Sunscreen is an essential step to add to your regular beauty routine. Sunburn can not only cause cancer but from a pure vanity point of view, it also causes skin damage and premature aging. You don’t want to look like an old leather handbag by your mid-30s. As such, choosing the right sunscreen for your skin is also important. Like any beauty product, you need to consider skin type, allergens, usage, and budget. Check out our guide to choosing the best sunscreen for you, as well as some of our favorites for different skin types.
How to Choose the Best Face Sunscreen for You?
There are several factors to consider when choosing a face sunscreen. Ideally, you want a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects from both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays cause aging, while UVB causes burning. Secondly, the Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is important, as you’ll be wanting at least SPF30, which blocks approximately 96.7% of UV rays. Thirdly, there’s chemical versus physical sunscreens. Chemical sunscreens use avobenzone and oxybenzone to absorb UV rays. Contrastingly, physical sunscreen features zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to reflect the UV rays. The decision can come down to your skin’s needs. Physical sunscreens tend to be better for sensitive skin. Alternatively, chemical sunscreens may contain additional ingredients to combat other skin issues such as dryness or oiliness. Finally, work out when you’re using your sunscreen. The product you choose for daily wear under your makeup will be different to what you need on a beach vacation.
Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin
Physical sunscreens, without artificial fragrances, tend to be better for sensitive skin. They generally won’t contain as many chemicals that act as irritants and won’t draw heat the same way. These are some of the best sunscreens in the market for sensitive skin.
Medik8 Physical Sunscreen
Lightweight yet powerful, the MediK8 Physical Sunscreen protects your face from both UVA and UVB rays. The cream uses titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, so it doesn’t draw heat or clog the pores. As such, it’s perfect for skin that is prone to redness and irritation and is also great for skin that’s been treated with chemical peels or needling. Bolstered by MediK8’s anti-pollution and anti-A.G.E technology, this fast-absorbing sunscreen is excellent for daily use. It will assist in preventing lines and wrinkles, and keep your pores free from environmental pollution. Plus, the formula doesn’t contain nanoparticles, is cruelty -free and is also vegan friendly.
Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Dry-Touch Sunscreen Lotion with SPF50
Enjoy effective broad-spectrum protection from UVA and UVB rays with this SPF50 sunscreen from Neutrogena. Hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and non-comedogenic, the formulation won’t clog pores or irritate the skin. The active ingredient of naturally sourced zinc oxide works with Neutrogena’s PURESCREEN Technology to diffuse and reflect the sun’s harmful rays. Dry-touch technology ensures a lightweight feel without any greasy residue. Additionally, this sunscreen boasts the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance.
Dermalogica Invisible Physical Defense SPF30
Protect your skin from UV rays, free radicals, and pollution with Dermalogica’s Invisible Physical Defense SPF30. The active ingredient is nanoparticle free zinc oxide to reflect both UVA and UVB rays. It’s boosted with green tea, known for its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Additionally, mushroom complex calms the skin, while hyaluronic acid helps your skin stay hydrated and moisturized. It’s a lightweight product that works well under your daily makeup.
Sunscreen for Oily Skin
Sunscreen for oily skin takes advantage of skincare formulas that allow oil absorption and embracing lightweight formulas. If you find you have oilier skin, check out our favorites.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Ultra-Light Fluid Facial Sunscreen SPF50
La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Ultra-Light Fluid Facial Sunscreen SFP50 is a wonderfully lightweight formula, perfect for oily skin. Unlike traditional sunscreens, this light liquid with a soft finish won’t leave the skin feeling heavy or greasy. Enjoy optimum sun protection with broad-spectrum coverage, boosted with a next-generation filtering system. This sunscreen is also non-comedogenic, so it won’t clog pores, cause a build-up of oil, or create breakouts. Dermatological testing and no added fragrances mean it’s also excellent for sensitive skin.
Cetaphil Pro Dermacontrol Oil Absorbing Moisturizer SPF30
The only thing shining when you use the Cetaphil Pro Dermacontrol Oil Absorbing Moisturizer SPF30 will be the sun, not your skin. Explicitly designed to absorb oil and reduce shine, it uses a Micropearl technology, which also gives a matte finish. The broad-spectrum protection covers you for UVA and UVB rays. Plus, it contains Oleosome technology to reduce irritation through a lower concentration of filters. Additionally, the four-in-one formula also moisturizes to soften skin. Finally, it’s a lightweight cream that absorbs quickly.
Clinique Super City Block Ultra Protection SPF40 for Unisex
Perfect for everyday use, the Clinique Super City Block Ultra Protection SPF40 sunscreen is a lightweight formula. It helps to absorb excess oil and reduce facial sweat, whether you’re at the beach or running between meetings at work. Using titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, it’s a physical sunscreen, so it is also great for sensitive skin. Use this under your makeup for daily UVA and UVB protection.
Sunscreen for Dry Skin
Sunscreens that are good for dry skin should have additional ingredients to hydrate, as well as protect. Our two favorites below are great for adding that extra moisture.
