Season's countdown to the best sunscreens for your face

Not to rain on your sun-filled, summer parade but here are a few facts that should make you wake up from your margarita-and-sun-induced coma and smell the sunscreen: The incidence of melanoma (a deadly form of skin cancer) is on the rise, and an estimated 8,600 people in the U.S. died from melanoma last year. And about 80 percent of the aging that dermatologists see is due to excess sun exposure since it can break down the collagen and elastin in your skin and cause more wrinkles. 

Ouch. Okay, enough of the doom and gloom-y news report, let's talk safe sun. Luckily, there are a slew of facial skin care products that have SPF in 'em and our readers have put them to the test. Shelve bad memories of your parent's smearing white (or pink or blue if you were lucky) zinc oxide on your nose and put aside the idea that you can't wear sunscreen on your face if you have oily skin -- these are the new generation of facial sunscreens, baby. These skin care products don't leave a white film on the skin, won't cause breakouts or an overly-shiny face and can be applied seamlessly over or under makeup.  

Here are some safe sun tips for healthy skin 

• Apply a shot glass full of sunscreen to cover your whole body (at least SPF 15 daily and for prolonged sun exposure, use a water resistant SPF 30 formula) and reapply every one to two hours while outdoors, says Heidi Waldorf, M.D. of Waldorf Dermatology & Laser Associates in Nanuet, NY. 
• Use products containing zinc or avobenzone, which will help block UVA light so that you don't accumulate more UV damage, says Katie Rodan, co-founder of Proactiv and Rodan + Fields Dermatologists. 
• If you're spending a lot of time outside -- especially during peak sun hours -- wear a large brimmed hat in addition to sunscreen to completely shield your face and hair from sun damage. 

NO. 11: Peter Thomas Roth instant mineral spf 30, $30

Why: Readers call this product their "safety net" and "SPF in a snap." One woman says, "I have recently become a shade worshiper as a result of family members developing skin cancer, and I have four faves in my sunscreen arsenal -- Peter Thomas Roth's being one of the four. This one travels in my handbag at all times. I never leave home without it." Another woman insists, "to all the mineral makeup maidens: this is perfect for you! If you need a higher protection, or need to reapply throughout the day you can dust this translucent mineral powder over or under your makeup for a matte finish." Readers say that this is "perfect for oily skin. I already use a lot of creamy products on my face before makeup so this is the perfect way to apply sunscreen. I use it to set my foundation since it is already a powder. It's so light, you can't even tell that it's on." Another calls it the "best new innovative product."

Agree? Disagree? Give us your opinion

NO. 10: Neutragena Norwegian Formula Age Shield  sunblock $9.99

Why: Readers call this product "stopping the hag" and a "must-use sunblock for mature skin." One reviewer says, "everyone knows you're supposed to wear sunscreen every day, but good luck finding sunscreen that works well for people with oily skin. Most sunscreens have moisturizers that leave your face [like] an oil slick by noon. Not the Neutrogena Age Shield sunscreen. It sinks in to your skin within minutes of putting it on and has a silky feel, so it's easy to put makeup on over it. And best of all, it seems to even prevent oil build-up, unlike anything else I've tried. I've been using it for five years now and have no sun spots -- yeah!" Another reviewer says this product is "absolutely one of the best sunscreens I've ever used. It does not make my already extremely oily skin feel greasy at all. It just feels really soft, and there's less shine after application."

Agree? Disagree?

NO. 9: DDF Sun protection spf 30, $30

Why: Readers like how this product is "like a tinted moisturizer. Goes on easily, lasts all day, doesn't get shiny and evens skin tone. I skip my foundation when I wear this." Another likes how "it doesn't feel greasy and I don't feel as guilty sitting in the sun on my lunch break if I have my DDF with me. You still tan through it, but just enough to get some Vitamin D in you." One woman says, "I have been looking forever for a product like this. It provides broad-spectrum sun protection and it makes your skin look more even-toned and naturally beautiful. It even works well with my super oily skin." Another woman says, "I'm just a big DDF fan in general, and this stuff is no exception. It goes on light and gives a little tint, but just a subtle one."

Agree? Disagree?

NO. 8: clarins uv plus day screen spf 40, $42

Why: Readers who were so ecstatic after trying this product said that they just "had to share the news!" "It goes on smooth, leaves a great finish for makeup application and no negative side effects (breakouts, hives, sensitivity, etc.). I will definitely splurge on this product again. After all ladies, we need the sun." Another likes how "the texture is so light. It's amazing and it protects me really well too. I used this in Europe in the summer when the sun was harsh, harsh, harsh. I got a tan everywhere other than my face." One reviewer finds that, "this is such a lightweight and sheer sunscreen you can't even feel it on your skin. I love how it instantly absorbs into the skin and makeup goes on flawlessly. No sticky or weird smell either. I'm hooked and everyone should try it."

Agree? Disagree

NO. 7: colorescience pro sunforgettable brush spf30, $50

Why: Readers enjoy how you can dust this powder SPF over makeup saying it's, "a great way to reapply sunscreen over makeup. The tubes carry easily in a purse and the powder applies smoothly." Another reader says, "I really like this product as an alternative to greasy-feeling sunscreen. It's a great way to protect your skin and still look good." One woman agrees that it's a "great alternative to goopy sunblocks," while another loves how, "this product mattifies any super-powered moisturizers I've used." One reader calls it a "purse staple," and another says it's "sunforgettable."

