(Last Updated On: February 1, 2018)

The facts, the whole facts, and nothing but the facts.

The facts – Sunscreens help you avoid the harmful effects of sunlight.

The whole facts – When you’re talking about your face there’s more at stake than simple sunscreening. You need to think about things like wrinkles, makeup and so on.

Of course, nothing but the facts – I made my selection of the top 10 sunscreens for your face after reviewing the hottest selling sunscreens available. So you get only THE BEST.

That’s what I’ve addressed here. Which sunscreen would work best for your face?

 

At A Glance: The Best Sunscreens For Your Face

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen, Broad Spectrum Spf 100 includes Diethylhexyl 2,6 – Naphthalate which offers sun protection additional to the ‘active ingredients’.

Coola Suncare Mineral Face SPF 30 Sunscreen Matte Tint includes Cucumber Extract to give you a refreshing sunscreen experience.

Australian Gold Botanical Sunscreen SPF 50 Tinted Face Mineral Lotion includes both Zinc Oxide AND Titanium Dioxide to protect you from the fullest range of wavelengths (I’ve explained that later).

Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Lotion Sunscreen With Broad Spectrum Spf 50 For Face includes Avena sativa (oat) to soothe any irritation you may face.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Mineral Sunscreen Tinted for Face gives you a nice glow on your face…perhaps enough so you don’t even have to put on makeup.

The Best Sunscreen For Your Face

01. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen, Broad Spectrum Spf 100 Review

Apart from the so-called ‘active ingredients’, the emollient Diethylhexyl 2,6 – Naphthalate is also known to absorb UV rays, thus ensuring added protection.

Diethylhexyl 2,6 – Naphthalate can stabilize Avobenzone as well.

Is that critical? Yes, as I’ll explain later.

They could have included a more potent antioxidant to fight skin aging.

By itself BHT is better at stopping deterioration of chemicals by oxidation than resisting skin aging.

The sunscreen is very light, perfect for applying below makeup. The scent is mild and not irritating.

It doesn’t wash away by itself but you can wash it off with water with a little vigorous scrubbing.

In fact, Dr Jessica Krant, MD, opined the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch line to be very good in an interview with Health.com.

The key ingredients are charted below.

Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3% (absorbs UVA and some UVB rays), Homosalate 15% (absorbs UVB rays), Octisalate 5% (absorbs UVB rays), Octocrylene 10% (absorbs UVB and some UVA rays; helps stabilize Avobenzone) and Oxybenzone 6% (absorbs UVB and some UVA rays).

SolventWater
Film Forming AgentStyrene/Acrylates Copolymer, Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer
Opacifying AgentSilica
EmollientBeeswax, Cyclopentasiloxane, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Diethylhexyl 2,6 - Naphthalate
EmulsifierBeeswax, Glyceryl Stearate, Triethanolamine
PreservativeEthylhexylglycerin, Chlorphenesin, Methylisothiazolinone
Skin SofteningEthylhexylglycerin
Buffer/pH AdjusterTriethanolamine
UV AbsorberDiethylhexyl 2,6 - Naphthalate
HumectantDipotassium Glycyrrhizate
Chelating AgentDisodium EDTA
AntioxidantBHT

Directions

  • Apply in liberal amounts 15 minutes before exposure to the sun. Apply to all exposed areas of your skin.
  • Reapply
    • Every 80 minutes if you’re swimming or sweating heavily.
    • Immediately after towel-drying.
    • Every 2 hours/120 minutes under all other circumstances.

What I Liked

Extensive array of sunscreens offers complete protection against sunlight.

Diethylhexyl 2,6 – Naphthalate offers additional UV protection. It can also stabilize Avobenzone.

It is extremely light but nevertheless it does form a film on the skin to reduce water loss.

Good for applying below makeup.

It will soften your skin and help soothe any discomfort from any sunburns you may have.

What I Didn’t Like

Contains added fragrance.

Could have included a more potent antioxidant to resist skin aging.

The Best Facial Sunscreen

02. Coola Suncare Mineral Face SPF 30 Sunscreen Matte Tint Review

Aluminum Hydroxide stops the sunscreens from clumping and helps spread them evenly on the skin. It will also help soothe irritation from sunburns.

