Discover beauty through professional reviews

(Available in USA only)
NOW READING What The World’s Top Dermatologists Want You to Know About Sunscreen
June 26, 2020

What The World’s Top Dermatologists Want You to Know About Sunscreen

It’s been pounded into our heads numerous times – no matter where we live (and even when it’s cloudy and overcast), sunscreen must be a part of our daily skincare routine.



Red hair woman with freckles putting on sunscreen at beach
Beautiful woman with red hair enjoying summer at sea using sunblock on her delicate skin with freckles to prevent sun damage. (istock/ridofranz)


Yes, it’s an extra step, but, no, it isn’t optional, especially if you want to slow down the aging process and prevent everything from wrinkles and brown spots to cancer.


Depending on your age, you may or may not have been raised with the “sunscreen at all times” mentality, but a recent survey conducted by the American Academy of Dermatology determined that “74% of parents today say they worry about sun protection more with their children than their parents did with them, and 90% of parents believe it’s important to teach their children healthy habits now so they will continue to practice them when they are adults.”



Young mother applying protective sunscreen on daughter nose at beach.
74% of parents today say they worry about sun protection more with their children than their parents did with them. (istock/ridofranz)


In a perfect world, sun protection would be built into every product we use, so we wouldn’t have to think about the extra step. Unfortunately, the active ingredients in sunscreen don’t always play well with other skin care ingredients, so applying it separately is a must, at least for now.






The Truth About Ultraviolet Radiation


Having trouble remembering which ultraviolet ray does what? Think of the “A” and “B” in these acronyms as standing for “aging or burning.” There are also UVC rays, which are the most damaging, but those are filtered by the atmosphere and don’t reach the earth’s surface. You can thank UVA rays for that coveted copper-toned tan, but they also damage your skin on cloudy days and can even penetrate untreated glass (such as the windows of a car – yes, sun damage occurs while driving).


Board certified dermatologist explains importance of sunscreen to avoid wrinkles
Board Certified Dermatologist, Ava Shamban, M.D. says UVA rays penetrate the skin at a deeper level than UVB rays, degrading collagen and resulting in wrinkles.


Board Certified Dermatologist, Ava Shamban, M.D., founder of SkinFive and AvaMD Clinics and co-host of The Gist, advises that “UVA rays penetrate the skin at a deeper level than UVB rays, degrading collagen and undermining the skin’s integrity, resulting in wrinkles.” And, that alone is enough of a reason to apply (and reapply) sunscreen.


Ultraviolet radiation – let’s start using that term as a reminder of what we’re really dealing with – triggers the body’s natural defense system. Melanin, a form of pigmentation, acts as a safety mechanism to ward off the damaging effects of the sun. Unfortunately, once the skin begins to change color, even slightly, the damage is done. Even in the 80s, the Skin Cancer Foundation recognized the public’s need for this information and recommended that “suntan” products contain at least SPF 15. Today, SPF 30 is often the minimum that’s recommended.



Finding the Right Sunscreen Can Feel Like Searching for a Unicorn



Sunscreen with light and consistent texture coming out of bottle
Many brands feature more technologically advanced formulations and today’s mineral sunscreens now spread evenly and sink right into the skin (istock/augustin val)


Sunscreen formulas have come a long way in recent years, so if you loathe what you’re currently using, options abound to suit your needs and skin type. Chemical sunscreen spreads easily and often has a thinner consistency, which makes it aesthetically pleasing. As with most products, though, ingredients matter, and people with dry or sensitive skin as well as those prone to acne or rosacea, may experience stinging, flushing, irritation, and clogged pores when using a chemical sunscreen that includes ingredients like oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, or avobenzone – which are also reportedly dangerous to the ocean reefs.


Physical sunscreen, often referred to as mineral sunscreen, has had a reputation of feeling thick, sticky and leaving a white chalky cast in the past. Many brands feature more technologically advanced formulations and today’s mineral sunscreens now spread evenly and sink right into the skin. Often labeled “sun block” or “physical block,” physical sunscreen contains zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, or both, and received the FDA’s coveted GRASE (Generally Regarded As Safe and Effective) moniker in 2019. A new sunscreen ingredient – PARSOL® Shield, or bemotrizinol (BEMT) – is undergoing FDA GRASE testing now.



Doctor Recommended Sun Protection


A couple of brands that many doctors agree upon are Raw Love and Coola. They’re gentle enough for use on infants, children, and individuals with sensitive skin. And, they’re reef-safe, which means they don’t contain the above mentioned oxybenzone or octinoxate (along with many other chemicals) that are known to degrade the coral reefs fish call home. Formulated with less than 12 ingredients including zinc oxide, raw shea butter, essential oils, and Vitamin E, Raw Love is also one of the purest natural sunscreens on the market. Dr. Shamban also recommends ISDIN’s Eryfotona sunscreens as well as La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios 50 Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid, particularly the tinted formula, because it spreads easily and offers SPF 50.



