July 21, 2024

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Beautiful appearance or well protected?  Six facial sunscreens were tested

Beautiful appearance or well protected? Six facial sunscreens were tested

There is no doubt that sunscreen is essential to protect your skin and face. But is it better to choose a mineral or chemical filter? Is it enough to use makeup that contains sun protection factor (SPF)? Which products are worth investing in? We spoke to dermatologist Stephanie Brack and tested it ourselves.

Let’s be honest: finding the right protection for your face is no easy task these days. Take, for example, the debate over mineral and chemical filters. There are now roughly two camps: advocates of chemical filters and supporters of mineral filters. Stephanie Brack, MD, a dermatologist at the Skin Clinic in Koksijde, leans toward mineral variants. “Chemical variants are loaded with ingredients like benzophenone, octocrylene, and homosalate. These are substances that penetrate the skin and may cause hormone disruption and even cancer.

Although there is currently no absolute certainty about the harmfulness of chemical filters to skin and health, experts are still divided on this issue. However, it seems that products containing chemical filters will soon disappear from shelves. The exact history of this procedure is not yet known, but there is a lot of speculation about its application.

“Dangers” of sunscreen

The emerging narrative that sunscreen is bad for your skin and health has its origins in a growing number of anti-sun influencers on TikTok and Instagram. For example, these influencers claim that chemical filters in sunscreens have endocrine disrupting properties — which may be a valid point. But the solutions proposed are often completely unconventional. Some even recommend making your own sunscreen using ingredients like mayonnaise and cocoa butter, or even not using sunscreen at all because “our ancestors didn’t do that either.”

Another popular claim is that sunscreen can lead to vitamin D deficiency, but according to Brak, this is complete nonsense. “The filters in sunscreen only block UV rays. Even if you wear sunscreen with the highest levels of sun protection (SPF), vitamin D still penetrates your skin.

“There is no doubt about the effectiveness of sunscreens,” the dermatologist confirms. The number of skin cancer cases in Belgium has increased by at least forty percent since 2021, with more than 50 thousand new diagnoses every year. The risk of skin cancer therefore outweighs the minimal health risks posed by sunscreens, which are also considered safe by law.

You can and should continue to use sunscreen, but it’s best to choose the mineral version. “Although these sometimes leave a white cast, manufacturers have now added nanoparticles to safely solve this aesthetic problem,” Brack says.

A new layer every two hours

Many people are also confused by the abundance of sun protection products on the market. In addition to traditional sunscreens in tubes, more and more SPF sticks, powders and even cosmetics that provide protection appear. But according to Barak, it is not wise to rely only on cosmetics that contain a sun protection factor (SPF). “It is essential to apply sunscreen separately,” she warns. “Sunscreen loses its effectiveness after two hours of exposure to the sun. If you only use makeup with SPF, this means you’ll have to reapply a layer of makeup every two hours.

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This two-hour rule applies not only to makeup with SPF, but to all sun protection products. Not sure which product suits you best? We’ve tested a wide range of products and listed all the pros and cons for you.

What?

This is a sun stick that has a chemical filter and a soft, spreadable lip balm texture. The stick is waterproof and is intended for the most vulnerable areas of the face and body, such as the nose, lips, eye area, ears, moles, scars and tattoos. It is also suitable for children under three years of age.

Active ingredients?

This product contains Tocopherolalso known as vitamin H – Which protects your skin from damage thanks to its antioxidant effects. It also has moisturizing effects. In addition, it also contains Camelina oil: which is said to soothe redness and promote the healing of your skin.

Pros and Cons?

This compact sunscreen is perfect for on the go or to take with you while traveling. Thanks to its non-sticky texture, it stays on the skin without leaving a white residue. Another plus is that you can also apply the stick over your makeup without it smudging or feeling heavy. Even after reapplying, the sunscreen feels light. The luxurious, light coconut scent is a nice addition for those who don’t like the typical sunscreen scent. The only downside is the price of €20.49 for 9ml, which may be high for the relatively small content.

price?

€20.49 per 9ml.

a result?

9/10

What?

Sunny Ever After from Belgian brand I.AM.CLEAN is a self-dosing sunbrush containing loose sun powder with a mineral filter. Available in two skin tones, the product provides natural coverage and is enriched with SPF50 for high sun protection. The product is refillable so you can easily refill it yourself afterwards.

Active ingredients?

With ingredients like titanium dioxide and iron oxides, it is a mineral SPF. It is also rich in Salicylic acidIt is often used in skin care for its exfoliating and acne-fighting properties.

