If sunbathing happens to be one of your most beloved warm-weather pastimes, you’re in very good company. Whether on vacation or simply relaxing at home, feeling the sun gently warm your face and body can be seriously relaxing.
Unfortunately, this soothing summer activity isn’t without its risks. The good news? There’s plenty you can do to make sure you’re sunbathing much more safely from now on. Number one on the list? You guessed it - always wear plenty of sunscreen! To make putting those words into practice even easier this sunshine season, we’ve put together an edit of all the top sunscreens this year has to offer. Keep on reading to discover which of the premium products on our list will suit you, your skin, and your summer plans best.
WHY WE LOVE TO SUNBATHE
Before we jump in, you’re probably wondering why few experiences in the world feel quite as amazing as sunbathing on a hot summer day. Soaking up the sun must have some magical health benefits when it feels this good, right? Well, as it turns out, yes! There are plenty of scientifically-backed reasons why we gravitate towards those warm and toasty rays, and it’s not just to do with our bodies either. Since sunlight helps us to naturally produce more serotonin (which can help regulate your emotions and feel more focused) and Vitamin D (which can aid better sleep, enhance your mood, and keep your energy levels up), sunbathing for just a few minutes each day can have a hugely positive effect on your state of mind too.
WHICH SPF FACTOR DO I NEED?
Whether you’re a 15 minutes in the morning kind of sunbather or you’re content to catch those poolside rays all day long, staying sun-safe throughout the day is essential. So, always make sure you’re staying hydrated, taking plenty of breaks in the shade, especially when the sun is at its highest point, and when in doubt, always opt for a higher SPF (sun protection factor) than you think you’ll need.
As a general rule of thumb, anything lower than factor 30 is only suitable for mildly sunny days and only if you plan on spending a short amount of time outside. Otherwise, factor 30, 40, or 50 is highly recommended as the will protect you from between 97% - 99% of the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays. With that in mind, look out for ‘broad spectrum’ sunscreens as they will protect you against both.
CAN YOU USE THE SAME SUNSCREEN FOR YOUR BODY AND YOUR FACE?
Yes. In terms of sun safety, there’s nothing wrong with using the same sunscreen for your face and body. Any high-factor SPF will protect the skin in both of these areas from harmful UV rays. The only issue? Whilst a sunscreen designed for your body will offer the same protection for your face, you’ll often find that, since these formulas are developed a little differently and with different ingredients, they can often be a little harsh on more delicate areas. Common ingredients like cocoa butter and coconut oil feel and smell great on your arms, legs, and torso, but if your facial skin, namely the skin around your eyes, is on the sensitive side you may start to see breakouts or irritation. To avoid this, we’ve divided our findings into two simple sections. So, you can go ahead and choose whichever combination works best for you!
OUR TOP BODY SUNSCREEN PICKS
Hawaiian Tropic Skin Defense Lotion SPF 50
A well-known staple in the world of SPF, the Hawaiian Tropic Skin Defense lotion, formerly known as AntiOxidant+, promises to nourish your skin with a broad spectrum SPF 50 formula. It’s water resistant, made with green tea extract, and lasts 80 minutes before you need to re-apply. Also, if you’re someone that loves sunscreen with a sweet summer fragrance, this tropical-scented formula with ingredients such as guava, papaya, mango, and passion fruit is perfect for you. Additionally, it’s PETA-certified Cruelty-free with packaging made from 45% recycled materials. Finally, this sunscreen comes recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation for daily use.
Spf 30 Sport Sunscreen
Made with certified organic ingredients for a water-resistant, cruelty-free formula, this broad-spectrum sunscreen has been specifically designed for those with an active lifestyle in mind. Made to stay put in high temperatures, its rich, organic jojoba, vitamins, and aloe combine to provide total daily protection in sustainable packaging.
Sensitive Skin Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30
Attitude’s SPF 30 mineral sunscreen will protect your skin from UVA and UVB rays using all natural origin, vegan ingredients. It applies easily, leaves no visible residue, and is unscented - perfect for those who prefer their summer skin care products perfume free! The ultra-light formula made from plant and mineral-based ingredients also contains oat extract and is ideal for sensitive skin. It’s also a coral-safe formula so you can swim guilt-free in the open water this summer.
OUR TOP FACE SUNSCREEN PICKS
Ambre Solaire Over Makeup Super UV Protection Mist SPF50
This super handy, freshly-fragranced, travel-size face mist is the ultimate spray-and-go SPF. Specially designed for the sensitive skin on your face, it’s enriched with hyaluronic acid to remain hydrating but non-greasy. It’s also cruelty-free and incredibly easy to apply since it spritzes on like a cooling mist. It even promises an invisible finish so you won’t experience the dreaded residual white streaks after application. Perfect whether you’re applying yours over or under your makeup.
Invisible Shield Dail Sunscreen + - Glossier
Vegan, cruelty-free, and dermatologist-tested, this lightweight and breathable sunscreen is a favourite for a reason. With broad spectrum SPF 35 protection and a serum-like consistency, applying this sunscreen to the face feels more like a spa treatment than a precaution. It also absorbs incredibly well into the skin with a, you guessed it, seemingly 'invisible' finish. Ideal for makeup lovers and anyone who simply doesn’t love the feeling of thicker sunscreen on their face.
Umbra Tinte Physical Daily Defense SPF30 - Drunk Elephant
Since one of the many reasons we like to sunbathe is to get that healthy sun-kissed glow, we love that the Umbra Tinte facial sunscreen by Drunk Elephant helps us get there safely! Delivering both UVA and UVB protection, it has a gentle tint for a glowing finish after application. It also helps prevent free radicals and oxidative skin damage with its smooth formula (which boasts antioxidant ingredients such as grape juice and sunflower shoot extract). Also infused with marula oils for excellent moisturisation, this formula is cruelty-free and contains zero essential oils, silicones, or fragrance.
Discover our other helpful wellness guides here.
Written by Sophie Mara - Fashion & Lifestyle Writer for Koraru
Sophie is a fashion and lifestyle writer based in the eco-friendly city of Brighton, England. She has years of experience writing for a number of online fashion and lifestyle publications about personal styling, fashion & lifestyle, Fashion Week coverage, beauty and more. On rare occasions when she's not writing, Sophie can be found with her head in a good book or catching up on her favourite interior design series