SkinCeuticals Ultra Facial Defense SPF50
Avoid the heavy feel and white sheen of regular sunscreens with SkinCeuticals Ultra Facial Defense SPF50. The beautifully light texture gives you 24 hours of hydration, making it perfect for dry skin. It absorbs well and protects your skin from both burning and aging. It utilizes advanced UV filters, including Mexoryl, SXMexoryl, and XLTinosorb, all of which protect against both UVA and UVB damage.
EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum Moisturizing Facial Sunscreen, SPF46
Packed full of nourishing extras, the EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum Moisturizing Facial Sunscreen is great for dry or irritated skin. The addition of vitamin B3, hyaluronic acid, and lactic acid all provide a boost of hydration and improve the appearance of skin. It also boasts an oil-free formula with a light, silky finish, so you don’t feel like you’ve had to slather your face with grease to hydrate. From a sun protection perspective, it’s broad-spectrum, protecting you from UVA and UVB rays, as well as free-radicals that age your skin.
Mineral Sunscreen for Face
Mineral sunscreens are a great alternative for anyone who reacts to chemical sunscreens. Have a look at some of the best mineral options are below.
Ultra Violette Clean Screen SPF30 Mattifying Mineral Skinscreen
Australian brand Ultra Violette takes a skincare approach to sunscreen. The Clean Screen SPF30 Mattifying Mineral Skinscreen is a skin-friendly broad-spectrum mineral sunscreen that protects your skin, without aggravating it. Utilizing a 20% zinc oxide formula, it’s less harsh on the skin than other physical or chemical-based sunscreens. The Skinscreen also contains soothing green tea and cucumber. Plus, it also has Pentavitin, an active ingredient that provides nourishing hydration. Finally, the lightweight cream has a mattifying effect, so there’s no slick finish or greasy feel. As such, it’s also perfect for wearing under makeup.
Hunter Lab SPF 50+ Facial Sunscreen
Hunter Lab SPF 50+ Facial Sunscreen is another brand that uses zinc oxide to reflect the sun and protect your skin from UVA and UVB rays. The breathable texture also contains soothing aloe vera and nourishing vitamin E to hydrate the skin and fight off free radical damage. The convenient stick packaging makes for easy application and is perfect for travel. Lastly, the velvety finish allows you to wear makeup, plus it’s water-resistant for two hours.
Sunscreen for Face under Makeup
Wearing sunscreen daily can be a drag if your makeup ends up sliding off or caking. Luckily, our favorites below work well with your regular makeup.
Elizabeth Arden PREVAGE City Smart with DNA Repair Complex Sunscreen
Take a holistic approach to anti-aging with this powerful moisturizer and sunscreen from Elizabeth Arden. Firstly, it fights aging by preventing sun damage through the use of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, providing broad-spectrum protection. Secondly, it also shields the skin from environmental aggressors and skin pollution. Finally, it has a DNA Enzyme Complex, which delivers a youthful look by protecting the skin’s natural elastin and collagen. Combined, these factors make this a brilliant sunscreen moisturizer to layer under your makeup.
Mesoestetic Mesoprotech Sun Stick 100
Conveniently protect your face with the easy to use Mesoestetic Mesoprotech Sun Stick 100. Application is easy with the stick, and you can even use it on your lips and around your eyes. The smooth spreadability of the formula makes it a great base that you can wear under your makeup. With chemical, physical, and biological sun filters, as well as SPF100, your skin is shielded from UVA and UVB rays, as well as infrared radiation and HEV light. You’ll also be able to enjoy the healing properties of rosehip oil, which brightens skin and moisturizes.
Best Drugstore Sunscreens for the Face
Easily accessible and budget-friendly, these are the best drugstore sunscreens.
CeraVe Ultra-Light Moisturizing Face Lotion with SPF30
Dermatologist-developed CeraVe Ultra-Light Moisturizing Face Lotion with SPF30 is a moisturizer with the added benefit of sun protection. The broad-spectrum SPF30 has your skin protected from the sun’s damaging rays. The matte finish leaves your skin non-greasy and primed for makeup application. Meanwhile, hyaluronic acid retains hydration, while ceramides restore and protect the skin’s natural barrier against pollutants and irritants. The Skin Cancer Foundation also recommends this well-priced lotion.
Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Face Sunscreen Lotion with SPF50
Moisturize and protect your skin from the sun at the same time with the Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Face Sunscreen Lotion with SPF50. Relish 24-hour hydration, which is boosted by antioxidants from oats. The oil-free, fast-absorbing, and non-comedogenic formula is appropriate for most skin types and won’t clog pores. Sweat and water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, you’re protected from both UVA and UVB rays. If you’re traveling, you can even choose a smaller TSA approved travel size lotion. Also recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation, you’ll be protected and moisturized well within budget.
Sun Bum Sunscreen Face Stick
This face stick from Sun Bum is convenient to use and delivers UVA and UVB protection. Made with reef-safe, hypoallergenic materials, it doesn’t clog pores or irritate. The vitamin E in the stick gives nourishing hydration. Additionally, it’s water-resistant for 80 minutes. Perfect for everyday use, you can also pack it in your bag for a trip to the beach, or when heading off on vacation.
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