The American Academy of Dermatology suggests applying the amount equivalent to one shot glass (1 oz.) to exposed skin every day. That’s a lot of sunscreen, and you can end up spending a hefty chunk of change if you’re using high-end brands.
If you’re living on a budget then buying a 3 oz tube of $40 Skinceuticals sunscreen may not be a cost effective way to get your sun protection. So what’s a girl to do? Hit the drug store, of course!
I’ve tried many drug store sunscreens and found three that work well: Oil of Olay Complete for Sensitive Skin, Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunblock and Alba Botanica Sea Moss Moisturizer. Here’s the skinny on each of these fab sun blockers.
Oil of Olay Complete for Sensitive Skin SPF 15
Price: $8.99 for 6 fl oz.
Makeup and Beauty Blog Rating: A-
A dermatologist recommended this sunscreen to me and I’ve been using it for over ten years.
Pros: Subtle light scent, sinks into your skin easily (but you’ll still want to let it sit for about 10 minutes before putting on your makeup), provides great every day skin protection.
Cons: When I tan and get darker, I notice that this lotion casts a slight white sheen on my skin. During the coldest and windiest winter days it doesn’t provide enough moisture. I can’t wear it when I work out, because when sweat runs down my face this lotion goes into my eyes and makes them hurt. Ouch!
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunblock SPF 30
Price: $9.00 for 3 fl oz.
Makeup and Beauty Blog Rating: A
I don’t like having a sticky neck, so I use this sunblock on my neck, shoulders and arms.
Pros: Light scent, leaves your skin feeling dry, absorbs easily. This has excellent sun protection. I went through two bottles of this a week before before my wedding day last July (I didn’t want to be too tan for the pictures) and I didn’t get too dark, even after days of surfing and swimming. I also always wear it when I run, bike or hike outside because doesn’t hurt when it runs into my yes.
Cons: Not very moisturizing, and can leave a slight greasy (yet not sticky) film on your skin after you apply it.
Alba Botanica Sea Moss Moisturizer SPF 15
Price: $14.99 for 2 fl oz
Makeup and Beauty Blog Rating: B
This sunscreen has a strong smell — you’ll either love it or hate it. I like it, and I think the bottle is cute, too.
Pros: Smells good, non-greasy, very moisturizing.
Cons: Ample sun protection, but not as effective as Oil of Olay and Neutrogena sunscreens.
When you’re searching for your drug store sunscreens, look for ingredients which provide broad-spectrum protection like benzophenones (oxybenzone), cinnamates (octylmethyl cinnamate and cinoxate), sulisobenzone, salicylates, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, and avobenzone (Parsol 1789.)
And always remember to apply your sunscreens 15-30 minutes BEFORE going outdoors.
I go through sunscreen quickly because I slather a lot of it on — while I’m rubbing what seems like a ridiculous amount on I just think of all the wrinkles I’m preventing. I’ve been using sunscreen since my teens and I’m starting to now really appreciate what it can do for your skin. I’m 31 and I still get carded. =)