*Immediately adds to shopping cart for summer*
Want to know the secret for zapping oil from your face after a few hours in the sun (without wiping off your SPF) and for preventing scalp burns without making your hair oily? Well, we’ve finally discovered the hero SPF product you’ve been missing: powder sunscreen.
Powdered sunscreen is typically a mineral-based product that can be brushed onto the skin to deflect ultraviolet radiation, says Rachel Nazarian, MD, a New York-based dermatologist and fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology. While the idea of dusting yourself with powder to prevent sunburn and aging may seem too good to be true, it shouldn’t be so farfetched, since the active ingredients in most sunscreens—like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide—already exist in powder form, points out Debra Jaliman, MD, a dermatologist based in New York City.
But you may be wondering, are powders as safe as other types of sunscreen? In order to achieve the SPF level advertised on the product label, you must apply the product—whether a lotion or powder—sufficiently and liberally, explains Dr. Nazarian. Because super lightweight powders are unlikely to provide effective coverage, be sure to choose one that’s sweat-proof (read: water-resistant) and has a high SPF, she adds. While a lotion should be your first choice for sunscreen (since it offers better coverage), you can use a powdered sunscreen on top of lotion for additional protection, or for touch-ups throughout the day, Dr. Jaliman tells Health. She doesn’t recommend using it as your all-over body protection from the sun, though.
If your hair gets greasy easily and you don’t want to slather or spray sunscreen onto your scalp, powder sunscreen is a great solution because you can use it directly on your part and hairline without causing any heavy buildup, says Dr. Jaliman. She specifically recommends powder protection to her patients who have oily or acne-prone skin, because it helps zap shine and won’t clog pores or make skin break out.
The best way to use powder sunscreen is to create a thick coat by making at least two passes over the area, and reapplying often, Dr. Nazarian says. Use it on top of a lotion and paired with other sun safe methods, like hats, sunglasses, and sun protective clothing with UPF.
Here, dermatologists share their favorite powder sunscreens that’ll protect you from the sun (and keep oily hair and skin at bay) all summer long.