Known antioxidants like Cucumber Extract effectively help your skin resist aging.

In addition to moisturizing your skin, Shea Butter is a source of many antioxidants (like catechins).

It’s non-greasy and easy on your skin.

You can easily wear this under makeup. It may help your makeup remain in place, much like a primer.

Whatever white marks the sunscreen may leave can be easily cleared away with a little rubbing. However the concentrations of the sunscreens are a little low.

The key ingredients are charted below.

Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide 3.2% (reflects both UVA and UVB rays) and Zinc Oxide 1.8% (reflects both UVA and UVB rays).

Opacifying AgentAluminum Hydroxide
Skin ProtectantAluminum Hydroxide
EmollientShea Butter, Cucumber Extract, Cyclopentasiloxane, Isopropyl Myristate, Linseed Oil, Evening Primrose Oil, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Silica Silylate, Synthetic Wax
AntioxidantCucumber Extract, Linseed Oil
EmulsifierDimethicone Crosspolymer, Silica Silylate, Synthetic Wax
HumectantGlycerin
ColorantIron Oxides
SolventIsopropyl Myristate, Propylene Carbonate
Soothe and Condition your skinEvening Primrose Oil, Plankton Extract
Film FormingPolysilicone-11, Propylene Carbonate

Directions

  • Apply in liberal amounts 15 minutes before exposure to the sun. Apply to all exposed areas of your skin.
  • Reapply
    • Every 40 minutes if you’re swimming or sweating heavily.
    • Immediately after towel-drying.
    • Every 2 hours/120 minutes under all other circumstances.

What I Liked

 You won’t face white marks typical of physical sunscreens. It’s a good option for African Americans looking for a physical sunscreen that’s easy to apply.

 Non-greasy and easy on the skin.

 It will help soothe irritation from sunburns.

 It forms a thin film on the skin to resist water loss and keep skin soft.

What I Didn’t Like

The concentrations of the sunscreens could have been higher.

The Best Mineral Sunscreen

03. Australian Gold Botanical Sunscreen SPF 50 Tinted Face Mineral Lotion Review

In addition to moisturizing your skin, Shea Butter is a source of many antioxidants (like catechins). The sunscreen also contains a full-time antioxidant Vitamin E.

Physical sunscreens will leave white marks on your skin but with a little rubbing they should subside.

It will condition your skin well, keeping it soft and retarding water loss. It will also replenish your skin with essential nutrients.

It leaves a great matte finish you will really enjoy.

The tint is mild and won’t clash with makeup.

You will enjoy the whipped cream texture of the sunscreen.

The key ingredients are charted below.

Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide 4% (reflects both UVA and UVB rays) and Zinc Oxide 4% (reflects both UVA and UVB rays).

Opacifying AgentAlumina, Silica
EmollientShea Butter, Caprylyl Glycol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Hexyl Laurate, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Squalane, Stearic Acid
EmulsifierCetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate
Condition your skinCetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Extract, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Red Algae Extract, Vitamin E**
Chelating AgentDisodium EDTA
HumectantGlycerin, Vitamin B5*
ColorantIron Oxides
PreservativePhenoxyethanol
Replenish your skinSqualane
AntioxidantVitamin E**
SolventWater

*As Panthenol.

**As Tocopheryl Acetate.

Directions

  • Apply in liberal amounts 15 minutes before exposure to the sun. Apply to all exposed areas of your skin.
  • Reapply
    • Every 80 minutes if you’re swimming or sweating heavily.
    • Immediately after towel-drying.
    • Every 2 hours/120 minutes under all other circumstances.

What I Liked

Extensive protection against sunlight.

 Very good at conditioning and replenishing skin.

 Will help resist skin aging and environmental damage.

Nice whipped cream texture.

 Matte finish.

 Mild tint won’t clash with your skin or makeup.

What I Didn’t Like

 It may prove a bit difficult to remove.

May be too drying for some users.

The Best Hydrating Sunscreen For Face

04. Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Lotion Sunscreen With Broad Spectrum Spf 50 For Face Review

Avena sativa (oat) can provide some relief from the discomfort of sunburns.

