At the height of summer, with seemingly endless weekends sprawled out on lawns and beaches, it's hard not to succumb to apathy and ignore sun care. Even if you haven't worn sunscreen all summer, it is never too late to start protecting your skin from harmful rays and to incorporate an SPF into your daily routine. In the spirit of building healthy habits, we sought out the guidance of Dr. Amy Wechsler—a dermatologist who specializes in sun care—to ask for her advice on innovative sunscreens and how to integrate sun protection into day-to-day activities.
Based in Australia, Invisible Zinc has been around for a decade and is still one of the best products on the market with its incredibly high concentration of zinc oxide. "Zinc oxide continues to be the best sunscreen because it is the only chemical we've found that physically blocks out all the rays," explains Wechsler. "It fell out of favor because of its inelegant nature, but after years of scientists tinkering and mixing up concoctions of other unblocking chemicals, it is still only zinc oxide that can individually protect against the whole spectrum." Luckily, technology around zinc has improved and now products like Invisible Zinc can be rubbed in completely. Bottled in a compact pump, Invisible Zinc four-hour water resistant formula is ideal for athletes who want something that instantly protects and clings to the skin. Invisible Zinc won't be found on shelves in the US, but it is available through online retailers which ship internationally.
Babo Botancials Clear Zinc Sunscreen
Designed for babies and children, Babo Botanical's Clear Zinc Sunscreen is an all-natural gel that offers parents instant protection for even the most impatient recipients. "With sunscreens that don't rely on zinc, you must wait 30 minutes for the chemicals to absorb into the dead skin, but since zinc provides physical protection, it starts working the second in touches your skin," says Wechsler. "So, with products like Babo Botanicals, parents can cover their kids on-the-go without worrying about them burning before the sunscreen actually begins working. The other benefit of Babo is that it is natural, so there's no risk of absorbing extra chemicals when wearing it." Packaged in an easily totable tube, Babo's unique and hydrating hint of grape juice makes it a no-brainer for children—as well as those adults who want to keep their skin protected and younger looking.
Chanel UV Essential
With 17.1% zinc oxide, Chanel's sleekly package UV Essential offers some of the best non-greasy protection out there. "This is the sunscreen I wear everyday because it's the most cosmetically elegant zinc sunscreen I've encountered," says Wechsler. "It rubs in instantly, and for those who really dislike the typical texture and touch of sunscreen, this is something that could easy slip into your morning routine. Plus if you apply your first application in the morning, you have the benefit of your mirror so you don't miss any spots, like your ears or the back of your neck." Although on the pricey side, UV Essential provides an option for those who want maximum coverage as well as a light finish—especially on their face and neck. Perfectly sized for travel, this lightly scented, cosmetic sunscreen is an enjoyable way to touch up an application even on the most humid days of summer.
Reminiscent of the white-capped noses of 1980s lifeguards, Zinka's thick formula is designed for protecting the areas that get the most sun. However unlike the chalky white incarnations of yore, Zinka has added bright pigments that transform the extremely effective sunscreen into something that looks more like festive face paint. "For kids and athletes who spend a lot of time in the sun, Zinka is a great way to add a little more protection," explains Wechsler. "It's especially great for swimmers or kids who wear goggles, which tend to rub off the sunscreen around your eyes. The colors are an added incentive for those little ones who don't like getting covered up." Recently released in even more vibrant colors, Zinka's rainbow of tubes encourage creativity and play, from surfing and skiing to building castles in the sand.
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Top image courtesy of Invisible Zinc, all others by Kat Herriman