When it comes to giving your skin the best possible protection against the sun’s harmful rays, sunblock is your best option. The higher the SPF (sun protection factor) the better the level of protection.
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If you’re looking to know the exacting science behind choosing the best sunblock, we recommend you take a look at Good Housekeeping’s article on what to look for when you’re buying suncream (opens in new tab).
In simplistic terms, the higher the SPF, the better the level of protection it provides, so those with really pale skin should go for the highest possible SPF. The best sunblocks will have an SPF factor of 50+, like the Vichy Ideal Soleil Hydrating Milk SPF 50 (opens in new tab), while those who don’t burn quite so easily may be able to get away with using an SPF 30 like the Lancaster Sun Sport Cooling Invisible Mist SPF 30 (opens in new tab), although that is to your discretion.
We’ve put together a list of the best sunblocks to suit all budgets. Whether you’re getting the essentials together for the annual summer holiday or chucking the kids out to enjoy the best of any sunny spell, you can ensure you’re all fully protected with our list of the best sunblocks.
If you were to put together a checklist of the ideal sunblock properties, this one from Vichy would probably meet them all. It blocks both UVA and UVB rays, leaves no white marks, is easy to apply and quick to absorb, and offers substantial hydrating properties to help keep skin soft and supple. Whether you’re protecting young skin or simply want yours to remain as youthful as possible, Vichy definitely gets our top spot.
Setting you back just £7, this is probably one of the best sunblocks on a budget. It features two ingredients that help to strengthen your skin’s resistance to the sun, including Calmanelle and Feverfew PFE. Having been specially formulated for sensitive skin, you can rest assured Piz Buin is only full of friendly stuff. It’s quick to absorb and should provide hours of moisturisation, although you’ll need to reapply after sweating, swimming and towelling.
Although this sun cream isn’t the most cost-effective, is certainly makes up for it in features. From its Biological Cell Protection that helps to strengthen the skin’s own defences to its water resistance that ensures you’re protected in the water too, Eucerin is well worth the spend. Bear in mind that you’ll need to reapply once you’re out of the water and frequently throughout the day to prevent the chance of burning, and with its light, non-greasy texture and white stain-free application, this shouldn’t be too bothersome.
Offering protection against UVA, UVB and infrared radiation, Anthelios by La Roche-Posay is a strong yet friendly formula suitable for those with sensitive or spot-prone skin. As with the Eucerin, this sun cream is very water-resistant, although it must be reapplied to ensure you remain protected. Anyone looking to deter the signs of aging will be interested to know that the protection against UVA rays this sunblock offers is stricter than European regulations demand, so you have the best chance of retaining your youthful skin, even when you’re relaxing in the sun.
Thanks to its spray application, Lancaster Sun Sport is perfect for applying on the go, whether you’re just about to play in a football match or hike through the hills. Being both water- and sweat-resistant, Lancaster Sun Sport should provide long-lasting protection against UVA, UVB and infrared rays, and can be reapplied on wet skin to ensure there’s no break in protection. One of its best qualities is the cooling effect of the spray which, according to Lancaster, keeps you feeling fresh as you carry out your activity.
The face is a sensitive area, so purchasing a friendly, yet highly protective sunblock for it is always a great idea. To avoid flaky noses, burnt foreheads and sore cheeks, this sunblock stick from Sisley is the perfect buy. It protects, moisturises and nourishes to ensure your face remains protected yet hydrated. Offering both UVA and UVB protection, applying this sunblock stick will help to slow the effects of aging and ensure your face remains protected, whether you’re in the sea or have your nose in a good book.
Don't forget those lips! They can get sunburnt too, so look for one of the best lip balms with SPF for peace of mind.