When you head to the beach or the pool, make sure you pack sunscreen along with your towel and favorite book.
Dermatologists recommend that we wear sunscreen on our faces every day regardless of the season. While this sounds like an excessive step when you are already busy, sunscreen protects your skin from dangerous UVA and UVB rays to prevent wrinkles, skin discoloration, and even skin cancer.
However, all sunscreens are not created equal. We want help you find the right kind for you, we have broken down the different types of face sunscreens as well as compiled the top 10 sunscreens that you can buy to protect your skin from the summer sun.
What Makes a Face Sunscreen the Best?
There are several different things to look for that you will find in the best sunscreen. You want it to fully protect your skin from the sun but also feel good on your face. These are key features and ingredients that all of the top rated sunscreens for face will have.
- Broad Spectrum Protection — Any face sunscreen should protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Both can impact the skin and cause cosmetic and serious damage. Everyone should utilize a sunscreen with this level of protection, as both types of rays are emitted from the sun.
- Sun Protection Factor of at Least 30 — It is essential that any face sunscreen has an SPF of at least 30. This means that the sunscreen will block 97 percent of UVB rays, which you want in order to minimize skin disease and damage. While you can choose higher protection factors, the difference in prevention between SPF 30 and SPF 50 is only 1 percent, while the protection of lower SPFs is far more reduced, so SPF 30 is sufficient.
- Zinc Oxide — Zinc oxide has many uses on your body, including treating chapped skin, and is used in most diaper rash creams. Another key benefit is that it protects your skin against the sun. This mineral reflects ultraviolet radiation and scatters it to prevent your skin from absorbing it. Zinc oxide is the purest type of sunblock available and can be used on its own, though it can go on thick and greasy when it’s not diluted.
- Titanium Dioxide — This is another component that provides broad spectrum coverage against both types of ultraviolet rays. Either it or zinc oxide is typically the sun-blocking ingredient in sunscreens. It is very gentle on the skin, especially irritated areas, making it a good choice if you have sensitive skin. However, it can be carcinogenic if inhaled, so you may want to use it in lotions instead of sprays.
What are the Different Types of Face Sunscreen?
While the top rated sunscreens for face all incorporate most or all of the features listed above, there are some variations in the different products available.
Here are some of the types of face sunscreens available, as well as some pros and cons of each to help you determine the best one for your needs.
Best Moisturizer with Sunscreen for Face
A moisturizer with sunscreen is the best of both worlds for your face. It leaves your skin feeling smooth and hydrated while also protecting you from the sun’s harmful rays. The best ones also include antioxidants, which give your skin a youthful appearance, and tint to help conceal blemishes.
If your skin breaks out easily or is very sensitive, some moisturizers may make these conditions worse. In these cases, look for a noncomedogenic formula.
Thrive produces one of the top moisturizing sunscreens.
Face Sunscreen Spray
While sunscreen sprays are typically not recommended because of their inconsistent and insufficient application, they can be useful for facial coverage in certain situations.
Particularly if you wear makeup, sprays can be put on afterward and reapplied without smudging.
Neutrogena offers a lightweight and silky spray that you will love for this purpose.
Best Face Tanning Lotion
Particularly in the winter months, you may prefer a sunscreen that also includes a self-tanner. A tanning lotion designed specifically for your face will have a better balance of color than whole body tanners and are typically packed with hydrating and moisturizing ingredients.
Jergens offers an affordable option that is easy to apply and offers great results.
Gel Sunscreen for Face
These sunscreens are different than zinc oxide or titanium dioxide based lotions, as they are chemically concocted to absorb the ultraviolet rays.
Although the use of chemicals may be a con for you, as they can be absorbed into the skin, the silky and nearly invisible feel of gel sunscreens is a huge bonus if that does not bother you.
Julep makes an incredibly smooth and luxurious gel that even works flawlessly over makeup.
Best Mineral Sunscreen for Face
Mineral sunscreens work by blocking ultraviolet rays from contacting and being absorbed into the skin. While these sunscreens are very effective, some can make your skin feel very greasy, go on heavy or contribute to your oily skin.
The best mineral sunscreen for you will depend on your skin type and preferences for the feel.
Drunk Elephant makes a mineral sunscreen that blends well and feels weightless.
Top 10 Best Sunscreens for the Face
Now that we know what we’re looking for, let’s get down to the best of the best. There are so many facial sunscreens on the market that claim to offer all of the protective benefits to the skin listed above.
However, certain brands have created better feeling and more effective products than others. Here are the top 10 best sunscreens for your face that will protect your skin while looking and feeling good.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Cooling Water Lotion Sunscreen
Considered one of the best facial sunscreens, this La Roche-Posay lotion protects your skin and offers a cooling effect.
Packed with antioxidants and providing 60 SPF coverage, the texture feels as smooth and cool as water when applied.
It will not irritate your sensitive skin and can even be worn flawlessly under makeup.
Thrive Natural Face Moisturizer & Mineral Facial Sunscreen
This moisturizing sunscreen ticks all of the boxes for a great facial product.
It hydrates the skin, offers 30 SPF coverage, and is packed with antioxidants.
The formula is lightweight, non-greasy and provides a matte finish without tinting the skin.
Olay Sun Facial Moisturizer and Antioxidants
This lotion is a great choice for those who prefer a moisturizer and wear makeup.
In addition to offering 35 SPF coverage, the moisturizing lotion acts as a makeup primer.
The odorless formula absorbs quickly and leaves a matte finish that won’t feel sticky.
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen
One of the most affordable options, this SPF 100+ sunscreen offers a product that is on par with the more expensive brands.
The non-greasy lotion absorbs quickly and feels incredibly lightweight.
It has a noncomedogenic formula that works regardless of your skin type.
COOLA Suncare Classic Sport Face Sunscreen
In addition to antioxidants and SPF 50 coverage, this sunscreen is a very natural product.
Its formula is hypoallergenic, free of parabens and oxybenzones, making it safe for if you have allergies, sensitivities, or a desire to avoid harsh chemicals.
EltaMD UV Daily Facial Sunscreen
This mineral-based sunscreen is great for you if you have either normal or combination skin.
The formula has hyaluronic acid, which helps your skin retain moisture.
It works well as a foundation for your makeup as the lotion is lightweight and does not feel sticky.
Julep No Excuses Invisible Facial Sunscreen Gel
The fully transparent formula of this gel makes it a top choice for facial sunscreens.
The gel glides on smoothly and absorbs almost instantly, leaving no trace behind.
Additionally, it offers SPF 40 coverage and works great under or over your makeup.
Dermalogica Powerbright TRX Pure Light Facial Moisturizer
This moisturizer pampers your skin while providing SPF 50 coverage to your face.
The lotion hydrates the skin and protects against sun damage.
The formula also exfoliates your skin, helping to eliminate dark spots and even your skin tone.
3Lab Perfect Sunscreen
Was there any doubt that a sunscreen with perfect in the name would make the list?
This lotion lives up to the hype, especially if you wear makeup.
The incredibly light SPF 50+ broad-spectrum formula feels like primer and will feel undetectable on your skin.
Cerave Facial Moisturizing Lotion AM
As the name implies, this SPF 30 facial lotion is intended to be applied every morning.
The noncomedogenic formula hydrates your skin and helps strengthen its protective barriers.
The silky feel of the lotion will ensure that you stick to the daily application regimen.
Wearing sunscreen is essential for preventing sunburn and potentially serious skin diseases. You want to wear it every day to keep your skin youthful and free of sunspots.
Depending on your age, skin tone, and sensitivities, some sunscreens may work better for you than others.