In addition the sunscreen has tons of conditioners to keep your skin soft and supple and resist water loss.

It does the job of sunscreening very well.

The texture may be a little too heavy for some users. But do NOT apply less of it to avoid having to rub it in properly.

Once rubbed in properly it is light on the skin with a mild scent you won’t hate.

It should not get washed away that easily if your skin becomes wet (that is, it is water resistant).

One thing I did notice about this is it has no full-time antioxidant to resist skin aging. That is a critical component in a sunscreen.

The key ingredients are charted below.

Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3% (absorbs UVA and some UVB rays), Homosalate 10% (absorbs UVB rays), Octisalate 5% (absorbs UVB rays), Octocrylene 6% (absorbs UVB and some UVA rays; helps stabilize Avobenzone) and Oxybenzone 5% (absorbs UVB and some UVA rays).

SolventWater, Benzyl Alcohol
HumectantGlycerin, Propylene Glycol
Opacifying AgentSilica, Cetyl Alcohol
Condition your skinCetyl Dimethicone, Caprylyl Methicone
Anti-foamingCetyl Dimethicone
EmollientDimethicone, Beeswax, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Caprylyl Glycol, Arachidyl Alcohol, Diethylhexyl 2,6 – Naphthalate, Stearyl Alcohol
PreservativeEthylhexylglycerin, Benzyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin
Skin SofteningEthylhexylglycerin
EmulsifierBeeswax, Glyceryl Stearate, Behenyl Alcohol, Arachidyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol
Film Forming AgentAcrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer
Chelating AgentDisodium EDTA
UV AbsorberDiethylhexyl 2,6 - Naphthalate
Buffer/pH AdjusterSodium Hydroxide
Soothe your skinAvena Sativa

Directions

  • Apply in liberal amounts 15 minutes before exposure to the sun. Apply to all exposed areas of your skin.
  • Reapply
    • Every 80 minutes if you’re swimming or sweating heavily.
    • Immediately after towel-drying.
    • Every 2 hours/120 minutes under all other circumstances.

What I Liked

Extensive protection against sunlight.

Avena sativa (oat) Kernel Extract can soothe irritation from sunburns.

Ethylhexylglycerin softens your skin and also helps resist problems from sunburns.

Lots of moisturizers to keep your skin smooth and resist water loss.

Diethylhexyl 2,6 – Naphthalate absorbs UV light – added protection.

What I Didn’t Like

 Contains added fragrance which may be off-putting to some users.

It’s better for a sunscreen to include antioxidant.

 Texture is a bit heavy.

The Best Tinted Sunscreen

05. La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Mineral Sunscreen Tinted for Face, Ultra-Light Fluid SPF 50 with Antioxidants Review

Epsom salt is known mostly as a bulking agent but it also helps you deal with sunburns. Sunburns can inflame your skin and epsom salt is anti-inflammatory.

Vitamin E is a good enough antioxidant to help your skin resist aging.

You’ll love it best from the makeup POV. It’s a little tinted but nothing too garish.

However it does impart an enjoyable glow (not oily, mind you) to your skin. You may not need any separate makeup for your face if you use this.

It’s easy to both apply and remove. However this is Titanium Dioxide so you may need to rub it a little while applying to remove the white marks.

One issue could be that the texture may be a little too runny for some users.

The key ingredients are charted below.

Active Ingredient: Titanium Dioxide 11% (reflects both UVA and UVB rays).

SolventWater, Isododecane, Pentylene Glycol, Propylene Carbonate
EmollientC12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Dimethicone, Isohexadecane, Phenethyl Benzoate, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Dicaprylyl Ether, Caprylyl Glycol, Stearic Acid
Condition your skinTriethylhexanoin, Caprylyl Methicone, Butyloctyl Salicylate, Pentylene Glycol, Vitamin E**
Film Forming AgentStyrene/Acrylates Copolymer, Dimethicone/PEG-10/15 Crosspolymer, Propylene Carbonate
AbsorbentNylon-12
Opacifying AgentSilica, Alumina, Aluminum Hydroxide
Slip AgentTalc
ColorantIron Oxides
EmulsifierPolyhydroxystearic Acid, PEG-8 Laurate
PreservativePhenoxyethanol, Benzoic Acid
Bulking AgentEpsom Salt*
HumectantPropylene Glycol
Skin ProtectantAluminum Hydroxide
AntioxidantVitamin E**

*Magnesium Sulfate.

