Last updated: August 11, 2021

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Brazil is a tropical country with high sun incidence, but did you know that 7 out of 10 Brazilians do not use facial sunscreen every day? The data are from a survey conducted by the Institute of Cosmetology and Skin Sciences and reveal the importance of awareness campaigns for the population.

If you already use facial sunscreen, or want to start now, we have prepared a guide to tell you all about this essential item in your skin care routine. Check out the best products on the market and the criteria you should take into account before making your decision. Let's go?




Summary

  • Facial sunscreen should always be used, not only on the hottest and sunniest days.
  • The ideal amount of sunscreen to be applied on the face is approximately 1 teaspoon. Just pat the face with your ring and middle fingers and spread the product from the bottom upwards.
  • It is important to define your skin type before buying. There are protectors for oily or dry skin, and each product has its own particularities and texture.

The Best Face Sunscreens: Our Picks

Buying Guide

Now that you've checked out the most recommended facial sunscreens, take a look at our Buying Guide to find out what exactly a facial sunscreen is.

That way, you'll be able to make the right choice and have a better chance of getting a product that meets all your expectations.

Mulher aplicando protetor solar facial no rosto.

Applying facial sunscreen daily is essential for the health of your face. (Source: asife / 123rf)

What is a facial sunscreen?

A facial sunscreen is a gel, cream or liquid used to protect the skin from sun damage, such as sun spots and burns.

It usually comes in a tube or plastic bottle and is available in sizes to fit into purses, backpacks and suitcases.

It is worth remembering that although the lips are part of the face, it is necessary to invest in a specific lip protector to protect this sensitive area from the sun.

What are the types of facial sunscreen available in the market?

Facial sunscreens are available in versions with Sun Protection Factor (SPF) from 30 to 100. Essentially, SPF is the number of times your skin is protected from UVB rays, which are responsible for reddening the skin and damaging your health - including skin cancer.

There are 3 types of facial sunscreen most commonly found on the market:

  • Cream: This version is more suitable for dry and/or mature skins, as it is oilier and denser. Make sure the product is non-comedogenic, that is, it does not clog the pores. A good cream facial sunscreen should moisturize and protect, and some of them even have anti-aging, spot lightening and anti-wrinkle action.
  • Gel: The darling of oily-skinned people who avoid creamy formulas, gel sunscreen is refreshing, non-comedogenic, easy to apply and absorb, leaving the skin feeling dry. Some gel sunscreens even have ingredients that help dry out pimples and dissolve blackheads and impurities.
  • Fluid: Best suited for combination skin, good fluid facial sunscreens control oiliness and moisturize the skin.

Check out the table below with the main characteristics of each one:

Cream Gel Fluid
Skin type Best suited for dry and/or mature skin Best suited for oily skin and skin with acne Mixed skin
Action Moisturizes Controls oiliness Hydrates while controlling facial oiliness
Texture Oilier or denser More aqueous texture easily absorbed by the skin Aqueous texture, although some may have an oily base
Extras may have anti-aging action May help fight acne

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a facial sunscreen?

Briefly, the advantages of facial sunscreen outweigh the disadvantages, mainly because the use of the product avoids diseases such as skin cancer and prevents premature aging.

There are, yes, some specific disadvantages of some sunscreens that you may come across out there, like the high price or texture incompatible with your skin (if you have oily skin and opt for a cream texture facial sunscreen, for example).

4 embalagens de protetor solar em um estrado de madeira.

Choose the right type of sunscreen for your skin. (Source: chezbeate / Pixabay)

Another factor that should be noted is that the facial sunscreen should be reapplied several times a day to get the desired protection.

Take a look at our table with a summary to better understand the advantages and disadvantages of facial sunscreen:

Advantages
  • It protects against UVA and UVB rays responsible for skin damage
  • There is a specific facial sunscreen for each skin type
  • Many sunscreens offer extra benefits, such as anti-wrinkle and spot lightening
  • They are easily found, even neighborhood pharmacies sell
Disadvantages
  • It can be expensive, especially the imported products
  • It must be reapplied throughout the day to get the desired protection
  • If you do not pay attention, you may buy a sunscreen not suitable for your skin type

How much does a facial sunscreen cost?

It depends. With the advance of technology and many studies in the area, it's possible to find good national products for less than $ 30.

On the other hand, products from reputable dermatological laboratories, such as Vichy, ROC, La Roche Posay, among others, can cost around $ 70. In this price range, you can find protectors with higher SPF, 50, 60 and 70.

Purchase criteria: Factors to compare the facial sunscreen offers

Before choosing the ideal facial sunscreen for your needs, it is good to pay attention to the following factors:

  • Skin type
  • Sun Protection Factor (SPF)
  • Price
  • Face sunscreen with pigmentation or without?
  • Texture

We'll explain each one in more detail below:

Skin type

In addition to facial sunscreens formulated for all skin types, laboratories develop specific products for oily and dry skin.

The facial protectors for oily skins generally have a more fluid texture and it is important to check if the formula is non-comedogenic, that is, if it does not clog the pores. Most products for oily skin contain agents that fight acne.

The protectors for dry skin are usually formulated as velvety creams and have moisturizing properties. Some types still have components that act against skin aging and fight wrinkles and expression lines.

Mulher lendo livro deitada ao sol se protege dos raios solares com as mãos.

Remember to reapply the facial sunscreen several times a day to ensure foolproof protection! (Source: 422737 / Pixabay)

Sun Protection Factor (SPF)

It's important to know your skin. If you already start feeling your face burning after 5 minutes of exposure and you're going to use an SPF 50 facial sunscreen, just multiply 5 by 50, which gives 250. In other words, after the application, you can stay 250 minutes exposed to the sun without having to reapply the sunscreen. That's easy, isn't it?

According to experts, the recommended SPF for black-skinned people is between 8 and 15. For dark-skinned people, the sunscreen should have a protection factor between 15 and 30, while lighter people, such as redheads and blondes, should bet on a protection between 30 and 80.

The Sun Protection Factor is the measure of the sunscreen against the sun's ultraviolet B rays (UVB), which are responsible for burning the skin. The SPF number indicates how long you can stay exposed to the sun using the product

Price

One of the first factors you should take into account when purchasing your facial sunscreen is how much you intend to spend. Set your budget and from there compare the options.

It is possible to find cheaper versions for a few tens of reais, but if the sky is the limit, there are internationally renowned brands with products that can reach almost a thousand reais!

Facial sunscreen with pigmentation or without?

This is a matter of taste and your beauty routine. If you prefer a more natural skin, you can opt for a facial sunscreen without pigmentation, or at least with low pigmentation and coverage.

If you suffer with sun spots or acne and want to cover imperfections, you can bet on a sunscreen with pigmentation suitable for your skin tone.

There are laboratories that bet on this kind of product and develop lines with several shades, as if they were foundation or concealer.

Anyway, it is up to you to choose a facial sunscreen with pigmentation or without it. If you prefer a more natural look, bet on common products. If you prefer to even out your skin tone, pigmented sunscreens can make your beauty routine much easier.

 Moça maquiada toma sol na areia com chapéu e biquíni azul.

Do you want to use sunscreen but not give up the coverage of a foundation? Bet on pigmented facial protectors and keep the glamour! (Source: DayronV / Pixabay)

Texture

Just as you should choose the most suitable properties for your skin, take into consideration the texture of the facial sunscreen.

The ideal is to test on the skin and stay a while with the product to see how it reacts. If this is not possible, opt for cream textures more velvety for drier skin and bet on gel or fluid if you have oily skin.

(Source of the highlighted image: maridav / 123RF)

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