Just as you have closet staples that you can mix and match depending on the season, environment, and occasion, no medicine cabinet is complete without a lineup of sunscreens for year-round face and body protection. To craft the ultimate portfolio, we tapped Dr. Joel Cohen, a board-certified dermatologist in Denver, Colorado. “I tell patients every day that they have a cornucopia of sunscreen options—we just need to find the ones they like wearing and don’t mind reapplying when outside or in significant sun,” he says.
Dr. Cohen regularly points his patients toward EltaMD. It’s the brand that he and his family use, so the endorsement is personal: “As a dermatologist who is married to a pediatrician and who has three kids, I think we cover a wide spectrum of people, ages, and interests when it comes to sunscreen.”
Below, find five types of products to consider adding to your sunscreen wardrobe, along with Dr. Cohen’s EltaMD recommendation for each.
1. A Blendable Facial Sunscreen for All Skin Types and Tones
Finding a transparent product that works for all types and tones should be your first order of business in building a sunscreen routine. “Patients always tell me they don’t want to use sunscreen because it’s oily and causes them to break out,” says Dr. Cohen. Another common complaint is white cast.
EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 protects against both UVA and UVB rays and, as the name suggests, blends without a trace. It works on all skin tones (with no white cast), and it’s also specifically created with people who have acne or rosacea in mind, though anyone can use it. UV Clear is non-comedogenic and contains niacinamide, which can help reduce the look of blemishes and discoloration. It’s great for the face, neck, décolleté, and hands.
Dr. Cohen also espouses the formula for men with facial hair. “I always have a little bit of stubble on my face, and one of the biggest problems with sunscreen is getting it to rub in completely,” he says. “With this one, I never have to worry.”
2. A Tinted, Hydrating Face Sunscreen
For days when you don’t have time to do a full face of makeup or just want light coverage, you should have a tinted sunscreen at the ready. EltaMD UV Daily Tinted Broad Spectrum SPF 40 evens out your skin tone while it protects with micronized zinc oxide. “Many people use it as a little bit of cover-up for acne or rosacea,” says Dr. Cohen. “It blends in really well on most skin tones. My wife and daughter are obsessed.”
UV Daily is a great pick for dry or flaky skin, too. It’s infused with hyaluronic acid to help skin retain moisture for a plumping effect that makes fine lines less noticeable. Be sure to bring this one down past your neck so it blends—and protects—seamlessly.
3. A Water-Resistant Sunscreen
Like a classic trench coat on a rainy day, this is a must for summer activities. EltaMD UV Sport Broad-Spectrum SPF 50+ is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes and won’t drip or get in your eyes. Plus, it blends in transparent and gets absorbed quickly.
“This is what I wear when I’m biking, sweating, swimming,” says Dr. Cohen. “It comes in a big enough size to use for the whole body, and it’s great for when you’ll be wiping your skin or toweling off often, because it’s quick to reapply.”
4. A Sunscreen Stick
For midday reapplication or weekend trips, a portable SPF comes in handy. The all-mineral EltaMD UV Stick Broad-Spectrum SPF 50+ is about twice the size of a lipstick and provides an incredibly precise, mess-free application.
Dr. Cohen also loves that the stick is easy to apply on the contours of the face. “I see so many skin cancers on the center part of the face,” he says. “I never want that to happen, so I’m constantly reapplying the stick to my nose, cheeks, and upper lip.”
5. An Allover Sunscreen Spray
Finally, if the thought of using multiple products seems overwhelming, go with a formula that can be applied on both your face and body, like EltaMD UV AOX Mist Broad-Spectrum SPF 40. Think of it as the outfit equivalent of a one-and-done dress. The 100 percent mineral spray is formulated with the antioxidants vitamins C and E for protection against free radicals, as well as hydrating glycerin, coconut extract, and aloe vera.
“This product is a total winner,” says Dr. Cohen. “My family loves it for the beach and pool, for fishing and tennis, and for skiing and hiking. My wife likes that it has antioxidants, our kiddos never complain about any smell or any residue, and my son doesn’t even fight me when it’s time to reapply.”
Correct application is key if you want to get the most out of a sunscreen, Dr. Cohen notes, and the AOX Mist makes it easy. “Studies show that people often miss spots when they rely on a spray sunscreen for large areas like the back and legs,” he says. “But what’s really cool about the EltaMD spray is that it goes on white and then turns clear. Just for a split second you can see where you put it, so you can then rub it in and make sure it’s uniformly applied.”