Best Sunscreens for Face 2020 - The Dermatology Review

Best Sunscreens for Face 2020

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09.28.18 AD DISCLOSURE

The sun blesses us in many ways, but when it comes to our skin, it can be less than friendly. Glowing tans look beautiful and are often coveted, but they also come at a price. You may have lain out under the sun’s warming rays plenty of times in your youth, not really realizing or caring that you were damaging your skin, often in irreversible ways. As much as we love the sun, we have to remember that it doesn’t always love us back.

Scroll down for the list of best sunscreens.

UV damage is one of the main, if not the main, causes of premature aging and, obviously, skin cancer. It accelerates the formation of wrinkles, often forms dark spots that make us look older, roughs up texture and degrades collagen and elastin to make skin more likely to wrinkle and sag. It is also cumulative. Every time you step outside without protection, even if only for 10 or 15 minutes, that damage adds up and will show up with a vengeance as you grow older. That’s why wearing sunscreen is absolutely vital. And yet many of us neglect it.

Best Sunscreens for Face 2018

Why is that? You might be reading this thinking applying sunscreen is a pain in the neck — it’s greasy, oily and filmy, leaving behind residue and making your skin look chalky. It doesn’t smell very pleasant and it feels like a chore to apply. But that’s not quite true anymore. Sunscreen has come a long, long way in recent years.

Gone are those greasy and oily formulas that made you look shinier than a crystal ball. Gone are the awful smells and white residue. Sunscreens these days are sophisticated, nourishing and moisturizing, gliding on pleasantly and absorbing readily to leave you feeling like you have nothing on. There’s really no more excuse to neglect putting on sunscreen and protecting your body’s largest, most prominent organ. Skin protects you, and it’s only right that you protect it right back.

Physical and Chemical Sunscreens

There are two types of sunscreens — those with physical ingredients and those with chemical ingredients. They both protect, albeit in different ways.

Physical ingredients include zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, both mineral-based. They work by sitting atop the surface of the skin and deflecting or scattering UV rays. Some people prefer physical sunscreens because they are natural and may be less harmful in the long run (some chemical sunscreen ingredients are believed to be endocrine disruptors). Another advantage of physical sunscreens is that they protect against both UVA and UVB rays and begin working right away — there’s no need to wait 15 minutes after application to let it sink in. Physical sunscreens are generally gentler on sensitive skin, have a longer shelf life and are less likely to clog pores or cause breakouts. Physical sunscreens, however, do not last as long as chemical sunscreens when skin gets wet during activity.

Chemical sunscreen ingredients include oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate and avobenzone. These work by absorbing UV rays and changing them into heat, then releasing that heat. Chemical sunscreens tend to be easier to apply than physical sunscreens due to a lighter consistency. They are also more likely to be water-proof and sweat-proof, but may be irritating or pore-clogging. There is some research that suggests chemical sunscreens may affect hormones, although more research is needed to fully determine whether this is true. Chemical sunscreens feel much less greasy and won’t leave a white film behind.

The Truth About SPF

SPF (sun protection factor) determines how well sunscreen will protect your skin from damaging UV rays. There are two types of UV rays — UVB and UVA. UVB rays are shorter than UVA rays. They are the rays that cause skin to burn and turn red. UVA rays are longer, and are primarily responsible for degrading collagen and causing premature aging. It can sometimes be very confusing to determine which amount of SPF is ideal. The truth is all of them block more than 90% of UV rays and the differences between them are rather negligible. SPF 15 blocks 93% of UV rays, SPF 30 blocks 97% of UV rays and SPF 50 blocks 98% of UV rays. Most dermatologists recommend using at least SPF 15, but if you’re using SPF 30, you’re in good shape and there’s not necessarily a need to go higher.

Best Sunscreens for Face 2018

Figuring out which sunscreen is best for you will really depend on your skin type. If you have sensitive or oily skin, you should steer toward physical sunscreens. If you have normal or dry skin, chemical sunscreens with moisturizing ingredients can be beneficial. We’ve compiled a list of some of the lightest, most effective and best sunscreens (you can also think of them as the best face moisturizers with SPF) on the market, most of which provide ample hydration to keep skin soft and provide other anti-aging benefits. It is simply imperative that you get into the habit of using sunscreen every day, rain or shine, overcast or sunny, to fully protect yourself from premature aging, dark spots and skin cancer, and keep skin healthy and youthful. And remember – tanning is so yesterday.

