The sun’s UV rays are an unavoidable part of summer, but you can protect your skin from their harmful effects. Here are 14 tested sunscreens that will help you avoid damaging your skin with exposure to the sun’s rays. Plus, by using one of these top-rated products, you’ll also be less likely to burn, which can also cause unsightly damage to your skin. Check out this list of tested sunscreens and find the best one for you!
The Lowdown on UVA/UVB Protection
Broad-spectrum sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB radiation. UVA penetrates deeper into the skin and is responsible for premature aging, wrinkles, and skin cancer.
- The Sun Protection Factor (SPF) number on a sunscreen tells you how much protection it offers against these types of radiation.
- To put this in perspective, an SPF 15 product blocks about 93% of UVB radiation and 97% of UVA radiation.
- To stay safe in the sun, apply at least one ounce (or two tablespoons) every two hours when outdoors or 20 minutes before going out for prolonged periods.
Why We love
When you’re looking for a new sunscreen, one of the best things you can do is to find one that has UVA/UVB protection. That way, your skin will be protected from both UVA and UVB rays. By finding a sunscreen with this type of protection, your skin will be better shielded against more than just sunburns.
Don’t Fall For Marketing Hype
The skin cancer rates have been increasing year over year, with people in the United States getting diagnosed with skin cancer at a rate of two people per minute. With so many factors contributing to an increased risk of getting skin cancer, you should wear sunscreen every day and use it frequently. Spending some time researching your options before you buy can also help save you from spending money on something that is just marketing hype that doesn’t do much more than offer slight protection against ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
Why We love
While sunscreen might be a necessary addition to your morning routine, there are so many different sunscreens out there that it can be difficult to know which one is right for you.
SPF 30+ is better than SPF 50+
Regardless of how much SPF you put on, if you don’t apply it enough, it won’t do its job. That means that there is no such thing as too much sunscreen. Some sunscreens that go higher than SPF 50 are just those with a different mix of ingredients in them. They can be more expensive, but they’re not any better for your skin. To get the most out of your sunscreen, make sure you put it on evenly and generously—and reapply every two hours.
Why We love
- With SPF 50+, the skin gets a half-hour of additional protection.
- Helpful for increased risk of developing skin cancer
- Easily burn
- Live in sunny climates year-round
Weave in Some Water-Resistance
- Sunscreen use is especially important for those who are out in the sun all day, like outdoor workers and people with fair skin.
- You might have noticed that in recent years many brands have introduced a new term on their bottles: water-resistant.
- This doesn’t mean that you don’t need to reapply; it just means that there is a difference between being waterproof and water-resistant.
Choose a Moisturizing Formulation
Moisturizing is a vital part of sun care. When you apply sunscreen, you need to follow it up with a moisturizer. But if you have dry skin, then buy a moisturizer with
- Hyaluronic acid
- Shea butter
One way to tell if it will work well for your skin is if it contains silicones as these are typically used in sun protection lotions and tend not to clog pores like other ingredients.
Avoid Parabens, Retinyl Palmitate, & Oxybenzone
Parabens, Retinyl Palmitate, and Oxybenzone are all ingredients in sunscreens that you should avoid. Parabens can disrupt hormones, which is not healthy for men or women. Retinyl Palmitate and Oxybenzone have been shown to increase skin cancer risks when applied daily.
Why We Love
They’re endocrine disruptors that can mimic estrogen in your body and mess with your hormones.
Retinyl Palmitate – is a form of vitamin A; which causes skin damage. Oxybenzone is also a potential hormone disruptor. It blocks your pores, but it can also cause burning or allergic reactions.
Look for Physical Sunscreen Ingredients
The active ingredients in chemical sunscreens absorb into your skin, forming a protective barrier. Chemical sunscreen is good for sensitive skin because it doesn’t cause stinging or burning. However, it doesn’t offer as much protection against UVA radiation as physical blocks do, so you may want to reapply more often than with a mineral-based product.
Inorganic Ingredients = Titanium Dioxide & Zinc Oxide
Both are physical sunblocks, which means they block UV radiation by actually sitting on top of your skin and deflecting the UV rays, versus chemical blockers, which absorb into your skin. Zinc oxide is more common, while titanium dioxide is often thought of as a bit gentler and might work better for sensitive skin. Regarding effectiveness and protection levels, zinc oxide is stronger against UVA/UVB but titanium dioxide offers broader-spectrum protection.
What about Natural or Organic Sunscreens?
Combine Chemical/Physical Sunscreen Formulations as Necessary: When it comes to sunscreen, there are two types of protection. The first type is chemical, and this kind protects you by absorbing or blocking ultraviolet radiation before it can penetrate your skin. The second type is physical, which creates a barrier between your skin and the sun. Often these types need to be used together.
No Excuses Invisible Facial Sunscreen Gel SPF 40
If you’re looking for an easy sunscreen to wear every day. It does not keep your skin feeling slimy and shiny. Simply put it on after moisturizing and you’re good to go. You can also wear this under makeup. If that sounds like too much of a hassle, consider Neutrogena’s Sheer Zinc Face SPF 50 which has zinc oxide as its active ingredient and absorbs into your skin more quickly than other sunscreens.
Choosing a sunscreen is an important process, and finding one that suits your needs might not be as easy as you think. This list of 14 tested sunscreens will help guide you on what to look for in a great sunscreen so that you can protect your skin, even on a cloudy day. Remember, protection starts before stepping outside! Be sure to always apply sunscreen 15 minutes before going out into the sun, every two hours after that, and make sure you are reapplying if you get wet or sweat. The FDA doesn’t regulate how much active ingredient (such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide) goes into each product but the ingredients should have been shown to protect against UVA radiation.