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The Best Sunscreens for Winter

Dermatologists agree: freezing temperatures do NOT mean that you can skip the SPF.

What’s the difference between the “best sunscreens for winter” and the “best sunscreens for summer”? Well, for starters, you’re not as likely to be swimming in the ocean in the summer, so waterproof sunscreens aren’t as essential, and with frigid winter temps down in the teens, you’ll also probably want a winter sunscreen with added moisturizing and antioxidant benefits.

If you’re a skin junkie who loves to play outside year-round, we’ve got just the thing. We rounded up a list of the best dermatologist-recommended sunscreens for winter. Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean you should stop going outside– and just because there’s snow on the ground doesn’t mean you can skip the SPF.

Image via ISDIN USA’s Instagram

Eryfotona Actinica Ultralight Emulsion SPF 50+

Eryfotona Actinica’s Ultralight Emulsion sunscreen is an industry-leading mineral sunscreen made with 11% zinc oxide to offer high UVA and UVB protection. Available through select dermatologists, we like this sunscreen because it feels less tacky than typical mineral sunscreens, which can be really whitening. (We were actually amazed that the only active ingredient in this sunscreen was zinc. The smooth, matte finish is amazing!)

This blend also includes patented “DNA Repairsomes”, a liposomal delivery system that leads to photoreactivation, a fancy word that means “the reversal of the harmful effects of far-UV radiation”– a process that is activated by light to help protect the skin from further damage. It’s also rich in Vitamin E and waterproof for up to 40 minutes (in case you find yourself sitting in a sunny hot tub on a snowy mountain peak this winter).

Image via Duke Cannon

Cannon Balm 140 Tactical Lip Protectant SPF 30

Of course, you can’t forget about your lips! But it’s very hard to find an SPF chapstick that doesn’t contain parabens or other chemicals that you wouldn’t want to ingest, even in trace amounts. Duke Cannon’s Cannon Balm 140 Tactical Lip Protectant is a big, chunky chapstick made to withstand even extreme conditions– but paradoxically, it goes on smoothly and smells amazing. Plus, it doesn’t feel heavy or greasy.

“Any man who ventures into the great outdoors is at war with the elements, and that fight cannot be won with a dainty little chapstick that tastes like strawberry smoothies,” they write of their SPF 30 chapstick, which is tested by active duty military personnel. If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for us! This is a great chapstick for skiing in bright sun, but this chapstick is also ideal for summer hiking trips, as it won’t melt until it reaches 140 degrees– thus the name. No more melted car chapsticks!

Image via Shiseido

Shiseido Urban Environment Oil-Free UV Protector SPF 42

This super light, smooth-applying sunscreen has the added benefit of pollution protection that’s built into the formula. Plus: it’s waterproof and sweatproof for 40 minutes. Shiseido has long been revered as an authoritative leader in the skin care game, headquartered in Tokyo (the epicenter of the cult-adulated asian skincare market).

The aesthetically-pleasing bottle is as pearlescent as the sunscreen inside will make your skin feel– it really is one of the best non-greasy formulas we’ve ever encountered; it goes on like water, and doesn’t leave any residue. Plus, it has a really high percentage of Zinc Oxide (a whopping 12.5%!), which dermatologists agree is one of the most effective sun-blocking chemicals on the market. Our only issue with zinc oxide is usually that it can leave white streaks and make sensitive skin feel itchy, but this formula does neither. A fabulous choice for every skin type.

Image via Supergoop

Supergoop! SPF 50

This everyday sunscreen with natural oat extract is really having a moment in the wellness world. Supergoop!’s broad spectrum, water and sweat resistant (80 minutes) formula goes on smoothly and also doesn’t leave that thick white residue (the “goop”) that has previously given oxybenzone-free sunscreens like this one a bad rap. No more streaky, greasy cheeks! Instead, Supergoop! SPF 50 offers a lightweight, oil-free lotion with added antioxidants (which have been shown to boost the effectiveness of sunscreen). Not for nothing, we also LOVE the sleekness of the blue and yellow packaging. Très chic!

Image via Glossier

Glossier Invisible Shield SPF 35

Glossier’s iconic clear sunscreen is so water-like and smooth in its application that we can’t believe its actually sunscreen– it feels more like a serum. The brand’s invisible shield daily sunscreen + is a great lightweight formulation for those new to wearing daily sunscreen, or reluctant to start. It’s thin, serum-like texture makes it excellent for layering below makeup or above moisturizer, and the bottle’s 1-oz size sets it within all international travel standards for liquids, so its easy to carry on the go. This sunscreen has added pollution shields but is not water resistant, which is why we recommend it ideally for winter, driving, or any time you are apt to get some unexpected sun without sweating or swimming.

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