If you’ve ever perused the sun care aisles at a drugstore, you’re probably aware of the variety of products available. The different lotions, sprays, and sticks can be enough to confuse an average buyer, not to mention special sunscreens meant for the lips and the face. While it isn’t necessarily dangerous to apply an all-over body sunscreen to your face, wearing a sunscreen designed for this sensitive skin can be more comfortable. Here, we’re outlining five features to look for in a face sunscreen. Broad-Spectrum The sun emits two types of UV radiation that can harm our skin. UVB rays cause sunburn, while UVA rays cause premature aging. The SPF of a sunscreen describes how well it blocks out the sun’s harmful UVB rays. Unfortunately, just because a sunscreen has a high SPF doesn’t mean it will block out the sun’s UVA rays; a sunscreen must be marked as “broad-spectrum” for it to do this. Especially when dealing with the sensitive skin on our faces, it’s important to make sure a sunscreen blocks out rays that cause premature aging.
Non-Comedogenic Oil-Free (for those with oily skin) Similar to comedogenic products, sunscreens made with oils can clog pores and contribute to the development of acne, especially when mixed with our skin’s natural oils. Also, many women using face sunscreen apply it as a base layer under their makeup. Using a face sunscreen with oil plus makeup can leave your skin feeling heavy.
Compared to the skin on our bodies, the skin on our face is especially susceptible to breakouts. These breakouts can result from clogged pores on our face, which drives bacterial buildup leading to acne. Sunscreens marked as “non-comedogenic” have been formulated using special ingredients that will not clog pores.
Moisturizing (for those with dry skin)
Adding a sunscreen on top of a moisturizer can be enough to make us late in the mornings. This can lead to us deciding to skip sunscreen altogether. Thankfully, many brands offer moisturizers with broad-spectrum SPF protection.
Products with fragrances are notorious for causing irritation to sensitive facial skin. Many sunscreens include fragrances without indicating so on the packaging. Thus, it’s important to either test a sunscreen before you buy it (retailer-permitting), or look for a sunscreen specially labeled as “fragrance-free”.