**As Tocopherol.

Directions

  • Apply in liberal amounts 15 minutes before exposure to the sun. Apply to all exposed areas of your skin.
  • Reapply
    • Every 40 minutes if you’re swimming or sweating heavily.
    • Immediately after towel-drying.
    • Every 2 hours/120 minutes under all other circumstances.

What I Liked

Imparts a nice glow to your skin. You may not need separate facial makeup.

Easy to apply and remove.

Epsom salt can soothe irritation and inflammation from sunburns.

Reasonably water resistant.

What I Didn’t Like

Texture may be a bit runny.

The Best Sunscreen For Dark Skin

06. MediDerm Sun Shield SPF 30 Sunscreen & Anti-Aging Moisturizer Cream For Face & Body Review

VP/Eicosene Copolymer is recognized for its ability to increase water resistance.

It is water repellent and also forms a film on the skin surface and helps the sunscreen resist being washed off.

Hydrogenated Polydecene smoothens wrinkles and softens your skin. A good option to alleviate discomfort from sunburns.

Allantoin is a soothing skin conditioner. It’s generally accepted that if you experience irritation with other sunscreens you should try one containing Allantoin.

You’ll enjoy the light scent and rich texture. It’s easy to apply and remove. However take care while applying near the eyes.

It should be reasonably water and sweat resistant. However if you’re sweating, be aware that if it leaks into your eyes you may experience some burning.

The key ingredients are charted below.

Active Ingredients: Octocrylene 9% (absorbs UVB and some UVA rays), Octinoxate 7.5% (absorbs UVB and some UVA rays), Oxybenzone 5.5% (absorbs UVB and some UVA rays) and Octisalate 5% (absorbs UVB rays).

SolventWater
Replenish your skinCaprylic/Capric Triglyceride
EmollientCaprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Dimethicone, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Sodium Polyacrylate, Hydrogenated Polydecene
HumectantGlycerin
EmulsifierPotassium Cetyl Phosphate, Polysorbate 80, Glyceryl Stearate, Trideceth-10
Film-FormingVP/Eicosene Copolymer, Sodium Polyacrylate
Soothe your skinChamomile* Flower Extract, Aloe Vera Leaf Juice, Allantoin
AntioxidantChamomile Flower Extract, Vitamin E**, Aloe Vera Leaf Juice
Condition your skinVitamin E**, Allantoin
Chelating AgentTetrasodium EDTA
PreservativePhenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin
Skin SofteningEthylhexylglycerin
* Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria).

**As Tocopheryl Acetate.

Directions

  • Apply in liberal amounts 15 minutes before exposure to the sun. Apply to all exposed areas of your skin.
  • Reapply
    • Every 40 minutes if you’re swimming or sweating heavily.
    • Immediately after towel-drying.
    • Every 2 hours/120 minutes under all other circumstances.

What I Liked

VP/Eicosene Copolymer increases water resistance.

Hydrogenated Polydecene can soothe irritation from sunburns.

If other sunscreens irritate you you may try this one (contains Allantoin).

Rich texture and mild scent.

Easy to apply and remove.

What I Didn’t Like

Be careful while applying near the eyes.

If you sweat it could leak into your eyes.

The Best Sunscreen For Fair Skin

07. Obagi Sun Shield Matte Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Sunscreen Review

Squalane is a light natural oil that is a good emollient. You could have a sunscreen with only Squalane and Zinc Oxide.

However this sunscreen is best suited for the cooler months. You may use this during the warmer months but not if you’re likely to perspire heavily.

The reason is that it’s not water resistant. So you can’t use it while swimming either.

It’s got a mild enjoyable scent and a rich texture that I think you’ll enjoy.

The key ingredients are charted below.

Active Ingredient: Octinoxate 7.5% (absorbs UVB and some UVA rays) and Zinc oxide 10.5% (reflects both UVA and UVB rays).

