Summer and days spent in the sun might get us thinking more about sun protection, but applying sunscreen should be a daily part of every man’s skincare routine. I asked Dr. Joel Schlessinger, board-certified dermatologist and RealSelf contributor for pointers on using sunscreen and common mistakes to avoid.
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Avoiding Common SPF Mistakes
1. Apply Enough Sunscreen One of the most common mistakes people make with sunscreen is not applying enough. They either think they don’t need sunscreen because they won’t be outside or they don’t reapply sunscreen throughout the day. Sunscreen is important every single day, rain or shine.
2. Re-Apply Your Sunscreen Regularly You should also be reapplying your sunscreen at least every two hours or immediately after swimming or sweating. When in doubt, check the label on your sunscreen.
3. Wear Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen It’s also important to remember that the sun emits two types of ultraviolet radiation: UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays contribute to premature signs of aging while UVB rays burn skin.
Both UVA and UVB rays can cause lasting damage and lead to skin cancer. SPF only covers how well a product protects against UVB rays, which leaves your skin susceptible to damage. Wearing a broad spectrum sunscreen will shield your skin from both types of UV radiation.
4. Wear Sunscreen Indoors Even if you’re sitting inside all day, you still need sun protection. Most car, home and office windows protect against UVB rays, but they leave you unprotected from UVA rays that cause premature signs of aging, as well as skin cancer. By wearing a broad spectrum sunscreen every day, you can shield your skin from both UVA and UVB rays.
5. Avoid Being Outside in Peak Sun Hours Try to avoid spending time outdoors between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun is at its peak, and always seek shade.
6. Find Water-Resistant Formulas for Sports and Swimming If you’re playing sports outside, choose a water-resistant sunscreen with a high SPF. If you’re swimming or sweating, a water-resistant formula is important. I recommend applying a broad-spectrum sport sunscreen like EltaMD UV Sport Water-Resistant Broad Spectrum SPF 50 and reapplying often.
7. Wear Sunscreen on the Airplane UVC is sun that is above the clouds and definitely qualifies for special care. Pilots and flight attendants are particularly at risk, but everyday travelers should use sunblock as well, especially if they sit by a window and fly frequently.
8. Prevent Aging and Skin Cancer Because many signs of aging are caused or exacerbated by sun damage, sunscreen is the best anti-aging treatment in your skincare routine. Most importantly, sunscreen is your first line of defense against skin cancer. Practicing sun safety will help protect your skin from melanoma and other forms of skin cancer. Always wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more every day, even when the sun isn’t shining. I recommend choosing a high-quality, broad-spectrum sunscreen like those from EltaMD.
Best Sunscreen for Men: Our Favorites
I’m often outdoors in the summers whether going on a run, listening to a podcast, or working a campaign rally.
I like to buy the general protection Hawaiian Tropic sunscreen. It sinks into my skin quick and leaves me with tons of freckles and no sunburn. A solid win-win! I’m shooting a documentary in Vietnam and I’ll be relying on tons of it to keep me protected in the deadly hot summer here.
Henri Fitzmaurice, Student, Henrif.com
Tinted SPF for Men
It’s so great to be able to literally put on a tan in the morning. For someone like me who has had their issues with the sun (moles removed), I try to avoid the damaging rays as much as I can.
It gives me just the right amount of color while also providing me with SPF 30. Menaji has become such a go to for me.
Jared Abrams, ESPN
Everyday Sun Block
Having lived my entire life in the Northeast, I never gave much thought to sunblock, let alone used it. However, when my family and I relocated to SoCal in 2016, I noticed immediately that I was getting sunburned all the time, from even minimal exposure to the sun.
I’ve since started applying sunblock not just daily, but every time I go outside in the sun – even for just a few minutes. I’ve experimented with a lot of brands, and have eventually settled on Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch, SPF 70. It’s very effective first and foremost, I never burn when it’s applied.
It’s also long-lasting, far longer than the 2-hour recommended re-apply, and you don’t need to use too much to get coverage. It’s got a nice smooth, creamy & lightweight texture which isn’t greasy, and rubs in gently.
It’s also broad-spectrum, which is important as this blocks the types of radiation which can cause skin cancer.
David Jacobson, Corporate Event Entertainer, TrivWorks
Serum Plus Sunscreen
If you are planning to spend the day under the sun, Anthelios 50 AOX Daily Antioxidant Face Serum SPF 50 with a combination of antioxidant serum which is a match made in heaven.
