Sunscreen is a must-have in any daily skincare routine — but with so much information out there about the best types of SPF products, what SPF to use, and how to best apply (and reapply) sunscreen, it can feel overwhelming to sift through the noise and find products that work well for your specific routine and situation.

So we’ve asked a few of our skincare professionals at Feinstein Dermatology in Delray Beach to share their personal favorite sunscreen products, pro tips, and answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about sunscreen.

Dr. Brian Feinstein, Board-Certified Dermatologist

Board certified in Dermatology and Mohs Surgery, Dr. Brian Feinstein is the founder of Feinstein Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery. Dr. Feinstein specializes in general, cosmetic and surgical dermatology with a focus on Mohs Micrographic Surgery performing over 10,000 Mohs surgeries in his career thus far. Dr. Feinstein is also a leading expert in laser-based therapies, Botox and dermal fillers.

Best SPF pro tip:

Choose a sunscreen that works for your skin type and specific needs so you will be more inclined to use it every day. For example, those with oily or acne-prone skin should choose a lightweight, oil-free formula like EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF that won’t clog pores or cause breakouts. Those with dry skin should look for mineral-based sunscreens that contain hydrating ingredients like glycerin, hyaluronic acid, or squalene.  

Nathalie Allison-Fecteau, Physician Assistant

Nathalie is a board-certified Physician Assistant with over ten years of experience specializing in dermatology. Her professional interests include skin, hair, and nail disorders, as well as educating her patients on skin cancer detection and prevention. She offers the latest technology in psoriasis treatment, Xtrac® laser, as well as photodynamic therapy.

Favorite sunscreens:
For kids: Eucerin Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen or Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Kids
For adults: Elta MD UV Sport Sunscreen or ISDIN Eryfotona Actinica Mineral Sunscreen

Best SPF pro tip:
Look for sunscreens with broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) protection, an SPF of 30 or higher, and stick with mineral-based sunscreens that contain zinc or titanium (or a combination of the two).

Personal SPF routine:
– Apply sunscreen every day on the face, neck, and hands, no matter what!
– If you find yourself outdoors, apply sunscreen on all other areas of the body.
– Reapplying every 1 to 2 hours is key, especially if you are outdoors for an extended period of time or are sweating or swimming.
– I also love to encourage people to wear hats and sun protective clothing. Coolibar is a favorite brand of mine.

What’s the Best Type of Sunscreen to Use?

There is no single best type of sunscreen to use; it comes down to your personal preferences and skin type. However, there are a few specific terms you should look for when choosing the best sunscreen for you. Here’s a quick cheat sheet to help you shop:

– Physical vs. chemical sunscreens: Physical sunscreens contain mineral ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide and create a physical barrier between your skin and the sun’s UV rays. Chemical sunscreens contain chemical ingredients like oxybenzone that are absorbed into the skin to protect against UV rays.

– Tinted vs. non-tinted sunscreens: Tinted sunscreens provide a light tint, while non-tinted sunscreens are transparent. Tinted sunscreens can often take the place of foundation for a dewy, summer glow.

– Broad-spectrum sunscreens: Broad-spectrum sunscreens protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Look for the terms “broad-spectrum” or “full spectrum” on the label.

– Water-resistant sunscreens: These products are great for outdoor use or while sweating or swimming.
Spray vs. lotion vs. stick sunscreens: This is a matter of your personal preferences. Some people find that sticks are easier to use on the face, especially for kids, while spray or lotion can more easily cover larger areas like your arms, legs, and torso.

What SPF Should I Use?

Nathalie Allison-Fecteau, Physician Assistant at Feinstein Dermatology, recommends using an SPF of 30 or higher each day. Studies have shown that SPFs higher than 50 provide negligible extra protection, so it is generally not recommended to use very high SPFs over 50. This is simply because SPFs over 50 can provide a false sense of security and may cause people to not use enough sunscreen or to not reapply as frequently as needed.

Can I Wear SPF Makeup Instead of Sunscreen?

While it’s not recommended to replace a standalone sunscreen with SPF makeup, cosmetics that contain SPF can be a good addition to your regular regimen. In particular, lip balms with SPF can be helpful, as the skin on your lips is thin and therefore very susceptible to sun damage.

Besides Wearing Sunscreen, How Can I Prevent Skin Cancer?

Wearing daily sunscreen is first on the list for skincare prevention, but if you already have that covered, what else can you do to minimize your risk of skin cancer? Another important preventative measure is to schedule an annual skin exam with your dermatologist to check for any changes to existing moles or new moles or spots on your skin. While exams won’t exactly prevent skin cancer, they can catch it early enough to make treatment such as Mohs surgery more effective.

Whether you would like professional sunscreen recommendations for your skin type or would like to schedule an annual skin exam, the friendly and knowledgeable skincare professionals at Feinstein Dermatology would be happy to assist you. Call our Delray Beach office at (561) 692-6422 or contact us online to schedule your appointment today!