Sun Protection—Personalized

The missing link in sun care? Taking your skin tone into account. These top dermatologists explain what works and why

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Alicia Barba, MD; Miami

Daily drill “Because Latina skin is prone to pigmentation issues, I use SkinCeuticals Sheer Physical UV Defense SPF 50 [$32;], plus antioxidant-rich SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF [$152;], which fights free radicals and boosts the longevity of my SPF.”


Upping the ante “For many Latinas, it doesn’t take much UV exposure to trigger hyperpigmentation. So when I’m going to be outside during prime sun hours, I wear a Helen Kaminski hat [].”


Her insurance policy “I carry either Colorescience Sunforgettable Mineral Powder SPF 30 [$50;] or Avène Tinted Compact SPF 50 [$32;] so I can reapply sun protection on the go.”

Cathy Riley

Jessica Wu, MD; Los Angeles

Daily drill “Asian women generally see uneven pigmentation, like sunspots or melasma, before they see wrinkles. So I wear a sunscreen made with micronized zinc oxide, such as my own Dr. Jessica Wu Cosmeceuticals Anti-Aging Sun Care SPF 32 [$75;], to pro-tect against the UVA rays that trigger pigment-producing cells. I also like that zinc is noncomedogenic, because Asian skin is often sensitive and oily, and the formula leaves no pasty film, key for golden skin tones.”


Upping the ante “For outdoor activities like paddle boarding or hiking,I slather on MDSolarSciences Min-eral Screen Tinted Crème SPF 30 [$32;]. It stays put, even when I’m dripping sweat! I also wear an Athleta UPF rash-guard shirt [$49 and up;].”


Made in the shade(s) “Asians can develop freckles around the eyes, so UV-blocking eyewear is key. However, our facial structure—a shallow nasal bridge and broad cheekbones—makes it hard to find a pair that doesn’t slide off or dig into the cheeks. Oakley makes sports sunglasses that I like; I also live in Chrome Hearts aviators, which have a fairly flat contour.”

Cathy Riley

Joely Kaufman, MD; Miami

Daily drill “I am of Eastern European descent and I’m very fair, so I never go outdoors without protec-tion. When I’m just going to and from work, I wear Dr. Brandt Flexitone BB Cream SPF 30 [$39;], which has anti-aging ingredients, SPF and a sheer tint. I also tap Prevage Anti-Aging Eye Cream SPF 15 [$100;] around my eyes, because, for the fair, the risk of skin cancer there is high.”


Upping the ante “When I’m outside for any length of time, I slather on a thick coat of Cotz Plus SPF 58 water-resistant UVB/UVA sunscreen for sensitive skin [$20; drugstores], and I top it off with a BloqUV sun shirt [$58 and up;].”


The importance of accessories Investing in good UV-blocking sunglasses is important, since light eyes are most vulnerable to sun damage.”

Cathy Riley

Jeanine Downie, MD; Montclair, NJ

Daily drill “I wear SkinMedica Daily Physical Defense SPF 30+ [$45;]; it’s light and hypo-allergenic, so I can put it all over, including near my eyes. It also doesn’t make dark skin look purple.”


Upping the ante “Before I run, I double up on protection: two coats of Neutrogena Wet Skin in SPF 50 [$12; drugstores] or Aveeno Hydrosport SPF 30 [$9; drugstores]. Many African Americans think they don’t need sunscreen or skin checks. But while it’s rarer for us to get melanoma, when we do, we’re likelier to die from it, be-cause we’re underdiagnosed.”


Supplemental strategy “The sun is the best source of vitamin D, so wearing sunscreen plus having dark skin, which offers some UV protection, puts us at higher risk for de-ficiencies. As a precaution, I take Strovite Forte, a prescription multivitamin.”

Next: Best (And Cutest) Sun-Blocking Glasses

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Cathy Riley

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