The choice of a good sunscreen and the analysis of all those on the market was a feat that cost us several weeks of time.
We have not only relied on our knowledge, but I have also personally asked for help from various professionals in the sector to give me a hand in drafting a special ranking that sheds light on the best choices in this field.
So, in today’s article you will find:
1) A summary guide on HOW to choose the sunscreen that best suits YOUR needs (learning to read the label too)
2) The ranking that is periodically updated on the ABSOLUTE best sunscreens in Italy, by type of need. We have selected 12 , among over 80 potentials.
No more chatter: let’s get started!
Sun Cream: the choice in 3 points
According to the latest FDA report on using sunscreen cosmetics, 73% of sunscreens on the market provide less protection or contain ingredients that require some level of attention .
Going to read more specifically the indications of the report we find:
1) That hormone-disrupting sunscreen filters are still widespread
2) That many manufacturers sell formulas passed off as protective, but which in reality contain little protective and even sensitizing ingredients .
3) That some ingredients degrade becoming inactive or worse, sensitizing , in the sunlight.
It is a matter that we have carefully evaluated even when we have selected the best after-sun creams for the efficiency and quality of INCI.
While application errors exist due to the structure and format of the product (such as sunsprays, which are problematic because it’s not easy to see where you applied them), I think we can all agree that we have always encountered filters. solar that have disappointed us .
No wonder I get so many questions about how to find a decent sunscreen!
That’s why I’ve created this mini-guide to help you.
You’ll understand what to look for on the label, so choosing a sunscreen will protect you adequately and won’t harm your health!
Point 3 – Active ingredients: which are the best in sunscreen?
First, look at the active ingredients to determine if it is a chemical or physical (mineral) sunscreen .
There are now numerous studies that have now established how physical filters have a lower toxicological impact on the skin. However, there are also some excellent chemicals, able to guarantee good protection without affecting the metabolism in hormonal or allergic terms.
Here are the 9 most used sunscreens in modern sunscreens , so you can understand what we are putting on the skin when we spread our favorite cream.
Low toxicological impact UV filters
Mexoryl SX : FDA approved offers good and stable UVA protection. Skin penetration less than 0.16% in human volunteers, no evidence of allergies, no evidence of hormonal alterations.
Avobenzone (Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane) : Among the best UVA protections among chemical filters. Limited penetration into the skin. No evidence of hormonal alterations. Possible allergic sensitizer on some skin types.
Titanium dioxide : PHYSICAL filter. Broad spectrum protection. No skin penetration in human volunteers. No evidence of allergic or hormonal changes.
Zinc oxide : PHYSICAL filter. Excellent UVA protection. Less than 0.01% skin penetration in human volunteers. No evidence of allergic or hormonal changes.
UV filters with medium toxicological impact
Octocrylene : Broad spectrum protection. Partial penetration into the skin (0.1% skin penetration, found in the milk of pregnant women). Possible sensitizer of allergic skin. No hormonal alterations.
Octisalate (Octisalate) encapsulated : PHYSICAL filter. Broad spectrum protection. Partial penetration into the skin. Rare cases of skin allergies, no hormonal alterations.
Octinoxate (Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate) : Broad spectrum protection. Less than 1% skin penetration (found in the milk of pregnant women). Hormone-like activity; evidence of reproductive, thyroid and behavioral changes in animal studies. Minimal allergic sensitization.
UV filters with high toxicological impact
Homosalate : Broad spectrum protection. Less than 1% skin penetration (found in the milk of pregnant women). Possible sensitizer of allergic skin. Alterations detected on estrogens, androgens, progesterone.
Oxybenzone (2-Hydroxy-4-methoxybenzophenone) : Broad spectrum protection. Detected in almost all humans studied (bioaccumulative). Found in breast milk. Skin penetration from 1% to 9%. Evidence of alterations on estrogen (weak) anti-androgen (moderate); associated with changes in the birth weight of humans. High allergic sensitizer.
Source of studies: Food and Drug Administration results, EWG sunscreen report 2019;
These are the most used UV filters ever.
The other ingredients approved for topical use for UV filters are less and less used: dioxybenzone (benzophenone-8), cinoxate, ensulizole, meradimate (menthyl anthranilate), PABA, Padimate O, sulisobenzone (benzophenone-4) and trolamine salicylate .
They tend to be abandoned due to low filtering power or hormonal or allergic abnormalities.
Chemical filters work by penetrating the bloodstream. They can prevent sunburn, yes, but they have limited effectiveness against the aging type of UV rays (UVA). They can also have hormonal and sensitizing effects!
There is a heated dispute between lovers of physical filters and lovers of chemical filters. In general, physical sunscreens are appreciated because they remain on the surface of the skin, without being absorbed into the epidermis.
This of course avoids toxicological problems.
