While my reapplication record leaves much to be desired, I do my absolute best to apply a sufficient amount of sunscreen every single day, regardless of weather and my daily activities. I do it to help prevent skin cancer and also for vanity reasons; my skin looks much better when I apply sunscreen regularly and it minimizes inflammation in my skin. However, I do have to admit that I up my sunscreen game when the weather gets warmer. Here are the products that I’m currently enjoying and relying on:
Paula’s Choice Defense Essential Glow Daily Moisturizer SPF 30 ($29 US | 2 oz or 60 mLs)
I’ve tried most of the Paula’s Choice mineral offerings for drier skin types, as non-mineral sunscreen varieties tend to lead to painful burning sensations when applied and aggravate my already reactive skin. I’ve enjoyed all of the ones I’ve tried but this one is my favourite; However, it does have drawbacks. It offers robust UVA coverage, along with the standard UVB coverage with a combination of titanium dioxide (5.25%) and zinc oxide (6.12%). As per usual, it’s non-irritating and moisturizing. It’s formulated without alcohol, fragrance and the like. It has a significant amount of liquorice root extract, an antioxidant with the ability to soothe the skin and improve an uneven complexion. This moisturizer also contains a number of ingredients that help to maintain the skin barrier, such as fatty acids, peptides, vitamin c derivatives, the superhero ingredient, niacinamide, and a few other antioxidants. What I enjoy the most about the formula is that it is not drying, has a very minimal cast that dissipates quickly and is hydrating enough to function as a moisturizer on my drier skin. Also, the formula doesn’t stick to dry patches. True to its name, it can get very glowy so this is probably not for those wanting to remain matte in the slightest. There aren’t visible shimmer particles or anything, but when applied, this greyish ivory cream leaves a boost of radiance that does not necessarily fade. For those interested, it’s cruelty-free.
Paula’s Choice Resist Skin Restoring Moisturizer with SPF 50 ($33 US | 2 oz or 60 mLs)
Almost miraculously, this is the only ‘chemical’ sunscreen that I’ve ever been able to tolerate on my face without immediate irritation. It offers good UVA/UVB protection with Avobenzone (3%), Homosalate (5%), Octinoxate (7.5%), Octisalate (5%) and Oxybenzone (5%). That being said, the broad-spectrum UVA protection is being provided by Avobenzone and Oxybenzone, two ingredients that are not known for their photostability. Therefore, reapplication is even more important than with mineral sunscreen filters, as the filters become ineffective. The formula works wonderfully under makeup and is cosmetically elegant, feeling lightweight but very hydrating on the skin. The only thing that is potentially irritating in the formula are the sunscreen actives. I believe that I am able to tolerate this formula because it is enriched with antioxidants and skin soothing ingredients such as shea butter, allantoin, niacinamide, vitamin e, liquorice root extract and oat kernel extract. This is a great daily moisturizer for me in terms of soothing and nourishing the skin without a touch of a white cast, greasiness or shininess and is a worthwhile investment for me. This one is cruelty-free, as well.
Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Face Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50 ($19.99 CDN | 59 mLs)
This formula is recognized by the Canadian Dermatology Association for its tolerability and sun protection. It’s water-resistant (for up to 80 minutes) and offers excellent UVA and UVB protection, with zinc oxide (21.6%) as its sole sunscreen ingredient. It’s fragrance-free and doesn’t contain anything known for irritation. Along with the silicones it contains, has soothing feverfew extract and the soothing antioxidant colloidal oatmeal. Unfortunately, it’s not the most cosmetically elegant; it has a mild to moderate white cast that requires effort to blend in and can feel thick and on the greasier end of things. Also, the texture of the zinc tends to cling to drier patches on occasion. This is a great sunscreen for me to use for a day out in the sun because it offers great stable protection and no irritation. I can even use this one on active eczema breakouts without any irritation. I will note that I can get away with using it on my fair skin on an average day with or without makeup but it’s definitely not the most appealing. Neutrogena does not meet cruelty-free standards, as they sell in China where animal testing is mandated on imported goods.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral Tinted Ultra-Fluid Lotion ($34 CDN | 50 mLs)
This formula is also recognized by the Canadian Dermatology Association for its high degree of sun protection and tolerability, however, this is a much more cosmetically elegant formula. It’s a tinted all mineral sunscreen that contains titanium dioxide (11%) as the sole sunscreen ingredient. Titanium dioxide is great from a tolerability and stability perspective but is not the most ideal as a standalone filter; it’s weaker than zinc dioxide and even the UVA chemical filters against broader wavelengths of UVA light. However, it has passed testing in Canada as a UVA filter and I choose to continue using it because I like it so much. The formula is both fragrance and alcohol free that neither dries out or irritated my skin, while remaining weightless. The beige tint that this sunscreen has mitigates the cast completely and suits my moderately fair skin – I assume it would also suit those with fair to medium skin in tone – and evens out my complexion ever so slightly. I think it would suit oilier skins as it’s not particularly shiny, even in the heat. It’s also water-resistant. The texture is a runny lotion that is fantastic under makeup and is a pleasure to use. Unfortunately, this is not cruelty free, as La Roche-Posay tests on animals when required by law.
Any sunscreen favourites to share?