For one, the price is higher for many of the better sunscreens, but that is due to ingredients that are higher quality and a formulation that is less likely to cause problems with acne or other conditions. Additionally, some sunscreens may wear off sooner, despite saying they are long lasting. Because of this, my staff and I have undertaken a thorough analysis of sunscreens, ranging from those that are great for everyday use to those that are great for acne prone individuals.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, one way to protect your skin from harmful UV radiation is to wear a broad spectrum sunscreen.

But, Dr. Joel Schlessinger . . . it’s wintertime!

It is important to remember that, even though the sun isn’t quite as strong in the winter, it still has the ability to tan you and damage your skin, especially in higher altitudes such as skiing areas. So it is important to remember sunscreen, particularly if you have melasma, a pigmentation problem or sun damage.

If you follow the regimen of putting sunscreens on daily, you will end up having much less sun damage and eventually you will have less likelihood of skin cancer, although it is still possible to get skin cancer even if you use sunscreen. The reason for this is that 50% or more of sun damage is done before the age of 18. We hope to stop this trend, but for now it seems to be even worse than 50%!

The National Cancer Institute of the U.S. National Institutes of Health released a cancer trends report where they share the importance of sunscreen as a cancer prevention tool.

What about sunscreen that doesn’t last long enough? How does my cleansing regime change?

Sunscreen only lasts about 3 hours in the best of conditions, but some of the brush on sunscreens listed below are fantastic for reapplications during the day.

Colorescience Pro Sunforgettable Brush SPF 30
glo minerals Protecting Powder SPF 30

Facial cleansing regimens should be about the same, with or without sunscreen, but remember to put sunscreen on last before makeup. The new, Revision Intellishade makeup and BB Creams tend to have a combination sunscreen and makeup effect, making it a one-stop shop!

Dr. Joel Schlessinger’s personal recommendations for the best sunscreen

My favorite brand of sunscreen, hands-down, is EltaMD sunscreen, but I do love sunscreens from other brands, including Obagi sunscreen and La Roche-Posay sunscreen.

What is your favorite type of sunscreen? What questions do you have about them?

Posted Wednesday, January 18th, 2012 at 8:55 pm
Filed Under Category: Sunscreen Tips
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Responses to “Top dermatologist Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains the many differences between generic sunscreens and ones that are specially formulated”


Dr. Schlessinger, if someone has already had skin cancer is it still ok to be in the sun using sunblock?


While I don’t think people should be a hermit after skin cancer, it makes sense to be cautious. There are now excellent sunscreens and protective clothes available, but they don’t protect fully, so it is best to avoid heavy sun if possible or the risk for skin cancer increases dramatically. As for melanoma, that is a very serious, if not deadly, skin cancer, so my views on that are to avoid sunlight at all costs or it could reoccur. Whatever the case, it is wise to wear a great sunscreen ( has my favorite sunscreens on it) and avoid noonday sun and reapply sunscreen every 2 to 3 hours while in sunlight. The same goes for your family as well. Good luck!

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