The majority of us understand the importance of wearing sunscreen during summer, but not everyone knows that wearing a broad-spectrum sun protection is a year-round necessity. Even during the winter months, high-SPF sunscreens are crucial as they block UVB and UVA rays, preventing the skin from burning, photoaging, or increasing the risk of skin cancer.
The British Association of Dermatologists estimates that more than 100,000 new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the UK every year, and although the disease can occur on parts of the body not exposed to sunlight, extensive sun exposure is thought to be a major risk factor.
How does a sun protection work?
There are two types of sunscreens: chemical and physical. Both create a shield on top of your skin from the harmful effects of the sun’s UV rays but they act in different ways, depending on the mechanism.
The chemical sunscreen absorbs the rays before they damage the skin, allowing the UV light to penetrate. After the UV light is absorbed by the skin, the chemicals in the sun protection start to work by converting it into heat.
Unlike chemical sunscreens, physical sunscreens are composed mainly of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which change into a physical shield blocking UV rays and reflecting radiation. So.. should we use a chemical or physical sunscreen? It depends on your skin type, as both have advantages and disadvantages.
Difference between Mineral VS Chemical Sunscreen
- Ideal for sensitive skin and skin prone to eczema and rosacea
- Thicker texture compared to chemical ones
- Sits on the surface of the skin, without being absorbed
- A more frequent application is required
- Typically take around 20 minutes to be absorbed
- Fewer applications required
- Can cause allergic reactions
- Lighter texture and quick absorption
To help narrow down your search, here’s a list of the best face and body sunscreens recommended by our in-house Skincare Specialist.
Best sunscreen for dry skin: Ultrasun Professional Protection SPF 50+
Ideal for everyone and beloved by dry skin, this broad-spectrum sunscreen for dry skin restores optimal moisture levels and reduces the appearance of sun-induced ageing such as lines, wrinkles, and larger pores. Ideal for sensitive skin, skin feels moisturised and smooth after application.
Best sunscreen for sensitive skin: Heliocare Mineral Tolerance SPF 50
Created with the most sensitive skins in mind, the new Heliocare 360° Mineral Tolerance Fluid SPF50 for sensitive skin provides impressive UV and environmental protection. Using only mineral filters, this clever sunscreen also contains Fernblock FC, a specialist antioxidant, to protect the skin and DNA from UVA/UVB rays, Infrared-A Radiation and Visible Light. Ultra-light in texture and quick to absorb into the skin, this sunscreen for sensitive skin won’t leave behind an unflattering white cast, making it ideal for all skin tones. Added Vitamins C and E provide free radical protection and maintain good cell health, to ensure skin stays looking youthful for longer.
Best sunscreen for blemish-prone skin: Avène Very High Protection Cleanance SPF 50+ Sun Cream For Blemish-Prone Skin
Despite some sunscreens may clog pores and cause breakouts, wearing a broad spectrum sunscreen with the right SPF is a step you shouldn’t skip, even if you have acne-prone skin.
Very High Protection Cleanance Spf50+ Sun Cream For Blemish-Prone Skin offers UVB, UVA, Blue Light HEV sun protection for the face. This sunscreen for blemish-prone skin is water, sweat and sand resistant. The non-sticky, ultra light texture is easy to apply. Anti-blemish formula which limits the appearance of scars, whilst keeping skin protected and hydrated for up to 8 hours.
Best sunscreen for oily skin: Frezyderm Sun Screen Velvet Body Lotion SPF 50+
When it comes to preventing painful sunburns, early signs of ageing and skin cancer, wearing a sunscreen on the body is just as important as wearing one on the face. Frezyderm Sunscreen Velvent Body Lotion Spf 50+ is an all over water resistant sunscreen which gives skin a velvety and non-oily feel while providing SPF 50+ sun protection. Thanks to the Second Skin technology innovation, Velvet Sunscreen creates the feeling of an invisible second skin for maximum UVR protection. The sun cream’s texture allows for easy application and distribution with a single touch and leaves no white tint; leaving the skin to be able to breathe. Also prevents signs of photoageing and protects against discolouration caused by prolonged sun exposure.