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The Best SPF Moisturizers for Every Skin Type

Help prevent skin cancer with a moisturizing sunscreen that works.

josie maran moisturizer
Josie Maran

Bar none, the most common form of cancer found in humans is nonmelanoma skin cancer. “Every year, there are over three million new cases a year of nonmelanoma skin cancers in the United States alone,” says Dr. Scott Dunbar, a skin cancer surgeon and cosmetic dermatologist for Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City. (Breast cancer, the second most common form of cancer in the United States, records less than 250,000 new cases per year.) “Fortunately, the vast majority of skin cancers are easy to remove,” he adds. “But even if they are not life threatening, you can end up trading that skin cancer for an arduous surgery and some scarring.”

Most professionals agree that the main forms of nonmelanoma skin cancer — basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma — are related to sun exposure, a necessary variable of everyday life. The good news, however, is that the risks associated with developing symptoms of the disease can be easily reduced, starting with the obvious: sunscreen. “I encourage my patients to wear it everyday,” says Dunbar, even though he knows not all of them will. “It’s like flossing. A lot of people don’t floss twice a day, like you should. But if you’re doing it a few times a week, that’s better than never.”

To make it easier, brands old and new have started to release sun-shielding lotions, often labeled simply as “moisturizers with SPF.” These not only protect skin from harmful UV rays, but avoid the smell and greasy texture of traditional sunscreens. “Even if someone has basically zero genetic risk factor for skin cancer, chronic exposure to the sun will dramatically increase the risk of skin cancer,” says Dunbar. “But if someone has taken the time to protect themselves from the sun over the course of their lifetime, that risk goes down. Way, way down.”

Understanding SPF
SPF stands for “sun protection factor,” and rates the fraction of harmful UV rays that reach the skin during a period of time. “As the sunscreen industry has matured over the past few decades, people are taking those numbers a little less seriously,” says Dr. Scott Dunbar. “In my opinion, sunscreen is either good enough or not good enough. Dermatologists are dichotomous that way. The standard is: SPF 30 or better, always. If you’re going to put on a sunscreen, put on the highest number that you’ll reliably use. If the 100 feels really greasy and you’re not going to wear it, then it’s not as good as a 30 that you will wear.

“Sunscreens, regardless of the SPF, are only rated to work for two hours; higher SPFs don’t mean that sunscreen will last any longer. So no matter what you prefer, reapplication is absolutely essential.”

Eucerin Daily Protection Face Lotion

Courtesy Amazon

For Sensitive Skin, on a Budget: Eucerin's Daily Protection moisturizer is geared toward sensitive skin, with a lightweight, non-greasy feel and fragrance-free formula. It's non-comedogenic, so it won't clog your pores while protecting your skin against both UVA and UVB rays. Plus, it's easy on the wallet.

SPF: 30
Active Ingredients: Zinc oxide, titanium dioxide
Ounces: 4
Price Per Ounce: $2

Buy Now: $8

Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer

Courtesy Josie Maran

Amazing for Dry Skin: All-natural and organic moisturizers are harder to come by, especially if you want one with sun protection, but Josie Maran's moisturizer fits the bill. It uses a skin-nourishing blend of Argan oil and white tee leaves to combat dry and flaky skin while providing a solid SPF 47.

SPF: 47
Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide
Ounces: 2
Price Per Ounce: $17

Buy Now: $34

Murad Oil and Pore Control Mattifier

Courtesy Murad

For Oily Skin: This SPF-packed moisturizer is a fantastic option for those with oily skin looking to tighten their pores. Avocado and. African yellow bark wood extracts combine to turn shiny skin matte while smoothing it and microspheres absorb excess oil. Plus, glycerin helps draw moisture to the skin.

SPF: 45
Active Ingredients: Avobenzone, Homosalate, Octisalate, Octocrylene
Ounces: 1.7
Price Per Ounce: $25

Buy Now: $42

Mantl Invisible Daily SPF 30

Courtesy Mantl

Great for Bald Heads: If you're a guy who's got a bald head, you already know the damage the sun can do to your skin. Mantl's Invisible Daily SPF 30 is made for the face and the head. It's suited for all skin types and is lightweight and transparent. No annoying white streaks here. It also includes a blend of willow herb extract, ginger root and vitamin F, to balance, soothe and hydrate, respectively. We also love the woodsy citrus smell.

