It is well known that exposure to UV radiation results in skin damage and premature aging. For our face, this means wrinkles and aging appearance. Facial sunscreen is crucial for our protection. But how can we choose which to buy? I would like to highlight your best options to consider while searching for the best facial sunscreen for you, so let’s have a look at the alternatives on the market:
Last update on 2020-10-28 at 15:59 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Our recommended facial sunscreens:
Neutrogena Age Shield Face Lotion Sunscreen
This product is a great sunscreen to invest into as not only it protects from sun rays but it has a anti-aging formula too. It is designed to block rays and prevent UVA rays for great skin support. Moreover, it will keep your skin hydrated for a youthful appearance.
I personally trust products from Neutrogena as they are a well known manufacturer that seem to put a lot of effort in their testing in order to provide revolutionary products every year. This is not an exception, a great shield for preventing damage from sun rays and a conditioner to keep your skin hydrated at all times. It ticks all the boxes for features I would look at a facial sunscreen, so I highly suggest having a closer look at this one while researching.
Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion
I wanted to include this option on the list as its a budget friendly option for people looking for a travel sized lotion for their trips. I personally love having a travel sized sunscreen with me at all times, so this is a great option to consider in the 3oz option.
Its unique formula helps keeping your skin hydrated at all times, and I love the fact that it is sweat and water resistant for 80 minutes. This is the perfect companion for drivers of convertible cars, and also great for anyone like carrying only the absolute necessary while visiting the beach.
If you haven’t made up your mind yet, and think that a pocket size option is for you, I highly suggest you have a look at this option. You can find it a really attractive price online, so you can have a personal sunscreen with you at all times. You can’t go wrong investing in one.
Sun Bum Original SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion
If you are anything like me and love great smelling sunscreens, you might love this option from Sun Bum. You can find this product at either 3oz travel size option or the regular 8oz. I would consider them a little pricey, but they are work perfectly with their formula keep your skin hydrated and protected. I like that they also have Vitamin E added to the formula, a feature that commonly omitted.
I would consider this a nice alternative to check while researching. I personally would go for the Neutrogena sunscreen but this one smells wonderfully, so make sure you check it out if that’s a feature you look for at a sunscreen.
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Liquid Daily Facial Sunscreen
The Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Liquid Daily Facial Sunscreen with Broad Spectrum SPF 70 is a great choice for daily use. This will help protect skin against harmful sun damage from UV rays and prevent sunburn. It is ideal for daily use, spreading easily over the skin and absorbs instantly. This facial sunscreen provides a weightless feel and an even, shine-free finish.
It works beautifully alone or under makeup and moisturizers. This formula is made with Helioplex, a sunscreen technology with Broad Spectrum UVA/UVB protection. It is both water-resistant and sweatproof. The Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Liquid Daily Facial Sunscreen with Broad Spectrum SPF 70 is the perfect daily sunscreen.
Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Oxide Dry-Touch Mineral Face Sunscreen Lotion
The Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Oxide Dry-Touch Mineral Face Sunscreen Lotion with Broad Spectrum SPF 50 provides great protection against the sun. This specifically formulated water-resistant sunscreen features dry-touch technology to help it dry with a non-greasy finish. The lightweight sunscreen is free of fragrance, parabens, dyes, and irritating chemicals which makes it gentle on skin.
This face sunscreen also delivers 2x better UVA protection than other similar sunscreens. Applied prior to sun exposure, this sunscreen will provide protection during outdoor activities. The Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Oxide Dry-Touch Mineral Face Sunscreen Lotion with Broad Spectrum SPF 50 is a gentle, effective sunscreen.
Neutrogena Clear Face Liquid Lotion Sunscreen for Acne-Prone Skin
The Neutrogena Clear Face Liquid Lotion Sunscreen For Acne-Prone Skin, Broad Spectrum SPF 55 is the perfect sunscreen for people with sensitive skin. The sunscreen is stabilized with Helioplex technology and featuring the active ingredient avobenzone, it provides superior UVA/UVB protection.
It has a weightless, matte finish that allows the skin to breathe. Normal sunscreen often causes acne breakouts after use, this formula does not. This formula is fragrance-free and remains water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. The Neutrogena Clear Face Liquid Lotion Sunscreen For Acne-Prone Skin, Broad Spectrum SPF 55 provides sun protection while preventing breakouts.
Australian Gold Botanical Sunscreen
The Australian Gold Botanical Sunscreen is a great mineral sunscreen. It is 100% mineral sunscreen with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. They provide a non-chemical sun protection option. This formula dries with a powder-like matte finish that’s never greasy. Australian botanicals combine Kakadu plum, eucalyptus, and red algae to form a unique combination of antioxidant-rich botanicals.
It is also fragrance-free for use on the most delicate skin. It is also eco-friendly, dye, and oil-free. The Australian Gold Botanical Sunscreen Tinted Face Mineral Lotion SPF 50 is a natural choice for sun protection.
Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen
The Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen is good for people and the environment. The formula is a mineral sunscreen with no chemical active ingredients. Mineral zinc oxide provides true broad-spectrum protection. Mineral-based sunscreens reflect rays before they even begin to penetrate the skin. The formula contains no fragrances or parabens, making it ideal for sensitive skin.
This sunscreen has up to 40 minutes of water resistance. To help protect the delicate coral reefs, this sensitive sunscreen contains no oxybenzone or octinoxate which can damage reefs. The Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen, Sensitive SPF 30+ is a great choice for people with sensitive skin who are also looking out for the environment.
CeraVe Face Moisturizer with SPF 30
The CeraVe Face Moisturizer with SPF 30 is a dual purpose lotion. This moisturizer contains the essential ceramides healthy skin needs to help restore and maintain its natural protective barrier. Formulated with hyaluronic acid, it will help retain the skin’s natural moisture. This moisturizer is lightweight and oil-free. It is also a broad-spectrum sunscreen.
It helps protect your skin against harmful UVA and UVB rays. Due to its protective abilities, it is recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation as an effective, broad-spectrum sunscreen for daily use. The CeraVe Face Moisturizer with SPF 30 is one of the best dual-purpose products out there today.
EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen
The EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 for Sensitive or Acne-Prone Skin is a great choice for sunscreen. This oil-free clear facial sunscreen is recommended by dermatologists as it helps calm and protects sensitive skin types prone to acne, rosacea, and discoloration.
This sunscreen is formulated with zinc oxide to provide broad-spectrum coverage against UVA and UVB rays from the sun. It should be reapplied at least every two hours when being exposed to direct sunlight. The EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 for Sensitive or Acne-Prone Skin is a lightweight, protective sunscreen.
Here are some tips about DO and DON’Ts
FIRST STEP: Myths that we must get over
One sunscreen is enough – I will use my body sunscreen as facial
No, our facial epidermis differs from the one of our body. It is thinner and more fragile. Facial sunscreens are specially designed for the increased needs of our face skin and they are more moisture. However, if you don’t want to carry two bottles with you there are specific combo products.
I don’t need facial sunscreen – I am a brunette, I have dark skin, etc.
No, we ALL need protection from the sun
I use makeup with SPF so I don’t need extra facial sunscreen
Makeup with SPF is good for the city and everyday use (go to work, shopping, etc) but not for going to the sea neither for sunbathing
If I use a high SPF I will not get a tan
No, SPF is about the level of protection not the level of tan
SECOND STEP: choosing SPF
A bit of theory: Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is a measure that shows us the level of protection from UVB. This number shows us how long we can stay under the sun before getting redden. For example, an SPF 15 means that the sun needs 15 times more time to burn us than if we hadn’t used it. However, this is theoretical because the sun can cause also no visible damage (i.e. without get burn).
The crucial factor for choosing SPF is our phototype. It declares the reaction of our skin to sun exposure. It is determined by the color of our skin and hair:
Analytically (regarding Fitzpatrick scale) :
PHOTOTYPE I: extremely white skin (porcelain), blond or red hair and freckles. If you belong here then you have a huge problem with sunbathing – skin burns intensely. Choose SPF 50+
PHOTOTYPE II: white skin, blond hair, maybe a few freckles. Skin gets burn – tans poorly. Choose SPF 50+
PHOTOTYPE III: medium skin color (not very white neither dark), brown or tawny hair. Your skin gets slightly red at first but then it gets a nice bronze tan. Sunscreen with at least SPF 30+
PHOTOTYPE IV: light brown skin tone, dark hair, and eyes (we can name it as “Mediterranean type”). Your skin tans easily and gets burnt rarely. Sunscreen with at least SPF 25+
PHOTOTYPE V & VI: very dark or black skin. You don’t have to worry about sunburn – but you still must use sunscreen. At least SPF 15+
Now that we have chosen the SPF let’s consider the other factors
THIRD STEP: Choosing the right brand
- READ THE LABEL: yes, I know, it takes time and can be boring BUT we need to be conscientious consumers. Otherwise, we may buy something else than the one we need.
- Broad-spectrum: look for a product that protects you from both UVA & UVB
- Water-resistant: choose this for swimming or intense outdoor exercise.
- Skin condition: nowadays there is an enormous variety of facial sunscreens. Choose the one that corresponds better to you (sensitive skin, dry, oily, mature, acne-prone, etc).
- Ingredients: avoid silicones, parabens, oxybenzone which are harmful not only to us but also to the environment (they seep into the sea while we swim).
- ***If you are traveling at different continents or buy from online global sites keep in mind that there are ingredients (such as Tinosorb H and M) that are banned in the US but very common at European sunscreens.
- Avoid spray bottles: even the “safe” ingredients can be harmful through oral or nasal import. Furthermore, there is the danger of contact with your eyes.
- Tinted sunscreens: choose this if you intend to use also makeup (you can, of course, use different products but there is a probability that their characteristics don’t mix well)
Note. At pathological cases, you should first consult your doctor – for example, if you take medication, if you have allergies affiliate with the sun, skin disorders, pregnancy, hereditary predisposition to melanoma, etc.
Enjoy the sun and be safe