Summer is here, and sunscreen bottles and sprays are being pushed to the end-caps of drugstore aisles. Although you know you should be wearing sunscreen, you can’t stand the icky smell and the greasy feeling, especially at the beach, where sand sticks to you like glue. And let’s not forget about how it makes all your meticulously applied makeup slide off during the summer heat.
Although you might already know that sun exposure is the #1 factor in accelerated aging, you still refuse to wear it. Fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin can be delayed during the aging process by minimizing sun exposure and using sunscreen when going out. Even then, you just can’t bring yourself to wear it! So with all of the cons to sunscreen, what would ever convince you to?
Aside from preventing skin cancer and visible aging, sunscreen has several benefits that many people don’t know about. In fact, there are even sunscreens that provide skincare benefits if you use it daily. Continue reading to learn more about why sunscreen is a non-negotiable addition to your skincare regimen, as well as 9 of my favorite sunscreen brands you need.
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#1: It reduces hyperpigmentation
If you get acne scars or dark spots very easily, wearing sunscreen can help reduce and lighten these dark spots over time. Sun exposure acts as a glue that forces melanin cells to stick together, which makes it tougher to break apart and heal scars over time. By wearing sunscreen, rays are prevented from penetrating into your skin and darkening these spots.
Not only does sunscreen help for hyperpigmentation, but it helps with those with tinea versicolor too. We all have fungus that lives on our skin, but during hotter temperatures, sweaty and damp clothes can make this fungus grow out of control. Although you can’t contract it by physical contact and you may not even know you have it, tinea versicolor can prevent pigment from appearing on the skin, which causes spots and blotchiness. If you have tinea versicolor, wearing sunscreen can help reduce tanning, so discoloration from this condition can be reduced significantly as a result.
#2: Battles redness and tenderness caused by sensitive skin
If you have sensitive skin, there’s also a chance that your skin gets red easily too. Sunscreen helps prevent redness caused by sun exposure – trust me on this! I struggled with sensitive and red skin as a result of over-exfoliating, and it’s been cured completely with the power of sunscreen.
#3: Prevents tanning
For people who tan extremely quickly in the sun, those pesky tan lines can be avoided with the simple use of sunscreen. An added bonus: with delayed tanning, you don’t need to switch to a darker shade of foundation during summertime when you get the inevitable tan!
#4: It reduces the appearance of veins
Warm weather and hotter temperatures cause blood vessels to dilate, which makes them way more visible than usual. You can reduce the appearance of these veins with sunscreen (and maybe even a tinted moisturizer!).
#5: Some formulas offer mattifying effects and help reduce enlarged pores
Sunscreen has a bad rap – it’s greasy, oily, smells funny, and makes you feel sticky all day. Luckily, there are now tons of formulations that apply like a facial moisturizer, don’t smell weird, and even offer skincare benefits like reducing sebum production and the appearance of large pores.
My Top 9 Favorite Sunscreens
Now that you’ve heard of the few benefits that sunscreen has to offer, you’re probably wondering what kind to get. Below are my 9 best sunscreens, from drugstore to organic, Korean and American, in all price ranges.
#9: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch ($6.26)
Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch is a great sunscreen for those looking for a widely available sunscreen at a great price. This non-comedogenic formula wears lightweight, dries matte, comes in a variety of SPF from 30 to 100, and also blocks out both UVA and UVB rays.
Have sensitive or acne-prone skin? Neutrogena’s Clear Face Liquid Lotion Sunscreen is a fragrance-free, thinner formula that applies runny and is even more lightweight than its predecessor.
#8: MD Complete Youthful Anti-Aging Skin Sun Shield ($6.77)
I normally recommend Korean brands over American, but MD Complete’s Youthful Anti-Aging Skin Sun Shield hit my list for a good reason. This sunscreen contains squalene and other powerful ingredients to combat aging while offering sun protection from both UVA AND UVB rays. It wears matte and the price is also quite impressive for what this formula offers.
#7: Cosrx Aloe Soothing Sun Cream SPF50 PA+++ ($14.00)
Cosrx’s Aloe Soothing Sun Cream is perfect for sensitive and dry skin. Like many Korean sunscreens, this one dries to a matte finish and doesn’t affect your makeup by leaving a white cast. If your skin tends to break out or turn red from products easily, consider this one.
#6: A’Pieu Pure Block Natural Sun Cream SPF45/PA+++: ($11.38)
A’Pieu’s Pure Block Natural Sun Cream also contains aloe, giving this formula some anti-inflammatory and soothing properties for those with sensitive skin. This easy-to-absorb sunscreen has a light and citrusy fragrance, and has a good amount of oil control without feeling overly matte and too drying.
#5: Biore AQUA RICH SPF50+/PA++++ Sunscreen ($8.99)
Biore’s Aqua Rich Sunscreen is a very lightweight sunscreen that feels as thin as an essence. It dries to a matte finish and wears extremely well under makeup, and I absolutely love this because it’s hard to find a sunscreen that doesn’t feel greasy or look shiny.
The Face Shop’s Natural Sun Eco Sebum Control is another highly absorbent sunscreen, but has a unique perk: it has makeup primer-like properties that create a reduced “large pore” appearance over time.
#3: Missha All Around Safe Block Sebum Zero SPF50/PA+++: $11.50
Missha’s All Around Safe Block Sebum Zero is a hydrating yet mattifying formula that does not feel greasy. This reasonably-priced sunscreen is waterproof and can also help reduce sebum production and enlarged pores over time.
Innisfree’s Eco Safety Perfect Sunblock is a mineral-based option for those who prefer to stick to minimal and natural ingredients. This formula boasts organic and calming ingredients to soothe and balance the skin.
If you’re looking for a thinner formula that’s also resistant to sweat and water, consider Innisfree’s Perfect UV Protection Triple Care sunscreen, which is a similar formula for those wary of oily skin.
Etude House’s Sunprise Mild Airy Finish Sun Milk is #1 on my list for several reasons: like many on this list, this is a mattifying formula that dries to a powdery finish, but out of all other sunscreens this one sits well underneath makeup and doesn’t contribute to making pores look enlarged. With this easy-to-absorb formula, sebum is kept under control all day, a must for oily skin during summer time. And if those aren’t good enough reasons, the price alone is enough of a reason to try it out.
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Are you going to try out one of these sunscreens? Let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter to get more beauty tips delivered by email.