By Hakilon (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Hakilon (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

May is Melanoma Awareness Month – fittingly the same month as Memorial Day Weekend, summer’s unofficial kickoff. You know, the time of year when we really need to knock our sun protection skills up a notch.

As of 2013, new sunscreen labeling laws have taken effect. Not all SPF formulas are created equal, and some have even become a bit controversial. The only thing experts all agree on? You MUST wear it. Here’s what to look for on the label:

  • Broad Spectrum – This means that the sunscreen in question protects from both UVA and UVB rays. Which is what you need!
  • Water Resistant – You will no longer see words like “water proof” – because that’s just not true. Next to water resistant, there should also be a number – this is how many minutes you have until you need to reapply.

It’s time to start stocking up! Now, as for what type of formula to choose, there are two main categories of protection: chemical and physical. Chemical sunblocks use ingredients like Oxybenzone or Avobenzone to absorb UV rays, while physical sunscreens use ingredients like Zinc or Titanium Dioxide that form a physical barrier (hence that famous “white” appearance) thanks to tiny crystals that sit on the surface of skin to block the sun. Some people believe that chemical ingredients + the heat of the sun can be dangerous, but no concrete studies have been done. It’s up to you which product to choose, so here are a few of our favorites in both categories:

Supergoop!

Supergoop! Is paraben-free, water-resistant, moisturizing and lightweight. It won’t leave you shiny, thus making it perfect for everyday wear under makeup.

La Roche Posay Anthelios 50

Anthelios is an anti-aging primer with a serious dose of SPF to boot. Reduce fine lines and protect your skin from future damage all in one!

Rodan + Fields Anti-Age Age Shield Hand Balm SPF 30

Your hands are one of the first places to show the signs ofaging. Rodan +Fields citrus SPF just for hands helps lighten sun spots and simultaneously protects from UVA/UVB rays. It’s a win/win!

Peter Thomas Roth Ultra-Lite Oil-Free Sunblock SPF 30

When the weather heats up and we dust off those floral sundresses from last season: that’s when you know it’s time to start a whole-body SPF routine.

RoC® Soleil Protexion+ Face Lipstick, SPF 30

Lips are so often forgotten in the fight against sun-damage…but you won’t make that mistake this year! This velvety smooth lip balm is the ultimate in lip protection – super moisturizing and SPF 30 coverage all in one.