The Best Sunscreens

SK-II Atmosphere Airy Light UV Emulsion
SK-II’s super light formula won’t leave you feeling greasy or oily, encouraging you to apply this protection every day to prevent sun damage. The three sunscreen ingredients in this formulation are homosalate, titanium dioxide and butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane. Homosalate and butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane are chemical while titanium dioxide is a mineral sunscreen. This combination allows for truly broad protection. In addition to the active sunscreen ingredients, this product also contains a number of moisturizing ingredients and anti-aging ingredients to boost the protection factor while also softening skin. Opuntia extract, a type of cactus extract, provides antioxidant powers to neutralize free radical damage, and niacinamide (vitamin B3) helps with strengthening the skin barrier. This sunscreen will feel more like a moisturizer than the typical sunblock thanks to its airiness, and is a great addition to your skin care regimen.

SkinCeuticals Ultimate UV Defense SPF 30
This nourishing, moisturizing sunscreen is ideal for all skin types. The active sunscreen ingredients are zinc oxide and octinoxate, a combination of mineral and chemical to protect against both UVA and UVB rays. This formulation is also oil and fragrance-free, making it safe for both oily and sensitive skin — it won’t make you break out or cause irritation. This is a thick, luxurious cream that nonetheless absorbs easily without leaving any white residue or greasy feel.

EltaMD SPF 46
EltaMD’s sunscreen was specifically created for those with skin prone to discoloration, rosacea and acne. It is a truly gentle formula that won’t clog pores, won’t irritate sensitive skin or exacerbate discoloration. Meanwhile, nine percent transparent zinc oxide as the main ingredient also won’t leave behind that dreaded white film. This formulation also contains niacinamide to help treat discoloration and lactic acid to gently exfoliate to reveal healthier skin. You really can’t go wrong with this one.

La Roche Posay Anthelios 60 Clear Skin Dry Sunscreen
This is an oil-free chemical formula that promises a dry or matte texture thanks to minerals perlite and silica. It also has the remarkable ability to absorb oil and help prevent breakouts. This sunscreen further contains antioxidants to help stave off free radicals that go hand-in-hand with UV rays. A light, easily absorbed formulation, it will make you feel like you have nothing on while vigorously protecting you from all types of damage.

Avene Ultra-Light Hydrating Sunscreen SPF 50+
This is a chemical sunscreen that’s been recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation. It is very light and feels weightless, while providing 40 minutes of water resistance and up to 24 hours of hydration. The main sun blocking ingredients are avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate and octocrylene. These are the active ingredients that protect from sun exposure. However, there are also antioxidants like vitamin E in this formula to further prevent free radical damage and reduce oxidative stress. It should be applied 15 minutes prior to sun exposure and reapplied every two hours.

Kiehl’s Since 1851 Super Fluid Daily UV Defense Sunscreen
Kiehl’s Super Fluid Daily UV Defense Sunscreen is another super lightweight formula with a matte finish. This is a chemical sunscreen containing all of the main chemical sunscreen ingredients like avobenzone and oxybenzone. It also contains baicalin and vitamin E to provide antioxidant protection. Baicalin is a scutellaria root extract often used in Chinese medicine for its ability to scavenge free radicals.

MD Solar Sciences Mineral Moisture Defense SPF 50
This is a physical sunscreen that nonetheless will not leave behind white residue. It is formulated with 2% titanium dioxide and 17% zinc oxide for maximum protection. A variety of ceramides (oils naturally occurring in the skin) also comprise this formula, adding to its ability to strengthen the lipid barrier. The lipid barrier is what keeps skin safe and protected from pollutants and irritants that can cause such side effects as redness, itchiness, irritation and dryness. This is an oil-free formula good for all skin types.

Ultrasun SPF 50+ PA++++
Another chemical sunscreen that won’t leave you feeling greasy, Ultrasun’s SPF 50 sunscreen contains octocrylene and butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane as its main active ingredients for UV protection. It also contains vitamin E to provide free radical protection, panthenol (vitamin B5) to provide hydration and bisabolol to calm and soothe. It does not contain any fragrance, mineral oil or preservatives.

Dermalogica Pure Light Powerbright TRX SPF 50
This is essentially a moisturizer with SPF that will leave skin soft and fully hydrated. It contains a variety of botanicals, including eucalyptus, to provide hydration and sodium hyaluronate to lock in moisture and keep skin looking plump and youthful. It is specifically formulated to protect from the type of UV light that creates hyperpigmentation (dark spots) and is ideal for those prone to the condition. Oleosome technology helps give a major boost to the SPF to provide even greater protection.

Elizabeth Arden Prevage City Smart Broad Spectrum SPF 50
Elizabeth Arden’s Prevage City Smart physical sunscreen protects against several types of environmental aggressors in addition to UV light. It has been designed to shield skin from pollution and smoke as well. Its DNA Enzyme Complex fortifies skin to make it less susceptible to pollutants, while a potent antioxidant blend (including green tea and ferulic acid) scavenges free radicals to reduce further damage. Ferulic acid also helps brighten and reduce discoloration.

