Although summer may have left us, don’t think that it’s time to forget about your sunscreen at the back of a cupboard. It is imperative to protect your skin against the sun’s harmful rays at all times of the year, as although we may not experience sunburn from the UVB rays that the sun produces, both these and UVA rays are still abundant and can cause premature skin aging, as well as contribute to certain forms of skin cancer. These rays can even penetrate clouds and UVA rays in particular can penetrate through windows. As we cannot behave like the sun-adverse vampires that some may have dressed up as for Halloween this year, sunscreen is our next best weapon against this sun damage.
What should I be looking for?
When searching for a suitable sunscreen, you should be looking for broad spectrum protection. This means that the product protects you from both UVB and UVA rays.
UVB rays are responsible for sunburn and can cause skin cancer, so when comparing products, you should take note of the SPF (Sun Protection Factor), as this relates to the protection it offers from UVB rays. Experts recommend an SPF of 30 or higher.
UVA rays are responsible for premature skin aging and can also contribute to skin cancer. Some countries use a PA (Protection Grade of UVA) rating on their products, which relates to the protection if offers from UVA rays. The rating system is as follows:
Some UVA protection = PA+
Moderate UVA protection = PA++
High UVA protection = PA+++
Extremely High UVA protection = PA++++
However, as not all countries agree on the rating, it is imperative that you look for a product that contains the words “Broad Spectrum Protection”, as this is the only way you can be sure that it protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
How much sunscreen should I be applying?
Dermatologists recommend that, as a minimum, you should be applying ¼ teaspoon of sunscreen to your face alone and using 2 tablespoons of sunscreen for your entire body. Applying less than this can greatly reduce the amount of protection you will receive against UVA and UVB rays.
How often should I be reapplying sunscreen?
Experts state that you should reapply sunscreen every 2 hours as a minimum, but more often if you are sweating and always straight after towel drying or being in water.
Now that you understand a little bit more about sunscreen, here’s our pick of the 5 best sunscreen brands on the market for Fall/Winter 2022:
This Swiss brand has a plethora of products including those dedicated to anti-aging, sports and sensitive skin. Mineral sunscreen is also an option, if you prefer this over chemical sunscreen. According to its website, they are the first sunscreen brand in the world to be awarded the “BASF EcoSun Pass”, which tests the environmental impact of sun protection products. Their products are water and sweat resistant, as well as non-comedogenic, meaning they won’t clog your pores. All sunscreens are reef, ocean and marine life friendly and come in a range of formulas including spray, gel, oil and tinted solution.
Find out more at Advanced Swiss Suncare (ultrasun.com)
Although not available to buy directly from their website, their products can be found at LOOKFANTASTIC | Hair Products | Makeup | Skin Care Products
- La Roche Posay
This French brand combines sun protection with skincare ingredients, so is a great option if you want to combine both. They have products tailored to all skin types and according to their website, they claim that 9 out of 10 dermatologists would recommend using their products. They also have products infused with power-house skincare ingredients like hyaluronic acid, niacinamide and salicylic acid and their products are water resistant and non-comedogenic.
Find out more at La Roche-Posay Skincare, Sunscreen, Body Lotion Official Site
This German brand has been going strong for over 100 years and they are making sustainable changes, which we can wholeheartedly admire. By 2025 they claim that most of their packaging will be reusable or refillable and that they will reduce packaging weight and use recycled materials in their production process. They have both mineral and chemical formulas, and they have products geared towards all skin types, including those with sun allergies. They have products to suit many needs including oil control, hydration (with hyaluronic acid) and age defense and some formulas include an Advanced Antioxidant Complex, which they call “5 AOX Shield™”, that helps to protects from free radicals and support skin health.
This French brand has water and sweat resistant products and include antioxidants in some of their products to help protect you against environmental aggressors. They claim that 93% of their packaging is recyclable and that by 2025, 100% will be recyclable or reusable. They have both chemical and mineral formulas, as well as kids and sports ranges. Their website also states that their sunscreen is approved by the National Eczema Association and Oncology-safe skin solution, making them a great choice for those with sensitive skin.
Find out more at Gentle Skin & Body Care | Avène USA (aveneusa.com)
- Sun Bum
This American brand has been protecting people from the sun since 2010. They have chemical, mineral and hybrid ranges and they tout an impressive list of claims such as being fully vegan, cruelty free, hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic, paraben free, gluten free, PABA free, water resistant (80 Minutes), fragrance free, Hawaii Act 104 Reef compliant and oxybenzone and octinoxate free. Whether you prefer a lotion, spray, roll on or stick, this brand has you covered. They even have a sun protection mist for your scalp and hair, which are often-overlooked areas.
Find out more at Shop Sun Bum® Products Online - Official Sun Bum® Website
Hopefully, one of these top 5 sunscreen brands will suit your needs. Remember that it is important to protect your skin against the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays at all times of the year and not just during the summer. As well as ensuring you apply enough sunscreen to exposed areas of skin, it is also imperative that you reapply frequently, in order to ensure that you get the best protection. Now that you're ready for Fall/Winter, wrap up warm and head out to enjoy the season in all its glory.
Disclaimer: This is an independent brand review, based on the author’s own experience and opinion and is by no means medical or dermatological advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please consult your doctor.