The need to protect your facial skin from harmful UV rays by applying sunscreen cannot be overemphasized. That is exactly why we want to help you find the best drugstore facial sunscreen that dermatologists swear by.
According to the Melanoma Research Alliance, one person dies from melanoma or skin cancer every hour, daily. Also, the rate of its diagnosis has increased radically over the last few decades, outpacing other forms of cancer. Most skin cancer cases can be protected through the use of sunscreen.
Best Drugstore Facial Sunscreen
Below are the top 9 drugstore facial sunscreens that dermatologists and beauty experts swear by.
1. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Water Resistant Sunscreen
The water and sweat-resistant drugstore sunscreen have a broad spectrum SPF of 100+. It features a creamy and lightweight texture that makes it rather fast-absorbing. Being non-comedogenic and PABA-free, this sunscreen is suitable for any skin type.
Unlike most sunscreens, The Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch is infused with a mild scent and is non-whitening.
The sunscreen is stabilized with the brand’s Helioplex®, which is a blend of well-known UV-fighting ingredients. Additionally, Its Dry-Touch formula provides you with a matte finish.
Overall, this is our favorite drugstore facial sunscreen for those who on a budget.
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2. EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 46
Apart from protecting you from harmful UVA and UVB rays, this facial sunscreen also minimizes discoloration and redness. The mineral-based sunscreen is specially formulated for those with sensitive skin. It is also paraben, fragrance, and oil-free. You can wear this sunscreen alone or with makeup.
One of its key ingredients is zinc oxide, a powerful sun-blocking agent. The zinc oxide is 9.0% transparent; thus, it does not leave your face with a white sheen. Plus, It is formulated with other skin-loving ingredients such as skin-exfoliating lactic acid, hydrating hyaluronic acid, and skin-toning niacinamide. It also contains Vitamin E, which reduces signs of aging.
Overall, this sunscreen is ideal for sensitive or acne-prone skin.
3. Australian Gold Botanical Sunscreen
This non-chemical drugstore facial sunscreen promises to provide you with non-whitening protection while leaving you with a clean, matte finish. It is made using native Australian botanicals that include eucalyptus, Kakadu plum, and red algae. All these are not only potent antioxidants but are also rich in vitamins. Its formulation is dye-free, oil-free, PABA-free, sulfate-free, oxybenzone-free, and phthalate-free.
The sunscreen is dermatologist and pediatrician tested and can be used by people with the most delicate or sensitive skin. It’s Citrus Oasis scent is subtle yet refreshing. The sunscreen is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. Unfortunately, it is only available in one shade.
4. Sun Bum Face Lotion SPF 50
Due to its lightweight nature, the Sun Bum Face Lotion can be worn virtually every day. The facial sunscreen provides you with broad-spectrum protection and is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. The product is gluten-free, fragrance-free, oil-free, paraben-free, PABA-free, and Oxybenzone-free. As such, it will protect your face without irritating it or clogging your pores. One of the ingredients in this facial sunscreen is Vitamin E, which helps prevent premature aging.
5. DRMTLGY Anti-Aging Clear Face Sunscreen
This non-greasy facial sunscreen not only provides you with extensive broad-spectrum protection, but it also has anti-aging benefits. Its main ingredient is Zinz Oxide, which is known for its powerful protection against UVA and UVB rays.
It will also keep your skin well hydrated without leaving it feeling heavy or oily. This is achieved through one of its ingredients: hyaluronic acid, Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide), and Vitamin E. These will correct uneven skin tone, reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, and reduce the pore size. The product is fragrance-free and paraben-free, making it ideal for all skin types.
Overall, this is our best facial sunscreen for mature skin due to its anti-aging benefits.
6. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Cooling Water Lotion Sunscreen, SPF 30
This sunscreen offers you unparalleled broad-spectrum protection through a unique and cooling formulation. The lotion’s texture changes into a water-like, cooling cream once it comes into contact with your skin. This allows the sunscreen to get absorbed into the skin easily.
It is made using the company’s patented Cell-Ox Shield, which protects your skin against free radicals. The product is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. This makes it perfect for people with active lifestyles.
This product is recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation due to its effectiveness in preventing sun-related skin damages such as premature aging and sunburns.
7. Supergoop! Everyday SPF 50 Drugstore Facial Sunscreen
As the name suggests, this water-resistant, oil-free drugstore facial sunscreen is perfect for everyday wear. Its drippy texture is light on your skin and provides you with a matte finish. Also, by using Supergoop’s Cellular Response Technology, it promises to protect and preserve the natural glow of your skin. It is infused with natural extracts from basil, citrus, and eucalyptus oil. The sunscreen is non-comedogenic and kid-safe. It has plenty of emollients that keep your skin well hydrated.
Overall, it’s our favorite for those who deal with dry skin.
8. Clinique Super City Block, SPF 40, Drugstore Facial Sunscreen
Get high-level daily protection through this sunscreen’s weightless formula. Its light formulation makes it easy to apply the product to your face using your fingertips. The sunscreen provides you with UVA and UVB protection as well as environmental damage. Although the cream is beige, it does not leave your skin looking chalky or flaky. It is free of sulfates, parabens, and phthalates and, therefore, perfect for all skin types. It contains plenty of skin-loving antioxidants, and it keeps your skin well hydrated. You can use this sunscreen as an invisible primer or wear it alone.