In the same way, the latest generation chemical filters guarantee a broad spectrum protection, and even if inevitably absorbed by the skin, they have no highlighted risks. I’m talking about the safest ones, highlighted in green in the previous summary, not the others though …
But to get the best protection against UVA and UVB rays, we need to ask ourselves a few more questions …
Step 2 – Sunscreen and vegetable oils: is it ok?
Are there polyunsaturated vegetable oils?
When we treat sunscreen products it is always useful to check for the presence of polyunsaturated oils, because at high temperatures and under the effect of UVA rays they can degrade and sensitize the skin to the absorption of UVB rays.
Here are some examples of oils that should preferably be avoided:
- Almond oil
- Rapeseed oil
- Cottonseed oil
- Grape seed oil
- Peanut oil
- Rosehip oil
- Safflower oil
- sesame oil
- Soybean oil
- Sunflower oil
If you are unsure whether an oil is polyunsaturated, you can always search for the oil’s name + “fatty acid profile” to find out.
NB: the presence of essential oils is not to be excluded a priori, so let’s not be alarmed if we see any. Rather, it should not exceed 10-15% concentration of the entire formulation.
If present in the last positions (usually as emollients) they can be safely tolerated .
Finally, as I have seen, “natural sunscreen products for homemade recipes ” should not be considered . We avoid.
Point 1 – Vitamin A: NOT in sun creams!
I conclude with one of the most important aspects about sunscreens: the presence or absence of vitamin A.
I’ll be clear: vitamin A , and all its derivatives , should be AVOIDED when we expose ourselves to the sun.
It is not at all obvious, because you will also find opinions from sites and magazines that recommend vitamin A as a natural filter against UV rays.
A 2012 study conducted by the FDA (United States) showed that retinyl palmitate (retinol palmitate, a form of vitamin A), can accelerate the development of tumors and skin lesions when applied to the skin in the presence of sunlight ( NTP 2012 ) .
Sources: 1) FDA Authority Over Cosmetics, FDA Office of Cosmetics and Colors, Guidance Compliance Regulatory Information, 2005;
2) BfR 2014 German, SCFS Norway 2012a
Other studies in Germany and Norway have warned that retinyl palmitate and other vitamin A derivatives in cosmetics could contribute to vitamin A toxicity when combined with excessive sun exposure.
The evidence of these effects, although not definitive, is at least an alarm bell.
Despite this, there are several companies that insist on using vitamin A as an antioxidant (for marketing reasons) in sunscreens.
The main derivatives of vitamin A are these, and should always be avoided in sunscreen:
- Retinol (Retinol)
- Retinoic acid (Retinoic acid)
- Retinyl acetate (Retinyl acetate)
- Retinyl linoleate (Retinyl linoleate)
- Retinyl palmitate (Retinyl palmitate)
- Vitamin A (Vitamin A)
Ok, I hope you understand that for me the use of a sunscreen is not a game.
At the same time, sunscreens are a FUNDAMENTAL ally, to be used all year round!
In choosing the best sunscreen, I took into account all the aspects discussed above, but I also got help from several experts contacted specifically for the writing of this article .
The article is updated periodically , so that only the best sun creams for every need are always present.
All right, we’re ready. Let’s begin!
Sunscreen: The Ranking [Pros / Cons + INCI Analysis]
Collistar tanning spray milk is a protective sunscreen with a tanning factor.
It is of course a product that does not guarantee high protection, having an SPF of 10 and should preferably be chosen by those who have a skin color that is already a little dark and not milky white.
In terms of quality, the ingredients are very good .
The main sunscreens are Avobenzone (butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane), which is one of the absolute best chemical filters, Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine which is another excellent broad spectrum filter and Octinoxate.
The latter is a filter that, as we have seen previously, is able to guarantee a broad spectrum of protection, even if it is not exactly very delicate on the skin.
Considering that it is still a sun / tanning cream, I believe that the mix of protective filters is decidedly excellent, much higher than I expected.
The tanning stimulation capacity is given by unipertan, a patented melanin enhancer.
Among other things, the various presences of plant extracts and antioxidants are noteworthy, including the useful beta-glucan that prevents skin aging.
The texture of the cream is excellent: it spreads well on the skin and thanks to the non-soluble vehicle in water (c12-15 alkyl benzoate) it allows it to resist very well on the skin even in sweat or any “baths”.
In conclusion, it is one of the best sun creams with a self-tanning effect ever. However, to avoid if we have very fair skin.
