How Does Sunscreen Work?
A sunscreen is a sun protection agent that usually comes in cream, lotion and gel form. It protects the skin from the harmful effects of sun rays and prevents a myriad of skin problems. But most of us know that. What most of us don’t know is how does sunscreen protect our skin? It is important to know this answer as it will help us make better choices in selecting a sunscreen.
There are two types of sunscreen based on their protection procedure - physical blockers and chemical absorbers. The physical blockers are those sunscreens that have mineral bases. Minerals like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are ground into fine particles and put in the sunscreen. Post application, these minerals sit on the surface of your skin reflecting the harmful UVA and UVB rays, almost like a mirror.
Chemical absorbers are sunscreens that contain carbon. They form a thin protective layer on the skin that absorbs UV rays. The layer stops the rays from penetrating the skin.
There is no question of which is better as both are good. Each has pros and cons. For example, physical blockers do not cause irritation or allergic reaction but are greasy and often leave a white cast. Chemical absorbers are lightweight and easy to apply but are likely to cause irritation and allergic reactions. Moreover, the majority of sunscreens in the market are a combination of both.
BP Guide discusses sunscreens in this article and provides a list of sunscreens for you to consider. Read on to know more.
Things to Consider Before Buying Sunscreen
It is important to keep the following points in mind when buying a sunscreen.
Your Skin Type
There are broadly 3 skin types namely, dry, oily and sensitive skin. Each type has a particular Achilles’s heel and it is extremely important that you respect that weakness otherwise there will be dire consequences. For example, dry skin and skin products with mattifying features don’t go well together, extra hydrating and moisturizing products are not ideal for oily skin, and products with harsh and allergic ingredients in them do not suit sensitive skin. You have to find out what type your skin is and choose your sunscreen accordingly. All sunscreen brands have the suitable skin types mentioned on the packaging so choosing the correct one for you won’t be difficult.
Ingredients in the Sunscreen Formula
You might be allergic to certain ingredients and hence it is important to check the ingredient list before buying a sunscreen. Allergies are uncomfortable and sometimes can become deadly so check the list without fail. Like the suitable skin types information, the ingredient list is printed on the packaging.
Rate of Sun Exposure
Everybody doesn’t have the same rate of sun exposure. People who are involved in field work are exposed to the sun for longer periods than people who have indoor workplaces. The former category of people need a sunscreen whose SPF value is at least 30 (50 preferable) for effective protection from UV rays. A sunscreen with medium SPF count will do the job for the latter category of people.
Sunscreens come in various textures. Some are creamy and moisturizing, some are watery gel based and some are anhydrous or contain no water. Creme sunscreens are best suited to extremely dry skin but such sunscreens tend to clog pores. Clogged pores lead to a variety of skin issues. Watery gel based sunscreens are lightweight and hydrating, and suit all skin types. Anhydrous sunscreens too are suited for all skin types. Your skin type will decide which sunscreen texture you should get.
30 Best Sunscreen Lotion in India Across Different Skin Types
The following list contains information on the 30 best sunscreen lotions. The list has been divided into 3 sections - for oily skin, for dry skin and for sensitive skin. Each section has 10 products.
For Oily Skin
1. Dr. Sheth's - Suitable for Acne Prone Skin
The key ingredients in this sunscreen are ceramide, Vitamin C complex, mineral and organic filters, and hyaluronic acid. They strengthen the skin’s barriers, prevent micro-pigmentation and skin damage, and moisturize. SPF 50 PA +++ counters UV rays and blue light for enhanced protection. Besides, it has a lightweight texture that is non-greasy and leaves no white cast. The sunscreen is ideal for Indian skin and is available on Amazon for Rs.499 a tube (50 grams).
2. Neutrogena - Ultra Light Sunscreen
An ultra-light and water-resistant sunscreen is what you need if your typical day involves braving the outdoors. This sunscreen has both those features besides providing broad spectrum protection (SPF 50 PA +++) against UVA and UVB rays. It effectively prevents skin aging and burns caused by harsh sun rays, helping you maintain an even skin tone. The ultra-light texture with a matte finish works well on oily skin, and the water-resistant feature ensures that the sunscreen doesn’t wash away with your sweat. You can find this sunscreen on Amazon for Rs. 250 a tube (30 ml).
3. Earth Rhythm - Sunscreen with Non-sticky Texture
This natural sunscreen is mineral based containing 9% zinc oxide. It has an SPF count of 50 with a rating of PA +++, thus, it is highly effective against UVA and UVB rays. The light and non-sticky texture of the lotion and matte finish make it ideal for oily skin. It leaves no white cast post-application. Get this sunscreen on Amazon for Rs. 675 a tube (50 ml)
4. Lacto Calamine - Natural and Water-Resistant Sunscreen
This sunscreen is the ideal product for people with oily and acne prone skin. It is enriched with kaolin clay, lemon extract and purified water, and its SPF value is 50 with a rating of PA +++. Kaolin clay absorbs excess oil from the skin and prevents acne formation. It also clears dark spots and produces a matte finish. Lemon extract is loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants that prevent sunburn, tanning, dark spots and pigmentation. Purified water makes the lotion lightweight and non-greasy. The SPF count affords wide spectrum sun protection and blocks over 98% of harmful sun rays. Another feature of this sunscreen is that it is water resistant. The net weight of a tube is 50 grams and it is available on Amazon for Rs. 199.