9. Baby Bum Mineral Sunscreen Face Stick – SPF 50
This is a gentle, plant-based drugstore facial sunscreen that is specially formulated for children. It is made with natural Zinc Oxide, cocoa butter, shea butter, and coconut oil. This provides your baby with broad-spectrum protection while keeping their skin hydrated and nourished. The sunscreen is phthalate-free, sulfate-free, silicone-free, and paraben-free. It is also dermatologist and pediatrician tested. The sunscreen is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. The product’s roll-on packaging makes it easy to apply to children of all ages.
Overall, It’s our favorite best drugstore facial sunscreen for kids or for sensitive skin.
What’s the Best Drugstore Facial Sunscreen?
UV light exposure is the primary cause of cosmetic issues such as wrinkles, dark spots, and sunburns. It has also been proven to exacerbate certain skin conditions such as acne. Most of us are guilty of only checking that our preferred sunscreen has enough SPF while buying. However, even drugstore or dermatologist-approved sunscreens won’t give you the same level of protection. The best drugstore facial sunscreen should have the following features.
- Broad-spectrum protection – a broad-spectrum facial sunscreen protects you against UVA and UVB rays. Exposure to the former causes wrinkles, age spots, and premature aging of your skin while the latter leads to sunburns. Sunscreens that are classified as “broad spectrum” must meet certain criteria.
- Sun Protection Factor (SPF) – the SPF number indicates the level of protection offered by the sunscreen. The higher the number is, the better the protection the sunscreen offers. Sunscreens with SPF 15 block 93% of UVB rays while those with SPF 30 provide you with 97% protection. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends that you use a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. Keep in mind that no sunscreen will protect you throughout the day. Therefore, you will need to use it alongside protective clothing. If possible, seek shade and keep reapplying your sunscreen every few hours if you spend extended periods on the outdoors.
- Water-resistance – this does not mean that the sunscreen is waterproof. Instead, it refers to how long the sunscreen stays on sweaty or wet skin before you have to reapply. Most drugstore sunscreen will last for 40 or 80 minutes.
What Ingredients Should You Avoid in Sunscreen?
Like most cosmetic products, some sunscreens contain ingredients that are considered harmful to human beings in the long haul. The Environmental Working Group releases an annual directive on sunscreens. Some of the ingredients the organization warns against include:-
These are synthetic products that are used in cosmetic and personal care products for preservation purposes. Parabens hinder the growth of bacteria, fungus, and other forms of damaging microbes. Parabens disrupt your body’s hormonal functions leading to increased reproductive toxicity as well as breast cancer. Although an individual product may contain paraben levels that are within the safe limits, the use of several products containing these compounds may lead to an overload of the same. Avoid sunscreens that may contain propylparaben, methylparaben, ethylparaben, and butylparaben.
This is one of the most popular ingredients in broad-spectrum sunscreens. According to the EWG, this ingredient has raised concerns due to the following reasons:-
- It is a probable endocrine disruptor
- Large amounts of oxybenzone can be absorbed through the skin. This compound can be detected in the amniotic fluid, breast milk, blood, and urine.
- It is a potential allergenic
Oxybenzone was recently banned in Hawaii after being associated with the poisoning and bleaching of coral reefs.
– Vitamin A
Foods that are rich in Vitamin A are beneficial to your skin due to its antioxidant properties. However, when it is spread on your skin, there are higher chances of developing lesions or tumors due to the formation of free radicals. Avoid sunscreens that have Vitamin A, retinol, or palmitate.
Are Mineral Sunscreens Better Than Chemical?
The main difference between mineral or physical sunscreens and chemical sunscreens is their ingredients lists. Mineral sunscreens have titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, or a combination of the two as their active ingredients. These compounds deflect the sun’s ultraviolet rays, thus protecting your skin. They are referred to as physical sunscreens as they form a physical barrier between the skin and the UV rays.
On the other hand, the active ingredients in chemical sunscreens could include octinoxate, avobenzone, and oxybenzone, among others. These absorb the UV light, transform this into heat, and release it from your body.
While both types of sunscreens perform the same function, most mineral sunscreens are considered safe and less likely to irritate your skin. They are also safe to use on children or people suffering from melasma. Also, mineral sunscreens provide you with immediate protection and can be applied on top of other skin-care products. On the downside, are rather hard to apply. Due to the zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, these sunscreens might leave a white layer on your skin.
3 Mistakes You Should Avoid When Applying Drugstore Facial Sunscreen
If you are a first-time sunscreen user or you are in a hurry to apply it, you could probably end up making one or two mistakes. The top 3 mistakes you should avoid when applying sunscreen include:-
1. Not applying enough sunscreen
If you are to benefit from the SPF that you see on the bottle, it is better you’ll use more than a little dab of your favorite sunscreen. Always apply at least half a teaspoon of sunscreen on your face before you step out. You should apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before stepping out.
2. Forgetting certain parts of your face
According to a recent study, most people ignore to include the eyelids, the hairline, the lips, and the tips of your ears. Unfortunately, some of these areas are rather susceptible to cancer. For instance, the lips have lower levels of melanin, while the eyelids have the highest occurrence of skin cancer for every unit area.
3. Not reapplying the sunscreen throughout the day
Sweating or getting into water without reapplying your sunscreen, leaves your skin unprotected. Make sure you read the label to find out how long you should stay before re-applying the sunscreen. Re-applying the sunscreen as per the manufacturer’s recommendations also helps you achieve a better or a more even spread.
The market has plenty of drugstore facial sunscreens that are safe for any skin type. This means you have no reason for not wearing sunscreen. Apart from checking that the ingredients in your sunscreen will not harm you, make sure your check your sunscreen’s expiry date. Also, remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when applying your favorite drugstore facial sunscreen.