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As Skin Cancer Awareness Month approaches, Cosmetic Surgery Forum Faculty members share their picks for sunscreens for the face, body, various skin types, acne-prone skin, on-the-go use, and during heavy exercise and post-procedure.

A Water-Safe Option

I am a huge fan of the EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46. I am enjoying several other, newer forms of physical sunscreens from the EltaMD brand, but still go back to this tried-and-true favorite for my daily summer sunscreen. When I am in water activities or sweating, the EltaMD UV Sport Water-Resistant Broad-Spectrum SPF 50 is my go-to. So far, I haven’t had to switch to physical for any vacation or beach activity, but I am looking forward to trying out the EltaMD UV Active Broad-Spectrum SPF 50.

—Joel Schlessinger MD, FAAD

On-the-Go Selections

For Fitzgerald type III or III+ skin, I love Revision True Physical. It has a high concentration zinc oxide (14.4%) and titanium dioxide (4.4%) and iron oxides for blue light protection. It has tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate vitamin C, peptides, moisturizers, and plankton. It’s easy to apply and fantastic for camouflaging post-procedure redness (like ablative laser resurfacing and chemical peels) while also giving broad-spectrum photoprotection.

Personally, I use Sente Invisible Shield Full Physical. It’s great for the intense sun-exposure skiing and hiking at altitude or even at a beach. It has high concentration zinc oxide (11.15%) and titanium dioxide (5.75%). It is always in my pocket (cargo shorts, cargo pants, ski pants, backpack). It’s non-comedogenic, oil-free, and fragrance-free. This really helps me these days when I suffer from mask-acne and mask-irritation at baseline and need to be careful what I use regularly—even sunscreen.

My kids all love Elta Clear. It doesn’t sting. It doesn’t irritate their eyes. And now that some of them are in acne years, the tinted version helps to camouflage acne lesions as well as post-inflammatory erythema. It is non-comedogenic, oil-free, fragrance-free, and “sensitivity-free.” It is 9% zinc oxide and also has octinoxate, an easy application chemical sunscreen that I have a lot of confidence in. When the family is swimming or doing outdoor activities, we use Elta UV Restore; it is water-resistant and non-comedogenic, oil-free, fragrance-free and “sensitivity-free” plus has antioxidants that offer protection from high-energy visible (HEV) light and infrared-radiation. Restore is gluten-free and contains a ginger root extract. It has high-concentration zinc oxide (15%) and titanium dioxide (2%).

For re-apply, I love the Skin Better Science sheer stick during long drives or activities where kids don’t want to get their hands “gooey,” such as for sports. And for women to keep in their purse: Jane Iredale Powder or the Skin Better Science compact.

—Joel L. Cohen, MD

Patient-Friendly Recommendations

I really like the Skin Medica Total Defense and Repair, ISDIN Eryfotona, the Sente Invisible Shield Full Physical Broad Spectrum Sunscreen, and Obagi’s Sun Shield Mineral Broad Spectrum SPF 50, as well as the ColoreScience powder sunscreens. I like the fact that these sunscreens can be used on all skin types.

OTC sunscreen for face and body would be either Neutrogena or Aveeno. I recommend an SPF of 30 or more. I prefer lotions or creams for the face and sprays for the body. Both are solid with good photoprotection. Unfortunately, some of the facial formulation sunscreens can be a little greasy, which is why people like some of the formulations I mentioned above.

For mineral powder sunscreens, I like ISDIN SPF 50 powder and ColoreScience SPF 30 powder. The ColoreScience comes in a decent range of shades, which is good for multiple skin types. I head to mineral powder because sunblock needs to be reapplied in the middle of the day at multiple times, and women are more likely to reapply sunblock in a powder form over their makeup. Men need to carry the cream sunblock with them and just reapply that in the middle of the day.

—Jeanine B. Downie, MD, FAAD

Cosmetic Surgery Forum 2021 will be held December 1-4 in Nashville. Visit

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