SPF: 30
Active Ingredients: Avobenzone, Homosalate, Octisalate, Octocrylene
Ounces: 3.3
Price Per Ounce: $8

Buy Now: $27

First Aid Beauty 5-in-1 Face Cream with SPF 30

Courtesy First Aid Beauty

Formulated for Anti-Aging: First Aid Beauty's do-it-all face cream is great for combatting aging skin, with homeostatine to smooths wrinkles and a boost of anti-oxidants to stave off harmful free radicals. While keeping you looking young, this face cream also employs alpha arbutin to even out your skin tone and bisabolol to soothe it. It's well-suited for sensitive skin, too.

SPF: 30
Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide, Octinoxate, Octocrylene
Ounces: 1.7
Price Per Ounce: $24

Buy Now: $40

Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Lotion

Best Drugstore Find: Suitable for both face and body, this oil-free lotion makes use of finely ground Avena Sativa, better known as oatmeal — an ingredient long known to relieve dry or sensitive skin. The naturally derived beta-glucan in the oats helps to form a thin, protective film that locks in moisture.

SPF: 50
Active Ingredients: Avobenzone, Homosalate, Octisalat, Octocrylene, Oxybenzone
Ounces: 3
Price Per Ounce: $3

Buy Now: $8

Cerave AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion

Dr. Scott Dunbar’s Pick: “I’m a total dude when it comes to putting stuff on my face, and I generally don’t like the feel of lotions. Through a lot of trial and error, I found this one, which I really like. It doesn’t feel greasy and it doesn’t smell, so I’m much better about wearing it every day.”

SPF: 30
Active Ingredients: Homosalate, Octinoxate, Octocrylene, Zinc Oxide
Ounces: 3
Price Per Ounce: $5

Buy Now: $16

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizer

Best Boutique Brand: Kiehl’s, the New York-based brand founded in 1851, caters specifically to guys with its Facial Fuel line, but it’s the unisex Ultra Facial Moisturizer that offers the better combination of skin nourishment, sun protection and comfort. It’s made with squalane, a botanical lipid that helps to restore skin to its natural moisture balance, while Octinoxate absorbs harmful UVB rays and helps to prevent skin from burning.

SPF: 30
Active Ingredients: Octinoxate
Ounces: 8.4
Price Per Ounce: $5

Buy Now: $45

Supergoop! Everyday Sunscreen with Cellular Response

Best for the Kids: This oil-free, non-comedogenic lotion is the flagship product from Supergoop! — an up-and-coming beauty brand based in Texas — and a favorite among new parents for both their children and themselves. Beta-glucan helps lock in moisture, while natural extracts of citrus, basil and boise de rose cover up any unpleasant smells commonly associated with UV-shielding ingredients.

SPF: 50
Active Ingredients: Homosalate, Octinoxate, Octisalate, Avobenzone
Ounces: 2.4
Price Per Ounce: $9

Buy Now: $22

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Aox Daily Antioxidant Serum

Best for Wrinkles: Formulated with baicalin, vitamin Cg and vitamin E, La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios Aox serum improves the appearance of fine lines, dark spots and early aging caused by the sun, all the while shielding skin against harmful UVA and UVB rays. It can be applied alone, or in conjunction with a second moisturizer of choice.

SPF: 50
Active Ingredients: Avobenzone, Homosalate, Octisalate, Octocrylene, Oxybenzone
Ounces: 1
Price Per Ounce: $43

Buy Now: $43

Paula’s Choice PC4Men Daytime Protect Moisturizer

Best for Sensitive Skin: Free of superfluous dyes and fragrances, this lightweight moisturizer is suitable for guys of every stripe, including those prone to rosacea, acne and big pores. It goes on sheer and leaves the face with minimal to no shine.

SPF: 30
Active Ingredients: Oxybenzone, Avobenzone, Octocrylene, Homosalate
Ounces: 2.0
Price Per Ounce: $15

Buy Now: $29

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