Face Sunscreens: A PSA (By Popular Demand)


Ask and you shall receive! By popular demand, below find the best ITG-tested, dermatologist-approved sunscreens for your lovely mug, so as to best protect yourself (before you wreck yourself, with UVA/UVB rays, natch).

First stop, I got back in touch with Dr. Elizabeth Hale, who told me that she wears "sunscreen and sunglasses every day, even when it's raining, and a hat when I run, and yes, people probably think I look a little crazy." Because when it comes to protecting your skin, the best offense is a good defense, right? Right. Go team!

The Good Dr. Hale Recommends:

"For weekends and the summer months, on your face"Skin Medica Physical Defense
"It's so lightweight, I wear it on my face everyday"Oil Of Olay Complete
"For exercising outdoors and all summer, for your body. I'm obsessed with": Coppertone Sport
"You can wear this as an extra layer over your base layer"Bare Minerals Powder

Dr. Gervaise Gerstner (with whom I spoke a while ago, when we were talking about 'How to Look Hot' for your winter holidays in the sun) recommends L'Oréal's "sheer and silky" Sublime Sun Face Lotion with SPF 30 (yes, Dr. Gerstner is a Brand Ambassador for L'Oréal Paris). She also said she's "obsessed with L'Oréal's new sunscreen oils," like Sublime Sun Sheer Protect Sunscreen Oil, which come in SPF 50—the highest SPF you can get in an oil—and is also available in 15 and 30. "It's easily absorbed, water-resistant and has this great, light, beachy scent." The really important thing, she noted, "is that with the new FDA guidelines, you have to make sure that your sunscreen has both UVA and UVB protection. Also, May is Melanoma Awareness Month!" (Noted.)

Given all that I've learned from the derms and my own skin needs, I've spent a lot of time looking for the perfect blend of heavy sun protection with a weightless feel (and I occasionally like a little bit of tint in there, because I don't wear foundation, so WHY NOT, RIGHT?). But before I get into my top picks, let's talk the difference between physical and chemical sunscreens, because there is one, and you should know about it. (Information is power! Power to the people!)

Physical sunscreens... protect your skin from the sun by deflecting or blocking the sun's rays. They're usually made of titanium dioxide (TiO2) or zinc oxide (ZnO). Titanium dioxide can be problematic for some people (if you break out from mineral makeup and physical sunscreen, titanium dioxide could be the problem), but zinc is used in diaper-rash cream and is usually pretty easy-breezy on most people's faces. Physical sunscreens tend to be thicker in consistency and usually are opaque, and they start working immediately. They do have to be reapplied more often, as they tend to rub off easily.

Chemical sunscreens...work by absorbing the sun's rays via a chemical reaction and dispelling the excess energy as heat. They're generally more irritating to skin than the physical sunscreens, but they can offer more consistent coverage against UVA and UVB rays. They're usually colorless, odorless, and usually "runny" in texture. Also, you're recommended to wait 20 minutes after application before you go in the sun, to get the maximum effect. You can identify a chemical sunscreen by reading the list of ingredients on the back; if it contains Octocrylene, Avobenzone, Octinoxate, Octisalate, Oxybenzone, Homosalate, Helioplex, 4-MBC, Mexoryl SX and XL, Tinosorb S and M, and Uvinul T 150 and Uvinul A Plus, it's chemical.

For more intel on both types, check out this very helpful chart, and if you're concerned that your sunscreen could be potentially hazardous or toxic, go and cross-reference it at this amazing database, which I am now totally infatuated with (all the products we're talking about here have low-hazard ratings, if you're wondering, because we value you and we don't want to recommend that you put poison on your face. Not today, anyways?).

And now, our current top picks:

Elta M.D. UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46: Elta is one of those brands that I see in little foil packets in every dermatologist's office I've ever been in, and with good reason. It's soothing enough for acne-prone skin, or people with rosacea and hyperpigmentation, and it's formulated with vitamin B3 to help reduce the appearance of blemishes or any skin damage you've got (because you weren't wearing sunscreen until now, sigh). It's insanely lightweight, fragrance-free, oil-free, paraben-free, noncomodogenic, and when I say "insanely lightweight" I mean you can not feel it. So, all of you who say things like, "But I just hate the way sunscreen feels on my skin" really have no excuse. It's transparent zinc oxide, which means that it is technically a physical sunscreen, which is nuts to me, because those are usually thick and opaque and hard to apply and this is none of that. Also, I referenced it on the aforementioned crazy skincare database and it rates as 2 out of 10 (in this case, 10 is the worst). So, hello, dreamweaver. I love you. I've been wearing you every day.

