The Bald Man’s Guide to Sunscreen


Having a totally bald dome (or even a super-short buzz), exposes you to the sun like a sitting duck: It’s open season for those UV rays, and the thin skin of the scalp burns hot and fast. And you already know that you need to wear sun protection up there, in the form of a hat or sunscreen. But in the latter’s case: What is the best sunscreen for bald men? It’s hard enough to decode the a sunscreen label, and a bald scalp is a special case. 

There’s a simple process of elimination that you can follow in order to pick the best scalp sunscreen—one that won’t feel heavy or grimey on your head, and that won’t leave a white chalky cast all over your skull. But thre’s a bit more to it than that: Read on for our tips on picking the right product, and for a roundup of our favorite chrome-dome SPFs.

1: Use a Dedicated Face Sunscreen 

When shopping for sunscreens, you’ll see some products that specifically target the face. These distinctions are made because certain sunscreens will contain heavy oils or occlusive and comedogenic ingredients that clog the pores or otherwise wear heavily. These are the ones that feels grimey and look shiny—and that leave you with a pimple or two in the days that follow.

Look for formulas that promise to be non-comedogenic (meaning they won’t clog pores) and sensitive on the face. Oil-free is the best bet, especially if you have oily skin. 

COOLA face sunscreen SPF 50

typology face sunscreen SPF 30

2: Consider SPF Moisturizer for Daily Use 

We’re not suggesting that an SPF-packed moisturizer is a better sun-blocker than a face sunscreen, but it can save you a minute (and a few bucks) if you combine the hydrating and sun-shielding steps into one.

Your scalp is prone to the same aging effects as the rest of your face—especially since it’s exposed to the sun—so it’s smart to moisturize and nourish it just as you would apply anti-aging products to the mug. All this to say: Since you should be moisturizing the scalp anyway, just use a daily SPF moisturizer for everything above the shoulders.

For especially intense sun exposure (like a beach day at the height of summer), you might consider applying an extra layer of face sunscreen over top the dome, just for safety’s sake. But on a daily basis, that dose of SPF moisturizer is a workhorse against skin-aging UV rays and environmental toxins.

Bee Bald daily scalp and face moisturizer SPF 30

Oars + Alps daily face moisturizer SPF 37

3. Follow the Baseline SPF Rules

The SPF basics don’t change when it comes to scalp care and sunscreen: You need to apply SPF every two hours under direct sun exposure, or after immediate water or sweat exposure. (Some water-resistant options will retain up to 80 minutes against moisture.)

The ADA, FDA, Skin Cancer Institute, and pretty much everyone else recommends using SPF 30 as a minimum. That’s because it neutralizes 97% of skin-burning UVB rays. (It’s much better to diligently apply SPF 30 than half-ass your routine with a slightly-stronger sunscreen.) You should always choose a broad-spectrum SPF option, which means it shields both burn-inducing (and cancer-causing) UVB rays, as well as skin-aging UVA rays. 

And be generous with that application: The industry recommendation is 1 fl.oz (a shot glass) for the average adult human body per application. (Scale accordingly for your dome.) Essentially, put a good quarter-size face SPF in your hands and slather it into your face, scalp, and neck. This might feel egregious for an average weekday work commute; on those days, you should be fine with a light layer of SPF moisturizer since your sun exposure is quick.

4. Mineral or Chemical: It’s Up to You

Usually, the choice between mineral and chemical sunscreens comes down to preference.

Most chemical options don’t use oxybenzone, which is the notoriously bad chemical ingredient (in that it disrupts the body’s hormones). The others are all more widely approved for use by the FDA, though the debate over their safety (to humans and coral reefs alike) rages on. As for their SPF powers, these chemical options seep into the skin, and in turn absorb UV rays. The chemicals neutralize any ultraviolet powers before they cause any damage.

Mineral (or physical/natural) sunscreens use zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to block/reflect UV rays at the surface of the skin. Because these ingredients don’t sink into the skin, certain mineral sunscreen formulas will leave a white, chalky, minerally cast on the skin. The darker your skin, the more this will be evident, but it’s not the case for every single mineral formula. We’ve had good luck with these two: 

Dermalogica mineral face sunscreen SPF 30

MDSolarSciences mineral face sunscreen SPF 50


Men Tanning in Vintage photo



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