Harvard educated dermatologist and professor at Yale School of Medicine
Macrene Alexiades, MD PhD FAAD holds three degrees from Harvard University: a BA from Harvard University, MD from Harvard Medical School, and a PhD in Genetics from Harvard University and is the Associate Clinical Professor at Yale University School of Medicine


Macrene Alexiades, M.D., Ph.D. and Associate Clinical Professor at Yale University School of Medicine offers useful advice for individuals with darker skin tones. “I recommend mixing an SPF 100 with my deep shade of Macrene Actives High Performance Tinted Moisturizer (TM), which contains titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, and iron oxides. “Combining the two products results in a luxurious, non-ashy, physical sunscreen with SPF 50,” she adds.


If you’re acne-prone, choose an oil-free product. And, for those of you who are searching for something to use during the day while wearing makeup or for touch ups, powder sunscreen, such as Sunforgettable by Colorescience, provides broad spectrum coverage in a convenient, mess-free, brush-on formula. It’s especially good for protecting the scalp where you part your hair and has a unisex allure that men find appealing as well. Considering that wearing sunscreen everyday should be a no-brainer for everyone.



Getting the Most Out of Your Sunscreen


While many foundations and BB Creams also include sunscreen, especially octinoxate, skin care professionals have a word of caution about relying exclusively on foundation for sun protection. According to Dr. Alexiades, “You need 1/3 to 1/2 teaspoon to properly protect your skin. When you squeeze the sunscreen into your hand, it should be about the diameter of a nickel.” So, double up and layer foundation over sunscreen.


Once you’ve applied your sunscreen, don’t mistakenly think you’re all set for the day. No matter what form of sun protection you use, you’ll need to reapply accordingly. Physical activity, swimming, and sweating all reduce physical sunscreen’s efficacy, and direct UV light is said to lower chemical sunscreen’s protection factor, so you’ll need to reapply no matter which version you prefer. “Sunscreens are deactivated in two hours, or they rub off,” Dr. Alexiades says; “therefore, you need to reapply it every two hours.” Period.


Our Beauty Advisors (aestheticians, facialists, makeup artists, and beauty professionals) recommend the Eclado Oil Free Sunscreen  as one of the top sunscreens. 

Eclado Suncream Oil free SPF40 PA++
Eclado sunscreen has been chosen in over 10,000 spas in Korea, one of the most hyper competitive skincare markets in the world. 





Tracy is a "quality over quantity" word girl fascinated by eagles and life in a small SoCal mountain community. She believes in the now, has written professionally for 30+ years, and worships at the alters of serum and Sulwhasoo.




Verified Expert

Thank you for putting this information together. Sunscreen is so important. In order to see the best results from our product routine, SPF is the key. Great article!


Verified Expert

You're welcome, Antoinette. One of my personal sunscreen favorites was just added to Beautytap. I love Epicuren Discovery Zinc Oxide Perfecting Sunscreen SPF 27 74ml. The SPF isn't as high as some other physical sunscreens, but I love layering Epicuren's Defend & Balance Tinted Mineral Sunscreen SPF50 over this one. Both of their products are reef safe, too!


Verified Expert

Great article that highlights the importance of wearing sunscreen!


Verified Expert

This article is a must read! There's no point in investing in all your other skin care, if you're not using SPF daily. All of your serum and moisturizers are just trying to reverse the years of damage the sun has done to you skin. 1/3-1/2 teaspoon per application, about the size of a nickel is what we need to truly protect our faces.


Verified Expert

I love the way the information is laid out in this article! Sunscreen is a vital part of taking care of your skin and this kind of information should always be readily available!


Verified Expert

Thank you, Randee. 💋


Verified Expert

I wish my parents knew more about the importance of using sunscreen daily. While it's never too late to take care of your skin, sooner is always better. The suns rays can penetrate clouds, windows, water, and more!! While being out in the sun is a great way to absorb Vitamin D, it can also do a lot of damage to your skin if not protected. Great article with great facts.


Verified Expert

While I love a good sunny day, skin protection is priority. This article was wonderful on breaking down the different kinds of UV rays and their effects. Also a good reminder on the difference between chemical sunscreen and mineral sunscreen! Thank you for the article!


Verified Expert

I love reading about how sunscreen is SO important! SPF can vary, but it is said you need an SPF between 30-50. I use SPF 75 because I have very fair skin and get sunburnt very easily! I also use SPF 50 zinc oxide on my face, it is so important to keep your skin protected from the sun.


Verified Expert

wearing sunscreen everyday will help your skin maintain a healthy look.

Love how informative this is, and couldn't agree more. SPF can't be skipped! Two weeks ago I got a gnarly sunburn because I forgot to re-apply and parts of me are STILL healing.


Verified Expert

Thank you for sharing this article! :) It's sometimes difficult to find the right sunscreen that doesn't cause me to break out.


Verified Expert

Chemical sunscreen is often to blame for breakouts. Try a clear physical sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide instead. Also, you might not need a moisturizer underneath if your sunscreen is moisturizing.