Aqua, c12-15 alkyl benzoate, ceteareth-20, glycerin, glyceryl stearate, ethylhexyl cocoate, ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate (uv filter), propylheptyl caprylate, butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane (uv filter), vp / eicosene copolymer, ethylhexyl methoxyphenolymer, bisolepoxy / uv filter), ethylhexyl triazone (uv absorbent / uv filter), cocos nucifera oil, cetearyl alcohol, cetyl palmitate, ceteareth-12, tocopheryl acetate, phenoxyethanol, peg-40 hydrogenated castor oil, parfum, propen glycol, methylparaben, chlorphenesin disodium edta, butylene glycol, lecithin, acetyl tyrosine, sodium carboxymethyl betaglucan, methylisothiazolinone, tocopherol, ascorbyl palmitate, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, sodium hydroxide, adenosine triphosphate, citric acid, corallina officinalis extract, fumaria officinalis acidum, citrus medica limestone extract extract, alpha-isomethyl ionone, benzyl salicylate, butylphenyl methylpropional, citronellol, eugenol, geraniol, hydroxyci tronellal, hydroxyisohexyl 3-cyclohexene carboxaldehyde, limonene, linalool
- Excellent ability to enhance the tan evenly
- Broad spectrum UV filters more than adequate and of good quality
- High presence of antioxidants from plant extracts
- Excellent value for money for the type of product
- Not suitable for very fair skin, especially the first days of tanning
- Present silicone vehicles, Pegs and various perfume allergens
Collistar – Super Tanning Moisturizing Milk Spray – (SPF 10) 200 ml –
Price: € 30.49 – Discount: 29% – Price: € 19.89
The Australian Gold bronzer is a sunscreen, tanning stimulant, which deserves a place in this ranking.
If only to clarify.
Australian Gold sunscreen with bronzer is one of the best-selling products not only in Italy, but in the world .
The reason is that it is actually a cream capable of guaranteeing good sun protection, while at the same time guaranteeing “bronze” effects from the very first hours , since it contains self-tanning active ingredients.
The texture is also very pleasant, it allows you to spread it well on every part of the body and it is absorbed in a few minutes.
You will find online feedback from people who would not change it for the world .
I am the first to recognize that this bronzer sunscreen will work.
The active ingredients include UVA / UVB sunscreens, plant-type antioxidants, and ingredients useful for stimulating melanin in the skin.
Honestly, they cannot fail to note that the first ingredients (UVA / UVB filter) are Octinoxate and Oxybenzone. As we saw in the initial introduction, these are sunscreens with a high toxicological impact.
The first, more tolerable, guarantees broad-spectrum protection, has shown minimal allergic effects, but a non-negligible incidence at the hormonal level in tests on animals.
The second, Oxybenzone is an ingredient that made me exclude many creams from this ranking. It is, yes, an excellent UV filter, but it is also a bioccumulant (it is not disposed of by the body), an allergic sensitizer, but above all it seems to be an estrogen alterator in the body .
It is also particularly toxic to the environment and aquatic organisms.
Source: Janjua, Nadeem Rezaq, et al. “Systemic absorption of the sunscreens benzophenone-3, octyl-methoxycinnamate, and 3- (4-methyl-benzylidene) camphor after whole-body topical application and reproductive hormone levels in humans.” Journal of Investigative Dermatology 123.1 (2004): 57-61.
In short, a sunscreen that works without a doubt : it protects from the sun’s rays and at the same time gives a beautiful bronze color from the first applications (immediately due to the caramel, therefore nothing harmful).
However, if we have sensitive skin, we have allergy or hormonal problems, or if we are pregnant women, I recommend avoiding it.
Octinoxate, Oxybenzone, Acrylates / C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Copolymer, Acrylates / C12-22 Alkylmethacrylate Copolymer, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Oil, N-Butylphthalimide, Caramel, Diazolidinyl Urea, Dimethicone, Disodium EDTAus (Sunthus Annulus) Oil, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, N-Isopropylphthalimide, Tea Tree Oil, Methylparaben, Olive Oil, Oleth 10, Propylene Glycol, Propylparaben, Sorbitan Oleate, Vitamin E, Triethanolamine, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Water, Fragrance
- “International bestseller”
- Effective UV filters, even on fair skin
- Effective “bronzer” component, visible from the very first hours
- Oxybenzone is an allergic sensitizer, potential hormonal alterator
- Not suitable for pregnant women or people with skin allergies
Australian Gold – Instant Bronzer Sunscreen Spray – (SPF15) 237 ml – Price: 18.90 €
Best children’s sunscreen
This sunscreen is not in this position for demerits, but only to distinguish it from the others, as it is the best sunscreen for children.
The French company Avene has designed a latest generation sunscreen for children, using very modern filters.
Use a spray applicator: I’m not crazy about spray applicators, but I know from experience that on children it is easier to “accept” a spray than a slightly pasty cream, so spray is welcome.
In addition, the spray, in addition to spreading very well on the skin , has a strong white color that can be seen very well on the skin avoiding uncovered areas.
This spray cream as we said has several effective ingredients . 3 in particular are interesting.
Methylene bis-benzotriazolyl tetramethylbutylphenol [nano] which is a chemical agent capable of offering broad spectrum and highly photostable coverage. It does not show hormonal abnormalities nor high absorption in the body.
Bis-ethylhexyloxyphenol methoxyphenyl triazine, on the other hand, is a chemical sunscreen agent that is very soluble in oil and requires relatively low concentrations to reach high SPF values (it provides an SPF 12.5 at the maximum allowable concentration of 10%). It is particularly suitable for water-repellent formulations. and water resistant. It does not appear to give hormonal or allergic alterations.