DiorSnow White Reveal UV Protection SPF 50: Though the name and some of the 'reveal your whiteness' verbiage on the bottle is admittedly a little off-putting (it doesn't "whiten" your skin, though I think some of the other products from the line do), Dior's physical sunscreen (it's made up of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide) is both heavy-duty and pleasantly scented. Plus, it has a chic snowflake right front and center....because we're all beautiful little snowflakes. It's thicker and definitely more opaque than the Elta, but I think I would break it out on ski trips and in anticipation of other prolonged, serious sun exposure for the good ol' face and neck region. Seeya this summer!

Coola Mineral Sunscreen for Face (Unscented Matte Tint) SPF 30: This one piqued my interest because it's quite sporty-looking while also packing a tint, and advertises itself as both "certified organic" and matte. And guys, remember, we love matte. So, it was kind of my dark horse, this odd little turquoise bottle trying to tell me it's really sporty/earth-minded makeup. Also, it's has lowest SPF of the three, at 30. It's antioxidant-packed sunscreen with barely any scent, made with lovely ingredients rarely found in the big brands: rose hip oil, vitamin C, and evening-primrose and flax-seed oils. The tint is very light and the finish is very matte. Kind of into it, guys. I'd wear this one on days when I felt I needed a bit of a color boost (ahem, the month of March, anybody?).

Reminder: Read the directions and reapply (most screens will tell you how water-resistant they are, and they're not lying; "40 minutes" means you need to reapply every 40 minutes or let's call the whole thing off) and don't forget your eyes (wear shades! They're cool! James Dean! This guy!) or your scalp (Serge Normant's Meta Luxe Hairspray has UV protection for your strands, but if you're going to be in some serious sun, get some 'screen on that scalp. GET AT IT. Think of all the potential pre-cancerous moles you're not seeing because they are on top of your head). Also, the backs of your hands, so they stay looking young even when you're not ("technically"). We're all going to be wearing mittens after 50, I can just tell. Hopefully, the mittens will be chic in the future. Future-mittens in our flying cars. Future-Phoebe Philo, get on it, please.

Questions, concerns, recommendations of your own? We're "all ears." Hit us up. Hope this helped! Love to love you, babies.

—Alessandra Codinha

Photographed by Elizabeth Brockway.

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • http://nomadic-d.blogspot.com/ Nomadic D.

    Awesome article. So many of us think that we only need sunscreen on sweltering hot days at the beach, but it's totally true that it should be a staple product, every single day. My favorite, which I discovered a few years ago but still use religiously, is by Kiehl's:


    For cloudy winter days I go a little lighter with this SPF 15 from MAC:


    I've also used the Peter Thomas Roth powder sunscreens in the past for touch-ups throughout the day, I think that's a great way to make sure you're not sweating your protection away on hot summery days.

    The thing that's got me really intrigued from your list though are the L'Oreal oils... that sounds amazing actually. Hopefully I'll be able to find it here in Spain


  • Amanda

    I really love Kiehl's Superfluid UV Defense sunscreen. It sinks right in, is super lightweight and doesn't smell.

    • Nina

      I'd love to try that one. I've got oily sensitive skin, so it's a must for me that sunscreens aren't the slightest bit heavy. I've been using the oil free one from Dermalogica for ages and I love it, but it's only spf 20. I'm very fair skinned so I burn in a SECOND.

  • Laura

    Thanks for that, great post! I also like kimberly sayer spf 30 (it is silicone etc free and super lightweight), ren spf 15 (also silicone etc free) and omorovicza bb spf 20 (also silicone etc free).

  • Stacy

    Thanks for the info..I live in Florida, and after many seasons of "but my skin is used to the sun" I realize, it's not, and I've been living in denial. This seriously helps my newfound motivation to stay safe in the sun. Thanks Alessandra, great writing, per usual!

