Few things get me going like a good sunscreen. I currently have three different brands in my rotation, but have been known to keep upwards of six tubes in my bathroom cabinet. After nearly a decade of writing about and researching skin care, it’s a passion of mine — and frankly, it should be yours, too, if you have any interest in keeping your skin healthy and looking its very best. Using SPF of any kind is the best thing you can do for the long-term health and appearance of your skin, and I’m not alone in these sentiments.
Board Certified Dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner concurred, noting that of all the anti-aging ingredients on the market, none is more important than sunscreen.
“Daily exposure to UV light from the sun is the biggest contributing factor to premature aging,” he said. And in fact, he added, “studies have shown that daily use of broad-spectrum sunscreen every day for a year by itself was associated with improvements in signs of skin aging.”
Lately, I’ve noticed that popular brands are infusing sunscreen formulas with so-called “anti-aging” ingredients like antioxidants and other actives, and I cannot get enough.
Zeichner explained that as the skin matures, natural antioxidant defenses decline, the skin loses hydration and collagen production slows down.
“Besides the ultraviolet filters that block harmful rays from the sun, many facial sunscreens are formulated with soothing, brightening and antioxidant ingredients,” he said. “These added ingredients complement the UV light filters and cells to provide broader anti-aging benefits.”
Below, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite sunscreens that also contain anti-aging ingredients, including Zeichner’s go-to option. They’re available at a wide range of price points and with ingredients that target varying needs, so you can find the one that is best suited for your budget and skin type.
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Bliss Block Star daily sunscreen (SPF 30)
Zeichner highly recommends this mineral sunscreen. In addition to mineral filters, it contains an antioxidant that neutralizes free radical damage, which hampers collagen production and hyperpigmentation. It also has a smooth, silky finish, making it a great option for those who don’t like the feeling of sunscreen on their skin.
SkinCeuticals daily brightening sunscreen (SPF 30)
Paula’s Choice Resist Hydrating Fluid (SPF 50)
A personal favorite, this oil-free liquid sunscreen is a great choice for anyone with acneic or oily skin. The weightless consistency and silky slip leave skin glowing without looking greasy — it’s like using an Instagram filter in real life. Oat and green tea extracts calm redness and irritation while black elderberry, goji and pomegranate extracts protect against environmental damage. The high SPF is just the icing on the cake.
Isntree hyaluronic acid sun gel (SPF 50)
Supergoop Glow Screen (SPF 40)
This Supergoop sunscreen is my go-to for a glowy no-makeup look. It’s hydrating while also acting as a primer, making it the perfect base for days where you want to boost your makeup look with a hint of shimmer. Those with oily skin might want to layer it over a more mattifying SPF and limit it to just the high points of the face, as it is a bit thicker than the aforementioned sunscreens. Hyaluronic acid, vitamin B5, sea lavender and cocoa peptides nourish, moisturize and provide antioxidant protection against free radicals and blue light damage.
Glossier Invisible Shield daily sunscreen (SPF 35)
For daily use, Glossier’s sunscreen is a great option if you’re only facing the elements walking to and from the office. It’s a slightly lower SPF than I’d prefer, but it has a lovely lightweight, watery-gel finish that doesn’t leave a white cast, which is ideal for darker skin tones. An antioxidant complex with vitamin E, P, broccoli, and aloe leaf extracts neutralizes free radicals.
Elta MD UV Clear facial sunscreen (SPF 46)
In addition to being a dermatologist fave, this Elta MD sunscreen is another staple in my repertoire. (Shocking, I know.) It’s specially formulated for those with acne-prone skin and enriched with niacinamide and lactic acid to hydrate, refine the skin, clear pores and reduce shine thanks to a slightly matte finish.
Dr Barbara Sturm Sun Drops (SPF 50)
If money is no object, then consider investing in Dr. Barbara Sturm’s broad-spectrum sunscreen. It’s a unique, cutting-edge serum that is feather-light while still moisturizing and protecting the skin thanks to hyaluronic acid, green tea leaf extract and an antioxidant complex that fights premature aging and helps to repair and regenerate damaged skin cells.
Cellular MD lotion (SPF & EPF 30+)
Biossance sheer mineral sunscreen (SPF 30)
Made with sugarcane-derived squalane, this Biossance sunscreen is at once nearly weightless and incredibly nourishing and hydrating. Reef-safe zinc oxide creates a protective barrier that reflects UVA and UVB rays, while water lily calms irritated skin and squalane locks in moisture. It has a dewy finish that doesn’t look greasy and is a great addition to any daily routine.