Most people head outside after lathering up their body with sunscreen. However, lots of people neglect to apply this to their face. While it’s always an awesome feeling, having that strong sun heat hit our skin, the UV rays associated with it are anything but awesome. In fact, too much UV exposure can have a negative effect on your skin. That’s why you need to be using the best sunscreens that money can buy!
Given that your face is typically more sensitive than other areas, this is one part of your body that you want to focus on putting forth extra effort. If you’re trying to obtain the typical bronze tan (especially on your face) and without protection, then you’re crazy my friend.
Developing a natural tan is the only choice, right? Not really, but kinda. There are sprays and wipes you might consider but they’re not all that great either.
Why You Need To Be Concerned About / Why You Need Sunscreen
The easiest way I can put this is by explaining things in a direct manner. Exposure to direct sunlight can lead to skin damage, and in extreme cases, it may even lead to skin cancer. Too much exposure to direct sunlight causes the skin to age prematurely, dark spots begin to appear and the skin soon begins to lose its elasticity, natural health, and plumpness.
That’s why your face (and body) NEEDS sunscreen.
While you and others may argue that sunscreen is a mess to apply and that it leaves a nasty film like feeling on the skin, that unpleasant residue may save you. These residue issues were true in the past, however, it’s been rectified in most products. In fact, sunscreen has evolved quite a bit from the messy, white, chalky cream that it once was.
Today, there are sophisticated face and body sunscreens on the market like you wouldn’t believe. They have sun-blocking properties along with moisturizing, nourishing and refreshing agents that don’t wreak havoc on your delicate areas. Instead, they leave your skin looking fresh, youthful, and protected.
List Of The Best Sunscreens To Consider Buying
Before diving into this list, I need to point out that not all sunscreen is created equal and that there are different types of sunscreens that exist out there today. Sunscreens, in general, can be divided into two categories:
- Those that physically protect the skin.
- Those that chemically protect the skin.
The physical sunscreen has mineral-based ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide suspended in a suitable suspension medium. These don’t get absorbed into the skin, instead, they are spread and sit on top of it. As a result, they prevent UV rays from reaching the skin.
These physical sunscreens are typically made with natural ingredients that don’t clog the pores and are adequate for sensitive skin. Based on my research, I’ve determined that they typically have a longer shelf life too. The physical sunscreen begins working literally immediately after being applied and it protects against UVA and UVB rays (as these have different wavelengths). Not sure what I’m referring to, then read this page here. There is a downside to using physical sunscreens. Many may leave this unpleasant white residue and they may wash off too easily when in contact with water.
Now, time to get to the bottom of these chemical sunscreens. These are created with ingredients that absorb the UV rays, converting them to heat. The main ingredients in chemical sunscreens are oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, and lastly avobenzone.
These types of sunscreens are easy to apply as well as waterproof. They’re actually more water-resistant but not 100% waterproof. These may clog pores, and some research points to these having an effect on your hormones, although this is not scientifically proven just yet. One other important fact is that these don’t necessarily begin working immediately as they take up to 15 minutes for the skin to absorb it.
What The Heck Is SPF?
It wouldn’t be right to talk sunscreens without mentioning SPF. SPF is an abbreviation for Sun Protection Factor. This is a measurement that determines just how well a particular sunscreen protects your skin from UV rays. UVA rays and UVB rays have different wavelengths and different effects on the skin.
- UVA rays have longer wavelengths, meaning lower energy and they influence the collagen degradation that leads to aging of the skin.
- UVB rays have shorter wavelengths, meaning higher energy and these cause redness and burning of the skin.
Almost all sunscreens protect the skin from about 90% of the UV-rays. More importantly, the SPF factor 15 blocks 93%, the SPF factor 30 blocks 97% and SPF factor 50 blocks 98% of the UV from the sun. If you are regularly using SPF 15 then you are protected. However, for more protection, you can switch to SPF 30 or perhaps 50.
People with very fair skin may turn to SPF 50, but this is not a necessity for most. Anything higher is a complete waste and does nothing more to protect the skin on your face and body.
Sunscreen / Skin Type Matchup
A general rule of thumb is that people with oily skin and very sensitive skin should use physical sunscreens. The people with normal and dry skin can use chemical sunscreens that have moisturizing properties.
The main thing to remember when using sunscreen is that it is not limited to being used when only at the beach. When you develop the habit of applying sunscreen daily, you will, in fact, notice the difference and you will be well protected against environmental elements that cause aging, dark spots, and even skin cancer.
The Best Sunscreens To Consider
I’ve taken the time to prepare a list of the best sunscreens that are light, effective and provide adequate protection. These are in no particular order as I truly don’t favor one over another. Take a peek at them and maybe think about buying on if you find something that sounds intriguing.
EltaMD SPF 46
This is a specialized sunscreen that’s intended for people prone to acne, redness and skin discoloration. It is gentle enough for those with sensitive skin, as it contains zinc oxide that protects the skin and vitamins that nourish it. In my opinion, it’s an excellent product. Yes, it also contains lactic acid which provides some gentle exfoliation properties as well. This typically costs between $20 and $30.