Although the texture is similar to that of a white-base sunscreen, I appreciate the lightweight serum formula, which is quickly absorbing and does not leave any white residue.
It has helped significantly in maintaining my skin looking more even-toned and works effectively to fight sun spots.
Julian Palma, International Development
Swimmer-Approved Sun Screen
My favorite sunblock is Kiss My Face mineral air powered sunscreen. I’m a marathon swimmer, and do a lot of training outdoors with my back facing the sky.
Simply spray on a nice layer of this stuff, and the titanium dioxide really does the trick, and when you don’t rub it in and keep it thick, it lasts even LONGER than 40 minutes, and keeps me from burning to a crisp while swimming miles and miles! I like the fact that it’s an air powered spray.
Normally, for true zinc or titanium you have to get it all over your hands and it’s hard to get full coverage without making a total mess!
Ken Immer, CCHE President & Chief Culinary Officer, Culinary Health Solutions
Organic Face Sunscreen
I admit it’s biased but I honestly love my own sunblock. I use our Block Island Face Moisturizer SPF 30 everyday.
I can be a bit lazy and the product gives me two things in one: a moisturizer + sunscreen. I use it anytime It’s a great way to get daily sun protection without having to thinking about it too much. It’s also made from organic and natural ingredients so I feel good about putting this product on my skin every day.
Plus it’s free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, gluten, dyes and fragrance, we don’t do animal testing, use a vega formula, and it’s made in the USA. To top it all off, it was named a Best Moisturizer with SPF by the Environmental Working Group for the 3rd year running this year.
Will von Bernuth, Block Island Organics
Natural Sport Sunscreen
Working in the natural products industry, I have learned about the harmful effects of many of the current sunscreens on the market. Therefore, the brand that I use is Badger sunscreen.
They are local to new england and use only natural products. I use the broad spectrum offering and it has just a few ingredients and is made uses natural oils.
It stays on well for long periods of time and doesn’t break the bank!
Alfred Schofield, Co-founder of VitalFit
I use EltaMD UV Clear for the Face and EltaMD UV Sport for the Body. These both offer broad spectrum protection and really stay on the skin. For my reapplication, I use Neutrogena Beach Defense Body Spray. It’s quick and easy to put on and is soothing on a hot day.
Before leaving for a round of golf, I apply EltaMD at home. I keep a bottle of Neutrogena spray in my golf bag, and reapply mid-round (at the turn) and before the “nineteenth” hole, if we’ll be outside.
Dr. Adarsh Vijay Mudgil, medical director of Mudgil Dermatology, PC
My personal favorite sunblock, and the one I recommend to my clients, is Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen, Broad Spectrum SPF 45. It’s very lightweight and doesn’t leave your skin feeling oily at all. It is also water and sweat-resistant so it’s perfect for pool parties and hot summer days.
The broad-spectrum protection also protects you from skin aging caused by UVA rays. I highly recommend it to anybody who breaks out easily because it’s formulated not to clog pores and I wouldn’t feel comfortable recommending any other sunscreen.
Most people don’t understand how important taking care of your skin is. It’s the largest organ on your body and plays a huge factor in your attractiveness.
Juan Sloan, Owner and Personal Stylist, damn.fire
Outdoor Adventure Ready SPF
As an outdoor guide and also avid surfer, paddle boarder and kayaker, I spend a lot of time in the sun and the water. My current favorite sunblock is the Trader Joe’s Spray SPF 50+ Sunscreen. One of the benefits is that it is spray on , so it’s very easy to apply even in hard to reach places like mid-back.
Another is that it goes on clear so I don’t have chunks of white goop in and around my ears, hair, and eyebrows, and I don’t look like a geisha doll in makeup for twenty minutes after putting it on.
It also seems to both absorb and dry quickly so that it continues to protect me even if I get in the water only 5 or 10 minutes after putting it on (did I mention its also waterproof for at least 80 minutes).
David Blank, Happy Tails Canine Adventure Tours
Face and Body SPF
Pro Sport Sun Therape Face & Body Lotion is definitely my top sunblock.
I put it on every morning as a moisturizer, and its SPF 35 protects my face during all my day-to-day summer activities. Plus, it’s super quick to dry, so it doesn’t feel sticky as I head out the door.
Jonathan Guzman, Instagram