  • LoSpaz

    Went right to the source and got that Elta. I break out from chemical sunscreen (or something in it aggravates my acne) but not physical, but it is so hard to find a physical block that goes on smoothly. Thanks!

  • http://www.reeftraveler.com/ Meredith

    You hit the nail on the head with the Elta rec. I've spent years trying various facial sunscreens, and Elta tops the list for me. For winter, or times when I am indoors, I am pretty faithful to Olay Complete (15 or 30). This has been in my arsenal for at least 15 years (when did it come out again?). Others that I love are-

    Cerave AM
    Chanel UV Essential SPF 50 - a new find, for summer
    Elta SPF 41 tinted - good for a nice glow and a bit of coverage
    Bioderma max Lait photoderm
    La Roche Posay Anthelios fluid extreme SPF 50 - the French version

  • HAM

    Wanted to add that you need to make sure you use enough! A tiny dab won't get you the protection that's offered on the front of the pack. For chemical filters, use at least the size of a quarter (25cents), for physical a bit less (1/3 teaspoon I've been told by a dermatologist).

  • http://frivolousgirl.com/ Isabel

    I believe we are all going a little overboard on the sunscreen, wearing it everyday, even when it rains.

    Our bodies use UVB rays to manufacture vitamin D, and the sun is our biggest source on that. At the same time there's an increase of people with D-deficiency in the US as well as other parts in the world.
    Vitamin D is crucial for the absorption and metabolism of calcium and
    phosphorous, which are important for the maintenance of healthy bones. Also an important immune system regulator, and in some cases

    I'm not saying that sunscreens are bad in any ways - no, who wants cancer and wrinkly face? - but this constant advertisement that we should be covered in them 24/7 gets me really worried (even if it's meant jokingly), especially for people in their teens that are still growing. I'm also thinking about winter, when the only skin we expose is our face that's more likely to be covered by sunscreens nowadays, which equals no vitamin D in the period when it's hard to even get it.

    If we are going to promote SPF's we should also tell and teach about the consequences of it.

    PS Don't try to lecture me about supplements, food, and how it gets stored and degraded when getting the full amount. There's still a growing deficiency and the sun is still our biggest, cheapest and fastest resource of vitamin D3 as it is called.

    Source: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/161618.php

    • Vanessa

      Yeah, and it takes 5-15 minutes of sun exposure for your body to start producing vitamin D, which is half the time it takes to start burning. If you have dark skin, it can take up to 6 times longer! I personally only wear sunscreen when I'm going to be outside for hours (I'm naturally tan).

      • Guest

        I have "dark" skin -- somewhere between Halle Berry and Beyoncé in terms of color -- and I burn in a flash. I do not go out of doors during the day at any time of the year without sunscreen. My problem has been finding one that does not look stupid on brown skin. That said, I'll take the slightly gray-ish cast sunscreens tend to give me over burning, sunspots, wrinkles or other sun damage any day.

        • http://frivolousgirl.com/ Isabel

          If you read the link all we need is actually 2x15min a week of sun exposure to charge, either the face, hands, back or legs, in the long run it will do more good than hurt. And if it's that bad then I really recommend you taking supplements, because vitamin D is really important for your body.

          I'm no expert, but it seems like your body lacks in it's natural solar defense. You can actually kind of build it up with diet. Red fruits contain Lycopene (it's the thing that makes them red) which is natures natural UV protection. Gac, Raw Tomatoes (Tomato juice, Tomato sauce, Ketchup), Watermelon, Pink Grapefruit, Pink Guava, Papaya, all of these contains good amounts of it.

          There's also a company that's called Institut Esthederm, They don't work like usual SPF's, instead their suncare line helps the skin to gradually adapt to the sun and protect itself rather than just blocking or filtering the rays.
          I'm not sure if the body can produce vitamin D with their products, but in your case it's all about building up that inner defense that your body seems to not have, and it can be worth a try.

          • ElaineR

            I'm confused - ketchup definitely isn't raw. It's cooked at a very high heat.

