Last updated: August 20, 2021

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If you wish to have young and healthy skin for a long time, one of the items that cannot be missing in your routine is sunscreen for the face.

With it, you can guarantee daily photoprotection and even fight against situations such as early aging, dryness and even skin spots. To find the best sunscreen for your face, you need to evaluate criteria ranging from your skin type to the texture of the product. In the following article, we specify the most important information to know before buying! Check it out:


  • Sunscreens for the face are different from other models because they have specific features for each skin type. While some have moisturizing function, others will control oiliness when used.
  • The Sun Protection Factor and the PPD are the main components that define a sunscreen product. Therefore, cosmetics with SPF only are not effective in protecting against the sun's rays.
  • To ensure the safety offered by sunscreens, you need to use the product at an adequate frequency and in the quantity recommended by dermatologists. It should also be applied every day, even in cloudy weather.

The Best Face Sunscreen: Our Picks

Buying guide: everything you need to know about sunscreen for the face

The face is very exposed to the sun and therefore needs special care to avoid problems caused by such exposure. One of them is the application of sunscreen, but do you know how to use this product? Read our guide and find out all the details.

Mulher com toalha de banho na cabeça passando creme no rosto.

Using sunscreen every day prevents the appearance of spots, dermatoses or melanomas. (Photo: choreograph/ 123rf)

Why is it important to use sunscreen for the face every day?

Staying protected from the sun is not the only benefit of the daily use of sunscreens. For you to understand the importance of this cosmetic, we have separated the main benefits of its application:

  • Protect from the sun's rays: This product has a chemical formula to absorb the sun's radiation, taking care of the cells.
  • Moisturize the skin: Specific models leave the skin softer and healthier.
  • Prevent diseases: Daily use of sunscreen prevents the probability of diseases such as dermatoses or melanomas.
  • Lighten blemishes: By having lightening actives, they diminish the effects of blemishes, also reducing new occurrences.
  • Avoid sun acne: The ultraviolet rays leave the skin dry, favouring the appearance of blackheads and thorns. With sunscreen, they appear in smaller quantities.

What is the ideal frequency of application of sunscreen for the face on a daily basis?

The recommendation is that the sunscreen should be applied about 20 to 30 minutes on clean and dry skin before sun exposure.

Sunscreen should be applied about 20 to 30 minutes before exposure to the sun

An average of 5 ml (one teaspoon) of the product is recommended for each area of the body in adults. This process should be repeated every two hours if the person is exposed to the sun's rays. Indoors, the product can be applied in the morning and early afternoon. In swimming pools or beaches, the sunscreen should be applied after each contact with water.

Are there differences between sunscreen for the face and for the whole body?

Sunscreen formulas for the body are almost always greasier, and can leave the face with a greasy appearance, especially on people with oily skin. It can also increase the appearance of acne. Besides avoiding these disadvantages, the specific sunscreens for the face bring extra resources for daily care, working, for example, as a moisturizer for dry skin.

Homem passando protetor solar no rosto.

Face sunscreens have extra specific resources for skin protection and hydration. (Photo: maridav/ 123rf)

Does the use of cosmetics with Sun Protection Factor (SPF) replace the sunscreen?

Sunscreens always have two components: the SPF, which protects against UVB rays, and the PPD, which cares against UVA radiation. Therefore, cosmetics with SPF cannot replace the use of sunscreen, because they only have one of these elements.

According to ANVISA, manufacturers must warn consumers about this issue on package labels. Although they offer protection against the sun, cosmetics with SPF still leave users exposed to UVA rays, which can cause cancer.

UVB rays have incidence between 10 am and 4 pm, while UVA rays are emitted all day long. The difference between them is that UVB causes skin burns. Both are pointed out as factors for precocious aging, the appearance of spots and the development of cancer

Does just using sunscreen keep me protected from the sun?

We know that the sunscreen is a fundamental item against the damages done by the sun rays, but unfortunately it cannot do all the necessary protection alone. Therefore, even with this product, don't forget to use other accessories that help block the solar radiation. Sunshades, polarized sunglasses and beach hats are examples of physical protectors with this purpose.

Clothes with ultraviolet protection are also good alternatives for those who need to be exposed to the sun for a long time, since shorts and ordinary shirts do not prevent the radiation from reaching your skin.

Buying criteria: What to take into account when comparing sunscreen models for the face

Do you know how to define the characteristics of a good sunscreen for the face? In the following we bring you answers to this doubt with criteria that you should observe when buying this cosmetic!


The first step to choose the perfect sunscreen is to analyze its texture to match your skin type. In the table, see the main models that exist in the market:

Characteristics Type of skin indicated
Oil free Does not have oil in the composition For oily, combination or acneic skin
Creamy More moisturizing texture Dry or parched skin
Dry touch Matte effect with dry and smooth appearance Oily skin
Spray/Aerosol Difficult to apply in full All skin types

Sun Protection Factor (SPF)

The Sun Protection Factor indicates how often your skin is protected from the sun's rays. This number is indicated on the product packaging. People with fair skin need higher values.

People who have had skin cancer in the family or are exposed to the sun for a long time should also choose products with a high factor. Another element you should pay attention to is the PPDs, which represent the skin protection against UVA radiation. For sunscreen factor 30, the recommended PPD is 10.


Although they all serve to care for sun-exposed skin, sunscreens are divided into two groups as to their composition:

  • Chemical sunscreen: The sunrays enter the skin, but do not cause damage thanks to chemical agents. They are easily found on the market. Suitable for all skin types.
  • Physical suns creen: composed of natural elements such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, making it impossible for the rays to enter, reflecting them. They are thick and recommended for sensitive skin.

Skin characteristics

Recognising skin specificities is essential to ensure the effectiveness of sunscreens. Check out the characteristics of the main types:

Characteristics Recommended Protector
Oily skin Present a lot of shine Oil-free texture, fast absorption
Mixed skin A lot of oiliness in certain parts of the body, while others are dry Oil-free protectors in gel-cream
Acne skin With spots, lesions and oiliness Oil-free model with matte coverage
Dry skin Dryness and stiffness Cream texture with moisturizer
Sensitive skin Redness, spots and allergies Dermocosmetic protectors

Extra Features

In addition to the essential features, some face sunscreen formats contain extra features to enhance their functions. One of them is the incidence of tint in the product. Tintless sunscreens only protect against the sun's rays, while tinted sunscreens will also ensure skin safety in contact with artificial light.

Mulher de olhos fechados aplicado protetor solar no rosto.

Using a sunscreen suitable for your face intensifies the protection provided by the product. (Photo: Viacheslav Iakobchuk /123rf)


It is better to buy a face-specific sunscreen than to use body-specific models. This way, you ensure adequate protection against the sun's rays and still bring improvements to the skin such as hydration or oil control.

Not all cosmetics with SPF are sunscreens. Therefore, pay attention to the product's composition and the presence of PPD, as they will guarantee that the model is effective in sun-exposed skin care.

(Source of the highlighted image: choreograph/ 123rfr)

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