Source: Pharmazie 62: 449–452 (2007), Study of the efficacy of 18 sun filters authorized in European Union tested in vitro
Finally, Diethylhexyl Butamido Triazone is a very photostable filter. It is added in this formulation specifically to guarantee a “minimum” coverage even if we apply the cream only once a day.
Eliminates 10% of its SPF protection capacity in only 25 (!!) hours, when 2 hours are already considered “photostable” in the world of chemical sunscreens.
avene thermal spring water (avene aqua), c12-15 alkyl benzoate, coco-caprylate / caprate, methylene bis-benzotriazolyl tetramethylbutylphenol [nano], diisopropyl adipate, water (aqua), bis-ethylhexyloxyphenol methoxyphenyl triazine, polyethyliaxyl 2 dipolyhydroxystearate, glycerin, butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane, silica, decyl glucoside, benzoic acid, butylene glycol, caprylic / capric triglyceride, caprylyl glycol, disodium edta, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil (helianthus annuus seed oil), hydroxy glucide oil oxothiazolidine, propylene glycol, sodium benzoate, sodium citrate, sodium lauryl glucose carboxylate, sodium polyacrylate, sodium stearoyl glutamate, sorbic acid, tocopherol, tocopheryl glucoside, xanthan gum
- Wide-spectrum functional active ingredients, very effective
- Excellent resistance to water and sweat
- 1 single application guarantees resistance even after 12 hours (even if the SPF coverage will be more than halved after this time)
- Slightly greasy effect on the skin
- The active ingredients used are not biodegradable and show bioaccumulation effects in the environment
Avene – Solar Milk Baby Spray – (SPF 50) 200 ml – Price: € 23.90
Sunscreen: from “shopping center”
Not everyone has the opportunity to buy a sunscreen online and I myself have dedicated myself several times to the study of the sunscreens that I found in the malls of my city.
Well, I’m not going to drag it out. Among the many brands, the Piz Buin is in my opinion the best we will find in the store. (In an “average” price range).
It is a sunscreen that meets most needs.
It is designed to minimize allergic reactions, and at the same time contains a mix of modern and well-stabilized UV filters.
There are both UVB filters (ethylhexyl salicylate, octocrylene, tinosorb M, other than Methylene Bis-Benzotriazolyl Tetramethylbuthylphenol) and UVA filters (Avobenzone). Stability is guaranteed by the tinosorb M which guarantees stability for at least a couple of hours under the sun.
The presence of micro-powders-plastic beads makes me think that the booster effect has been exploited to reduce the concentration of sun filters.
The fat phase is composed of C12-15 Alkyl benzoate, synthesized, and cyclohexasiloxane, which in Canada has been banned due to problems related to the ecosystem (it is completely inert on the human body).
Overall protection is high and of good quality. I found the texture on the skin pleasant and easy to spread.
Let’s get to the point:
Piz Buin has created a cream with good quality sunscreens (low toxicological impact), at the expense of the solvents and vehicles of the cream, which include silicones and PEGs, as well as the complete absence of antioxidants. Some plant extracts with an antioxidant function would have helped a lot.
Overall among the many “commercial” sun creams it is probably the only one I would use and really recommend . UVA / UVB protection is guaranteed and the mix of ingredients is acceptable.
If you are reading these lines and you are in the shop… you know what to do! 🙂
Aqua, Ethylhexyl salicylate, C12-15 alkyl benzoate, Octocrylene, Glycerin, Cyclohexasiloxane, Butylene glycol, VP / eicosene copolymer, Butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane, Dimethicone, Cetearyl alcohol, Methylene bis-benzotriazolyl tetramylene tetramylates, Diethylene bis-benzotriazolyl tetramylates benzoate, Bis-ethylhexyloxyphenol methoxyphenyl triazine, Chrysanthemum parthenium flower extract, Hydroxyphenyl propamidobenzoic acid, Acrylates copolymer, Acrylates / C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, Acrylates / C12-22 alkyl methacrylate copolymer, Pentylene glycolse acid, Cyclopean glycol glycol, Potassium lactate, PPG-5-ceteth-20, Ceteth-10 phosphate, Dicetyl phosphate, Decyl glucoside, Sodium dodecylbenzenesulfonate, PEG-8 laurate, Xanthan gum, Disodium EDTA, Sodium hydroxide, BHT, Ascorbium palmitate, Phenoxyethanolate , Parfum
- Good UVA / UVB coverage
- Good photoresistance, able to cover several hours
- Excellent ability to adapt to all skin types without giving allergic reactions
- It should be re-spread after coming into contact with water
- High concentrations of silicones, PEGs, perfume allergens
Piz Buin – Sun Lotion – (SPF 30) 200 ml –
Price: 24 , € 45 – Discount: 41% – Price: € 13.89
Sun cream: gentle on the skin
Alkemia sunscreen is a medium level product, capable of guaranteeing good protection and at the same time nourishing the skin.
