Myths abound about male skin versus female skin but the simple fact is, when it comes to sun protection, men need it too — end of story. “It is a complete myth that men’s skin is any less sensitive or less at risk for sun damage than women’s,” says Joshua Zeichner, MD, a board certified dermatologist in New York City. In fact, “men are often at a higher risk for skin cancers because they tend to pay less attention to their skincare routines than women do,” he adds.
If the word ‘sunscreen’ conjures up images of greasy beach days of Wite-Out-colored noses, you’re not alone. Yes, the SPF of yesteryear tended to be anything but pleasant, but sunscreen has come a long way. By and large, today’s formulas are lightweight, easy to wear, and absolutely necessary to incorporate into your everyday grooming regimen. Here is everything you need to know about daily sun protection.
Sun Care 101
We’ve said it before, but we’ll repeat it a little louder for the guys in the back: Sunscreen needs to be worn during daylight hours regardless of the weather. That means you should be applying it every day, all year round, whether you plan to step foot outside or not. Damaging ultraviolet (UV) and visible light rays are reaching you regardless of how sunny it is or how direct your sun exposure may be, which means you always need to be covered.
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. Bonus points if it is water-resistant, which will also guard against sweat. Reapply every two hours (or sooner when swimming or sweating) for maximum protection.
Not only does sunscreen protect against skin cancer (the most common and most preventable form of cancer in the United States), but it also helps prevent sun damage and the visible signs of aging (think: fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, uneven skin texture) it produces. Another factor to keep in mind that is specific to males? “As men develop thinning hair, the scalp often is exposed to the levels of UV light that add up over a lifetime,” Dr. Zeichner adds.
One final note, annual skin cancer screenings with a board certified dermatologist are also vital to your health. Complement them with monthly at-home skin checks to ensure you notice anything out of the ordinary or are keeping an eye on any suspicious spots.
How to Choose a Sunscreen
Sunscreen products are unisex, and any formula can be used by anyone. If you find a particular sunscreen feels too heavy or greasy for your liking, however, the good news is that there have never been more options when it comes to the texture and wearability of a SPF.
As with any skincare product, compliance and ease of use are key. Dr. Zeichner suggests guys find a place for sun protection in their daily grooming routine by “using a moisturizer with sunscreen kills two birds with one stone, lowering the risk of razor burn and protecting the skin from the sun.”
Below, a roundup of the sunscreens that you will actually enjoy putting on (we swear!).
For The Sunscreen Newbie: Glossier Invisible Shield
The brand calls this formula a “sunscreen for people who hate wearing sunscreen.” The distinction is spot on thanks to it’s totally clear (a.k.a. “invisible”) gel texture. No white cast, no heaviness, just SPF 35 protection. $25, glossier.com
For Outdoor Activities: Kiehl’s Super Fluid Daily UV Defense Sunscreen SPF 50+
With SPF 50, this is a great pick to bring along to the beach or wear anytime you are outdoors. The light lotion texture doesn’t feel greasy on the skin – even when you reapply it (which, remember, you should be doing every two hours!). $62, sephora.com
For Dry Skin: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Lotion Sunscreen SPF 30
Made to feel as light as water, this drugstore pick hydrates the skin while protecting it from the sun. Use the oil-free formula on face or body — you'll enjoy increased moisture for up to eight hours. $14, ulta.com
For Darker Skin Types: EltaMD UV Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 46
Ask a dermatologist for their favorite SPF brand and, time and time again, you’ll hear EltaMD mentioned. This one is it’s top-seller because it combines SPF 46 with hydrating hyaluronic acid and even gently exfoliating lactic acid to treat the skin while protecting it. The best part? It’s totally transparent, which means it is imperceptible on all skin tones. $37, dermstore.com
For Guys On-The-Go: Oars + Alps Go Stick Clear Sunscreen SPF 35
Perfect for touch ups or outdoor workouts (it's water- and sweat-resistant for 80 minutes), this transparent stick goes on completely clear no matter your skin tone. Jojoba and sunflower oils moisturize, while antioxidant-rich alpine caribou moss and vitamin E to promote skin health. $22, oarsandalps.com
For Color Correction: Hero Cosmetics Superlight Sunscreen SPF 30
Don’t be concerned about the pale green tint when you first pump out this sunscreen — it actually helps neutralize redness and even out skin tone. The formula itself is made with zinc, which is great for acne-prone skin. $20, urbanoutfitters.com
For Multitasking: Supergoop Superscreen Daily Moisturizer Sunscreen SPF 40 PA+++
Supergoop makes nothing but SPF, so any pick from the collection will be a good one. We’re partial to this two-in-one daily moisturizer with SPF 40 because it also features antioxidants to further protect the skin and ingredients that defend against environmental pollutants. $38, supergoop.com
For Oily Skin: Cetaphil Oil Control Moisturizer SPF 30
If you know your skin leans on the oily or sensitive side, try a product that caters to it. This oil-free option from Cetaphil has been specially formulated to keep skin matte, clear, and irritation-free. $20, iherb.com
For Athletes: Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protector Lotion SPF 50+ Sunscreen
Featuring the Japanese brand’s WetForce and HeatForce technologies, this SPF 50 is designed to stand up to the hot temps, sweat, and water. In fact, it actually works better in those conditions. It’s a must-have for beach and pool days, hikes, or outdoor workouts. $49, sephora.com
For The Techie: Neogen Day-Light Protection Airy Sunscreen SPF 50
Korean beauty technology is known to be a number of years ahead of the U.S. This airy texture will show you just what we mean. Plus, in addition to SPF 50, plant extracts like aloe, avocado, and acai help moisturize and protect skin without clogging pores. $32, sokoglam.com
For Cutting Shine: Geologie Broad-Spectrum Face Sunscreen SPF 30
Geologie aims to help men simplify and tailor their skincare routines to their specific needs. This SPF 30 is fragrance-free, ultra-light, and mattifying, so you don’t have to worry about any shininess. Reviewers note that it feels like a normal face cream. $45, geologie.com
All products featured are independently selected by our editors, however, AEDIT may receive a commission on items purchased through our links.
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