Best Sunscreen & Sun Protection Products

We’re all familiar with the Aussie adage: slip-slop-slap. But without the right sunscreen, this tried-and-tested sun care routine can become a drag. The best sunscreen for you is one that’s not just effective, but also convenient to apply and feels comfortable on your skin. With these boxes ticked, you’re more likely to happily apply sunscreen before spending a day in the sun. Continue Reading...

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Based on 878 reviews
Ivera Sunscreen Lotion

Ivera Sunscreen Lotion

5.0  (8)
Lee S
Lee SMelbourne
 
MooGoo Clear Zinc Sunscreen SPF 40

MooGoo Clear Zinc Sunscreen SPF 40

2.8  (38)
 Summary
  • SPF Rating40
  • TypeCream / Lotion
  • UsageEveryday
Mandy R.
Mandy R.NSW
 
Excellent chemical free sunscreenGreat chemical free product. Easy to apply and protects my skin from sunburn. Customer service is exceptional. Show details
UVNatural SPF 30+ Sunscreen

UVNatural SPF 30+ Sunscreen

3.6  (14)
 Summary
  • SPF Rating30
  • TypeCream / Lotion
  • UsageEveryday
Autumn's mama
Autumn's mamaAU13 posts
  Verified
Wotnot 30 SPF Natural Baby

Wotnot 30 SPF Natural Baby

2.7  (44)
 Summary
  • SPF Rating30
  • TypeCream / Lotion
  • UsageKids and Sensitive
Kaz
KazVIC2 posts
 
Back to the drawing boardThrew out virtually a full tube. Bought because of its more natural ingredients.So thick it’s like putty. Tried shaking as instructed. No different . Impossible to apply. Waste of money. Show details
Key Sun Zinke

Key Sun Zinke

4.3  (9)
 Summary
  • SPF Rating30 and 50
  • Type
    • Cream / Lotion
    • Cream / Lotion and Roll on
  • UsageSports
Jenni F.
Jenni F.QLD4 posts
  Sticks SPF 50+
Zinc like the old daysKeysun's general zinc sticks are too flouro and would be better placed at a school swimming carnival. Their on-again off range of pastel zinc's include subtle pink, blue, yellow and lilac, and very much like zincs were in the 70's and 80's. I also noticed pink always sells out ahead of all others. Show details
We Are Feel Good Inc Sensitive Sunscreen

We Are Feel Good Inc Sensitive Sunscreen

3.3  (18)
 Summary
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michelle
michelle15 posts
 
The best sunscreenI love this product and all the other products that this company make are amazing
Best sunscreen Ive ever used Show details
Little Urchin Natural Sunscreen SPF 30

Little Urchin Natural Sunscreen SPF 30

4.9  (7)
 Summary
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Emily
EmilySA
 
Saveta B.
Saveta B.VIC7 posts
 
using for years amazing quality productGreat value, when you purchase half price.
I love the easy to apply texture and performs amazingly on my sensitive skin. I love the fact the product is made in France and uses quality ingredients. Show details
Le Tan Coconut Sunscreen Range

Le Tan Coconut Sunscreen Range

2.4  (18)
 Summary
John
John
 
absolute rubbish!Took family to the lake today, we all applied this 'Sun screen' and reapplied during the day, and we all are now at home very burnt & sore. Do Not buy it! Show details
Cancer Council Active Dry Touch Sunscreen

Cancer Council Active Dry Touch Sunscreen

2.6  (13)
 Summary
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Dad
DadNSW
 
Useless productMy daughter used it at the pool two days ago. Lathered on liberally by her sister, the ONLY area that she got burnt was where it was applied. Never again! Show details
Cancer Council
Cancer Council   DM   
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Don
DonVIC
 
Excellent for burnsI mildly burnt 2 fingers with cooking oil. Immediately rinsed with cold water then applied this product. Wonderful results shortly after application - nullified pain to the point where had easy sleep that night. Strongly recommend this product Show details
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen

2.6  (11)
 Summary
sleepish_husky_01
sleepish_husky_01VIC2 posts
  Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen
Everything it claims not to beI was so disappointed when I tried this product. I went for the more expensive sunscreen with claims to be “non-greasy, non-shiny, matte finish”. It’s very shiny and greasy; definitely not matte!! It's also caused me breakouts and is very oily not soaking into my skin. Show details
ALDI Ombra SPF50+

ALDI Ombra SPF50+

1.7  (99)
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A M.
A M.
 
Do not risk itI agree with the other reviews that this sunscreen CANNOT be trusted. DO NOT RISK IT. Do not listen to the positive reviews in case you are unlucky and for whatever reason this provides terrible protection for you like it did for me. Show details
Nivea Sun Spray

Nivea Sun Spray

2.1  (22)
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zavier o.
zavier o.
 