Supergoop Super Power Sunscreen Mousse
This chemical sunscreen has a lovely mousse texture that is easily applied and easily absorbed. It may even make sunscreen application fun. Something that is desperately needed. In addition to avobenzone, homosalate, octinoxate and octisalate to provide UV protection, it boasts coconut oil, blue sea kale and olive fruit extract to nourish, hydrate and bring on antioxidant benefits. A golf-ball sized amount will cover each arm, two are recommended for each leg and one for the neck and chest.

PCA Weightless Protection Broad Spectrum SPF 45
Awarded the Skin Cancer Foundation Seal of Recommendation, this sunscreen is light and absorbs into the skin quickly for a seamless finish. This is a physical and chemical sunscreen that contains zinc oxide and octinoxate to provide truly broad spectrum protection. It also contains antioxidants caffeine and silybin (from milk thistle). Both are powerful free radical scavengers that prevent and help treat UV damage that degrades the skin matrix.

Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Suntegrity
A physical sunscreen containing zinc oxide, Drunk Elephant’s formulation is also chock full of antioxidants. Grape juice extract, sunflower shoot extract and astaxanthin shield from both free radicals and other environmental stressors brought on by pollution. Despite being a physical sunscreen, this formulation will not leave any film or a chalky appearance. It is also free of fragrances and essential oils, which can be potentially irritating. This is the perfect solution for sensitive skin types.

Clinique Pep-Start Daily UV Protector Broad Spectrum
This is a sunscreen and perfecting tint in one, both protecting and giving skin a light tint to help even out skin tone. It also happens to work on all skin tones, which is a nice bonus. This is a fully physical formula that feels absolutely weightless and blends well with makeup. It also contains hydrolyzed wheat protein to help skin retain water and will be highly moisturizing in addition to giving skin a nice plumping effect.

  • User Original review: Jul 28, 2020. Reply

    Here is another list of best sunscreens moisturisers.

    Elizabeth Arden Prevage City Smart SPF 50
    This is a mineral moisturizer with SPF (containing zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) that also protects against pollution to strengthen skin and make it even more prepared against pollutants like smoke. Antioxidants in this formula like ferulic acid, green tea and idebenone, which help neutralize free radicals, protect against collagen degradation to keep skin youthful and perky. This formula also has a universal tint to complement all skin types and help even out skin tone for a flawless finish.

    Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion
    This is a great moisturizer with SPF that becomes even more effective when exposed to water, so if you happen to be engaging in water-based activities, you can rest assured this moisturizer will continue working. This is a non-sticky and non-greasy formula that includes hydrating ingredients like glycerin and botanical extracts like strawberry begonia and sophora angustifolia. Glycerin is an emollient that helps skin retain moisture while strawberry begonia and sophora angustifolia act as skin conditioning agents to provide hydration and softness. Sophora angustifolia has also been shown in studies to be effective against hyperpigmentation.

    Differin Oil Control Moisturizer SPF 30
    A great day cream with SPF for oily skin, Differin’s Oil Control Moisturizer hydrates and protects while being lightweight and very gentle. It also won’t clog pores and can be used with Different anti-acne products as well. A chemical sunscreen with protective ingredients of avobenzone, octisalate and octocrylene, this formula also contains hydrating ingredients of glycerin and panthenol (vitamin B5). Panthenol is well-researched and known for its ability to significantly reduce water loss to keep skin deeply hydrated.

    NeoCutis Journee Bio-Restorative Day Cream
    A combination of hyaluronic acid and powerful antioxidants make this face moisturizer with SPF 30 a great choice. Hyaluronic acid is a naturally-occurring substance that helps plump up wrinkles and fine lines to make them less noticeable to the eye. Antioxidants, including green tea extract and vitamins C and E (which work better together), help fight off free radicals to prevent collagen and elastin degradation. Collagen and elastin are two proteins that keep skin firm and bouncy. Vitamin C can also help reduce the appearance of sun spots that can make skin look dull and uneven.

    La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-In Sunscreen Milk SPF 60
    Featuring a lightweight, non-greasy texture, La Roche-Posay’s Melt-In Sunscreen Milk is highly protective and highly hydrating. With an SPF of 60, it is sure to protect you adequately from UV rays, while a powerful antioxidant complex (that includes vitamin E) scavenges free radicals to ensure no deleterious effects from oxidative stress (an imbalance of antioxidants and free radicals). This is a fast-absorbing moisturizer that is ideal for sensitive skin and will leave skin looking and feeling dewy fresh.

    Eve Lom Daily Protection Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Sunscreen
    This one doesn’t come cheap, but you may find it’s worth the splurge. Quickly absorbing and lightweight, it won’t leave behind a chalky residue. Key ingredients include niacinamide (vitamin B3), which improves elasticity, helping skin become less prone to wrinkling. Niaicnamide further improves the appearance of hyperpigmentation, fading sun spots or discoloration left from old acne scars. This can help with evening out skin tone for a more radiant complexion. The lactic acid in this formula also gently exfoliates to boost cell turnover and reveal newer, healthier skin cells.

    Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture With SPF35 Sunscreen
    A drugstore brand, Neutrogena is often at the top of dermatologist’s recommended products. This is a very affordable product that will nonetheless provide protection and hydration in equal measure (avobenzone, octisalate and glycerin are among the top active ingredients). For those with oily skin who are prone to breakouts, this is a godsend, as it provides moisture, protects from sun damage and reduces redness without clogging pores. This drugstore moisturizer with SPF also doesn’t contain drying alcohol to further help reduce moisture loss.

    Supergoop Everyday Sunscreen With Cellular Response Technology
    Supergoop is known as a sunscreen brand, and this product is firstly a sunscreen, but one which boasts impressive hydrating benefits. It contains panthenol and allantoin, two known hydrating ingredients. Allantoin is also a very gentle, non-irritating moisturizer that soothes as it quenches skin thirst. It is great for sensitive skin because of these characteristics. Some botanical extracts, like orange peel oil and lemon peel oil, in this formula further help provide antioxidant protection. Citrus ingredients can also help with fading discoloration because they contain vitamin C.

    Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47
    If you’re looking for an all-natural moisturizer with SPF, Josie Maran’s formula is the one for you. This SPF moisturizer obviously relies on mineral sunscreens titanium dioxide and zinc oxide as opposed to chemical sunscreens. As the name suggests, this formula contains hydrating argan oil to provide moisture and skin conditioning benefits. Jojoba seed oil also helps to condition and smooth, reducing the appearance of wrinkles, while green tea extract provides antioxidant help to scavenge free radicals and reduce the damage caused by them. With regular use, skin is left feeling soft and looking luminous.

    First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30
    If you’d like a tinted moisturizer with SPF, try this one by First Aid Beauty. Available in six shades, it helps cover up any imperfections while also offering continued protection against sun damage and providing hydration thanks to ingredients like hyaluronic acid. Other active ingredients include colloidal oatmeal to help soothe and calm dry skin, vitamin E to provide antioxidant protection against free radicals and micro-pearls with light-reflecting qualities that impart a beautiful luminosity to skin. This formula is also free of mineral oil, parabens, artificial colors and fragrance, formaldehydes, alcohol and sulfates.

    EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46
    Largely considered among the best mineral moisturizers with SPF, the EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum lotion comes highly recommended by dermatologists. It’s especially great for those suffering from acne, rosacea and hyperpigmentation. Another perk is that this formula is extremely lightweight, fast-absorbing and feels quite silky on skin. Active ingredients include hyaluronic acid, niacinamide and lactic acid. Hyaluronic acid and niacinamide provide the bulk of the hydration, while lactic acid is gently exfoliating to help refine texture. The lactic acid likely also aids in helping to combat acne.

    SkinCeuticals Sheer Physical UV Defense Sunscreen SPF 50
    This is an ultra-sheer mineral moisturizer with SPF. Though it contains mineral ingredients zinc oxide and titanium dioxide (which are usually responsible for leaving behind that unwanted white film), it is transparent and goes on silky smooth. Another key ingredient is artemia salina, which is a plankton extract that actually boosts skin’s resistance to UV light and heat-induced stress. Other ingredients include magnesium sulfate (which acts as an inflammatory) and tocopherol (vitamin E) to provide antioxidant protection. This is also paraben-free and non-comedogenic (meaning it won’t clog pores).

    ColoreScience Sunforgettable Mineral Sunscreen Brush SPF
    If you hate reapplying cream-based sunscreen every two hours, you can use a mineral sunscreen brush instead to dust on some SPF throughout the day. Though it’s a powder, it still moisturizes thanks to hyaluronic acid powder that works by drawing moisture into the skin from the environment and from deeper in the dermis. This sunscreen also boasts antioxidant protection thanks to green tea extract, grape seed extract and oak wood extract. Moreover, you can enjoy blue light protection thanks to the iron oxides in this formula. Blue light is the light emitted by our phone screens and computers that also has deleterious effects on skin.

    Avene SPF 50+ Mineral Light Hydrating Sunscreen Lotion
    This moisturizer with SPF provides up to eight hours of hydration as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide provide sun protection. It is great for skin prone to irritation from chemical sunscreens, and has a lovely milky texture that applies easily and absorbs quickly. A key ingredient for moisturization is glycerin, which acts as a humectant to help skin retain moisture, and is often a top ingredient in many moisturizers. Vitamin E, as previously mentioned, acts as an antixodiant. Meanwhile, Avene thermal spring water helps to soothe, calm and soften.

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