It is a cream that tries to simulate an organic cream (which is almost impossible for a sunscreen), using different ingredients of biological origin , including many plant extracts.
The first solar filter present is Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, better known as Octinoxate. It is an ingredient with a low environmental impact and low toxicological impact.
The other solar filter present is diethylamino hydroxybenzoyl hexyl benzoate. It is a high absorption UV filter in the UV-A range. By minimizing the overexposure of human skin to ultraviolet radiation which can lead to acute and chronic photodamage, diethylamino hydroxybenzoyl hexyl benzoate is an oil-soluble UV filter that can be incorporated into the oily phase of emulsions 4. It is used in concentrations up to 10 % in sunscreen products, alone or in combination with other UV absorbers.
A particular feature of this cream is the absence of acrylates, petrolatum, EDTA and BHT, Propylen glycol, SLS, parabens.
In addition, the presence of natural antioxidants and moisturizers is very rich .
The texture is good, and allows good use on the whole body, including the face. The filtering capacity is good, but the absence of a few more filters makes it not an optimal choice for very fair skin.
Aqua [Water], Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, Diethylamino hydroxybenzoyl hexyl benzoate, Propanediol, Caprylic / capric triglyceride, Dibutyl adipate, Dicaprylyl ether, Diethylhexyl sebacate, Cetyl alcohol, Lauryl glucoside, Polystylhexyl triazone, Polyglycristolyte-polyglycryl, Polyglycryly 3 polygristol , Butyrospermum parkii (Shea butter) butter, Cocos nucifera (Coconut) oil, Theobroma cacao (Cocoa) seed butter, Aloe barbadensis extract (*), Juglans regia (Walnut) seedcoat extract, Lawsonia inermis (Henna) extract, Linum usitatissimum (Linseed ) seed extract (*), Malva sylvestris (Mallow) extract (*), Althaea officinalis root extract (*), Daucus carota sativa (Carrot) root extract, Zea mays (Corn) oil, Tocopherol, Ascorbyl palmitate, Glycerin, Sodium polyacrylate , Benzyl alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium cetearyl sulfate, Phenethyl alcohol, Sodium hydroxide, Undecyl alcohol, Carbomer, Parfum [Fragrance], Acrylates / C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, Tetrasodium g lutamate diacetate, Lecithin, Amyl cinnamal, Linalool, Hexyl cinnamal, Hydroxycitronellal, Citric acid, Butylphenyl methylpropional * From organic farming
- INCI largely of biological origin
- Very low environmental impact
- High presence of antioxidants and moisturizers
- I would have appreciated mineral filters, perhaps instead of Octinoxate
- Slightly poor filtering power for lighter skins
Alkemilla – Nature Sunscreen (SPF 30) 150 ml – Price: € 13.78
Sun cream: good value for money
Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration is a sunscreen that I think of a good level, capable of guaranteeing complete protection for a few hours, leaving a very rare silky effect for sun creams.
The filter system is based on Octocrylene, which we saw in the introduction to be a broad spectrum, low toxicological risk UV filter.
Arm in arm we find the Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, that is the famous Avobenzone. It is the global gold standard of UVA protection as well as the most widely used UVA sunscreen in the world.
Provides excellent protection across the entire UVA range. The only problem is that it is not photostable and degrades in sunlight. Several studies show that it loses 36% of its UV absorbency after just one hour of sunlight.
Yes, this is one of the reasons why sunscreens need to be reapplied after a few hours!
Source: Photochem Photobiol. 2001 Sep; 74 (3): 401-6., Photostabilization of butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane (Avobenzone) and ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate by bis-ethylhexyloxyphenol methoxyphenyl triazine (Tinosorb S), a new UV broadband filter.
I cannot fail to mention the texture of the cream, capable of leaving an excellent silk effect, limiting the typical glossy effect of sun creams.
Another chapter is the perfume, which in my opinion is one of the real reasons why this cream is super appreciated all over the world.
An excellent sunscreen, with a really interesting value for money. Too bad the absence of protective minerals such as metal oxides, which would have guaranteed a more lasting effect on the skin.
Aqua, Octocrylene, Ethylhexyl benzoate, Benzophenone-3, Butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane, Glycerin, VP / Eicosene copolymer, Cetearyl alcohol, Diisopropyl adipate, Isopropyl myristate, Isopropyl palmitate, Phenethyl benzoiumate, Polymethylane- polyethylene, Polymethylshices glucoside, Ceteth-10 phosphate, Dicetyl phosphate, Xanthan gum, Disodium EDTA, Paraffin, Silk amino acids, Butyrospermum parkii butter, Mangifera indica seed butter, Panthenol, Sodium ascorbyl phosphate, Tocopheryl acetate, Aloe barbadensis leaf juice, Carica papaya fruit extract, Colocasia antiquorum root extract, Mangifera indica fruit extract, Passiflora incarnata fruit extract, Plumeria acutifolia flower extract, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Parfum, Hydroxycitronellal, Linalool, May contain: mica, bismuth oxychloride, iron oxides
- Good sun protection even for sensitive skin (I recommend wearing it at least once every 3 hours of exposure)
- Silky effect on real skin: not greasy at all
- INCI balanced between UV filters, moisturizers and plant extracts
- I shouldn’t say this (fragrances should be avoided on the skin…) but the scent is truly wonderful
- On dry skin it may be too dry shortly after wearing it
- The active ingredients tend to lose their effectiveness within 2 hours of application. It should be reapplied often.
