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While our parents may have been able to plead ignorance about sunscreen best practices, thanks to a wealth of readily available information, we all know the golden rules of SPF. As dermatologist Dr. Marc Levin of Advanced Dermatology Associates in NYC reminds us, “It’s best to just try to stay out of the sun as much as possible. If that fails, you need sunscreen with at least 30 SPF and a large hat without holes in it.” He also stresses the importance of reapplying every two hours and immediately after swimming or sweating. Like we said, basic stuff.
With all this knowledge also comes a barrage of new sunscreen formulas and applications, from oils to powders to everything in between. That makes it pretty difficult to know which sunscreen is the right match for your particular needs. In fact, many of us are using the wrong sun protection — hence the greasy feeling on your face or that weird, chalky sheen you keep seeing when you reapply.
But, we're not just talking skin type here. Sure, it's helpful to pick an SPF formulation that won't aggravate your breakout-prone complexion, but it's also key to choose one based on what activities you'll be taking part in while wearing said SPF. After all, the sun protection you'll wear when you're sitting in your AC-chilled office is going to be a lot different from the one you swipe on as you frolic poolside.
So, we took a look at all the fine print for you and created a comprehensive sunscreen guide, breaking down a bevy of different summer activities and scouting out the best sun-protection products for each. And, these picks address every type of need, from what to wear at an outdoor wedding to the best SPF to hold up to a sweaty game of intense beach volleyball. Ahead, meet your SPF soul mate.