Which Sunscreen is Best for You? Ask a Dermatologist.

Whether you are out enjoying the summer sun or working from home, sunscreen is an essential part of any skin routine. Dr. Elyse Love, Board Certified Dermatologist in New York City, takes us through her sun protection tips.


1. UVA: Traditionally termed “aging rays.” UVA contributes to fine lines, dark spots, and skin cancer, including melanoma.
2. UVB: Characterized as “burning rays.” UVB contributes to skin cancer, sun burns, fine lines, and wrinkles.
3. Visible light: This light is getting a lot of recent buzz as “blue light.” Recent studies show that visible light can worsen some brown spots and melasma. Visible light is also found in light bulbs and electronic screens.

*Sunlight also contains UVC, but this is blocked by the ozone.


1. UVA protection: Broad spectrum indicates UVA protection. In the US, we do not grade UVA protection. Broad spectrum means that the product contains what the FDA considers adequate protection from UVA rays.
2. UVB protection: SPF indicates level of UVB protection, with higher levels providing more. SPF 30 is generally good enough for most days, but I recommend SPF 50+ for high sun activities (running, beach, tennis, etc).
3. Visible / blue light: The inclusion of a tint (tinted sunscreen) and / or iron oxides provide protection against visible light. Iron oxide will be included in the inactive ingredient list because it does not contribute to SPF. Of note, there is no current FDA regulation on claiming visible / blue light protection.

Which Sunscreen is Best for You


1. Face sunscreen: I use sunscreen that is broad spectrum (UVA) and SPF 50 (UVB). I choose sunscreens that glide on, feel super lightweight, and don’t leave a white cast.
2. Body sunscreen: For body application, I love sunscreen that’s easy to spread and reapply. I use mine as a lotion in the summer. Of course, I choose sunscreen that’s broad spectrum SPF 50 for my body too.
3. Makeup: Flawless Creator foundation is my go-to because it contains iron oxide and provides visible light protection. You can mix it with your sunscreen to add a custom tint, or apply on top for an extra boost if pigmentation is your primary concern.
4. Application: My general guidance is to apply a generous amount of sunscreen to all sun exposed areas of the body year round. In the winter, that’s likely hands and face. In the summer, that likely includes more skin. Apply the product 15 minutes before going outside.
5. Reapplication: Sunscreen should be reapplied after 2 hours of sun exposure because sunlight actively breaks the product down. It should also be reapplied after getting wet. When UV exposure is high (mostly spring and summer), you should always reapply before going outdoors.

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