My Top 5 Sunscreen Picks

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My top 5 sunscreen picks
One of my most frequently asked questions from friends and family (other than “How do I prevent skin aging?”) is “What sunscreen do you recommend?” This is a tricky question, because like I mentioned in my vlog about choosing the right sunscreen for you, the sunscreen that suits you best depends on your personal skin type. In this post, I’m going to go over some of my personal favorite sunscreens. Keep in mind that I have combination skin (dry on the cheeks, oily in the T zone area in the center of my face, nose, chin) and I’m Fitzpatrick skin type 3 (read more about Fitzpatrick skin types here).

The qualities I look for in my sunscreens include:

  • broad spectrum (blocks UVA and UVB), SPF 30
  • easy to apply, meaning not too chalky and not too greasy
  • mixed with moisturizer because I have super dry skin (I still put moisturizer on first though!)
  • lightly tinted for some thin coverage

The few sunscreens that I have found that meet most of my desired qualifications are (and keep in mind, these span a range of prices):

  1. Cerave AM Facial Moisturizer with SPF 30
  2. La Roche Posay Anthelios Dry Touch Sunscreen
  3. MDSolarSciences Mineral Tinted Creme in SPF 30
  4. Shiseido Urban Environment UV Protection Cream in SPF 40
  5. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunblock SPF 45

Here are some of my thoughts about my top 5 picks.

1. Cerave AM Facial Moisturizer with SPF 30: At $15 for a tube, this one is the more affordable option out of the bunch, available at any drugstore. I personally LOVE Cerave and used this for years. Cerave is the top brand I recommend to patients because it is affordable and their products are packed with ceramides, which I think of as the “mortar in the bricks,” functioning as the glue that holds your skin cells together. As we age, our ceramide production decreases, so it helps to use products like Cerave that help you replenish your supply. The downside: No tint, meaning no coverage for sunspots or blemishes, and it feels slightly greasy on application, despite it containing micronized chemical blocking agents.

2. La Roche Posay Anthelios Dry Touch Sunscreen: I like this option for people who want to spend a little more on sunscreen but not break the bank. I got a free sample of this to try and liked it, but not enough to pull the trigger on purchasing it ($20 for a pretty small tube). The difference in this sunscreen is that it contains antioxidants to fight free radical damage from sunlight, and it also contains an “anti-shine” complex that absorbs sweat. I personally found this sunscreen to be a bit drying on my skin, so keep that in mind if you have dry skin to begin with. It also does not have any coverage so it won’t be hiding any of your dark spots or imperfections.

3. MDSolarSciences Mineral Tinted Creme in SPF 30: This is my favorite sunscreen of all, hands down, that I will keep purchasing for myself for a long time. I’ve shared it with all of my friends and they all are surprised after applying it because the texture is unlike anything we’ve ever tried before. I received a tiny sample of it at the AAD conference and after trying it on a whim, my life was changed. What blows me away about this product is the silicone base so that when you put it on, your face becomes silky smooth with a matte finish. It is the perfect primer for makeup because it smooths and evens out your skin. It comes with a light tint but not enough to cover darker freckles and moles. The only drawbacks are price ($32 for a medium sized tube) and it accentuates dry skin, so make sure to moisturizer well BEFORE putting on this sunscreen. This brand also makes a higher end mineral beauty balm with ingredients such as niacinamide that help reduce redness and discoloration. I will be doing a giveaway for this product in the very near future so check back for that!

4. Shiseido Urban Environment UV Protection Cream in SPF 40: This sunscreen is a great choice for women who want a feather light sunscreen that doesn’t feel greasy or oily at all. It is water resistant for 40 minutes and fights against UV rays and oil production in your skin at the same time. My only gripe with this one is that it doesn’t offer any tinted coverage and it’s harder to rub in. I often find that it leaves my face with a slightly white sheen, so this may be a better option for those with lighter skin tones. It is also more expensive

5. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunblock SPF 45: This is the MOST affordable sunscreen out of my picks and I buy this one for my husband all the time, who does not have dry skin (therefore not needing the ceramides in Cerave) and hates the oily feeling in most sunscreens. This sunscreen goes on so light with a matte finish that most of the time I don’t even notice I have anything on. It doesn’t provide any coverage, however, but that’s not a problem if you use foundation on top of sunscreen anyways.This is a great pick for children and men who don’t need tinted sunscreen and who hate oily greasy application.

Items mentioned in this post:

To learn more about sunscreen and how to protect yourself from UV radiation and skin cancer:

https://www.aad.org/media-resources/stats-and-facts/prevention-and-care/sunscreens

http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/sun-protection/sunscreen

http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/sun-protection/sunscreen/the-skin-cancer-foundations-guide-to-sunscreens

7 Comments on My Top 5 Sunscreen Picks

  1. Susan young
    March 19, 2017 at 11:36 pm (7 months ago)

    Just found your insta and blog very informative !!!

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Joyce
      March 20, 2017 at 8:40 am (7 months ago)

      Thanks Susan!

      Reply
  2. Audrey
    March 31, 2017 at 7:30 am (7 months ago)

    Hi Joyce,

    Reading your requirements for sunscreen I think you will love Bareminerals Prep Step Mineral Shield SPF 50 (22% zinc oxide). It also works as a primer but it’s not tinted, and the white cast goes away for sure. It’s $30/30 ml and for 22% zinc oxide I think it’s a pretty fair price because the formula is so elegant for a mineral sunscreen.

    If you really like the tinted version, I would highly recommend trying Bareminerals Complexion Rescue Hydrating Tinted Gel SPF 30 (6.5% titanium dioxide), it comes in 20ish shades so there will definitely be a shade that matches your complexion. It’s a tinted moisturizer so the shade is quite forgiving. I have been using Bareminerals for years and it has been transforming my atopic dermatitis + rosacea skin for the better :-) I have been a big advocate of sunscreens ever since and now my friends, families, patients are obsessed with sunscreens/moisturizer with SPF too.

    Reply
    • Joyce
      March 31, 2017 at 7:44 am (7 months ago)

      Thanks for sharing your favorites Audrey! I also have rosacea prone skin so I like tinted moisturizers. Even better when they contain physical sunscreen ingredients which are broad spectrum and work well! I will have to try these next!

      Reply
      • Audrey
        June 3, 2017 at 2:13 am (5 months ago)

        You’re very welcome! For the drugstore option ($15ish) I’ve been hearing very good reviews of Australian Gold sunscreens. They even work well under makeup.

        Reply
  3. soapie (aka sofiercely on IG)
    May 26, 2017 at 10:32 pm (5 months ago)

    i’ve been searching for the ‘right’ sunscreen now that it’s getting warmer, and really appreciate your recommendations. =) just a thought- have you tried any asian sunscreens? been reading online that the asian sunscreens are well developed and well tested (i dont quite understand their whole ++++ rating system but supposedly it means better protection?) curious to see if you have tried any or if you do, what you think of them! =D

    Reply
    • Joyce
      May 29, 2017 at 2:01 pm (5 months ago)

      Hi, this is a great question and I had to look it up too! I’m going to address it in today’s Skinspiration post so others can learn from your question too. Thanks!

      Reply

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