I Just Started Writing About Beauty, But This Skincare Mistake Makes Me Cringe

A few months ago, I started moonlighting as a beauty writer. In my 10-year journalism career, I've written about health, interior design, pregnancy and parenting, technology, food… a wide variety of topics, but never beauty, aside from an article or two. So when the opportunity arose to write some beauty stories for Who What Wear, in addition to my normal 9-to-5 as managing editor of THE/THIRTY, I thought why not? I love learning new things, and beauty is a fun subject to cover!

I want to assure you that even though I'm a bit of a novice in the beauty-insider world, I actually did know some things about makeup and skincare before this, so I'm not completely inept. As I write more in-depth stories, I've really enjoyed investigating the heck out of everything (see: sunscreen, cellulite, and exfoliating). And while I don't have my Ph.D. in beauty just yet, there is one skincare "mistake" that makes me cringe: not wearing sunscreen every day.

I always knew sunscreen was so important, but when I did a deeper dive into it and found out just how damaging the UV rays can be—how it could not only increase your risk of getting skin cancer but also cause premature aging and other skin issues—I made it a priority to put on sunscreen every day. I understand it can be an easily forgotten step. I know I've had a lot of "oops" moments. And especially since a lot of us are staying at home, it's even easier to forget! It's still crucial to wear it every day, even when you're inside, because those UV rays can come in through the windows.

But there is one sunscreen trick that is so simple and pretty much right in front of us: Getting a moisturizer with built-in SPF! The two-in-one product takes away an extra step in your morning skincare routine. Board-certified dermatologist Elyse Love, MD, who practices at GlamDerm in New York City, says that the sunscreen should be broad-spectrum and a minimum SPF 30, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. "SPF-containing products should be applied before makeup to the face and neck," she adds.

And while you're at it choosing a daily moisturizer with SPF, you can also make sure it has some anti-aging ingredients to ensure your skin is extra protected. "The two most important anti-aging ingredients are retinol and SPF," Love says. "These ingredients are typically not included in the same products because retinol is a nighttime product. Other supportive anti-aging ingredients included in a morning moisturizer include antioxidants, growth factors, and peptides."

Another shopping tip: Be aware of your skin type. Love suggests those prone to acne should limit options to oil-free moisturizers. And for those with mature skin, she says, since the product can be a splurge item, "I recommend medical-grade products because these products have scientific research backing their formulations."

Need some recommendations? Take a look at some of our editors' and Love's picks below:

One of Love's recommendations, this product also includes L-ascorbic acid, which works to improve firmness, wrinkles, and dullness.

Murad's moisturizer prevents sun damage with UVA/UVB protection. The lightweight moisturizer not only reduces the signs of aging but also targets acne.

Use this daytime moisturizer to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The oil-free product is best for dry and combination skin types.

This moisturizer contains vitamin C ester and DMAE to brighten and firm skin. Zinc and titanium dioxide protects against sun damage.

Another pick from Love, this sunscreen works well on sensitive skin. It's formulated with vitamin E and DNA repairsomes to nourish your face. It's recommended to reapply every two hours during sun exposure.

This moisturizer is packed with antioxidants to prevent against UV and pollution damage. It leaves your skin brightened and hydrated.

This is formulated with a blackberry complex and vitamins C and E to smooth texture and diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It's hypoallergenic and doesn't leave a greasy finish.

The peptides and amino acids in this formula smoothes lines and wrinkles, while natural extracts and oils moisturizes and tightens skin.

Love recommends this sunscreen from SkinMedica. It's packed with antioxidants and shields against UVA/UVB rays. The lightweight formula blends in easily.

Shiseido's daytime cream is formulated with ingredients—like benibana flower and olive root, tea, and angelica root extracts—to visibly lift, firm, and brighten skin. It's recommended to use morning and night for best results.

A good drugstore option, Olay's moisturizer absorbs quickly and isn't heavy. It has an amino-peptide complex that both hydrates and reduces the signs of aging.

If you're dealing with dark spots and a couple of wrinkles, try this moisturizer that's powered with linseed extract. The oil-free formula won't clog pores and blends in easily.

With broad-spectrum protection, Neutrogena's sunscreen protects up to six layers deep into the skin, which is perfect since a lot of the signs of aging comes from UV damage. It's lightweight, non-greasy, and oil-free.

Use this formula to shield your face against environmental stressors like pollution and sun damage. It also contains a DNA enzyme complex to improve elasticity and collagen matrix.

This moisturizer does so much. It lifts, firms, smoothes, retexturizes, and moisturizes. Good-for-skin ingredients include jasmonic acid, hyaluronic acid, and beech tree extract.

The mineral zinc sunscreen prevents the premature signs of aging thanks to its antioxidant-rich formula. It's lightly tinted and leaves a matte finish.

In tests, users saw a reduced signs of aging in two weeks from this product. Ingredients like padina pavonica firms skin, while ginkgo biloba plumps and improves elasticity.

The tinted daily moisturizer is packed with nourishing ingredients like argan oil, green tea, and vitamin E to leave skin glowy and healthy. You can even use it as a makeup primer.

The hydrating formula provides broad-spectrum sun protection and diminishes the appearance of wrinkles. It doesn't contain parabens, sulfates, and phthalates.

This daily moisturizer is formulated with green tea extract, hydrolyzed xylan, argan oils, and minerals to repair and smooth skin. 

Next up, women in their 30s give these 18 skincare products rave reviews.

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