Pros and Cons:

This product requires a bit of a learning curve – especially if you’ve never used a powder stick before – but once you get the hang of it, it proves to be extremely useful. It is compact and portable, perfect for on-the-go use and ideal for travel. You can use this powder as the last step in your makeup, or even as the first step after your skincare routine. It’s a great alternative for those who don’t like sticky sunscreens. The powder feels light on the skin, you hardly notice you’ve applied anything, and it’s almost odorless. Do you have a naturally drier skin type? Then moisturize your skin well before using this product. It can dry out a little. The only downside to this sunscreen brush is the price: €47.99 is pretty expensive for a powder with SPF.

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price?

47.99 euros

a result?

7.5/10

What?

This tinted sunscreen with mineral filter is packaged in an easy-to-use tube with a squeeze pump at the end. Specially developed for the face and neck, it is suitable for all skin types. It contains no fragrance and blocks harmful UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays penetrate deeply and can cause premature aging and skin cancer, while UVB rays can cause sunburn and skin cancer as well.

Active ingredients?

This product contains AstaxanthinIt is a powerful antioxidant that protects your skin from daily stressors such as pollution and UV rays. At the same time, it helps reduce hyperpigmentation and dryness with the help of Ferulic acid.

Pros and Cons?

This sunscreen comes in a thin tube that is easy to use. The cream has a deep shade, but spreads smoothly for a subtle, natural glow on your skin. What really sets this cream apart is its moisturizing effect. You can also replace your day cream with it or use it as a makeup base. Unlike many mineral sunscreens, this product doesn’t leave an annoying white cast and has a wonderfully rich texture. However, be careful not to use too much, otherwise it may feel a bit sticky.

price?

42.00 euros

a result?

8/10

What?

This facial sunscreen comes in a compact tube and specifically focuses on reducing pigment spots and promoting radiant skin. The SPF 50 chemical filter promises long-lasting protection, although you’ll have to reapply after swimming as the product isn’t waterproof.

Active ingredients?

In addition to very high protection, this cream also promises hydration and soft and radiant skin. To achieve this, the cream is enriched with Vitamin E And derived from Vitamin C.

Pros and Cons?

This cream spreads smoothly, is not greasy and gets absorbed quickly: after applying it, I don’t notice a white haze anywhere and I can apply foundation over it very quickly. A light citrus scent has been added, which I find very pleasant, but may cause a reaction on sensitive skin. You can apply this cream like a classic sunscreen. This makes this product less suitable for application over makeup.

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price?

€12.95 for 40ml

a result?

a result: 7.5/10

What?

This anti-aging cream comes in a tube with an easy-to-use squeeze pump at the top which makes dosing easy. The product is intended for your face and neck. The packaging clearly states that you should definitely put enough: a teaspoon for your face alone, and need more for your neck. Useful for those who tend to skimp on sunscreen. It contains a chemical filter and is intended for adults. In terms of marketing, it’s aimed at women, but I think it could also be perfectly used by men.

Active ingredients?

Yves Rocher products are not only kind to your skin, but also to the environment and oceans. The cardboard that the tube comes in is environmentally friendly and the product itself does not contain mineral oils. The stellar element is Cross thistle or sea hollya plant that retains moisture, promotes melanin production, stimulates cell renewal and better protects the skin from the harmful effects of the sun.

Pros and Cons?

This cream feels luxurious and spreads very pleasantly. On the other hand, it takes a while to get absorbed and my skin retains an oily sheen for about a couple of minutes. When I try to rub the cream in a little more, pimples form, which of course is not the intention. The moisturizing ingredients do their job well and the sunny scent is not too overpowering. You can also spread this cream with your fingers and hence it is less convenient to apply over makeup.

price?

€31.90 for 40ml

a result?

7/10

What?

Sunscreen with a mineral filter protects you from UVA and UVB rays and is intended for the face and body. There are two sizes: small 50ml and large 200ml.

Active ingredients?

Belgian brand Ray says it does not use unnecessary commercial ingredients and keeps it simple by using only essential ingredients e.g Non-nano zinc oxide To protect and soothe, and Cocoa Butter To nourish your skin.

Pros and Cons?

This no-nonsense sunscreen is as light as a day cream and leaves your skin radiant and well-hydrated after a few swipes. It contains no added fragrances or alcohol, but has a slight scent of cocoa butter. Moreover, it does not leave white marks and does not leave a sticky feel at all. The brand claims that it is an ideal ally against sunburn. The golden tip is to apply the cream frequently, especially when exercising.

price?

€24.00 for 50ml, €37.00 for 100ml.

a result?

7/10