVA rays can cause visible premature aging such as dark spots and wrinkles, and you don't need a lot of direct sun exposure for the process to begin. Most importantly, a good sunscreen will protect your skin from the more harmful UVB rays that can cause sunburn and skin cancer.

If you're worried that sunscreen will interfere with your skincare and makeup routine, don't. There are many sunscreens that are designed specifically to be worn under or over makeup without interfering with the application or look of your products. Here’s what to know.

Different Types of Sunscreen For The Face

There are two types of SPF products: synthetic and mineral. 

In a nutshell, mineral SPF products contain either zinc dioxide or titanium dioxide and deflect and absorb the sun's rays. 

Synthetic SPFs, sometimes called chemical SPFs, absorb, deflect and deactivate the sun's rays. They both offer the same level of protection. You just need to choose the one that’s best suited to your skin type and needs. 

Mineral sunscreens for the face can sometimes leave a white residue. If you have darker skin you might prefer to use a synthetic SPF. Mineral products can also have a thick consistency and may not be the best choice for those with oily skin. Synthetic SPFs generally have a lighter formula and make a better base for makeup. Those with sensitive skin may find synthetic SPFs irritating, and a mineral SPF may be best in those cases. When choosing the best sunscreen for the face, it's best to use your skin type as the most important deciding factor. 

How Much Protection for Face Sunscreen?

Most dermatologists recommend SPF of at least 30 to provide adequate protection from UV rays daily. Burn easily? Sensitive skin? Sun spots common? Turn up the SPF to 45.

How to Apply Sunscreen For The Face

To get the best protection from your sunscreen, you need to apply a good amount to the face and neck. Apply too much and your skin won’t absorb everything, leaving an oily film on the surface of your skin. 

Apply too little and you won't have enough protection. 

The best way to apply your sunscreen is to use the same amount as you might use if you were applying your normal moisturizer. You might also choose a day moisturizer that has SPF built-in, but look for a product that has no less than 30 SPF for the best protection. 

Generally speaking, don't rely on foundations that contain SPF as it's likely you won't apply enough to be protected. 

How To Use Sunscreen With Makeup

If you wear makeup most days, you'll need an SPF that you can wear underneath. 

Some of the best sunscreens for the face under makeup have been designed for this very purpose and are lighter in formulation. If you’re going to be in the sun all day and are wearing foundation or powder, we might recommend a spray sunscreen that you can spritz over top of your makeup at regular intervals without the need to rub it into your face. 

What Is The Best Sunscreen For The Face?

Now that you have the basics down, let's take a look at some of the best sunscreen products for the face and why you should consider each. 

1. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50

This ultra-light formula is easily absorbed into the skin and actually contains antioxidants. It's so lightweight that it sinks into the skin rapidly without leaving residue and is great for sensitive skin.

2. Neutrogena Clear Face Sunscreen Lotion SPF 55

If you’re looking for a great-value everyday sunscreen for the face, this budget-friendly sunscreen from Neutrogena is a popular choice. It's lightweight and non-comedogenic so it won't block pores or cause breakouts. 

3. SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50

If you're not a fan of foundation but want light color coverage, a tinted moisturizer with SPF is a great compromise. This tinted formula from SkinCeuticals is water-resistant, lightweight, and feels invisible on the face. It offers a lovely translucent color with a hint of radiance. 

4. Colorescience Sunforgettable Brush-On Sunscreen SPF 30

If you suffer from acne-prone skin, you might not want to apply sunscreen in cream form for fear of clogging your pores. This brush-on sunscreen from Colorescience won't clog pores or cause breakouts, it's easy to apply, and it helps to matte-ify your face at the same time as protecting it. 

5. Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40

If you're looking for the best sunscreen for the face that won't leave a white cast, this is a great option. It's suitable for all skin types and feels weightless once applied. It's also free of oils and fragrance and dries down to a matte finish. 

Should You Apply An SPF Product Daily?

While it's important to apply sunscreen daily in the summer months when the sun is shining, it's also a good idea to apply it on cloudy days. UV rays still penetrate clouds and even window glass. Gentle protection daily is ideal.

Why Do You Need Separate Sunscreens For Body And Face?

It's important to know that body and face sunscreens are not created equal. Before you reach for your regular body sunscreen and apply it to your face, stop and consider the texture. 

While the best everyday sunscreen for the face uses the same protective ingredients as one formulated for the body, the texture is lighter and more easily absorbed. They also contain little to no perfume and come in a range of formulas to suit different skin types. 

The Verdict on Facial Sunscreen

Sunscreen for the face is just as important as sunscreen for the rest of the body. Which you choose will depend on a number of factors including your skin type, degree of sun exposure, texture preference, and whether you want to wear makeup with your sunscreen. 

Applying sunscreen daily can not only protect your skin from sunburn and skin cancers but help to slow the signs of aging. In fact, proper UV protection may be the single biggest factor in maintaining a youthful appearance.

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This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice.
Consult a healthcare professional or call a doctor in the case of a medical emergency