The Best Sunscreens for Your Manly Face, According to Dermatologists
Because a dollop a day keeps those harmful, cancer-causing UV rays away
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We’ve been telling you to put a lot of stuff on your face. We’ve touched on cleansers, the miracle skincare product that is retinol, your winterized skincare routine and even facial injections. But if there’s one skincare product you choose to slab all over your pretty little face, for the love of all that is holy please let it be SPF.
In case you haven’t heard, the sun burns, and it can leave an unsightly, potentially fatal mark — especially for men who, by age 80, are three times more likely to develop melanoma than women. There are a few reasons men are more susceptible to skin cancer. Part of it has to do with biology and testosterone, but when it comes to understanding the dangers of skin cancer, particularly as it relates to tanning, men are simply not as informed as women are and often just don’t wear sunscreen.
“Some men avoid sunscreen because they see it as a beauty product, others think they don’t need it, some avoid the greasiness, some can’t stand the way it burns their eyes and some find any form of skin care annoying,” says dermatological nurse and celebrity aesthetician Natalie Aguilar.
Lots of makeup products also have SPF already in them, which offers a bit more protection for women, adds Karen Fernandez, the Lead Aesthetician for SkinSpirit. “Women might receive some sun protection if they’re using makeup that contains SPF. However, since men’s grooming products and routines are typically more limited, they may not be getting any protection and will need to add SPF to their daily habits,” she says.
But you’ll have to get over your aversion to sunscreen because it’s a critical component in protecting you against harmful, cancer-causing UV rays. And on top of melanoma, sun damage can lead to premature aging, fine lines and skin tone discoloration, aka sunspots. “A solid daily routine of applying sunscreen to your face will keep your appearance more youthful and your skin healthier overall,” says Fernandez. If not for skin cancer, let your crypt-keeper future prompt your daily dollop of sunscreen.
And yes, you should be wearing sunscreen every single day. Even on overcast days and when you plan to stay indoors. “The reason is simple: the sun’s UV rays penetrate through clouds, the windshield of your car, and the windows of your home,” explains Fernandez. The question of how often to apply your sunscreen, however, depends on how you plan to spend your day. If you’re outdoors and sweating, engaging in activities like swimming, or you’re working outside for an extended period, then sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours. If you’re inside, you can reapply every three hours, says Aguilar.
“Some people are surprised to learn that sunscreen is not a once-daily application. They get ready for their workday early in the morning, apply their sunscreen, and leave the house. But a few hours later, when the strong afternoon sun fully rises, they are no longer protected. Their SPF protection has worn off. This is why reapplication is important,” she says.
Now if you’ve heeded our advice in the past and have adopted some semblance of a skincare routine, you know that your sunscreen application always goes last. “Think of it as your finishing touch,” says Fernandez. When applying face sunscreen, use a large dollop — the size of a large grape should be enough for the face, ears and neck, explains Aguilar. For men with short hair, it’s especially imperative to get those ears and neck, notes Fernandez, and be sure to apply it all the way to your hairline.
“To apply sunscreen the best way, you use two fingers and apply it in smooth strokes rather than using both hands and rubbing your entire face in circles. The application of smooth strokes penetrates better and faster and doesn’t leave the unblended white patches of zinc,” explains Aguilar.
Now that you’re (hopefully) a converted sunscreen fanatic — which exact sunscreen should you lather all over your face? Well, that’s why we consulted the experts. Below you’ll find some dermatologist recs, including the best face sunscreens for sensitive, acne-prone, oily and even sweaty skin.
The Best Overall Face Sunscreens
Skinmedica Total Defense + Repair Broad Spectrum SPF 50+
“I love SkinMedica Total Defense + Repair SPF 50 since it absorbs quickly, leaves no white residue and doesn’t have a greasy feel,” says Fernandez. “Plus, it is loaded with rejuvenating ingredients that help improve overall skin health and appearance so guys get an extra boost using it.”
Jan Marini Skin Research Physical Protectant SPF 45
“A staple at SkinSpirit is Jan Marini Physical Protectant SPF 45 which is a workhorse at our clinics — it’s weightless and contains oil-absorbing particles for additional oil control and a sheer finish,” says Fernandez.
Jason Lane Rain Or Shine
“My favorite sunscreen for men is Rain or Shine, by Jaxon Lane,” says Aguilar. “Rain or Shine is a daily moisturizing sunscreen that offers SPF 50 protection with no grease and no white marks, and doesn’t clog pores. It doubles as a light moisturizer, and improves skin with Vitamin E, Hyaluronic Acid, Green Tea, Licorice Root, and Ginseng. We love it because it feels like a liquid cloud and it penetrates so quickly. It’s also great for all skin types even those with acne prone skin. “
Neutrogena’s Ultimate Sport Face Sunscreen
“I would recommend Neutrogena’s Ultimate Sport Face Sunscreen because this SPF 70+ helioplex technology sunscreen provides protection that lasts for several hours and blocks UVB and UVA rays more effectively than other sunscreen products,” says Dr. Lucy Chen, Miami Board Certified dermatologist of Riverchase Dermatology. “It also will not cause you to break out because it is non-comedogenic (won’t block your pores), and it is sweat-resistant.
The Best Face Sunscreens For Sensitive or Acne-Prone Skin
Vanicream Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50+
“Those with sensitive skin shouldn’t give up on sunscreen without having tried Vanicream Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50+,” says Aguilar. “It features non-nano zinc oxide, it’s reef-friendly, and offers broad-spectrum protection. It’s a mineral sunscreen that’s designed for sensitive skin and offers a lightweight finish that applies smoothly and absorbs quickly without leaving behind a white residue. It’s free of chemicals, formaldehyde, fragrance, dye, lanolin, parabens, gluten and preservatives.”
Neutrogena Face Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin
“The Sensitive Skin Mineral Face Sunscreen SPF 50 is great for sensitive and acne-prone skin because it has a non-comedogenic formula and is also oil-free, fragrance-free, and free of chemical ingredients. In other words, it does not contain features that usually cause breakouts or irritation,” says Chen. “The sunscreen is also water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, so you don’t have to worry about your sunscreen washing off when you sweat or hit the water.”
Best Sweat-Proof Face Sunscreen
COOLA Organic Face Sunscreen & Sunblock Lotion
Chen recommends Coola Organic Classic Daily Face Sunscreen SPF 50 for those looking for longer protection in the heat. “It’s sweatproof for 80 minutes, making it the perfect sunscreen for those who are active and on the go. It also contains antioxidants and provides a lightweight coverage that will protect your skin from free radicals and harsh UV rays.”
Best Face Sunscreen For Oily Skin
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Clear Skin Dry Touch Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 60
If you have oily skin and are concerned about how a daily dose of sunscreen might affect it — don’t fret. “La Roche-Posay Anthelios Clear Skin Dry Touch Sunscreen SPF 60 is oil-free, fragrance-free, and has a water-resistant formula, meaning it won’t clog your pores and cause breakouts,” says Chen. “It also has ingredients like silica and perlite that help absorb excess oil, so if you start to sweat, your sunscreen won’t slide off your face.”
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