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CONSUMER PRODUCTS & SERVICES | Personal / Personal Care Products
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About EltaMD

EltaMD formulates sun care and skin care products for every skin type, lifestyle, and special need.

EltaMD Headquarter Location

United States

800-633-8872

Latest EltaMD News

The 7 best face sunscreens of 2021, according to dermatologists

Jul 15, 2021

The EltaMD UV Clear is a broad-spectrum formula, meaning it has UVA and UVB protection, and is an everyday mineral sunscreen that comes highly recommended by both dermatologists we consulted. "EltaMD is one of the most elegantly formulated sunscreens out there," says Dr. Chan. "The texture is light yet hydrating, and once you apply it, it doesn't leave that typical sticky sunscreen residue on your skin." She added that the formula is great for sensitive skin and people who wear makeup. It also carries a host of benefits due to its ingredients of hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and lactic acid , "which are all fantastic barrier boosting ingredients," according to Dr. Chan. Dr. Obioha adds that this is a lightweight, non-greasy sunscreen that feels like you're not even wearing anything it goes on smoothly under makeup. Because it's oil-free, it shouldn't cause acne breakouts. She recommends the tinted version of this formula for anyone avoiding the possibility of mineral sunscreen's whitecast. "Daily SPF is a huge part of my routine when it comes to applying makeup to a client," says Lennie Billy , a Florida-based makeup artist who finds SPF to be as crucial a product as any other in her kit when she's working on a shoot outside. She works with models of all skin tones and says a new favorite of hers is Black Girl Sunscreen, which is oxybenzone- and octinoxate-free option and doesn't leave a white case on darker skin, despite being mineral-based. The regular BGS comes in 30 and 45 SPF, but for longer protection, Billy recommends the kids' variety that is 50 SPF. Professional surfer Anna Ehrgott told Insider she generally spends at least two hours in the sun every day between work and free time. Her go-to sunscreen brands are one that won't come off in the water and are safe for the ocean reefs (more on that in the FAQs below ). For her face, that means Manda Organic Paste. "It stays on the best and they have different shades for different skin colors," she shares. Unlike so many beauty products on the market, Manda's SPF paste is made of seven ingredients you'll likely be able to recognize right away. One that may be less familiar is Thanaka, an ingredient derived from ground tree bark. It's been used in Myanmar for centuries as a natural form of sun protection, as well as for its other skin health purposes. If you're looking for the most naturally derived formula that's also reef-safe, this may be the choice for you. Supergoop! has probably been all over your Instagram feed, but Billy says the brand does in fact live up to the hype (it's also the top pick in our Best Sunscreens of 2021 guide ). "What I love about the brand are the fragrance-free products and also their SPF is not as dense." Billy says that she especially likes to use these products on male models or anyone who may not be used to wearing too much product on their face. "It covers the skin very well and it doesn't give you that white cast all the time," she says, mentioning specifically the mineral sunscreen which is oxybenzone- and octinoxate-free. Mineral (or physical) and chemical (or organic) sunscreens both work similarly, but there are some key distinctions: "Physical sunscreens really are just sunscreens that contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide," says Dr. Aegean H. Chan , MD, board-certified dermatologist and dermatopathologist in California. "It's a common misconception that physical sunscreens reflect only UV. They also have a very similar mechanism to chemical sunscreens in which they also absorb UV and turn it into heat, dissipating that radiation." In other words, mineral and chemical sunscreen both absorb UV rays from the sun in order to protect your skin, but mineral sunscreens also reflect these rays, as well. There are unique pros and cons to both options worth considering. "Mineral sunscreens provide the best UV protection and are the gold standard of sunscreen," Dr. Onyeka Obioha , MD, LA-based board-certified dermatologist and Glory Skincare Dermatologist Advisor told Insider. What's more, Dr. Obioha says mineral sunscreens are more ideal for those with sensitive skin as the ingredients are "less harsh. "  Unfortunately, mineral sunscreens often don't blend into your skin well as they tend to be thicker and can often leave the appearance of a whitecast on your face. This challenge is even worse for those with more melanated skin, for whom Dr. Obioha suggests looking at tinted options. Chemical sunscreens, meanwhile, have a more universally-appealing finish for all skin tones. "You tend to get a more elegant texture with organic sunscreens," says Dr. Chan, who prefers not to use mineral sunscreens because of its whitecast effect. Additionally, you can find chemical sunscreens with a gentle ingredient list to not irritate sensitive skin. However, there is some concern over the harm of ingredients in chemical sunscreen : A small 2019 study in JAMA found that when people wore chemical sunscreens, there were markers in their blood of systemic absorption of the ingredients. However, we don't actually know if the level of those chemicals in the blood actually have a harmful effect, particularly on the endocrine system which regulates your