          • http://frivolousgirl.com/ Isabel

            I'm sorry if I confused you. I put all tomato-related in parentheses, meaning it doesn't have to be raw.
            In fact, "Unlike other fruits and vegetables, where nutritional content such as Vitamin C is diminished upon cooking, processing of tomatoes increases the concentration of bioavailable lycopene. Lycopene in tomato paste is four times more bioavailable than in fresh tomatoes." - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lycopene

            So apparently processed tomato products like pasteurized tomato juice, soup, sauce and ketchup contains the highest concentrations of lycopene from tomato-based sources.
            Another read-worthy source that supports that: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/04/020422073341.htm

            Hope this helped.

          • http://thoseporegirls.blogspot.com/ Vanessa

            I think you're right, it can be built up with diet. What ages you the most is the sun reacting to/oxidizing your natural sebum, and if you're not eating well, it doesn't protect you the way it should. I don't remember where I read that, though. Also, the link says people with dark skin should supplement with Vitamin D to make sure they get enough. That sounds like they would need more exposure to sunlight than what is recommended, but I guess it must vary from person to person.

          • Guest

            "I'm no expert..."
            In that case, I'll stick with my dermatologist's recommendations, thanks.

          • http://frivolousgirl.com/ Isabel

            I'm no dermatologist, I'm more of a "skincare fanatic", I read and research a lot. No one's an expert. Dermatologists aren't always right, I've had ones that screwed my skin up quite bad.
            I was just trying to help with alternative methods that doesn't hurt to explore. And as Vanessa commented, it seems like dark skinned people should take supplements of vitamin D.

            But you should do whatever you feel like, I just wanted to enlighten a growing issue that has a link to the growing use of SPF's which can be solved very quick and simple. As I said, I'm not against sunscreens or anyone who uses it, people should just know that they block out more than just bad UV. That's it.

    • edna

      I think most people suffer from vitamin D deficiency because they are spending most of their time indoors and aren't seeing the sun, not because they are wearing sunscreen.

      • http://frivolousgirl.com/ Isabel

        At the same time there's an increase of sunscreen awareness, we've never taken it this serious in any decade as we do now. I wouldn't say we are spending most of our time indoors nowadays, I think that trend is changing. You can have point, but at the same time when people do go out they are often times wearing sunscreen. And when ITG says to us to wear it indoors even on a dark and cloudy rainy day...

    • Guest

      Are you a dermatologist by any chance?

    • Jennifer Wolffarth

      You've obviously never had skin cancer.

      • http://frivolousgirl.com/ Isabel

        You obviously don't seem to get the point I'm trying to make of this.

        Wear sunscreen, be safe. But once in a while (IF YOU DON'T HAVE ANY SEVERE SKIN ISSUES!!! <--- how can I exaggerate that more?) reveal an unprotected part of your body so you can live a healthier life. As it says, Vitamin D is crucial for our body's overall health, which we don't get enough of if we are wearing sunscreen (UV-protection) all the time. Yes, yes, yes you can get it elsewhere and you should if you can't get it from the sun! But there's not much foods that contains it, and if you don't drink milk or take supplements the sun is a good choice. It does not cost anything, it works fast, and it's just outside our window.

        PS I have bad acne. It's probably not as bad as skin cancer, but it sometimes feels like it.

        • vvn

          I addressed this concern with my doctor because I had very low amounts of vitamin D in my body at one point. I told her I do wear SPF 30 or more everyday, regardless of the weather. She said that probably contributes to it, but for a healthy individual, 15 min of sun exposure/day is all that is required to maintain healthy levels of vitamin D.

    • Tap13

      I agree, I had skin cancer on my face, & really stay out of the sun..now I'm so low in Vit. D...can't seem to get it up to normal...

  • Sara

    MyChelle, Arcona and DeVita are my favorite face sunscreens on a daily basis; they have more natural ingredients. Neutrogena and Coppertone are my favorite body sunscreens. Yes, of course, Dr. Gerstner recommends L'Oreal's sunscreen because she is paid for that. No, thank you Dr. Gerstner, I hate such dishonest kind of behavior!

    By the way, great post, Alessandra! Many thanks!

    • Nina R.

      I don't see how it is "dishonest" that Dr. Gerstner is paid by L'Oreal, a company that makes some of the most UVA/UVB complete protection sunscreens. This relationship was completely disclosed by ITG. How do you think all of these beauty blogs work?

