You already know to wear sunscreen, but the options can be overwhelming. To simplify your search, Francesca Fusco, a dermatologist in New York City, has these tips: Choose at least SPF 15 for daily use and SPF 30 for sustained exposure, which block 93 and 97 percent of UVB rays (the type that burn skin), respectively. Also, look for ingredients that deflect UVA rays (the kind that cause wrinkles and sun spots), such as zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, avobenzone, and oxybenzone. Now, ready to take it outside?
Because BareMinerals SPF 30 Natural Sunscreen ($28, bareescentuals.com) doubles as makeup, you'll be reapplying your sunscreen anytime you need a powder touch-up. Use the mess-free brush to apply all over your face.
Suitable for face and body, the individually wrapped Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Powerful Sun Protection SPF 30 towelettes ($18 for 20, dgskincare.com) offer nongreasy UVA and UVB protection, plus antioxidants such as green tea, lycopene, and vitamin C.
Safeguard frequently missed and overexposed areas, such as your ears, nose, and where you part your hair, with the pocket-sized Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Targeted Sun Defense Stick SPF 50 ($20, elizabetharden.com). It can be applied directly to target spots without getting it on hands.
Our hands are exposed to the same elements as our faces and deserve just as much care. Treat your skin with an SPF cream such as Guerlain Super Aqua-Hands Cream SPF 15 ($64, nordstrom.com), which has licorice root to help lighten sun spots.
Replace your daily moisturizer with Clarins Sunscreen For Face Wrinkle Control Cream SPF 50+ ($32, clarins.com). It's as lightweight and hydrating as regular lotion but delivers a high SPF and antioxidants such as olive extract. Plus, with a light, floral scent, it smells better than other beachy blockers.
Lips need as much sun-shielding as faces do. The orb shape of Eos Lip Balm Smooth Sphere Lemon Drop SPF 15 ($3, evolutionofsmooth.com) makes it fun to use and easy to fish out of your purse.
Many people don't apply (or reapply) sunscreen because "they don't like how it feels on their skin," Fusco says. Luckily, the newest blockers (including a kid-friendly foam) offer protection everyone will want to slather on.
Even if you're damp from taking a dip, Neutrogena Wet Skin Sunblock Spray SPF 50 ($10, at drugstores) is absorbed easily into skin, thanks to a blend of water-repelling polymers that allow UV filters to form a protective barrier rather than drip off.
Inspired by hairstyling products, Coppertone Oil Free Foaming Sunscreen Lotion SPF 75+ ($10, at drugstores) is a mousselike foam that spreads evenly over your skin and disappears in a flash, leaving behind invisible UV protection.
Avon Anew Solar Advance Sunscreen Body Lotion SPF 30 ($34, avon.com) works double-duty. It contains effective UV blockers, plus a complex of antiaging ingredients, such as soy protein and other plant compounds, proven to help skin repair existing sun damage.
Unlike other natural sunscreens, which can feel like clown makeup, Aveeno Natural Protection Adult Sunblock Lotion SPF 30 ($10, at drugstores) is lightweight and soaks in instantly. Plus, it's great for those with delicate skin -- it contains the mineral blockers titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, physical barriers that are less irritating than chemical ones.
Using sunscreen seems simple enough, but there is a proper way to apply. These easy pointers will keep you protected under the sun.
Layer It On
The amount of sunscreen needed to get the protection advertised on the label is actually a very thick coat: an ounce for your body, which is about a shot-glass full. It can seem like a lot -- no wonder people rarely use enough. To get the best coverage possible, apply two coats. Give the first layer five to 10 minutes to be absorbed, Fusco says, and then repeat.
Mind the Periphery
Take care not to skimp on sunscreen around your hairline. Many women do, but that can cause sun spots and wrinkles, as well as basal and squamous cell carcinomas, two common forms of skin cancer, Fusco says.
Ultra-high SPFs and waterproof formulas give great coverage, but there's no such thing as "all-day protection" After two hours, all sunscreen starts to degrade and needs to be reapplied. Likewise, refresh products marketed as waterproof or water-resistant after swimming. Both terms mean that you're shielded in the water only, not after toweling off.
For head-to-toe protection, Martha has two sunscreen favorites: SkinCeuticals Ultimate UV Defense SPF 30 ($37, skinceuticals.com), which has a mineral blocker, making it ideal for sensitive skin, and La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Melt-In Sunscreen Lotion ($29, larocheposay.us), which contains a powerful antioxidant complex. She likes that both are lightweight and fragrance-free.