Based on what I read on Amazon.com, this product has a Rating of 4.4 with 2,995 reviews. I don’t know about you, but that seems like a solid number of consumers to believe. It makes the cut for sure. Heck, you should read some of the Amazon reviews if you have time!
SK-II Atmosphere Airy Light Emulsion
This is a light formula that absorbs in the skin and does not leave you with any greasy feeling. The SK-II Atmosphere Airy Light Emulsion is actually a combination sunscreen containing both physical and chemical protective ingredients.
Some people refer to the brand as SK2 versus SK-II. Whatever you choose is fine. Before buying any of these products I suggest checking out this review here. Now, back to the sunscreen…
There are moisturizing, anti-aging and nourishing ingredients that completely protect the skin. The natural extracts and vitamins revitalize the skin and neutralize the free radicals. It’s an excellent choice for a sunscreen and the best part is that it does not feel like a sunscreen. However, it’s pricey at $98, so have your credit card ready!
One strange thing that I noticed about this product was that there were no reviews posted on Amazon. That’s a bit strange considering the product is listed for sale within the marketplace. At any rate, just check it out before you buy it.
Kiehl’s Since 1851 Super Fluid Daily UV Defense Sunscreen
The fact that I like this should come as no surprise. It’s a Kiehl’s branded product, my favorite of them all. This is a very lightweight formula that offers a matte-like look when applied. It’s a chemical sunscreen which contains avobenzone and oxybenzone. You’ll find that it that also contains vitamin E and Scutellaria root extract, both of which protect the skin from free radicals. You can scoop this up for $38.
As far as Amazon goes, this sunscreen only has one review with a five-star rating, but trust me it’s awesome. With a 4.7 out of 5.0 on Kiehl’s website, it’s a winner for sure.
SkinCeuticals Ultimate UV Defense SPF 30
Again, a sunscreen with moisturizing and nourishing properties with a blend of physical and chemical protective ingredients that protects against UV-A and UV-B rays. Skinceuticals delivers and it works stellar. This sunscreen does not contain any oils or artificial fragrances so it’s perfect for people with sensitive and oily skin. It has a rich, creamy texture that absorbs very easy and does not leave that embarrassing white residue that we all hate. The product is available for $40.
The Dermstore.com has this rated as a 5.0 based on 130+ reviews, which means that it’s a really good product in my humble opinion. I wasn’t able to find any Amazon reviews, but not all products are top sellers on Amazon. That’s just how that goes on the Internet. Related: Read this Skinceuticals serum review.
Elisabeth Arden Prevage City Smart Board Spectrum SPF 50
This is a classical sunscreen that protects your skin from UV ray damage with the added ingredients. You’ll find that it also is able to protect against many other environmental pollutants aka external factors that destroy our skin. The DNA Enzyme Complex strengthens the skin, making it more resilient against pollution and the antioxidants affect the free radicals, preventing skin damage. If you want to get your hands on this product, head on over to Macy’s and be prepared to spend $68.
The Elizabeth Arden SPF to the best of my knowledge is not a big seller on Amazon, but it’s got a great rating and we know that product works. You’ll find that it’s been rated a 4.4 out of 5.0.
Avene Ultra-Light Hydrating Sunscreen SPF 50+
The Avene Ultra-Light Hydrating Sunscreen is a chemical sunscreen that protects your skin against the harmful UV rays. Just like many of the others out there, it’s packed with vitamins and antioxidants that help keep the skin in tip-top shape. This product has up to 40 minutes of resistance while in the water. It provides consumers with up to 24 hours of hydration for the skin.
There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of extra hydration, right? As with any other chemical sunscreen, it needs roughly 15 minutes to become fully absorbed into the skin. You’ll need to reapply this product every couple of hours if you’re spending time in the sun. Please, don’t forget to apply this as frequently as possible. Just as Hugh Jackman how important it is to wear sunscreen every damn day, all day. He will tell you, trust me! This product will not break the bank, its $24.
I took a close look at this listing and noticed that it had a 3.7 rating on Amazon.com, based on 82 reviews which were written about the product. It’s a middle of the road product according to consumers but I think it works quite well and they’re giving it a bad rep.
La Roche Posay Anthelios 60 Clear Skin Dry Sunscreen
This next product and brand is a consumer favorite. My guess is that it has everything to do with the fact that it’s very affordable and readily available at the local pharmacy/grocery store. The La Roche Posay Anthelios 60 Clean Skin Dry Sunscreen is considered to be a chemical sunscreen without any oils. Instead, it contains perlite and silica that don’t leave that greasy residue. Using the product will leave you with a dry, matte look. How does it work you ask?
Well, it’s simple actually, the minerals absorb the oils from the skin, preventing irritation. It also has antioxidants and it contains a formula that’s easily absorbed and blended into the skin. It will honestly feel as though you have nothing on the surface of your skin. This face friendly sunscreen does all that while adequately protecting it from damage commonly caused by the external environment, what’s not to love about it? This too is another super affordable sunscreen at $19 per bottle. You can scoop it up at your local ULTA.
