Some people might slack off when it comes to their SPF routine because they find that some sunscreens can feel greasy or oily, leaving them with a shine that’s not exactly radiant. I don’t have to tell you that guarding your skin against the sun’s harmful rays is of the utmost importance because it can lower your risk of skin cancer and also prevent premature aging.
One product you can add to your routine that might make you stick to a good suncare regimen? A powder sunscreen. “They are easy-to-apply sunscreens in a powder format that often mimic the texture of a setting powder or powder blush,” explains board-certified dermatologist, Mohs surgeon, and medical director of Pacific Skin and Cosmetic Dermatology Tracy Evans, MD, MPH, FAAD, FACMS. “They’re lightweight and often come with a retractable brush.”
But the important thing to note about these sunscreens is that they shouldn’t be used as your only method of sun protection. “In my opinion, they should be used as an addition to the normal sunscreen mainly because it’s difficult to get enough sun protection using a pure powder sunscreen,” says board-certified plastic surgeon Amir Karam, MD. “Sunscreen is such an important part of anti-aging as well as the prevention of skin cancers. You don’t want to get this step wrong.”
Since many of these mineral-based powder sunscreens have a tint to them, Karam says they can be used like foundation. He says one method is to use a regular sunscreen product (like EltaMD’s tinted or clear sunscreen) and apply the powder-based sunscreen on top of it for a matte finish (and for more sun protection).
You can also use powder sunscreen as a touch-up. “It’s convenient and portable, making it perfect for reapplication in the middle of the day when you may not want or be able to apply a cream or lotion sunscreen,” says board-certified dermatologist and founder of Maei MD Rebecca Marcus, MD. “It can be applied over makeup. Also, it can be used in the hairline and the part to apply sunscreen to the scalp, which would be more difficult with cream or lotion.”
To apply, there are a few steps to follow to ensure you’re putting on an effective amount of sunscreen. “Before taking the cap off of the brush, turn the brush upside down and tap it (hard!) three times into your palm,” Marcus recommends. “This should fill the brush with powder so it’s primed to apply to your skin. Then, brush evenly over the face, neck, scalp, or wherever you wish to apply it. It’s hard to apply a thick enough layer of powder to get the full SPF listed on the label, so it’s best to layer powder sunscreen with other sun-protection products and practices.”
When shopping for a powder sunscreen, Ife Rodney, MD, FAAD, of Eternal Dermatology and Aesthetics suggests, “Be sure to choose a broad spectrum mineral sunscreen—look for zinc oxide or titanium dioxide in the active ingredients. It’s great if it also contains iron oxide, as this blocks out blue light rays emitted from computer screens and electronic devices. Blue light san cause premature aging of the skin.”
Take a look at some powder-sunscreen options below.