A must for summer 2021: sunscreen for the face

Sunscreen Test – Which Is The Best? Stiftung Warentest

Every year the sun products from cosmetic manufacturers are tested again: Luxury brands and inexpensive manufacturers – which sun cream is the best? Every summer we read again “The best sun cream is also the cheapest” – it sounds wonderful, but is it also true?

In fact, there are also inexpensive products among those rated as “very good”, such as the Ombra Sun Ultra Sensitiv sun cream from Aldi and the Elkos Sun sun milk from Edeka, as well as the Test winnerSundance sun lotion (SPF 30) from dm – for just 1.23 euros per 100 ml!

Cheap = good? Sunscreen doesn’t have to be expensive!

In fact, every year we are amazed that many inexpensive own brands in supermarkets and drugstores do so well. The sun creams from Elkos (Edeka’s own brand) and Sundance (dm) regularly earn top marks, as did the products from Aldi (Ombra sun milk from Aldi Nord and Ombia sun milk from Aldi Süd), Sôl sun spray from Real and Sun Ozon from Rossmann. But also the sun lotion from Ladival (without perfume, colorings and preservatives) from the pharmacy was rated very well.

In the sunscreen tests, however, one aspect was classified as difficult: sunscreen with the addition of “waterproof”. Manufacturers only have to observe rather loose guidelines in order to be allowed to write it on the packaging. And even if only half of the sun protection is guaranteed after bathing, it can be called “waterproof”.

We have tested other sun products and checked for their suitability for everyday use.

Sun protection – what does the sun protection factor actually mean?

The sun protection factor (SPF) is decisive when it comes to protection against sunburn. Many think that a high sun protection factor protects against sunburn particularly long and well. And that you just have to diligently re-apply it in order to further extend the expired protection time.

And indeed: reapplication is important! Because sweating, abrasion and swimming reduce the protective cream film. Sunscreens have to be applied more often (about once an hour) so that the protective effect remains at all.

The Sun protection factor indicates how much longer you can stay in the sun based on the skin’s own protection time. If the self-protection time of a light skin type is ten minutes and they use a sunscreen with SPF 30, they can stay outside 30 times longer without risking sunburn.

Important on the subject of sun protection factor:

A sunscreen with Sun protection factor 30 already blocks 97 percent of the sun’s rays, In products with a higher sun protection factor, slightly more sun rays are blocked, but no sunscreen can protect 100 percent from the sun’s rays. The latest sun creams advertise with a filter of 90 or 100. However, experts warn against using these extremely high sun protection factors to lull yourself into a false sense of security and prolong sunbathing.

Sun cream, sun lotion or sun spray – which is better?

Which texture of a sunscreen you choose depends not only on your personal preferences, but also on your skin type. Normal skin can wear anything – either this skin type chooses its favorite texture or, depending on its age, a sun protection product with combined anti-aging ingredients.

Oily skin tolerates a light gel texture better than a rich cream or milk. There are also mattifying textures for the face and tinted BB creams with a high sun protection factor for blemishes.

Dry skin is well advised with sunscreen that contains nourishing ingredients such as olive oil or sea buckthorn. Anyone with sensitive skin likes to use mineral filters or products that contain few chemical filters, no parabens or fragrances. Ingredients such as thermal water, dexpanthenol and vitamin E can be found in many sun products for sensitive skin.

Even Hand creams now often contain sun protection filters (cyclists particularly appreciate this). But also Makeup products how Foundations are developed with light protection from light (between SPF 15 and 20).

Sun protection – mineral or chemical?

We are more sensitive to the subject of sun protection than ever before. Because UV radiation causes the skin to age faster and makes it more susceptible to skin cancer. An important question when choosing sun protection is that of the filter. There are chemical and mineral filters (usually titanium dioxide or zinc oxide). We explain everything about mineral sunscreen in our special.

Mineral sun protection filters

For a long time, mineral filters contained coarse white particles and therefore colored the skin on the cream white. In the meantime, however, they have been reduced to such small sizes that mineral sun protection no longer whitens.

Advantage: The mineral sun cream protects immediately after application, because the reflection of the sun’s rays works immediately after application. It is hardly allergenic and protects very well because it adheres extremely well to the skin.

Disadvantage: You have to rub them in well so that full protection is guaranteed and really no white film remains. Since the white particles have meanwhile been reduced to the size of nanoparticles, mineral filters are also being criticized: The nanoparticles may represent a health problem. However, there is a lack of studies to prove this – here we inform you in an article about nanoparticles in Sunscreens. However, there are also many mineral sun creams without nanoparticles – which then leave a light white film on the skin.

Chemical sun protection filters

Chemical sun protection filters also protect against UVA and UVB rays and penetrate the outer layer of the epidermis quite well. It takes 20 to 30 minutes for them to work completely. You should allow for the time before you go into the sun. But chemical filters are also criticized. Certain UV filters are suspected of having a hormonal effect in the body. Others trigger allergies.

Chemical UV filters also create residues in the environment, and microplastics are added to many sun creams, which can later be detected in fish and breast milk. What damage they can cause has not yet been proven.

Also important: Chemical UV filters decompose after 3 to 6 months. So: replace the sunscreen regularly.

If you are unsure whether your sun lotion contains dangerous ingredients, you can use the Codecheck app to check the ingredients – it shows which ingredients are questionable, i.e. which may have a bad effect on health and which are harmful to the environment.

And if you are just looking for a light sunscreen for your face – or foundations that contain a sun protection factor – we recommend great products and tips for make-up with a sun protection factor. Also: Which sun cream is suitable for people with a sun allergy, how important sun protection is for hair and what needs to be considered with sun cream for children.