Sunsense Sensitive

Sunsense Sensitive

2.1  (21)
 Summary
Caity
CaitySA3 posts
 
Great sunscreen for my eczema childMy son gets eczema on his cheeks and we have tried so many sunscreens and this is the only one that does not aggrivate it. Highly recommend this sunscreen for anyone with eczema of sensitive skin. Just wish it came in a larger bottle! Show details
Nivea Sun Protect & Moisture Moisture Lock

Nivea Sun Protect & Moisture Moisture Lock

1.6  (176)
 Summary
  • SPF Rating50
  • TypeCream / Lotion
  • UsageEveryday
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Kanom
KanomSA52 posts
 
Grease me upI find this specific Nivea moisturiser to be too heavy and greasy compared to the others. It’s still nice though but not my favourite
SunSense Face Milk SPF 30+

SunSense Face Milk SPF 30+

5.0  (3)
Nicole y
Nicole y
 
so goodHave been using this product for years, this is perfect. Leaves my face really well covered and look young, doesn't give me pimples. but i can't find this product any more, where can i buy it now?

Ethical Zinc Natural Clear Zinc Sunscreen

Ethical Zinc Natural Clear Zinc Sunscreen

1.9  (20)
 Summary
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angie m.
angie m.
  Verified
Terrible customer service no productI would love to talk about this product but unfortunately it never arrived and after multiple emails to which they never respond I am $30 down and no product. Show details
Coles Suncare

Coles Suncare

1.5  (68)
 Summary
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Jan
JanQLD
 
Causes stains on clothesColes sunscreen is cheap but leaves yellowy brown stains on clothes that are difficult, if not impossible to remove. This is despite waiting for the product to dry on the skin. I have tried all the usual methods to remove the stains but am left with several items of clothing that I can no longer wear in public. Not economical in the long run. Show details
Bronzinc Cream SPF 30+

Bronzinc Cream SPF 30+

4.0  (3)
 Summary
Ponyprincess
Ponyprincess
 
Cancer Council Day Wear Face Sunscreen SPF 50+

Cancer Council Day Wear Face Sunscreen SPF 50+

3.3  (4)
 Summary
Daisy
DaisyNSW
 
Cancer Council
Cancer Council   DM   
More
Banana Boat Sport SPF 50+

Banana Boat Sport SPF 50+

1.3  (76)
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Paul H.
Paul H.
 
Becca Sun Care

Becca Sun Care

5.0  (2)
 Summary
Sue H
Sue HWA
 
Great product for my sensitive skin/eyesMy eyes are easily irritated by sunblock, no problem with this product! I am about to buy my second tube. My kids always ask for it too. Money well spent Show details
Vicki
Vicki2 posts
 
Brett M
Brett MAU8 posts
 
Rejuvaus M1 Super Moisturising UV Lotion

Rejuvaus M1 Super Moisturising UV Lotion

5.0  (2)
 Summary
Alisha
Alisha2 posts
 
The BEST SPF I've ever used!!Amazing!! I cant live with out this, Ive always found that other sunscreen makes me brake out or feel very thick and sticky on my face but not this one! Very lightweight, goes on really well under make up and lasts all day and dose not block or clog my pores. The best SPF I've ever used! Show details
  • SPF Rating50
  • TypeCream / Lotion
  • UsageEveryday, Face and Sensitive
STEPH
STEPH12 posts
  Verified
Avene Very High Protection Emulsion SPF 50+

Avene Very High Protection Emulsion SPF 50+

3.7  (3)
 Summary
Jess
Jess13 posts
 
Neutrogena Beach Defense

Neutrogena Beach Defense

2.0  (9)
 Summary
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JMM
JMM
 
Ron
Ron
  Verified
UselessMyself and my wife applied liberally 30 mins before going into the sun. We then walked the dogs for approximately 30-45 mins without swimming or rubbing product off. That night we were both completely burned. My wife is prone to sunburn while I am not, yet we were both burned.

 Show details

A woman applying sunscreen to her face on the beach

What does sunscreen do to your skin?

Sunscreen protects skin from harmful UV rays that can cause damage to both skin and to your health. There are two types of UV rays:

UVA Rays

These are present during daylight hours, all year. This type of UV radiation penetrates to the dermis, the middle layer of skin. It can cause some skin cancers, as well as skin ageing including wrinkles,sagging and age spots. While it’s less common, shorter wavelengths of UVA can also cause sunburn.

UVB Rays

UVB Rays are strongest between the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., but their presence and intensity also depends on the season, and where you are in the world. UVB Rays cause sunburn and tanning (the skin’s response to prevent further sun damage). They also cause skin reddening and premature skin ageing.