Preservative1,2-Hexanediol
Solvent1,2-Hexanediol, Pentylene Glycol, Water
EmollientCaprylyl Glycol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Sodium Polyacrylate, Squalane, Stearyl Alcohol
PreservativeChlorphenesin, Methylisothiazolinone, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate
Buffer/pH AdjusterCitric Acid
Chelating AgentDisodium EDTA
HumectantGlycerin
Condition your skinPentylene Glycol, Phenyl Trimethicone
Film-formingPolysilicone-11, Sodium Polyacrylate
EmulsifierPolysorbate 60, Stearyl Alcohol, Xanthan Gum
Replenish your skinSqualane
AntioxidantVitamin C*
*As Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate.

Directions

  • Apply in liberal amounts 15 minutes before exposure to the sun. Apply to any part of your body that is exposed to the sun.
  • Reapply Every 2 hours/120 minutes.
  • Use a water-resistant sunscreen if you’re going swimming or likely to perspire heavily.

What I Liked

Rich texture with mild scent.

Suitable for application below makeup.

Good antioxidant to help resist aging and wrinkles.

Squalane replenishes your skin with nutrients.

What I Didn’t Like

May be too heavy on the skin for some users.

May clump under makeup for some users.

The Best Chemical Free Sunscreen

08. COOLA Organic Suncare, Cucumber Face Sunscreen Moisturizer, SPF 30 Review

Hydrogenated Polydecene smoothens wrinkles and softens your skin. A good option to alleviate discomfort from sunburns.

Evening Primrose Oil will also soothe inflammation and irritation from sunburns.

Cucumber Extract can be very refreshing for you. In fact, apart from this sunscreen, try out this cucumber on the eyes routine.

Sunflower Seed Extract contains beta-carotene which converts to Vitamin A, an excellent antioxidant. This is in addition to it being an excellent emollient.

You can easily put on makeup after applying the sunscreen; only give it a few minutes to get absorbed.

It’s water proof and you can use it for protection while swimming. It doesn’t sweat off that easily either.

The key ingredients are charted below.

Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 2.0% (absorbs UVA and some UVB rays) and Octinoxate 2.1% (absorbs UVB and some UVA rays).

PreservativeCaprylohydroxamic Acid
EmollientCaprylyl Glycol, Cucumber Extract, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Sunflower Seed Extract, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Linseed Seed Oil, Evening Primrose Oil
EmulsifierSafflower Oleosomes, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Trideceth-10, Xanthan Gum
AntioxidantCucumber Extract, Acai Fruit Oil, Linseed Seed Oil
HumectantGlycerin
Soothe your skinEvening Primrose Oil
Condition your skinSodium Stearoyl Glutamate
SolventWater
Directions

  • Apply in liberal amounts 15 minutes before exposure to the sun. Apply to any part of your body that is exposed to the sun.
  • Reapply
    • Every 80 minutes if you’re swimming or sweating heavily.
    • Immediately after towel-drying.
    • Every 2 hours/120 minutes under all other circumstances.
  • Store it away from excessive heat or direct sun exposure.

What I Liked

Refreshing texture like a moisturizer.

Mild scent.

You can wear it under makeup.

Water and sweat proof.

Resists skin aging.

What I Didn’t Like

You may not appreciate the citrus fragrance.

The Best SPF 50 Sunscreen For Face

09. Nivea Sun Protect Super Water Gel SPF 50/PA+++ Review

What’s the deal with PA+++?

It’s a rating used in Japan to describe the protection from UVA rays. I explain it later.

Sodium Hyaluronate is the sodium salt of Hyaluronic Acid.

Hyaluronic Acid is a great moisturizer that can hold many times its own weight of water thus helping the skin remain hydrated.

It has a gel moisturizer-like texture and feels cool on your skin, which is great in dealing with sun exposure.

You can spread it evenly with a little effort and being a chemical sunscreen does not leave white marks on your skin.

The key ingredients are charted below.

Active Ingredient: Octinoxate (absorbs UVB and some UVA rays), Ethylhexyl Triazone (absorbs UVB rays) and Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate (absorbs UVA rays).