  • mlle p

    Coola sounds nice. Even though I wear sunscreen every day, I miss being tan sometimes like I was back in the day. Would love a post on self tanners with before and after photos, as I still haven't found a great one cannot afford to keep buying and tossing!

  • Seilens

    After fiddling around with a lot of sunscreens for my face, I've settled on Clinique's CityBlock and Shiseido's Urban Environment. Both have nice matte textures to them. The City Block can feel a little thick until it settles in, but it doesn't crease, which is great because it's a little tinted. The Urban Environment is a smooth, milky fluid that glides on really easily and has a great matte/velvety texture to it.

    For body I love Neutrogena's Dry Touch.

  • Annette Brennan

    The number one face sunscreen is Neutrogena Ultra Sheer! Super high protection and you can't feel it on your skin at all!

  • Sheila

    Great post! Just ordered the Elta MD sunscreen which sounds perfect for me.

    How often should we be reapplying our sunscreen if we're indoors most of the day? Like, if I put on sunscreen in the morning and then walk to my indoor office job, do I need to reapply when I'm going out for my lunch break? Before I walk home? Or am I good because I was mostly indoors out of the sun?

    • ITGAlessandra

      Great question! I asked Dr. Hale, and she said: "That is when the powders come in handy. Easy to brush on a little powder with protection before going outside for lunch or something.
      On the weekends, and in the summer months, then true reapplication every 2 hours is a must. I find the sprays come in handy for easy reapplication - especially my chest/decollette which I spray every hour because the chest is so sensitive and ages so poorly! Also, of course, it is key to reapply after swimming or heavy sweating!" Hope that helps! xx

    • Heather

      It IS perfect. I almost never purchase the same product twice, but this one makes the grade. Best facial sunscreen I've ever used.

  • Katherine

    Such a great roundup of sunscreens. With it finally being spring (which also means spring break for us college kids) and summer approaching, this is an important tool in keeping your skin youthful and fresh. I have an olive skin tone and tan easily, and quite frankly like to be tan. It's hard to want to put on sunscreen, but I know I'll be thankful later. There are so many self-tanner options out there, which also might be a good post to write about? In the meantime, I'll have to check out some of these options!



  • Chiemi

    I wake up and read your posts like they're the morning paper! :) Thanks for the refresher on physical and chemical sunscreens! My favorite, HydroPeptide's SPF 30, is a physical sunscreen. Instead of a tint, the micro-encapsulated pigment spheres in it self-adjust to match my complexion so I can wear it no matter how pale or dark my skin gets. I wear it every day and the best part is, no "white" sunscreen look even when I'm being photographed! I also like how I can wear it all day long without my skin looking greasy by the end of the day. I heard the galanga root in it helps skin control oil. I could go on and on. :)

    • Guest

      Thanks for the tip. Can't wait to try this!

  • http://thoseporegirls.blogspot.com/ Vanessa

    It's best to use mineral/physical sunscreens, but be careful with products that use nanoparticles. There's evidence to suggest that nanoparticles (especially of Titanium Dioxide) when mixed with water and sunlight create free radicals, and quickly damage your skin. Not good! Though it does also depend on how the particles are treated, and most main ingredients in sunscreens will produce free radicals at some point. At least you can pick something that's relatively safer. You can read about it here: http://2020science.org/2010/08/19/nano-sunscreens-leave-their-mark/.

    Also, the rosehip seed oil and other seed oils in the Coola sunscreen are not very stable in sunlight, which means they'll break down. You should avoid sunscreens that have seed oils listed as one of their first ingredients, although it seems like they're not a main ingredient in the Coola one. http://www.thelovevitamin.com/4000/sunscreen-and-acne-part-one/

    • vvn

      Honestly, I'm not sure why people are so afraid of nanoparticles. I work with them, they're fine. Their small size doesn't alter the chemical properties; their small size has allowed researchers to explore physical regimes that could not be accessed before due to size limitations. Anyway... I also wanted to point out that I have seen scientific literature showing nanoparticles are not readily absorbed into your skin. They are VERY difficult to get into cells, which is why there are research groups that work on delivery methods. I am most concerned with inhaling them because they are fine and aerosol easily and have crystalline structure that make them potentially damaging. However, I suspect most people aren't inhaling their sunscreen :)

  • daphne

    Have you ever tried sunscreens from Europe or Japan? They're fairly easy to find in nyc but probably harder elsewhere. I order online. Japanese sunscreens are awesome! I heard European sunscreens actually have better protection than the ones from the US. I tried one from LRP which is supposed to be the best and it's great for the beach. I like Japanese sunscreens for everyday because they're so lightweight.

