What is the right daily sunscreen for YOU?

Because much of my practice is devoted to maintaining and enhancing the appearance of my patients, I am often asked about sunscreens. Because much of the ultraviolet damage we accumulate as we go through life comes from the little bits of UV we are exposed to every day, a daily sunscreen, applied every morning, can really slow down the facial aging clock.

There are three main considerations when choosing a daily sunscreen [one you put on every morning, 365 days a year.]

1. The MOST important thing is to find a sunscreen that you LIKE [because if you don’t LIKE it, you won’t WEAR it.] The most popular daily sunscreen in my practice is Neutrogena Dry Touch SPF 30 or SPF 45. People seem to like it because it is not oily or greasy, and does not interfere with makeup. Some people prefer a moisturizer or makeup with sunscreen. The most important thing is that they LIKE whatever they have chosen, so that they will use one or another sunscreen every day.

2. The second most important thing about sunscreens is to find one that is not too expensive, because if it is too expensive you might not use enough, or might not use it every day. If you find two or three sunscreens that you like, buy the least expensive one. Consumer Reports, June 2012, page 9 has a good study of sunscreens, and it appeared that there was no correlation between price and quality.

3. Don’t get hung up on the SPF! SPF 30 or 45 is just fine for daily use. If you LIKE a higher SPF sunscreen, by all means use it. Many people prefer the feel of SPF 30 or 45 sunscreens, so they are MORE LIKELY TO ACTUALLY USE those sunscreens every day.

Whatever sunscreen or sunscreen-containing product you choose, it is a good idea to get in the habit of putting it on every morning, right after your shower. Remember to include your neck and upper chest, and those of us whose ears are visible should be sure to protect the ears and the skin behind the ears.