Here it is. Based on our reader recommendations, we analyzed what we think are the best summer sunblocks. UV is the biggest age-related factor in the health of our skin. But not all sunblocks are the same, and some are even quite dangerous in themselves.
We had dozens of responses and there were some clear favorites and a few interesting outliers. Our method was to research what the brand says about itself then check its rating and ingredients on our favorite home/body toxicity rating site: The Environmental Working Group. Any products we were going to recommend would need a #1 or #2 on a scale of 1-10 ranking from EWG for us to recommend them. Arbitrary, yes, but that was the high bar we set. We would then purchase the top two for an on-skin test to see how they felt.
Ultra Violette. We had a handful of people who are enthusiastic about this brand, and just the name got our attention. The problem for us was that we could not find any 3rd party analysis of the brand so we can’t really weigh in with any suggestions on this one.
EltaMD’s products. These were the most popular. They are also recommended by dermatologists we know. The UV Clear, UV Elements Broad Spectrum are EltaMD products that many of you liked. They may be popular, but for us they failed the EWG ranking with a #3 or #4. Have a look at what the EWG issues were with these, and they may not be a problem for you. You could certainly do worse.
Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen. We had never heard of this one, but a lot of you are really into it. Now we understand why — it gets a nice #2 ranking on EWG and it is totally clear. In our skin test, it felt quite nice — none of the icky skin-crawl vibe that some sun products have. Being a chemical-based product, it probably needs to be re-applied regularly, but for small exposure times, it is probably fine.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Mineral Tinted. This was our favorite and was the reader favorite with more responses than any other product. It gets a #2 on the EWG site and, since it is mineral based with 11% titanium dioxide, it won’t diminish in effectiveness with sun exposure. It felt great on the skin, rubbed in well, and the tint blended nicely. The only downside we can see to this product is if you have a white shirt, or a white mask, you may want to be careful with it. In which case go for the Supergoop.
Now that we have all this sunblock intel, what are we doing? We are using the La Roche-Posay Tinted on our face and ears. Supergoop is applied to the neck and collar areas. It is clear and we don’t have to worry about messing up a shirt with the tinted La Roche-Posay. For our hands, never forget the hands, we use a less expensive organic, mineral-based block, of which there are many. True, there is a slight white sheen, but we don’t really mind on our hands. The rest of our bodies we keep covered as much as we can when we are outside. Tanned skin is lovely, but UV skin damage is not so great.