Crappy sunscreen makes you feel like you're coated in Elmer's glue. It can also irritate sensitive and acne-prone skin. Which is why many of us with skin issues often skip SPF altogether. Of course we know we shouldn't: Wearing sunscreen on the regular can lower risk of melanoma by 50-73%. We just need to find one we can tolerate. To that end, we asked ZoomCare's Lead Dermatologist Omar Qutub, MD, for his reigning favorites. If your current bottle, tube, stick, or aerosol SPF isn't cutting it, check out this list.
Like all our Derm's picks, this lotion offers broad-spectrum protection (it battles both UVA and UVB rays). And you'll be surprised how quickly it disappears into your skin. No residue! Only complaint: Some people are bothered by its subtle chemical smell. Honorable mention: Aveeno's Protect & Hydrate Lotion SPF 30 for body. Active ingredients: avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, oxybenzone. Approx. cost: $12 for 2.5 ounces.
This broad-spectrum, spray-on sunscreen goes on fast and distributes like a dream. Definitely worth a try if you love the silky texture that oil gives your skin. Bonus: It smells a little like freshly-baked cookies. Active ingredients: avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, oxybenzone. Approx. cost: $8 for 5 ounces.
Unlike the products above that use chemicals to absorb harmful rays, Cerave Invisible Zinc blocks them with mineral-based sunscreens zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Goes on a bit thick, but absorbs nicely. Eczema patients who love Cerave lotion tend to have luck with this line. Available in face or body lotion, plus a convenient, kid-friendly stick. Active ingredients: titanium dioxide, zinc oxide. Approx. cost: $12 for 3 ounces.
Sold only in clinics, EltaMD has won the cult-like devotion of dermatology patients prone to acne, rosacea, or discoloration. This soothing broad-spectrum sunblock uses niacinamide (vitamin B3) to help reduce inflammation and prevent breakouts. The lotion leaves no residue and is fragrance free. Tinted version also available. Active ingredients: titanium dioxide, zinc oxide. Approx. cost: $45 for 1.7 ounces.
Also available only in clinics, this serum-like fluid (it's been called "runny") is a winner among people with oily, allergy-prone skin. It dries quickly to a very matte finish. A sheer form of zinc oxide plus titanium oxide act as broad-spectrum sun barriers. A tinted version helps even skin tone a bit. Active ingredients: titanium dioxide, zinc oxide. Approx. cost: $45 for 1.7 ounces.
If you're struggling with problem skin or need an annual screening, schedule a visit for Dermatology.