Yes, you should be wearing sunscreen every single day, 365 days a year. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. That being said,it’s understandable that you may be paying even closer attention to your SPF usage as the weather warms up. And it is important to be extra diligent now, since UVB rays (the ones responsible for burning) are stronger this time of year. So what’s new in the sun protection world for summer 2020?
Not surprisingly, the coronavirus pandemic is impacting our behaviors. According to a survey conducted by Neutrogena and the Harris Poll, 39 percent of Americans over the age of 21 say they’ve been so focused on hand-washing and germs that they’re not thinking about sunscreen. And 20 percentof adults say they’re using it less often than normal. While it’s easier said than done, it’s important to not let the pandemic, or its resulting stay-home orders, thwart your sun safety practices.
“Ask yourself if you are protecting your skin from the sun as much as you did last summer, and if not, make a conscious effort to reestablish a sunscreen habit,” advises Sherry Pagoto, PhD, a prevention researcher and clinical psychologist who specializes in behavioral medicine. It’s also worth noting that exposing yourself to UV light won’t protect you from COVID-19, and you still need to be wearing sunscreen even if you’re wearing a face mask outdoors, she adds.
There’s also been a lot of talk about blue light—the visible light emitted from electronic devices—and its effect on skin. Credit the increased amount of time we’re all spending in front of screens these days that’s pushed this conversation to the forefront. “Although there haven’t been many studies about the long-term effects of blue light, some research has shown that it breaks down collagen and speeds up the aging process,” explains New York City dermatologist Marina Peredo, MD. Expect to see more and more sunscreens boasting blue light protection, though Dr. Peredo notes that it’s generally mineral formulas that are best suited for the job. Ingredients such as iron oxides and possibly zinc oxide are the ones thought to offer blue light protection.
Start your summer sun protection game off strong by trying any of these eight new standout sunscreens of 2020.
1 Sonrei Sea Clearly Gel Sunscreen SPF 50 ($25; sonreiskin.com)
We’ve seen and tried a lot of sunscreens in our day, but none quite like this one. Totally transparent, it has a gel-like texture unlike any lotion or cream. It melts into skin and stays put, so there’s no need to worry about it running down your face or getting into your eyes. The consistency also makes it great multi-tasker, pulling double duty as a primer, lip balm, even hand cream. Not to mention that it’s also reef-safe, cruelty-free, and vegan.
2 Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Facial Mist SPF 55 ($13; target.com)
Along with wearing sunscreen every day, you’re also supposed to reapply it every two hours. It’s a lofty goal, for sure, but this spray makes it much easier to attain. Lightweight and non-greasy, it’s easy to mist on whenever you need a touch-up. It’s also oil-free and dries completely matte, a major win for anyone who doesn’t like heavier ‘screens.
3 First Aid Beauty Weightless Liquid Mineral SPF 30 ($34; sephora.com)
This newbie quickly nabbed a spot in our daily sunscreen rotation. The completely mineral, zinc oxide formula is an awesome pick for sensitive and/or acne-prone skin, and it contains antioxidants and other ingredients that offer an extra layer of protection from the sun’s damaging free radicals. A subtle tint—that works surprisingly well on most skin tones—makes it great to use on its own, though it also layers beautifully under makeup.
4 La Roche-Posay Anthelios 100 Melt In Milk ($25; ulta.com)
This touts the same beloved formula as the OG, just with SPF 100 instead of SPF 60. (Scientifically speaking, there’s not a huge jump in protection between these two SPFs, but, given that most people don’t apply enough to get the labeled level of protection, most derms will always advise that it’s better to err on the side of a higher SPF.) True to the name, it’s featherweight and absorbs into skin beautifully, no matter whether you slather it onto your face or bod.
5 Australian Gold Botanical Tinted Face Sunscreen SPF 50 ($16; ulta.com)
We love tinted sunscreens for their ability to both protect and even out our complexion simultaneously. The only issue? Most of the ones out there only come in one color. And sure, that universal tint often does work well on a wide array of skin tones, but we were still SUPER excited to see that this one now comes in two different shades. There’s a medium to tan and rich to deep hue, ideal for anyone who may found other tinted versions too light for them.
6 Ava Isa Sun-é-Serum Drop SPF 35 ($45; thesunscreencompany.shop)
This one is for all the sunscreen haters out there. The innovative mineral drops feel just as silky on skin as your go-to serum, while stilldelivering your daily dose of SPF, thanks to a 25 percent concentration of zinc oxide. They also contain micah, an antioxidant proven to help combat blue light, and go on transparently on all skin tones. Oh, and Michelle Obama is a fan of the brand—need we say more?
7 Sun Bum Hair & Scalp Mist ($15; ulta.com)
FYI, your strands and scalp need to be protected from the sun, too. Sure, you could rub some lotion into your scalp or spray your body sunscreen onto your hair, but that can end up feeling goopy and sticky. Enter the beauty of this mist, which dries quickly, doesn’t feel greasy, and won’t weigh down your hair, but will protect it and the delicate skin on your scalp from the sun. It works great for guys, too, so be sure to share.
8 Versed Guards Up Daily Mineral Sunscreen ($22; versed.com)
Clean beauty queens will appreciate that this sunscreen is free from parabens, silicones, sulfates, plus a whopping 1300 other questionable chemicals and ingredients. Instead, it relies on zinc oxide and a blend of different plant-based ingredients to shield skin from UVA and UVB rays, as well as blue light. It’s not in the least bit chalky, either, thanks to a hint of tint.
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