Protect yourself like a pro: We went straight to the source to find out how the top docs keep themselves safe from the sun’s rays.
Coat yourself before you put on your clothes
“Working around your clothes will make you more likely to miss a spot,” says dermatologist Jeannette Graf. On your body, slather on a shot glass’s worth of a broad-spectrum sunscreen that’s at least SPF 30. For your face, you’ll need another teaspoon.
Don’t wait until you’re outside
Another reason why it’s good to apply sunscreen before you get dressed: SPF needs a good 20 minutes to sink in before your skin is completely protected from UV rays, Graf says. If you wait, you might as well be wearing no sunblock at all for that first half-hour you’re outdoors.
Make your sunscreen do double duty
If you’re going to be spreading SPF on your face, you might as well choose a formula that can help with your other issues, too, says dermatologist Leslie Baumann. If your skin is red or sensitive, choose one with anti-inflammatory ingredients, such as Aveeno Ultra Calming Daily Moisturizer SPF 30. “If you have brown spots, pick one with soy, niacinamide, or other lightening agents, such as Philosophy Pigment of Your Imagination,” says Baumann.
Fight the sun from the inside out
“Taking a supplement such as Sun Pill or Heliocare Dietary Supplement for the Skin will boost your protection,” says Baumann. The key ingredient in both is Polypodium leucotomos, a fern extract; studies have shown that it helps guard skin from UV damage and even decreases redness after sun exposure. Take the recommended dose in the morning if you know you’ll be outside for long periods of time, but keep in mind that you still have to wear plenty of sunscreen.
Before Baumann goes golfing in Florida, where she lives, she layers on two blocks. First is a chemical sunscreen which absorbs the sun’s rays and protects against the full spectrum of UVA damage. (Try Neutrogena Spectrum+ Advanced Sunblock Lotion SPF 70 or La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid.) Then, after it’s dry, she slathers on a physical block. (We like Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen UVA/UVB Protection SPF 30+ Sensitive.) “Some sun will always get through your sunscreen,” she says. “The combination decreases the amount that makes it to the skin.”
Never rely on makeup
While it may be tempting to skip the sunscreen step in your morning routine when the letters “SPF” are written on every other bottle you’re picking up, don’t give in. “You would need to apply 14 times the amount [of powder] people normally use,” Baumann says. The same goes for foundation—unless you want to slather on seven times as much as you would actually use to even your skin tone.
Keep it fresh
We all have that leftover bottle of sunscreen lurking in the medicine cabinet, but it’s critical to start fresh each summer. “The active ingredients in sunscreens can lose their potency, so check the expiration date,” says dermatologist David Bank.
Don’t make excuses
The fear of sprouting a zit may be the reason you’ve skimped on sunscreen, “but breakouts are more related to sweating than to the sunscreen product itself,” says dermatologist Heidi Waldorf. She recommends using a water-resistant formula if you know you’ll be sweating. (We like Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion SPF 60 PA+++.) Clean your face with a wipe before reapplying (we like Josie Maran Argan Bear Naked Wipes on the go), or touch up frequently with a powder sunscreen such as Colorescience Sunforgettable Mineral Powder Sun Protection SPF 50 “so you don’t feel like you’re rubbing in the sweat and grime,” she says. You could also switch to a gel formula; “they’re less likely to cause breakouts,” says dermatologist Francesca Fusco. We like PreSun Ultra Sunscreen SPF 30.