- There are silicones in high concentrations
Hawaiian – Tropic Silk Hydration – (SPF 30) 180 ml – Price: € 13.90
Sun cream: best quality / quantity price
The Lancaster Sun Beauty face cream is a particularly delicate and specific cream to protect the body completely from the sun’s rays.
It is based on Avobenzone (which we find as Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane), but at the same time it is rich in antioxidants deriving from medicinal herbs, such as rosemary, Arabian coffee and citrus.
We also find a small percentage of titanium oxide, which provides a physical filter to the sun’s rays.
The texture of this Lancaster cream is thick and creamy, but without being too heavy on the skin. It absorbs very well on any type of skin and the scent is really pleasant.
Honestly, I don’t love sunscreens containing fragrances too much, but in this case I admit I made an exception.
Lancaster presented its products with Full Light technology. This technology protects for 100% light spectrum , UVA, UVB and infrared .
Unfortunately, some of the cream tends to wash off with water, so it needs to be reapplied after taking a bath. But beyond this, it remains one of the best sun creams for quantity-quality / price ratio that can be found ever.
Aqua, Diisopropyl Sebacate, Alcohol, Glycerin, Cyclopentasiloxane Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Butylene Glycol, Vegetable Huile, Isoamyl Methoxycinnamate, Acrylates, Methoxyphenil, Triazonine, Ethylhexyl, Acrylates Allyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Butylene Glycol, Vegetable Huile, Isoamyl Methoxycinnamate, Acrylates, Methoxyphenil, Triazonine, Ethylhexyl, Acrylates Allyl Methacrilate, Camolymerycolicate, Methacrilate, Camolymerycolicate, Salymerycolicate, Slicedmolymery Cinnamal, Coffea Arabica, Dimethiconol, Disodium Edta, Elaesis Guineensis, Geraniol Hydrogenated, Candelilla, Palm Extract, Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Linalool Laurate, Peg.8, Mauritia Feuxosa, Mica, Nylon, Rubylate Powder, Sclerotiun Gum, Sodium Lactanate, Methyllate Powder , Tocopherol, Xanthan, Parfum, Titanium Dioxide.
- Excellent presence of Avobenzone, chemical UV filter with low toxicological impact
- Suitable for any type of skin, it leaves no greasy or “white” effect
- It lends itself well to being used even during the winter
- Not very water resistant
- Present silicones
Lancaster – Silky Milk (SPF 15) 400 ml –
Price: 42 , € 60 – Discount: 43% – Price: € 23.99
Sun cream: low environmental impact
The choice linked to an ultra-green sunscreen is more linked to an ethical evaluation than to the filtering capacity of the cream itself.
In this case we are talking about a completely biodegradable formula, with a very low environmental impact .
The problem of biodegradability has been raised in recent years, given that the chemical active ingredients used in the vast majority of sunscreens are highly polluting and non-biodegradable. (In particular, some active ingredients are very problematic for the respiration of some marine life, such as corals).
In this case the formula is made from a patent called MinervPHB. Beyond the proclamations of the manufacturing company, it is a formulation rich in metal oxides that act by diffusion of light. It means to disperse the radiation more effectively, they reflect or disperse the radiation that hits the skin, rather than absorbing it like chemical filters.
I was asked about PEG 30 Dipolyhydroxystearate: it is an emulsifier that gives the cream water resistance. It is more than tolerable in the overall formulation.
This particular sunscreen does not actually contain microplastics, as well as avoids petroleum jelly, silicone polymers, and artificial dyes.
What I can say is that the cream certainly works very well on the skin . The concentrations of mineral oxides increase with the increase of the declared SPF, guaranteeing a physical protection of the mineral type that is able to reflect well UVA and UVB rays.
On the other hand, we are talking about a cream that struggles to spread on the skin , due to the impossibility of using synthetic rheological additives that best disperse it on the skin.
Result: a cream that protects the skin very well , but which uses fairly expensive components that leave a patina that is difficult to remove, as well as the typical “white effect” if we do not spread it on the skin for a long time.
The price is high, and in my opinion it is a very personal choice.