Broad-spectrum sunscreens

These sunscreens protect against damage caused by the ‘broad spectrum’ of both UVA and UVB rays. Choosing a sunscreen that is clearly marked as a broad-spectrum sunscreen and at least SPF 30 ensures that you are protected from both these types of UV radiation when spending a day out in the sun.

Types of Sunscreens

Chemical filter sunscreens

Also known as UV organic filters, these use carbon-based chemicals like oxybenzone and avobenzone. They abosrb or filter UV rays before they make contact with your skin - effectively deactivating them. Most sunscreens from popular brands on supermarket shelves use chemical filters.

Pros
Widely considered effective at protecting against sun damage.
Tend to be cheaper than natural or non-toxic sunscreens.
Cons
Reactions to chemicals are possible for people with sensitive skin. Patch tests should be done on small areas of skin 24 hours before applying to the whole body.

Physical sunscreens

Physical sunscreens sit on top of the skin, and create a physical barrier between UV rays and the skin. The sunscreen reflects UV rays off its surface, like a mirror.

These are also known as mineral sunscreens, or inorganic metal oxide sunscreens. They are often marketed as ‘natural sunscreens,’ because they use minute amounts of naturally occurring minerals as active ingredients in their formulas.

The main two ingredients used are either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Zinc sunscreens are more likely to be used in broad-spectrum sunscreens, rather than titanium dioxide, which often just protects against UVB rays.

Pros
Tend to be gentler on sensitive skin - although everyone is different, and some people may still have zinc allergies or other allergies to natural ingredients.
Often use non-toxic formulations that are also gentler on the environment.
Cons
More expensive price tag than chemical sunscreens.
Can leave a white cast on skin.
Some research suggests that nanoparticles in physical sunscreens could be harmfully absorbed by skin and into the bloodstream - but it's still unclear.

Sunscreen application types

The most common types of formulations for sunscreen are sun creams and sunscreen sprays. However, you can also buy sunscreen in the form of a gel, roll-on, stick or a powder, depending on your personal preference.

Sun creams and Lotions

The bulk of sunscreens on supermarket and chemist shelves are creams or lotions. Creams are thicker in consistency, while lotions and milks are thinner.

Pros
It's easier to see whether a cream has been properly absorbed by skin, compared to other sunscreen types.
Convenient to use over a larger surface area of the body.
Chemical filter sun creams offer better value for money than other sunscreen types.
Cons
The thick consistency of sun creams can make them feel greasy on your skin (though lotions tend to be thinner and less oily).

Sunscreen sprays

These refer to sunscreens that come in an aerosol can. They are often sought out because of their quick and easy application method, which may be especially appealing to adults with kids.

Pros
Easy to apply, as most sprays don’t need to be rubbed into the skin.
No-mess application method means you won’t be left with greasy hands.
Cons
Since sprays are thin, you’ll usually need much more sunscreen than you think to stay sun-protected. It's common to quickly under-spray, and end up sunburned.
Can be tricky to see how much you’ve applied, as sprays dry clear.
Alcohol-based formulas mean that sprays can often dry out the skin.
Irritating to lungs if accidentally sprayed into the nose or mouth, especially when it’s windy.
Chemical-based sprays are not especially eco-friendly - a lot of it can end up in the air instead of on skin.

Sunscreen gels

Gels are also alcohol-based, like sunscreen sprays. Since they are non-greasy, gels can provide a good sunscreen for oily skin. They're also a good option if you have body hair (for example on the chest, leg and arms) that becomes overly greasy after you've slathered a thick layer of sun cream all over it.

Sunscreen Roll-Ons

Sunscreen roll-ons usually come in small, travel-friendly bottles. They’re good for quick sunscreen touch-ups, but may be too fiddly and time consuming to apply to large areas of the body.

Sunscreen Sticks

Sticks have a similar style of packaging to roll-ons. They’re small and compact, so great portable sunscreens. However, unlike roll-on sunscreens, sunscreen sticks are cylindrical rather than round in shape. Sunscreen sticks also start off dry; but once they end up on skin they will be wet.

Sunscreen sticks are great for applying around the face - particularly to the skin around the eyes - due to their small size.

Powdered sunscreens

Powders are a relatively new type of sunscreen. They’re most commonly found for the face, as applying a powder to the whole body would be time consuming, and would likely result in uneven application due to their extremely thin texture.

This may be the best option of face sunscreen for those who wear sunscreen under their make-up. Reapplying a wet sunscreen over a full face of make-up later in the day is unheard of, but a powder sunscreen that goes on invisibly could work.

Which sunscreen is right for me?

Choosing the right SPF

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. It refers to the amount of time it takes for skin to redden and burn while wearing the sunscreen - compared to how long it takes to redden and burn when not wearing any sunscreen at all.

For example, if it takes 10 minutes for skin to redden and burn while wearing no sunscreen, and 300 minutes for skin to redden and burn while wearing sunscreen - the SPF is 30. This is because it takes 30 times longer to burn when wearing the sunscreen.

