The most important step of your daytime COMP skin care routine is definitely the last: P for Protect. If you want to use one skin product only, it should without doubt be a sun cream which will protect your face against UVA and UVB rays of the sun – not least because the face is the most exposed surface of skin. However, it should also be a sun cream which feels great on your face rather than feeling sticky or leaving a white hue as these ‘qualities’ (reminiscent of the sun creams in your childhood!) are more likely to make you “forget” to use sunscreen and go out unprotected. Below we have made a list of the best sun creams for the face.
Why should you use sun screen?
Even if you are indifferent to the risk of skin cancer (and most of us are – till it happens to us), you probably aren’t to the fact that photoaging (sun damage) counts for as much as 80% of the aging of the skin. Therefore, the best anti-aging skin care routine is simply to use sun cream diligently and daily – for the rest of your life. However, your sunscreen has to provide sun filters against both UVA and UVB rays – which in the EU (European Union) is a no-brainer, since legislation demands that sun cream must contain both, while some US products might only contain UVB-filters (unless they have UVA-filters such as titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, avobenzone, octocrylene or Mexoryl SX listed on the active ingredients list). You need protection against both types of UV-rays as they both do damage to your skin; UVB especially in terms of burns and UVA in aging it.
Why buy a sun cream just for your face?
First of all, it should be made clear that sun creams meant for your face can absolutely be used on your body and vice versa. But, the most important thing about buying a sun cream is to actually use it and there is a better chance that you will incorporate a sun cream (or a moisturizer with SPF – Sun Protection Factor) in your daily skin care routine, if it feels great on your face. Sun creams for the face are in general a bit more expensive than those for the body, but they are also especially formulated to feel lighter, be absorbed better and not leave your skin feeling greasy or sticky. The main difference between sun creams for the face and moisturizers with SPF is that the latter often have a lower SPF (usually peaking around 30) and generally aren’t water-resistant, which can be a problem if you are sweating.
The Line-Up: Best Sun Creams for the Face
Overview of the Best Sun Creams for the Face
|Product||La Roche Posay Anthelios 50 Mineral Fluid||Avene Ultra-Light Lotion SPF50||SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50||Bioderma Photoderm MAX cream SPF 50+||EltaMD UV Clear SPF46 Sun Cream|
|Size:||50 ml||40 ml||50 ml, 125 ml||40 ml||48g|
|Best for:||All skin types (including oily)||All skin types (including oily)||All skin types (including oily)||Normal to dry skin||Combined to oily|
|Water-resistant:||Yes (40 minutes)||Yes (80 minutes)||Yes (40 minutes)||Yes||No|
I. La Roche-Posay Anthelios SPF50 Mineral Fluid
If you are keen on having only physical sunfilters in your sunscreen rather than chemical ones, La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios 50 Mineral Fluid is an excellent choice. Unlike several other sun creams which only contain titanium dioxide and zinc oxide as sun filters, this silky fluid lotion goes on smoothly without leaving a white cast behind. The Anthelios 50 Mineral Fluid can be used by all skin types, including sensitive and rosacea skin due to the fragrance-free formula, but if you have dry skin you might want to use a moisturizer under it. Reversely, those with oily skin will probably also have the Moisturize step of a COMP skin care routine covered when using this product. La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Mineral Fluid is also available in a tinted version.
Sun Filters: Titanium dioxide and Zinc oxide
II. Avene Ultra-Light Hydrating Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50+
Avene’s Ultra-Light Hydrating Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50+ is formulated to suit all skin types and will not leave any greasy sensation behind. Instead your skin will feel well-moisturized, while being protected with a water-resistant (80 minutes) mix of four sun filters against both UVA and UVB rays. Like the other sunscreens on this list, the Ultra-Light Hydrating Sunscreen is fragrance-free which makes it suitable for rosacea and sensitive skin. An extra advantage of this sun cream is the practical airless pump which allows easy dosage of just the right quantity for smooth application.
Sun Filters: Avobenzone (3%) • Homosalate (13%) • Octisalate (5%) • Octocrylene (10%)
III. SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50
All of SkinCeuticals’ sun creams are topnotch (although the one meant only for the eye area is a bit silly) and the Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50 is no exception. Like the La Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral fluid above, it contains only the two physical sun filters zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, and in the same way it goes on smoothly without any white residue (which shows how well sunscreen with only physical filters can be formulated). SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense, however, gets a bit help from being slightly tinted – but not in a way that will mess with your natural skin color, even if it is way darker than the tint. Only people with porcelain skin might find it too dark. SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50 also comes in a bigger bottle of 125 ml.
Sun Filters: Titanium dioxide and Zinc oxide
IV. Bioderma Photoderm MAX cream SPF 50
Bioderma Photoderm MAX cream SPF 50+ might look like your average sunscreen, but its great formula sets it apart. Besides being photostable, water-resistant and fragrance-free it goes on smoothly and colorless without any white stripes. In addition to containing Laminaria ochroleuca (brown seaweed) extract, which is proven to be anti-irritating and anti-inflammatory, the Photoderm MAX cream also includes fructooligosaccharides and rhamnose which are believed to additionally protect skin cells from cellular damage (the scientists’ verdict is not out yet, but there is some appealing research). Bioderma’s sun cream is best for those with normal to dry skin, while it might feel too rich for those with oilier skin. It is also available in a tinted version called Photoderm MAX Crème teinte dorée SPF50.
Sun Filters: Octocrylene, Tinosorb M, Tinosorb S, Avobenzone
V. EltaMD UV Clear SPF46 Sun Cream
EltaMD’s UV Clear SPF46 sun cream is a bestseller on Amazon – which is completely deserved as it simply is a great sun cream for normal to oily skin. Besides offering more than adequate protection from the sun’s UV rays by utilizing the sun filters zinc oxide and octinoxate, the product contains an impressive amount of the anti-aging antioxidant Niacinamide (vitamin B3). In spite of using zinc oxide, which has a reputation for leaving a white hue, EltaMD UV Clear really does go on clear and matte. This silky and light sun cream is also available in a tinted version as well as in a larger 3.4 oz. size.
Sun Filters: Zinc oxide and Octinoxate.