A Dermatologist’s Favorite Sunscreen: More Than Just SPF

May 6, 2024 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

A Dermatologist’s Favorite Sunscreen

As the mercury rises and we all eagerly anticipate summer outings, I want to take a moment to talk about a subject that should be at the forefront of everyone’s mind: sunblock. But not just any sunblock – the right sunblock for you and your family. Here are my recommendations as an MD for a dermatologist’s favorite sunscreen.

SPF is Just the Start

Many of my patients come to me with the belief that the higher the SPF, the better the protection. It’s a common misconception that I’d like to clear up right from the start. SPF, which stands for Sun Protection Factor, is indicative of how well a sunscreen will protect against UVB rays – the kind that cause sunburn. However, it does not measure protection from UVA rays, which can penetrate deeper into the skin and contribute to skin cancer and premature aging.

For daily activities, I recommend a sunblock with an SPF of 30 as a baseline. Going above SPF 30 can offer marginally better protection, but the key is proper and liberal application, as most of us do not apply enough to achieve the SPF indicated on the bottle.


Zinc Oxide: Your Sunblock’s Secret Weapon

The second essential component of a trustworthy sunblock is zinc oxide, at a concentration of at least 6%. This mineral is your broad-spectrum champion, effectively blocking both UVB and UVA rays. Many modern sunblocks contain “micronized” zinc oxide, which has diminished the once common issue of a noticeable white residue. Even so, a little extra time spent massaging the product into your skin is a small price to pay for the protection it affords – think of it as a skin health massage!


Special Considerations: Combatting Melasma

If you are among those who experience melasma, often referred to as the “mask of pregnancy,” it’s important to look for sunblock that contains iron oxide. Found in some tinted sunblocks, iron oxide provides an additional layer of defense against visible light, which can exacerbate melasma.


Variety: The Spice of Sun Protection

It’s beneficial to have an assortment of sunblocks at your disposal. The most expensive option on the market isn’t necessarily the best if it leads to sparing use. Instead, choose products that allow you to apply generously. Keep bottles of sunblock in convenient places – your car, purse, suitcase, workplace, and bathroom – so you’re never caught without protection.


A Dermatologist’s Favorite Sunscreen

To help you on your quest for the best sun protection, I’ve compiled a list of my top sunblock recommendations. You can find this list on my Amazon page or access them through the QR code below.  I feature a variety of products that meet the criteria we’ve discussed. Feel free to purchase them there, directly from the manufacturers, or use the list as a guide when you shop at your local retailers. My goal is to ensure that you are well-informed and well-equipped to protect your skin from the sun’s rays this summer.

Check out my list of favorite sunscreens! You can also shop them RIGHT HERE.

I’m here to support you in your skincare journey. If you have any questions or would like personalized advice, please reach out to us at Sage Dermatology and Mohs Surgery. Enjoy your summer, but remember: the best tan is the one you don’t get!


Stay sun-safe,

Dr. Angela Brimhall

Dr. Angela Brimhall is a Board Certified Dermatologist and Mohs Surgeon at Sage Dermatology and Mohs Surgery

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