As a result, SPF 50 will provide the longest lasting protection against sun damage. However, whether you need this level of protection depends on whether you’re planning to spend your day mostly indoors or outdoors.

If you’re mainly indoors

This refers to situations when you’re wearing everyday sunscreen as part of a daily routine. For example, you may only be exposed to sun while driving to work, or on your lunch break. For this type of use, an SPF 15 is likely to be sufficient, as your sun exposure is minimal. You may prefer to wear a tinted sunscreen, or a foundation or moisturiser with SPF.

Spending the day outdoors

It’ll be a different sunscreen story if you’re spending the day outdoors. This may involve a lovely, long day at the beach or a picnic in the park. In these instances, it’s better to opt for the highest level of sun protection possible - SPF 50. Wear SPF 30 as a minimum, to have the best chances against sunburn.

Sunscreen for the face or body

While it seems much easier to use the same sunscreen for your face and body, there’s a legitimate difference between the two. Facial skin contains more oil glands, and is more sensitive to irritations than the skin on the rest of your body. As a result, using a sunscreen made for the body on your face can trigger sensiticity or disrupt the natural pH of your skin.

For example, using a sun cream for the body on your face can result in break-outs of pimples, or excessive shine. If you’re using a body sunscreen like an alcohol-based spray, it can result in facial skin becoming overly dry.

It’s best to stick to a separate sunscreen for your face to prevent any of these concerns from arising.

Sunscreen for babies and kids

It’s recommended that babies 6 months or younger shouldn’t wear any sunscreen, as they have highly sensitive skin. They should also be made to stay out of the sun completely, with hats, long-sleeved clothing and shade, for example by using a sun shade feature on a pram.

For babies older than 6 months, a specially-made baby sunscreen may provide you with peace of mind. These sunscreens, and sunscreens for kids, are often made with natural, gentle formulations. They’re likely to use an active ingredient like zinc oxide instead of harsh chemicals.

Sports sunscreen

These sunscreens are designed for endurance. They will be broad-spectrum sunscreens, usually with an SPF 50.

Sports sunscreens are also made to be water-resistant sunscreens. This doesn’t mean they won’t rub off in the water (or on sweaty skin) - they will, but just not immediately. Water-resistant sunscreens are required by standards to be water-resistant for a minimum of 40 minutes. The usual range of water-resistance is around 40-80 minutes - so you'll be protected from UV rays while in the water for only this long. After this, sunscreen should be reapplied as per usual.

Sunscreen for sensitive skin

If you have sensitive skin, it’s definitely worth your time to check out a prospective sunscreen’s ingredient list before buying.

Avoid products with artificial fragrances, and an excessive amount of chemicals in them. Some chemicals, like PABA, can cause photoallergic reactions. You may prefer to use a physical sunscreen, as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are non-comedogenic, meaning they don’t block or clog pores, which can irritate skin. However, since some natural ingredients can also be irritating, it’s important to do a small patch test on skin 24 hours before use.

Sunscreens that are marketed for babies and kids are specifically made for sensitive skin, so may be a better match for you if you're an adult with sensitive skin.

Combining sunscreens with other products

  • If you’re out all day, use a primary sunscreen instead of a secondary sunscreen. A cosmetic product like a tinted face moisturiser with SPF or foundation with SPF will be tricky to reapply without changing the colour of your skin. As a result, you're more likely to shy away from reapplying, which can pose a risk your skin.
  • While some sunscreens double up as insect repellants, choose two separate products. Sunscreens need to be reapplied much more frequently than repellents. Repellants that use DEET as their active ingredient can also compromise a sunscreen’s effectiveness.

Tips for applying sunscreen

  • Along with sunscreen, remember to wear sun-protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved short and pants, sunglasses and a broad-brimmed hat.
  • Apply sunscreen 20 minutes before leaving the house. This lets sunscreen settle on your skin.
  • Apply to every area of skin that will be exposed to skin.
  • Use the correct amount of sunscreen, as directed. If you’re unsure, the Cancer Council recommends applying one teaspoon per arm, leg, front of your body, back of your body, and face, neck and ears - or seven teaspoons in total.
  • Reapply sunscreen once every 2 hours to remain protected from sun damage.
  • Avoid being exposed to the sun during peak hours of UV radiation, i.e. from 10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Remember that everyone exposed to the sun needs to wear sunscreen, including people who have naturally darker skin. There’s a common misconception that the increased melanin in darker skin protects from sun damage. However, this isn’t true, as people of colour are still susceptible to sunburn and skin cancers.
  • Most sunscreens last about 2-3 years and should be kept at a temp below 30 degrees. If sunscreens are expired or are constantly stored in a hot environment, it's probably better to throw them out and start fresh.

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