SolventWater, Ethanol, Butylene Glycol
HumectantPropylene Glycol, Sodium Hyaluronate
EmollientDimethicone
Condition your skinQuince Seed Extract
Replenish your skinSodium Dilauramidoglutamide Lysine
EmulsifierC10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Carbomer
AntioxidantVitamin E*, BHT
Buffer/pH AdjusterSodium Hydroxide
PreservativeMethyl Paraben
*As Tocopheryl Acetate.

Directions

  • Apply in liberal amounts 15 minutes before exposure to the sun. Apply to any part of your body that is exposed to the sun.
  • Reapply
    • Every 80 minutes if you’re swimming or sweating heavily.
    • Immediately after towel-drying.
    • Every 2 hours/120 minutes under all other circumstances.

What I Liked

PA+++ guarantees high UVA protection.

Vitamin E will help your skin resist aging and wrinkling; BHT helps it work.

Hyaluronic Acid (Sodium Hyaluronate) is a brilliant moisturizer.

Light gel-like texture.

Feels cool on the skin.

Easy to spread on your skin.

What I Didn’t Like

Takes time to get absorbed into your skin.

You may get a faint alcohol-like scent.

NOT water proof.

10. Badger Balm Zinc Oxide Sunscreen Cream – SPF 30 – Chamomile & Calendula Review

This sunscreen can be applied to babies. If it’s suitable for baby skin it’s not going to bite you.

Calendula is recognized for its potent sunscreen activity.

Beeswax will keep your face soft and supple and retard loss of water from the skin.

However this is Zinc Oxide based and will leave white marks on your skin if you don’t rub it in properly.

Many people like the thick consistency, especially if they’re using it to moisturize as well.

It is reasonably water resistant but remember to keep re-applying every 40 minutes.

The key ingredients are charted below.

Active Ingredient: Non-nano uncoated Zinc Oxide 18.75% (reflects both UVA and UVB rays).

EmollientSunflower Seed Oil, Beeswax, Sea Buckthorn Fruit Extract
EmulsifierBeeswax
Condition your skinVitamin E*, Roman Chamomile Flower Oil, Calendula Flower Extract
AntioxidantVitamin E*, Roman Chamomile Flower Oil, Calendula Flower Extract

*As Tocopherol (sourced from Sunflower).

Directions

  • Apply in liberal amounts (2 mg/cm^2 of skin) 15 minutes before exposure to the sun. Apply to all exposed areas of your skin.
  • Rub in for a minute or so to make the white marks of Zinc Oxide disappear.
  • Reapply
    • Every 40 minutes if you’re swimming or sweating heavily.
    • Immediately after towel-drying.
    • Every 2 hours/120 minutes under all other circumstances.

What I Liked

Mild enough to apply to a baby.

Number of strong antioxidants to resist aging and wrinkling of your skin.

Water and sweat resistant.

You should enjoy the thick consistency like a moisturizer.

You can wear it below makeup.

What I Didn’t Like

 You need to rub it in well else you will have white marks on your skin and clothes.

What should you look for in selecting a sunscreen for your face?

If you think about it there are three aspects to protection against sun exposure.

One aspect is the protection against the rays/radiation. For that you will look for

Physical Sunscreens (mainly Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide that act as a physical barrier and reflect back radiation); or

Chemical Sunscreens (like Avobenzone, Octocrylene that absorb radiation).

The second aspect concerns the physical effects of the sun’s heat. That will irritate skin and strip it of moisture. To counter that you need

Moisturizers (Emollients, Humectants and various Conditioners) to soothe and condition skin.

Skin Replenishing ingredients to hydrate and nourish skin.

Antioxidants kill free radicals and resist harmful free radical action like scarring and aging of skin.

Anything else that calms or soothes or soothes the skin is welcome.

The third aspect concerns general practicality. So you need sunscreens to be

Mild so it doesn’t irritate your skin, especially if you have sensitive skin.

In particular controversial chemicals like parabens should be avoided. Fortunately none of the sunscreens I have selected contains parabens.

Lacking strong fragrances which will may put you off regular use and may sensitize your skin.

Light and non-greasy on the skin.

Easy to apply because you need to periodically re-apply sunscreen during the time you’re exposed to the sun.