    • Bella

      It's a bit tricky to find a good La Roche Posay sunscreen. They have great sun protection, but HUGE amounts of alcohol. I've stopped using them because my skin was really irritated and switched to Avène Emulsion SPF 50+ (I believe they're not sold in the US since Tinosorb S and Tinosorb M have not been approved by the FDA yet). Always check the list of ingredients so your skin doesn't suffer :)

      • Nina

        La Roche Posay Anthelios spf 50+ fluid is pretty good, but a little bit too oily for my taste though it's very runny and light. It didn't irritate my very fair, sensitive oily skin at all. I wore it while hiking in the Swiss alpes last summer, the sun was CRAZY and I was the only one in my group who didn't get burned.

      • tasha

        I really love the Roche Posay SPF50 primer, actually. Nicely matte, good texture . . .

  • Dee

    "They do have to be reapplied more often, as they tend to rub off easily."

    I have often read the opposite about physical sunscreens. That they are more stable and need to be applied less often. I suppose in certain circumstances where there is an opportunity to rub off the product it will need to be reapplied, but generally they don't break down and become less effective with long exposure to UV rays the way chemical sunscreens do. Can you give some sort of reference for your statement?

    • Heather

      You are right--they are more stable, in that they don't break down just from the light. But perhaps they sit ON TOP OF the skin, while chemical ones are absorbed INTO the skin—an thus rub off easier? Not sure, just a guess.

  • Michelle

    I like clinique city block and alba botanical makes great ones with zinc and titanium dioxide for the body.

  • Paulina

    Great post! Yet, we need to remember -as said Isabel - that sometimes we need a "run" without sunscreen in case we get some vit D. It's also necessary!

    I have a question concerning mixing different sunscreens - is it always permitable? And secondly - I heard once that when you put e.g. SPF 50 on your face and then SPF15 in a different product also on your face - it will give you SPF 35 sunscreen. Sounds weird? But please - tell me that it is not truth? :)




    • ElaineR

      I'm not a dermatologist, But i've heard that it just gives you the protection of the highest - so that would be SPF50. Some people think that they are additive (aka SPF50 + SPF 15 = SPF 65) but it doesnt work that way.

    • Emily

      Wow, this is super late. Sorry. I've read that you should never mix them because that will mean a lower spf (just like the 50+15=35 example you gave). But you can layer different spfs no problem. So an spf 50 sunscreen and then spf 15 powder or whatever will really just be spf 50, but you'll have a little more protection.

  • denisa

    Hi ITG, I would kindly ask you to cover products that are sold in other areas as well not only US. I live in Eastern Europe and many American companies do not ship here. Thank you!

  • http://theskiny.com/ Helen Vong

    Amazing post. I'm so glad to see the Elta brand promoted. It has been my favorite sunscreen for two years. Nothing compares to it. I love the tinted version! It's worth the trip to the derm or medical spa.

  • equestrienne

    I love the little bit of extra sun protection that mineral makeup gives you, but Bare Minerals really does suck. W3ll People makes a much better mineral foundation.

    I am admittedly guilty of not wearing sunscreen as often as I should since I moved to PDX, because I think I've convinced myself that the sun couldn't possibly be reaching my face through our gloomy winters. But, I started using DeVita's SPF 30 facial moisturizer and their Solar Body Block SPF 30+. They're both very moisturizing, truly natural and nontoxic, AND feel weightless. I loved their sunscreen so much I started using their whole skincare line.

  • Nicole

    Marie Veroniques Face Screen is the best I've used. It's all natural, and it goes on like a tinted moisturizer. I use it every day and love, love, love it!