After reading through 300+ reviews on Amazon, I was reminded just how good this product really is. It’s got a 4.0 rating which is great. In fact, in my opinion, anything with 4.0 or better is a solid rating on Amazon.
MD Solar Sciences Mineral Moisture Defense SPF 50
This is what we typically refer to as a physical sunscreen. It contains a balanced amount of 2% titanium oxide and 17% zinc oxide and it offers great protection all without leaving any white residue too. If you take a closer look at the ingredients list, you’ll quickly realize that the blend also contains ceramides. These are proven to help strengthen the lipid layer of the skin, offering protection against redness, itchiness, dryness, and irritation.
This particular sunscreen will cost you anywhere between $35 and $39, depending on where you’re shopping for it. Although low in the number of Amazon reviews, the product has a great overall rating. If I were you, I’d just head to Sephora and see what they have available.
Dermalogica Pure Light Powerbright TRX SPF 50
This product by Dermalogica is often used as a moisturizer more than a sunscreen. However, given that it has ingredients which protect the skin from the sun, Why not use it as such? The product is what we refer to as a combo blend, containing botanical extracts that enable proper hydration and give the skin a youthful, healthy look.
Just for the record, it’s a chemical sunscreen is intended for people who are more prone to developing dark spots than anything. Dark spots are pretty ugly and embarrassing in general, so if you can prevent them from occurring, then why the heck not! This SPF 50 sunscreen/moisturizer is going to run you about $60 or more.
This sunscreen has a good Amazon rating of 4.1 with 38 reviews. That’s enough to convince me and just about everyone else to give it a shot!
Clinique Pep-Start Daily UV Protection Broad Spectrum
Unlike the other face sunscreens on my list, this one is perfect for those in need of some tint. It helps consumers even out any discolored skin, all while protecting it from further damage. Due to the light tint, it’s pretty much suitable for all skin tones.
The protection from the sun is achieved via application and through the use of protective ingredients. This blend has hydrating properties which allow for proper moisturizing, giving it a nice, healthy, smooth look. This sunscreen costs between $19 and $25 depending on where you’re getting it.
This specific sunscreen definitely makes the “best sunscreens” list but not because of Amazon.com, but Influenster. People on Influenster are absolutely loving this product! With more than 670 reviews, the sunscreen has an average rating of 4.4 out of 5.0.
Supergoop Super Power Sunscreen Mousse
I had never heard of this brand until doing a lot of research on sunscreens for this article. Supergoop sounds like a strange name, but it’s catchy and apparently, the sunscreen is one that many are starting to love.
It’s a chemical sunscreen which has a moose-like texture and consistency to it. The product is easily spread and absorbed into the skin. This provides UV protection which comes from the avobenzone, homosalate, octinoxate, and octisalate, while the coconut oil, sea kale and olive extracts provide hydration, nourishment, and an antioxidant kick. Thankfully, Supergoop sunscreen is super affordable at just $19 per bottle.
Ultrasun SPF 50+
This is another chemical sunscreen that’s been formulated to not include any heavy oils. That said, it leaves consumer skin clean and refreshed while protecting it. If you dig a bit deeper, you’ll see that there are no mineral oils, no preservatives and no fragrances in this product. Nothing but a natural blend that has Vitamin E for protection from free radicals, Vitamin B5 for hydration, octocrylene and butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane for protection against the UV rays. This product costs roughly $26 if you’re interested in purchasing it.
Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Suntegrity
I love this brand and have been researching it for more than a year now. If you’ve not heard of the drunk Elephant, then I suggest you check out this report here. The Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Suntegrity has a funky name and ring to it. It’s a classical physical sunscreen with a base of none other than zinc oxide that protects against the UV rays. It’s intended to be used by people with sensitive skin.
The blend contains antioxidants like grape juice extract, sunflower shoot extract, and astaxanthin which also protect the skin from environmental factors. The Drunk Elephant Sunscreen is an oil and fragrance-free blend that does not clog the pores. Music to your ears, I know! If you want this product, you can get your hands on it for $34 at Sephora.
PCA Weightless Protection Broad Spectrum SPF 45
Okay, so we’ve covered this brand in the past in our official PCA Skin review. This sunscreen is a highly recommended product that’s light, easily applied and easily absorbed – EXTREMELY FAST. It’s another one of those combination blends with physical and chemical sunscreen ingredients.
You’ll find zinc oxide and octinoxate for full spectrum fast-acting protection against the sun. You will also find included in the product, plant extracts that protect the skin against free radicals. You need to be careful where you purchase this because the pricing is all over the map with this one. Some retailers are selling the products for $24 while others are selling them for more than $60. Find that best deal from a reputable seller and pull the trigger.
Well, that’s what I’d consider my best selection for the top sunscreens that you’ll find available on the market today. I’ve done my best to do the research for you, now it’s your job to take action and make a purchase. The good news is that you do not need to break the bank here in order to protect your skin. There are PLENTY of options out there for you. Find one that you feel confident about trying and go for it.
I’ll leave you with this:
The worst thing that you could possibly think of doing is not using sunscreen at all.