hormones. "I think a lot of people turn toward [mineral] sunscreens only because of the concern of endocrine distribution that has been talked about a lot, however the data is not quite there," Dr. Chan assures. "There's some evidence that our bodies do absorb these chemicals, but they do excrete it." She says that there isn't yet good data to shows if the way we typically use sunscreen causes long-term endocrine disruption or harm. Still, it may be a factor to be aware of when making your choice. FAQs What SPF do you need? The SPF on a sunscreen tells you how long it will take for the sun's UV radiation to cause your skin to redden. So with SPF 30, it takes 30 times longer to burn than if you aren't wearing any sun protection. Any amount of SPF is helpful, but the number tells you how often you need to reapply it. Dr. Chan recommends no less than SPF 30 for everyday purposes, but if you're going to be out in the sun consistently, you're better off with something closer to SPF 50. How often should you apply sunscreen? Daily, and probably in greater quantity than you suspect. Not to belabor the point, but sunscreen is a daily necessity — not just one reserved for beach days. "Whether it's sunny or overcast, your skin is still getting exposed to the sun's UV rays which can contribute to sunburns, hyperpigmentation, and photodamage. Sunscreen is also something you need year-round, not just in the summer," says Dr. Obioha. Furthermore, sunscreen is not to be applied lightly. Dr. Chan says most people use about 10 to 25% of the sunscreen they should. "When you're applying in a thin layer you're actually getting a fraction of the SPF protection," she says. For that reason, aim for a density of two milligrams of sunscreen per centimeter square. "An easy way to measure it is two finger lengths per body area: Two finger lengths for the head and neck, two finger lengths for the front of the body, two finger lengths for the back of the body, each of the legs and arms. "  Reapplication is key if you're in the sun for an extended period of time. Reapply every two hours for the best protection. "Degradation of sunscreen is dependent mostly on UV exposure, so if you are not inside for most of the day and are not exposed to sunlight, the sunscreen you apply in the morning may still have some protection in the afternoon when you leave the office," Dr. Chan explains. However, if you're, say, biking to work in a sunny locale like Southern California, you'll want to reapply when leaving the office to make sure you have adequate protection. Otherwise, if you're spending a day outside or engaging in a water-based activity, be sure to slather on a new layer of protection as soon as you get out of the water, she says — "even if you're wearing water-resistant sunscreen." How do you apply sunscreen with makeup? "I recommend applying sunscreen after moisturizer and before makeup," says Dr. Chan. She suggests waiting a few minutes for the sunscreen to absorb into your skin before applying your makeup. In order to keep your makeup look intact when reapplying, you can reapply with an SPF powder, spray, or apply a liquid SPF to a beauty blender (mixed with your foundation if you prefer) to smoothly add on top of your existing face makeup. Which sunscreens are reef- and ocean-safe? People should be aware of the impact their sunscreen has on marine life, and prioritize the products that allow them to protect their skin while respecting the environment, says Cinzia Corinaldesi , a professor of applied marine biology at the Polytechnic University of Marche in Italy and of applied marine ecology at the International Master of Marine Biology (IMBRSea) who has a focus on anthropogenic and climate change impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems. The main issue is with ingredients called UV filters, which include oxybenzone, octinoxate (ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate), benzophenones, methylbenzylidene camphor, and octocrylene, although other things like preservatives (e.g., parabens) have also been linked to a negative effect. In an older study Corinaldesi was part of, researchers found that some UV filters, even in tiny amounts, bleached corals in different tropical locations across the world. "UV filters such as oxybenzone and octinoxate have been repeatedly investigated in different ecosystems and marine species," she says. Mineral filters, too, including zinc, are also being studied for their potential reef harm. As of January of 2021, oxybenzone and octinoxate have both been banned in Hawaii, and we mostly recommended products that are free of these harmful chemicals. The environmental impact of beauty products should play an important role in making informed purchases. This could mean paying closer attention to the ingredient lists, as Corinaldesi recommends, or using outside, independent research, such as from The EWG , to vet products. The final decision should come down to a product that becomes a part of your daily routine. "The best sunscreen is the one that you'll use," Dr. Chan states plainly. Check out our other great sunscreen guides

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Expert Collections containing EltaMD

Expert Collections are analyst-curated lists that highlight the companies you need to know in the most important technology spaces.

EltaMD is included in 2 Expert Collections, including Beauty & Personal Care.

B

Beauty & Personal Care

1,658 items

Startups in the beauty & personal care space, including cosmetics brands, shaving startups, on-demand beauty services, salon management platforms, and more.

C

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