  • http://twitter.com/JosephSlaich Josef Šlaich

    I swear by Chanel UV Essentiel SPF 50+ (no breakouts after using) and La-Roche Posay SPF 50 Fluids.

  • caitlin

    great article guys! i am so glad to see emphasis on sunscreens, i can't tell you how many of my clients wish they knew more about being sun safe 30 years ago. it is the single biggest thing you can do to prevent external aging, not to mention skin cancer prevention! i will say that ewg is somewhat of a biased database. i do believe that being careful and informed about what we put in/on our bodies is our right, but the danger in UV rays easily outweigh the danger of chemicals in sunscreen. however, that is what physical spf's are there for. thanks for the information and informing people about the other side of beauty :)

  • Cat

    Great post! Thank u :) Unfortunately I just bought a sunscreen. It is by Sensilis (SPF 30) - but I seem to be unable to find out if it is good or not. It doesn't list the ingredients on the bottle.. Would you recommend me buying a new or do you happen to know about this brand?

  • EMvL

    I hope someone can help me with this question, I love REN's new Photoactive Sun Veil, which is zinc-based, but as it only has spf15, I think I need something more heavy-duty during the summer. If I mix a little with Badger's sunscreen (really thick, high spf, also zinc based) the texture will be tolerable but the spf higher, no? I'm so picky when it comes to sunscreen, I want one that is natural, zinc-based no nano-particles, no parabens/chemicals but the consistency can't be too thick, so I thought combining these two would work, or am I wrong?

  • D.A.

    Great article and wonderfully written! I wish I had used sunscreen on my hands, arghhh!! GET AT IT (lol)!

  • vvn

    I was very paranoid about sunscreens/sunblocks at one point because I had read that sunscreens can cause free radicals, which are so aging and damaging, to be produced at the surface of your skin. So I did a review on peer reviewed scientific literature (journal access is a perk of school!) to look into this more. This appears to be a problem with chemical sunscreens. HOWEVER, the right formulation (e.g. mix of other chemicals) can prevent these free radicals from doing much harm. For chemical sunscreens, it is recommended to look for the 3 O's (all ingredients starting with O but I can't remember them right now). Another caveat is that you trust the company did their research thoroughly and included enough components to stop these radicals :P For this reason, I use physical sunblocks. Rather than absorbing the UV, these mineral oxides deflect them. Also, oxides are stable and run lower risk of reacting further in our typical daily conditions. They do rub off (I see it on my phone all the time) but chemical sunscreens should also be reapplied regularly due to their chemical decomposition.

    My current favourite is Clarins UV Plus HP Day Screen SPF 40. I like this because about a year or two ago they started making a tinted version. It doesn't offer coverage like a foundation but it does help. Also, it's mineral based (one of the first few mineral based metal oxide sunblocks I could find), feels light on the skin, has a fairly neutral smell, and doesn't develop a weird smell later in the day (I hate sunscreens that start to feel sticky and smell bad as the day goes on). Also, it's SPF 40! Finding tinted products with SPF > 20 seems to be difficult. And for people who think they don't need SPF 30, I recommended looking at UV forecast for the day. It's amazing how high SPF can be now, even early during the day!

    • bella

      I also use Clarins UV Plus Day Screen SPF 40 for my face! I have combination skin with an oily t-zone, and in humid weather it's even worse. This is the only one for me that does not make the skin feel sticky and cause breakouts. Love it! xx

  • http://www.facebook.com/danika.anderson.35 Danika Anderson

    You should add Sun Putty Face to this list...it's great. It not only
    gives broad spectrum protection, but it helps fight acne, blemishes and
    hyperpigmentation (brown spots or age spots). My skin is a lot clearer
    since I've been using it.




Skin Medica
Skin Medica Daily Physical Defense SPF 30+
Olay Complete
Olay Complete All Day UV Complete Moisture SPF 15 for Sensitive Skin
Coppertone Sport
Coppertone Sport Sport SPF 70+ Continuous Spray Sunscreen
bareMinerals Mineral Veil
Sublime Sun Liquid Silk Lotion SPF 30 For Face
Sublime Sun Sheer Protect Sunscreen Oil
Serge Normant
Serge Normant Meta Luxe Hairspray
COOLA Suncare
COOLA Mineral Face SPF 30 Matte Tint