There are some practical aspects like emulsifiers to help the sunscreen form.

Overall, you would like the sunscreen to fit in with your makeup.

Here’s a quick primer on using sunscreens with makeup.

What’s the difference between chemical and physical sunscreens?

Physical sunscreens protect you by reflecting the radiation away from your skin.

Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide are physical sunscreens.

The key concern with physical concerns is that they leave white marks on your skin and clothes. You will need to rub it in really well to clear the marks away.

Users with darker skin (for example African Americans, Hispanics etc) should be careful on that score.

Chemical sunscreens protect you by absorbing the radiation.

Popular ones are Avobenzone, Octocrylene, Oxybenzone etc.

The key concern with these are ‘photostability’, possible effects on your hormones etc.

Generally those should not be a problem but if you notice problems, discontinue use and consult a licensed physician.

You’ve talked frequently of ‘stabilizing’ some ingredients. What’s up with that?

This issue comes up mainly with chemical sunscreens.

Avobenzone and Octinoxate – two popular chemicals that absorb UV rays – are susceptible to react and degrade on exposure to sunlight. That is, they are NOT ‘photostable’.

There may be others; those are the most widely used.

This is just a concern. I’m not saying that every sunscreen containing them is going to start degrading.

There are other ingredients like Octocrylene (itself another sunscreen) and Diethylhexyl 2,6 – Naphthalate that can stabilize those ingredients.

 

What’s SPF?

SPF stands for ‘Sun Protection Factor’.

It’s a measure of how much protection you can expect from UVB (not from UVA) rays.

Should I go for as high a SPF as money can buy?

The gain from higher SPF tapers off around SPF 50-SPF 60.

SPF Value % of UVB rays it protects from
 SPF 15 93%
SPF 30 97%
SPF 50 98%

It doesn’t make much sense to proceed beyond SPF 50. Moreover, higher SPF value sunscreens do more harm than good.

 

Some high-SPF sunscreens contain ingredients that are not good for anybody. They can disrupt hormones and damage tissue.

A famous study conducted by Procter & Gamble found high-SPF sunscreens to be unreliable. Some sunscreens labelled SPF 75 or SPF 100 yielded SPF 37 on repeated tests.

Moreover the thickness of the sunscreen layer tested was found to alter the result tremendously.

In plain English, concentrate on applying a thick layer of sunscreen and covering all exposed areas rather than hankering after high SPF.

What’s the deal with PA+++?

SPF denotes protection from UVB rays.

Many countries don’t use any measure of UVA protection.

Japan (and some others countries) uses PA ratings to denote UVA protection. It ranges from PA+ to PA+++/PA++++.

The rating is based on the result of a PPD (Persistent Pigment Darkening) test.

 Is it true that sunscreen causes Vitamin D deficiency?

Allow me to bust the popular myth that sunscreen causes Vitamin D deficiency.

First, let’s examine where that myth originates.

One form of Vitamin D – Vitamin D3 or Cholecalciferol – is made by our bodies upon exposure to sunlight.

Thus it may seem filtering of sunlight hampers Vitamin D3 production and causes a deficiency.

Theoretically that is true but in practice the sunscreen we use is not enough to cause a deficiency of Vitamin D.

Now, I’ve armed you with sufficient information to choose a face sunscreen on your own but there is one sunscreen which I feel is a clear winner among my picks for Top 10 Sunscreens for your Face.

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen, Broad Spectrum Spf 100

It doesn’t have Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide so no question of white marks. This makes it especially good for you if you have dark skin.

It’s water and sweat resistant so you can use it through the year. But when you’re done you can clean it easily with water and a little scrubbing.

Apart from emollients there are a couple of Copolymers to form a film on your skin, resist water loss and keep your skin supple and soft.

Octocrylene and Diethylhexyl 2,6 – Naphthalate stabilize Avobenzone.

You will enjoy the light texture , thick consistency and mild scent.

Last but not least it fits perfectly below your makeup.

If you feel there’s a sunscreen out there which is better than the ones I’ve selected, please do tell me in a comment! The specially good suggestions will get a shout-out on Facebook and Twitter and may even be included in this list with attribution.

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