Now that summer’s coming to a fretful close (cue dramatic sigh), you may think it’s time to stow away your SPF in favor of your favorite crisp weather skin-care staples. But that, my friend, would be a mistake. As dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD, shared on the most recent episode of Well+Good Beauty Geek’s YouTube series, Dear Derm, 90 percent of skin aging comes from unprotected UV exposure. If you feel fatigued by your normal host of liquid sun protection, however, powder sunscreen may re-inspire your final days at the beach.
Jennifer Kramer, a paramedical esthetician and founder of Corrective Skincare LA, says that applying powder sunscreens to your complexion comes with many advantages. “Most powder sunscreens are made with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which are natural and mineral-based ingredients,” she tells me. “Used correctly, they create a protective barrier against the sun’s damaging effects just like gels, creams, and sprays.”
As an added bonus, powder-based products are less irritating—making them a good option for acne-prone skin. Since they go on more like powder foundation than skin care, you’re left with a matte, non-greasy finish. Praise. be.
Before you sprinkle the product all over your face, a few notes on application. Both Kramer and dermatologist Dendy Engelman, MD, caveat that since powder sunscreen doesn’t penetrate the skin’s barrier, it needs to be applied with care—and, ideally—in the company of another form of SPF. “You would need to apply a great amount of powdered sunscreen to get the same coverage [as other varieties],” says Dr. Engelman. “I recommend it in conjunction with liquid sunscreen, which is best for initial application.” Once you’ve created a base layer of your go-to drugstore sunscreen, she says you can keep a powder option in your bag for no-muss, no-fuss reapplication. “It sits on top of makeup and eliminates shine,” Dr. Engelman says. “It’s easy to have on hand, so reapplying SPF is not a hassle.”
Kramer agrees. She says she’ll layer on a product like Coola, and follow it up with a good pat of powder. “My favorite tip is to keep the powder sunscreen in your glove compartment and use it on the back of your hands in the car,” she explains. “This can help prevent sun spots caused by exposure from holding the steering wheel while driving. Oh and hey, while you’re at it, dust some lightly on your face and chest, too!”
And now, I will repeat something you’ve heard 1.1 million times before, just for the sake of posterity. Both skin experts dole out the reminder that sunscreen should be reapplied ever one to two hours, or immediately after going for a swim. I know, I know—I’m a broken record. But it had to be said for the sake of preventing at least a few future sunburns.
Now that you know your stuff, here are the hands-down best powder sunscreens to shop—according to skin experts.
The 3 best powder sunscreens to keep you matte for the last days of summer (and beyond).
“I like this one because it protects from environmental aggressors as well as blue light,” says Dr. Engelman. So if you’re counting, it works triple duty.
This SPF offers something for all skin types. “This is my favorite because it comes in three types: one instant mineral, one anti-aging, and one meant for acne prone. All three are light and easy to use,” adds the esthetician.
Sunforgettable Brush-On Sunscreen, $130 (3-pack)
“This 100 percent mineral sunscreen provides protection while still feeling lightweight. It is also oil-free, yet calming with niacinamide,” says Dr. Engelman. (Pssst: Niacinamide is a powerful anti-inflammatory that comes with all sorts of benefits for your skin.)
Here’s a very comprehensive guide to navigating the UV index like a the smarty pants you are. Plus, should we all really be using reef-safe sunscreen?
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