Like it or not, moisturizing is the anchor to keeping your skin healthy, and "If there's one step in your skincare regimen not to skip, it is using a moisturizer with SPF," Dr. Chris Adigun MD of the Department of Dermatology at NYU Langone Medical Center tells 'Mens Journal.' "Moisturizing strengthens the skin, makes it more resilient to wind and weather trauma, less reactive to irritants, and minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles," he says, "while sunscreen, worn daily, reduces the risk of skin cancer, precancerous change, and UV-induced photo-damage that leads to premature aging of the skin." Indeed, according to a recent study by the Annals of Internal Medicine, using an SPF of some kind every day can slow the aging process by 24 percent.
Moisturizing with an SPF is something you should be doing year round, but especially come summer when the UV exposure time is increased and becomes more intense. Even if you're working in an office this summer, you're still at risk from UV rays with the sun hitting you during your commute and on your lunch break.
So what to look for? "Minerals titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are the most effective and also the least irritating SPF ingredients," Dr. Chris Adigun advises. "Chemical blockers that absorb the UV rays, especially avobenzone, are fine to use as well." We'll caution against the chemical oxybenzone, which is FDA approved and shown to be an effective broadband UV blocker, but remains controversially linked to hormone disruption, cell damage, skin cancer and, if worn in the water, harmful to coral reefs.
Past that, Dr. Adigun recommends reaching for a daily moisturizer with a broad-spectrum SPF of 30 or above. "Any level of sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 is an improvement over nothing," he says, "but 30+ is a good idea because it needs to last all day." And unlike, say, when you hang on the beach, you're probably not reapply your moisturizer throughout the day anywhere else.
Based on the doctor's recommendations, we've tried more bottles of moisturizer with SPF than we'd care to admit. Based on quality of ingredients and their ability to rub in, protect you from the sun and not smell like flowers or coconuts here are the six most effective moisturizers with SPF a man could want this summer.
Brave Soldier Solar Shield SPF 28
Dr. Ezra Kest and his mountain biking buddy Jeffrey Neal may have started Brave Solider to formulate the perfect road rash remedy (they did, btw), but have also gone on to craft a full line of products designed to tackle other men's grooming needs. The new stand out is this grease-free, non-irritating, moisturizing sunblock, which is made to be extremely water resistant with surfers and other outdoorsmen. It's made with readily absorbable micronized zinc oxide to protect, as well as hydrating qualities of macadamia nut and Hawaiian kukui nut oils, aloe extract and vitamin E. Never mind that it's 2 shy of the recommended SPF 30 – this soldier gets the job done. [$19.80/4 oz.; amazon.com]