Not wearing enough sunscreen is like not drinking enough water: not ideal, but it happens. The truth of the matter is that, much like mainlining H2O when you’re not even thirsty, liberally applying sunscreen every few hours is kind of a drag. Finding a formula you don’t hate is key — and yet lightweight, non-greasy, non-pore-clogging sunscreens that don’t smell like a doctor’s office or a chemical approximation of a piña colada are maddeningly hard to come by.
Enter Elta MD. Beloved by everyone from dermatologists to Zac Efron (seriously, everyone recommends this stuff to us over and over again), the brand’s many formulas are as close to perfect as something as snoozy as sunscreen can get. They get their UVA and UVB-shielding power from zinc oxide, which is one of the best ingredients out there for sun protection without causing breakouts or irritation. It works differently from most active ingredients, insofar as it sits on top of the skin and creates a physical barrier rather than being absorbed.
Unlike zinc oxide formulations of years past — you know, the white paste generally associated with surfers’ noses — Elta MD’s products don’t leave a ghostly cast behind. Not satisfied to just function as SPF, they also incorporate a slew of skin-care ingredients, like hyaluronic acid, various antioxidants, strengthening niacinamide, and even the occasional gentle exfoliant. There’s one for acne-prone skin, one that can be applied on damp skin for those who subscribe to an “active lifestyle,” a radiance-enhancing tinted formula, and numerous other choices for all your face and body needs.
Amanda Sanzone, a medical aesthetician with Matthew Schulman Plastic Surgery in New York City, likes the UV Clear option with SPF 46. “This oil-free sun protection helps calm and protect sensitive skin types prone to breakouts, rosacea, and discoloration,” she told Refinery29. “It’s also very lightweight and silky, great for those who hate the feel of traditional sunscreens.”
Kourtney Kardashian is also a fan of the brand. “It’s the only sunscreen that doesn’t make me break out, and that I feel like actually, like, helps my skin,” she told us. If that rave review doesn’t convince you to place your Dermstore order post-haste, listen to Zac, who’s fond of the waterproof version. “Wear sunscreen every day, please. No amount of sun is safe, in my opinion.” A Zac Efron-approved sunscreen that will also actually, like, help your skin? Sold.