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...

112 listings

Best Sunscreen & Sun Protection Product

Ivera Sunscreen Lotion
5.0 from 8 reviews

Latest review: This sunscreen is the best sunscreen for your face and body, its light and goes on well, I've been using it now for over a year. I use it as a base under my make up and it feels great. I usually dont

Wotnot 30 SPF Natural Baby
2.9 from 40 reviews
SPF Rating30
TypeCream / Lotion
UsageKids

Australian-made Wotnot 30 SPF Natural Baby sunscreen is made with certified organic ingredients, for babies over 3 months old and people with sensitive skin.

Made with organic ingredients
Gentle on eczema-prone skin
Oily feel on skin
  • Value for Money
    3.0 (6)
  • Causes Irritation Yes (2) · No (3)
  • Ease of Application
    3.1 (7)
  • Smell
    3.7 (6)
  • FormulationContains Zinc
MooGoo Clear Zinc Sunscreen SPF 40
SPF Rating40
TypeCream / Lotion
UsageEveryday

Using zinc oxide as its active ingredient, this $19.90 broad-spectrum SPF 40 sunscreen is designed to be gentle on sensitive skin, including eczema-prone skin.

Thick zinc doesn't run
No chemical filters
Thick and slightly greasy formula
  • Value for Money
    2.6 (16)
  • Causes Irritation Yes (1) · No (16)
  • Ease of Application
    2.4 (19)
  • Smell
    3.4 (13)
  • FormulationContains Zinc
UVNatural SPF 30+ Sunscreen
3.6 from 14 reviews
SPF Rating30
TypeCream / Lotion
UsageEveryday

This natural oil-based sunscreen has zinc oxide as its active ingredient, and costs $34.10 for a 150-gram bottle.

Cancer Council Lipstick SPF30+

Latest review: I decided to try something new. The lip balm and lip stick very high quality. For what your paying for. Highly recommended. Unfortunately they only have the 50plus option. Would mind other tints.

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Little Urchin Natural Sunscreen SPF 30

Latest review: Easy to rub in and protects so well. Use it on the whole family. Little goes a long way. No issues with ingredients. Love that it protects our skin and doesn't contain any

Key-Sun Zinke / Clear Zinke

Key-Sun Zinke / Clear Zinke

 · includes 3 listings
4.8 from 6 reviews

Latest review: Clear Zinke stick was excellent for hiking - no greasy hands after application. So why is clear gone and replaced with stupid colours. Who wants to emerge from the bush with bright blue, pink or

Cancer Council Sunscreen Tube

Latest review: Love this sunscreen. My family has been using it for years because it's the only one I found that is affordable and that my 5 children/teens and now adult children can use without an allergic

We Are Feel Good Inc Sensitive Sunscreen

Latest review: I have been searching for a good sunscreen for a long time. I have very oily acne prone skin and use a heavy skincare regime to control it. This sunscreen sits very well on top of my serums and

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen
3.3 from 8 reviews

Latest review: I had been using this sunscreen for months, it was lightweight and applied very well. But when I bought another tube I noted that the formula became thicker, and clogged my pores. It works well for

Le Tan Coconut Sunscreen Range

Latest review: Applied to myself and kids and we all got extremely burnt to the point my son got blisters on his face! Applied as directed. Have never had this issue before with other brands. Smells amazing but

Cancer Council Active Dry Touch Sunscreen

Latest review: My 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

Nivea Sun Spray
2.3 from 19 reviews

This broad-spectrum sunscreen spray is 4-hour water resistant, and is made with a biodegradable formula, to be more ocean-friendly.

ALDI Ombra SPF50+
1.8 from 86 reviews

Latest review: Love this sunscreen. Easy to apply, love the smell and protection is good. Never put it on my face though and always reapply regularly especially after swimming. Can’t seem to find any this y

Cancer Council Everyday Sunscreen
SPF Rating30
TypeCream / Lotion
UsageEveryday

A sunscreen made by the Cancer Council seems like a reliable pick. With all purchases going towards cancer research and services, it wins good-conscience points, too - but does it effectively protect against sun damage?

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Nivea Sun Protect & Moisture Moisture Lock
SPF Rating50
TypeCream / Lotion
UsageEveryday
La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Ultra-Light Fluid SPF 50+

Latest review: I have combination skin and this sunscreen is amazing, it's light weight and smooth to apply, spreads easily and gives great coverage. It has 50 Spf . I wear it daily under make up. It has never

SunSense Face Milk SPF 30+
5.0 from 3 reviews

Latest review: Have 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

SunSense Aftersun Cooling Spray

Latest review: SunSense Aftersun Cooling Spray is great to use to soothe and cool your sunburnt skin. I prefer this brand as it has a nice smell and is gentle on you skin. The spray rehydrates your skin and helps

Sunsense Sensitive
2.0 from 20 reviews

Latest review: I have got sensitive skin and body psoriasis which worried me over several years . When I started using this product my skin got better and it was just a perfect protection for both my body and

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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.