Aqua, diethylhexyl carbonate, dibutyl adipate, titanium dioxide (nano), butylene glycol dicaprylate / caprate, zinc oxide, peg-30 dipolyhydroxystearate, polyhydroxybutyrate, alcohol denat., Isononyl isononanoate, butyloctyl salicylate, alumina , magnesium sulfate, parfum, trisodium ethylenediamine disuccinate, pentaerythrityl tetra-di-t-butyl hydroxyhydrocinnamate, allantoin
- The only cream 100% biodegradable in nature
- Excellent mineral UV protection, also suitable for fair skin
- Also excellent on sensitive skin
- Difficult to remove, except after long washing
- It leaves a little white patina on the skin if not applied for a long time
- Price higher than average
MyKAI – Mineral Sun Milk (SPF 30) 150 ml – Price: € 29.90
Organic sunscreen (face)
Alga Maris is one of the few brands that has managed to create a “Bio” sunscreen , even if sunscreens traditionally have very little of Organic.
Defining a formulation based on zinc dioxide and titanium dioxide bio is probably a paradox (they are naturally chemically synthesized substances in the laboratory). However, it is one of the few creams that works with filtering systems of metal oxides only , precisely oxides of zinc and titanium.
From the name, together with the mineral filters, various antioxidants are present in the formulation, first of all the Alga Gorria.
The UVA and UVB filter is more than adequate, but not including chemical filters it is inevitable that the consistency is a bit pasty and struggles to absorb on the skin. INCI is undoubtedly of an excellent level and particularly suitable for sensitive skin or skin exposed to allergic reactions.
It should be noted that it is a very well resistant cream to water and sweat, capable of resisting even several hours without having to be re-spread.
Too bad for the price, a bit high for the amount of cream in the package.
If we are looking for a good level, well protective and organic certified sunscreen, this is undoubtedly the best choice.
Caprylic / Capric Triglyceride, Coconut Alkanes, Zinc Oxide, Aqua, Titanium Dioxide, Talc, Polyglyceryl- 2 Dipolyhydroxystearate, Prunus Domestica Seed Oil *, Sorbitan Olivate, Polyglyceryl -3 Diisostearate, Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil, Glycerin ** and Cocoaprylat ** / Caprate, Alumina, Stearic Acid, Glyceryl Caprylate, Magnesium Sulfate, Gelidium Sesquipedale Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder *, Potassium Olivoyl PCA, Maris Aqua, Sodium Benzoate, Tocopherol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Hydroxide
- Certified organic sunscreen
- 100% mineral UV protection (TiO 2 and ZnO 2 , which are not absorbed by the body)
- Good resistance to water and sweat
- A little heavy on the skin
- It leaves the typical white halo of creams with mineral filters, if not applied for a long time
- Mineral protection alone dictates the use of SPF 50. I am not sure of effective protection for lower SPFs.
Lab Biarritz – Alga Maris, Visage BIO (SPF 50) 50 ml – Price: € 17.99
Best Spray Sunscreen
The ISDIN spray sunscreen is an excellent dermatological choice, capable of adapting well to both the face and body.
The main active ingredients are the very famous Octocrylene and Avobenzone (Butyl Methoxydibenzoyl-methane).
The first is a broad spectrum sunscreen with no allergic sensitization or hormonal effects.
Avobenzone is one of the best chemical sunscreens ever from a toxicological point of view . Classified as ‘chemical’ sunscreen because it works by absorbing UV rays over a broad wavelength and then converting them into less harmful infrared radiation (heat). It is marketed as a “broad spectrum” sunscreen because it protects the skin from the full range of UVA rays from the sun.
Alongside these we find Ethylhexyl salicylate, a neutral filter for UVB coverage with emollient properties and the best known Diethylhexyl Butamido Triazone.
The latter is water repellent in contact with water, guarantees UVB and UVA protection, but above all it is extremely photostable. The drop in effectiveness is 10% in 25 hours, which guarantees protection throughout the day even if we “forget” to reapply it.
Credit for the final texture of this spray cream, which I have personally tested many times. It manages to be incredibly resistant to water , and in addition it is one of the very few that practically does not give any “greasy effect” .
Alcohol Denat., Octocrylene, Butyl Methoxydibenzoyl-methane, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Dibutyl Adipate, Aqua (Water), Cyclopentasiloxane, 4-Methylbenzylidene Camphor, Diethylhexyl Buta-mido Triaxylasylates, Ethylhexyl Buta-midoxylasylate Fragrance), BHT, Tocopheryl Acetate, Linalool.
- Excellent level sunscreens (suitable for fair skin) and with low toxicological impact
- Excellent resistance over time: it guarantees coverage that is valid even for 12 hours
- Excellent water resistance
- Virtually no greasy effect
- Spray application may not be comfortable if you are not used to it
ISDIN – Fotoprotector Transparent Spray (SPF 50) 250 ml – Price: € 23.99
Better face sunscreen
In the face of an undoubtedly above average economic effort, the Nuxe sunscreen certainly ranks as one of the best face sun creams ever.
What I liked about this cream is the resoluteness of the ingredients: essential, but effective.
In fact, the cream is based on 3 main UV filters.
Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate is a new generation chemical sunscreen agent designed for high protection from UVA rays and high photostability (in fact it can protect the skin for several hours). It provides sun protection in the entire UVA range, although it does not provide UVB protection.
Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate is the well-known Octinoxate , which we have already seen above. Absorbs UVB radiation with 310nm peak protection. It protects only from UVB rays and not from UVA rays, and in fact acts as a complement to Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl. Furthermore, it is not very stable when exposed to sunlight, in fact it degrades losing effectiveness by 10% every 45 minutes or so. This guarantees excellent coverage at least a couple of hours.
Finally, the icing on the cake is the presence of the Ethylhexyl Triazone. It is a latest generation chemical solar filter, which is also quite expensive to synthesize. To date it offers the maximum photo-stable absorption of all UVB filters available today. Protects in the UVB range (280-320 nm) with a peak protection of 314 nm. It is an oil-soluble, odorless and colorless powder.
Thanks to the use of these ingredients, the texture of the cream is really pleasant. Very light and absorbable by the skin, it does not leave the typical white cream effect at all .
It also leaves the skin pleasantly soft and hydrated, but since the technology of the formula is only of a chemical type and not of a physical type (with metal oxides) I recommend re-wearing it on the face at least once every 3 hours.
Aqua (Water), C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Dibutyl Adipate, Ethylhexyl Triazone, Glycerin, Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine, Polymethyl Methafearcrylate
- Protection (chemical type) with very effective UV filters
- Very lean INCI and free of silicone additives
- Octinoxate has absorption under the skin (however <1%)
- Physical filters are missing (metal oxides)
Nuxe – Sun High Protection (SPF 50) 50 ml –
Price: 22 , € 90 – Discount: 20% – Price: € 17.99
Better Body Sunscreen
La Roche-Posay Anthelios is an excellent level sun milk, among the very few that I have found that combines excellent chemical filters with classic physical mineral filters .
The one chosen by us is the Anthelios Xl 50 sunscreen . In the list of ingredients of the Anthelios range, Mexoryl XL is the most expensive chemical type UV filter , but at the same time more neutral in toxicological terms towards the human body.
Mexoryl XL is insoluble in water (unlike XS) allowing it to guarantee water resistance.
Like all UV filters, Mexoryl works by absorbing UV rays and transforming them into a less harmful form of energy (heat).
Unlike other UV filters, Mexoryl:
1) Provides broad spectrum protection: protects against both UVA-1 and UVA-2
2) is photostable and does not deteriorate rapidly when exposed to sunlight
In practice, it provides the same broad spectrum protection as zinc oxide, without the white effect of the former, but maintaining the light texture of chemical sunscreens.
This sunscreen is specially created for sensitive skin .
Here octocrylene is present, alongside titanium dioxide (nano). Nano means that the titanium dioxide is made so small, practically invisible to the naked eye. So invisible, it won’t leave any white effect on the skin.
Titanium dioxide protects against all UVB rays and most UVA rays and is much gentler on the skin, so it is a better alternative to octocrylene. Oh, in case you are wondering, no, the nanoparticles do not penetrate the skin.
Like others, sunscreen contains alcohol to dilute the formula. But, this time, the cream is a little thicker.
Conclusions? The Mexoryl SX and Mexoryl XL work well on their own, but they really shine together. Combined with the presence of titanium dioxide and zinc they make the formula truly complete.
Unfortunately it is a bit oily, but at least it does not leave the white effect on the skin.
Aqua / water, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Glycerin, Octocrylene, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Styrene / Acrylates Copolymer. Dimethicone, Alcohol Denat .. Butyl Met hoxydibenzoylmethane. Bis-ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine, Pentylene Glycol. Potassium Cetyl Phoshate, Propylene Glycol. Synthetic Wax, Ethylhexyl Triazone, Copryly1Glycol, Dimethiconol, Disodium Edta, Drometrizole Trisiloxane, Gyceryl Stearate, l-lydroxypropyl Methylcellulose. Isopropyl Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Palmitic Acid. Peg-100 Stearate. Peg-8 Laurate, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Plyacrilate, Stearic Acid. Terephthalylidene Dicamphor Sulfonic Acid. Tocopherol, Triethanolamine. (FIL Code: 949229/1)
- Present Mexoryl XL , among the best chemical UV filters in existence
- Excellent presence of titanium oxide and zinc oxide , which physically complete the shield
- Excellent on sensitive, fair , inflamed skin
- One of the few that I would recommend even to pregnant women
- Leaves the skin slightly greasy, especially oily skin
- It must be reapplied after being in the water to maintain 100% protection
La Roche-Posay – Anthelios Xl (SPF 50) 250 ml –
Price: 24.99 € – Discount: 39% – Price: € 14.99
Here are the best sun creams currently on the market in Italy.
We care a lot about this ranking which has cost us a lot of study and countless tests.
For this reason, the ranking is constantly updated , with a periodic review of the products that we believe are more valid and of higher quality (or value for money).
Questions, concerns or feedback about a particular sunscreen? We will gladly answer you in the comments !