Agree? Disagree?

NO. 6: aveeno continuous protection sunblock lotion for the face spf 30, $8.49 

Why: One reader says, "for sun protection, it doesn’t get any better than this. It moisturizes and with an SPF 45, it can't be beat for sun protection. My skin doesn't break out when I use it and that was the one drawback that other sunscreens had." Another reader says, "after seeing my ex-boyfriend's sister use this on her face, I immediately came to Total Beauty to read the reviews. After the high ratings, I purchased the SPF 30 and was amazed and happy at how well it worked and looked on my skin. It's not greasy, which is a huge thing for me (oily skin) and my foundation always looked smoother. I noticed after a few days of use my small bits of acne and blackheads reduced and that was a HUGE plus. I stick this in my purse and I'm out the door. My skin has never been happier. Thanks, Aveeno!"

Agree? Disagree?

NO. 5:  shiseido ultimate sun protection cream spf 55 PA+++, $33

Why: Readers find that their "skin is actually less oily when using this -- and the makeup ends up staying better with less oil breakthrough," and "when using this for outdoor [activities], it totally holds up in the water. I would use this in the morning and swim much of the day and NEVER burn and hardly even get any color on my face! If you want serious protection this is the sunscreen for you." Another reader says, "this sunscreen is the best. I am very pale and burn very easily. Shiseido really knows how to make sunscreen." One woman says she loves this sunscreen "because it gives great protection, isn't greasy or sticky, doesn't have a weird, beach-y smell and doesn't leave a white film on the skin." Readers who have pigmentation issues and require a high SPF love this sunscreen saying, "although it is a cream formulation, I find that it is not too thick or greasy at all. I use it all year round."

Agree? Disagree?

NO. 4: clinique super city block oil- free daily face protector spf 40, $16.50 

Why: Readers like how this product "blends into your skin, does not flake and gives a very natural-looking tone." One reader likes how "it works great alone or as a base under makeup. I'm a runner, and spend a lot of time outdoors, and what I love most about this product is that it stays put and protects no matter what I'm doing. The best part is that it's oil-free and doesn't clog my pores or cause breakouts. If I don't feel like wearing foundation, I just apply this for a healthy, protective glow." Another reader who has oily skin says, "this is the first sun protection I have found that I can use daily and my skin stays matte all day." Another finds that within a month of using this product, "certain stubborn freckles on my cheeks that have been there for YEARS disappeared!" One woman says she loves "using this in the summer because it protects my skin and gives just the right amount of coverage. I also use it the rest of the year under my foundation to protect my fair skin from the sun. Fantastic product."

Agree? Disagree?

NO. 3: obagi nu-derm healthy skin protection spf 35, $37.50 

Why: Readers say "this sunscreen is fantastic. I have actually used many Obagi skin care products and haven't been happy with all of them. This one, however, is just marvelous. It really makes my skin feel fresh and moisturized while not making it feel greasy from the SPF." Another says, "I have tried over a hundred sunscreens due to my fair skin, which the sun loves to fry whenever I'm outdoors. I have worn embarrassingly large beach hats and floor length sarongs, but now I believe I have discovered the best protection on the market. Even The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends this sunscreen!" One woman likes how the sunscreen "goes on well and disappears into the skin," and "works well as a moisturizer before applying your makeup." Another reader calls it her "holy grail sunscreen," saying it "really helps with the redness after I use the Obagi routine in the AM."

Agree? Disagree?

NO. 2: zo skin health oclipse sunscreen + primer, $65

Why: Readers love how this product multitasks saying, "I'm a big fan of the ZO product line, but this one is my hands-down favorite. It has replaced my sunscreen, my primer and my tinted-moisturizer! My skin looks and feels amazing." Another agrees saying, "it has replaced my foundation because it provides just enough coverage along with its fabulous sun protection -- it's all I need now. I love the silky feel. As an added bonus it is the best sweat-proof sunscreen I've ever used." One reader says this product is her favorite because, "I live in Southern Calif. and fry in the sun, but this one gives my face great protection. I've been using it for the last six months and I like the way my skin looks and feels." Another reader says it is "the best primer and sunscreen I've ever tried -- and I've tried many of both. I have oily skin, and this is the first sunscreen that doesn't leave me with a shiny face."

Agree? Disagree?

NO. 1: jan marini skin research antioxidant daily face protectant, $48 

Why: Readers with sensitive skin love this saying, "this does not make me break out. I wear it every day. It does not run in your eyes and it never feels weird on your skin. I have tried every sunscreen and if I could only have one product on a desert island, this would be it!" Another agrees saying, "this is a great antioxidant sunscreen for daily use" and continues, "it EVEN has MICRO-SPONGES to absorb excess oil. It smells great, works great, and isn't expensive for what you get. I stockpile this stuff, and carry it with me everywhere." One reader says she is a "new user" and a "new believer." "I love the smell, texture, oil control and sunblock protection. It's a wonderful product. It's pricey, but a little goes a long, long, long way." Another woman agrees saying, "I apply one pump's worth every morning and it's enough for both face and neck." Readers like how "the lotion is quick to absorb and leaves no sticky residue. It's my go-to first step every day."

Agree? Disagree?


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