Whether you're protecting against cancer-causing ultraviolet (UV) rays or treating skin conditions like melasma or rosacea, Dermatologists always recommend daily sunscreen use. A broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher should be part of your everyday personal care routine for optimal skin health—period. But not all sunscreens are created equal. If you're wondering what to look for in sunscreen, you've come to the right place.

Your Guide to What to Look for in Sunscreen

You have many different sun protection options, varying in formulation, efficacy, and skin type compatibility. You might also consider personal preferences for texture, tone, and fragrance. EltaMD's sun protection line is the result of incredible amounts of research and care. It offers something for everyone, so perhaps it's not surprising that EltaMD is the number one Dermatologist-recommended professional sunscreen brand. But which EltaMD sunscreen is best for you? Here's how to narrow it down.

Skin Condition

Acne and Rosacea

Daily sunscreen use is an important part of managing acne and rosacea. Sunscreen protects against breakouts and flare-ups, and it's part of the treatment, too. It helps prevent discoloration after pimples clear (also known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation), especially in people with darker skin. Sunscreen also supports the skin barrier, which prevents rosacea flare-ups and redness. That said, choose a formula that won't clog pores or worsen existing inflammation with irritating ingredients.

If you have acne or rosacea, your best bet is between EltaMD UV Daily vs UV Clear sunscreens. EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 contains transparent Zinc Oxide to blend with any skin tone, Niacinamide (vitamin B3) to help calm inflammation, and Hyaluronic and Lactic Acids to hydrate and exfoliate your skin. EltaMD UV Daily Tinted Broad-Spectrum SPF 40 is also packed with hydrating and soothing ingredients, plus a tint if you're looking for light coverage. Both of these sunscreens are oil-free, lightweight, and noncomedogenic, which means they won't clog pores.

Eczema and Psoriasis

If you have a chronic skin condition like eczema or psoriasis, opt for mineral sunscreens. Naturally occurring minerals like Zinc Oxide provide ample protection from UV rays without potentially irritating your skin. These formulations also frequently contain Iron Oxides, which offer extra protection against blue light from computer screens, cell phones, and fluorescent indoor light bulbs. EltaMD UV Elements Broad-Spectrum SPF 44 truly delivers as a facial sunscreen, while EltaMD UV Pure SPF 47 is a superb choice for full-body coverage.

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Skin Tone

Using sunscreen every day is important for all skin tones. But finding the right skin color match can be a barrier to sunscreen use, especially for people with melanated skin. (No one wants to walk around with a chalky white hue.) Many sunscreens leave behind a white cast after initial application and get worse with reapplication.

If white cast is a challenge for you, choose a sheer or color-matched product that contains chemical blockers. Many EltaMD sunscreens are designed for a range of skin tones from white to dark brown. For example, EltaMD UV Daily Broad-Spectrum SPF 40 is a popular choice year-round. This sheer formula affords broad-spectrum protection without a trace. There are also deep tint variations of UV Clear and UV Daily designed specifically to compliment and protect deeper skin tones. Pro tip: moisturize your skin right before applying sunscreen to help minimize discoloration.

Formula Type

When it comes to sunscreen formulas, EltaMD goes above and beyond to suit a range of needs. In addition to traditional sunscreen lotion, it also offers sprays and sticks to accommodate different preferences and situations.

For example, EltaMD UV AOX Mist Broad-Spectrum SPF 40 has the benefits of a mineral sunscreen in an easy-to-apply mist. This air-powered spray offers sheer, long-lasting protection, and its 360-degree sprayability is perfect for hard-to-reach spots like the back of your neck. If you're looking for a stick formula, EltaMD UV Stick Broad-Spectrum SPF 50 is easy to apply (and reapply) and is perfect for tossing in your bag when you're on the go. It's also great for those sensitive, easy-to-miss areas, like underneath your eyes.


Indoor Protection

Sunscreen may not be at the front of your mind if you spend the majority of your day indoors at work or at home. But damaging UV light can—and does—come through windows. So protect yourself every day, even if commuting to and from work is your primary activity. Combine EltaMD UV Facial Broad-Spectrum 30+ with EltaMD UV Lotion Broad-Spectrum SPF 30+ for exposed areas of your body, like your arms and chest, for a two-in-one approach to UV protection and moisturization.

Outdoor Sports Enthusiasts

If you love to be active in Mother Nature's meadows and beaches, you may want to consider EltaMD Active Broad-Spectrum SPF 50+ or EltaMD UV Sport Broad-Spectrum SPF 50. These sunscreens are water-resistant to the highest 80-minute standard. They're also specially formulated to prevent stinging and dripping into your eyes from water or sweat. Grab these formulas for family trips to the beach or amusement park and for solitary ventures like surfing, hiking, running, and gardening.

Skin Care Routine

Choosing a daily sunscreen is much like choosing a life partner. It's best to get to know the product to ensure it's compatible with your routine and preferences. Makeup wearers, for example, need a product that layers well and is easy to reapply over makeup. Again, EltaMD UV Clear SPF 46 is a great option here. It's lightweight, cosmetically elegant, and plays nicely with other skin products like antioxidants and serums. The addition of Hyaluronic Acid supports supple skin, making this formula a fan favorite.

If you want a little extra moisture or prefer a multitasking product that reduces the number of steps in your routine, EltaMD UV Facial Broad-Spectrum SPF 30+ is ideal. This cream combines sun care and deep moisturization into one easy step.

Finding Your Perfect Match

Whatever your sun care needs may be, EltaMD has something for you. Choose a daily sunscreen that works with your routine and makes your skin feel its best. This way, you'll be likely to wear it every day and enjoy your sunscreen—and optimal skin health—for life.



    Maria Robinson, MD, MBA is a board-certified dermatologist and dermatopathologist with over ten years of clinical experience. Dr. Robinson has a passion for nutrition and integrative dermatology, and is the co-founder of www.integrativederm.org, where people can explore holistic dermatology treatments. Through her writing, she strives to empower people with accurate health information so they can make positive decisions that lead to healthy and vibrant skin.

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