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Protect your face from the sun by choosing the best facial sunscreen and wearing it every day.

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Your face is exposed to the sun every day of the year. That’s why it’s important to protect it all year round. The best way to do that is to wear facial sunscreen every day. This should be done whether it’s hot or cold outside and whether the sun is shining or not. It should also be done no matter your age, gender or the color of your skin.

Not only can cumulative sun damage increase your risk for skin cancer, but it also leads to signs of aging. This includes the development of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as sun spots. So even if you’re not worried about getting skin cancer (although keep in mind that it’s the most common type of cancer), think about how your skin will look years from now due to sun damage if you don’t protect it.

“While daily sunscreen use is recommended, it is important to note that clothing is the most effective form of sun protection. A variety of sun protective clothing brands sell lightweight, long sleeved shirts, neck gaiters, and hats which can provide superior sun protection when compared to sunscreen.”

-Joshua M. Pitre, MD, FAAD, Dermatologist

Here’s how to pick the best sunscreen for your face:

    • SPF – Choose a sunscreen with a high enough SPF (sun protection factor) so that it does the job of protecting your skin. It is recommended that sunscreens contain an SPF of 30 or higher.
    • Broad spectrum – All sunscreens protect against UVB rays, which cause the most types of skin cancer. UVA rays also contribute to skin cancer and can cause skin to age prematurely so choose a broad spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
    • Skin type – Just like soap or moisturizer, select a facial sunscreen designed for your skin type. If you have dry or oily skin, choose a sunscreen accordingly. If your skin is sensitive or you have acne or eczema, select a sunscreen that won’t make you break out or cause a flare-up.
    • Skin tone – If you have darker skin, you may want a product made specifically for your skin tone or one that is tinted so it blends more easily.
    • Ingredients – There are 2 types of sunscreens: Mineral sunscreens and chemical sunscreens. Mineral sunscreens physically block the UV rays and are generally better to use for sensitive skin types. However, some may leave a white residue on the face. Chemical sunscreens reflect UV rays and are more cosmetically elegant, but they may irritate sensitive skin.
    • Water resistance – Although you may not have to worry about how waterproof a facial sunscreen is when you’re not swimming or sweating, it doesn’t hurt to choose a sunscreen that is water- and sweat-resistant.
    • Specialized products – You may prefer organic, vegan or gluten-free products. Or ones that are alcohol- or fragrance-free. Or you may only want to buy brands committed to sustainability. There are plenty of sunscreen products out there that fit the bill if this is important to you.

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Date Last Reviewed: March 15, 2022

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

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