5. Dot & Key - Leaves No White Cast
Cica, niacinamide, green tea extracts and UV filters are present in this sunscreen’s formulation. Each of these ingredients protects the skin from a particular aspect of sun damage. Cica soothes inflammation caused by harsh sun rays, niacinamide calms the skin from sun exposure and fades dark spots and green tea extracts control UV damage to the cells.
The UV filters and the high SPF count ( SPF 50 PA +++) provide effective sun protection by blocking UVA and UVB rays, and blue light. The product is ideal for people who have oily skin prone to breakouts, redness, tanning and sun spots. It is light, absorbs quickly and leaves no white cast. The net weight of a tube is 25 grams and you can get it from amazon.in for Rs. 325.
6. Lakme Sun Expert - Sunscreen with Ultra Matte Texture
Lakme’s Sun Expert sunscreen lotion is an expert in protecting your skin from the sun's harmful rays. It offers broad spectrum protection with an SPF value of 50+ and blocks as much as 97% of UVB sun rays. Moreover, the lotion's ultrnon-stickyon sticky and non-greasy texture makes it ideal for oily skin. The net weight of a tube is 50 ml and you can get it on Nykaa for Rs. 325.
7. Plum - Ultra Light Sunscreen with Green Tea Extract
Plum’s sunscreen is infused with the goodness of green tea extracts, calendula extracts and aloe juice. These nutrients ensure that this sunscreen does much more than protect your skin from sun damage. Green tea is a strong antioxidant and effectively fights pimples by removing excess oil and impurities from the skin’s surface. Calendula is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory and calms irritated skin. Aloe juice provides deep nourishment to the skin. Besides, the formula contains no parabens, phthalates, SLS and other harmful substances. The lotion is lightweight with an SPF value of 35 PA+++ and leaves no white cast. Get it from Nykaa for Rs. 575 (50 ml tube).
8. Mama Earth - Sunscreen with Carrot Seed and Turmeric
This ultra light sunscreen has been designed specifically for Indian skin. The formula contains titanium oxide, carrot seed oil, turmeric and orange oil which shows that it is quite an enriching skin product. Titanium oxide provides complete protection from sun damage by physically blocking UVA and UVB from touching the skin. Carrot seed oil is an excellent moisturizer that leaves behind no residue.
Turmeric is anti-bacterial and reverses skin damage. Orange oil enables the skin to absorb the lotion without becoming oily. The SPF count of this all-natural lotion is 50 which is ideal against harsh sun rays and prevents tanning. The net weight of a tube is 80 grams and it is available on Nykaa for Rs. 499.
9. Lotus Herbals - 3 in 1 Everyday Sunscreen
This 3-in-1 sunscreen is worth every penny as it reverses common problems arising out of sun damage like sunburns, sun spots, premature aging, redness and tanning. The SPF 40 PA+++ lotion effectively blocks almost 97.5% of harmful rays. The non-greasy formulation blends smoothly onto the skin and sits lightly on it. The tinted texture evens out the skin tone and gives a BB glow finish. Thus, this sunscreen performs three functions, sun protection, provides a makeup look and a matte finish for oil control. The net weight of a tube is 50 grams and it is available on Nykaa for Rs. 315.
10. LaShield Fisico - Lightweight Sunscreen with Superior Matte Finish
This sunscreen has a mineral-based formulation which is better than synthetic sunscreen. Synthetic sunscreen absorbs UV rays while mineral-based sunscreen deflects them which makes the latter a much more effective sun protection agent. The product has a chemical-free formulation and is infused with micronized zinc oxide and has an SPF count of 50+. It is lightweight, gives a matte finish, is water resistant (sweatproof), non-greasy and leaves no residue. The net weight of a tube is 50 grams and it is available on Nykaa for Rs. 630.
For Dry Skin
11. Mama Earth - Hydrating Sunscreen with Himalayan Thermal Water
Dry skin needs hydration and this sunscreen provides that hydration besides fulfilling its primary purpose of protecting the skin from sun damage. The formula is enriched with hydrating agents like Himalayan thermal water, hyaluronic acid and aloe vera extracts. They provide intense hydration and moisturization and also repair damaged skin cells. SPF 50 PA++++ offers protection from UV rays and blue light. The ultra-light texture of the lotion makes it easier to wear. You can get this sunscreen from nykaa.com for Rs. 399 a bottle(50 grams)
12. Moody - Vitamin C Infused Sunscreen
Everything that you ever wanted in sunscreen is in this product. Infused with the goodness of vitamin E, vitamin C, mandarin orange extracts and UV filters and SPF 50 PA +++, this sunscreen does a wonderful job of protecting the skin from sun damage and preventing photoaging. It also makes the skin glow. This lightweight and non-greasy lotion sits lightly on the skin and leaves no white cast. Get this all-in-one sunscreen from nykaa.com for Rs. 695 a bottle (50 ml)
13. Lafz - Hydrating Aqua Gel Sunscreen
This aqua-based sunscreen provides intense hydration to dry skin besides broad spectrum protection from sun damage. The formula is enriched with aloe vera and hyaluronic acid that moisturizes the skin, lightens blemishes and reduces wrinkles and fine lines. The non-greasy and fluid formula sits lightly on the skin and leaves no white cast giving you the much coveted dewy look. SPF 50 PA +++ provides superior sun protection. Overall, the sunscreen has 3 functions and they are to moisturize, to protect and to act as a primer. This versatile product is available on nykaa.com for Rs. 300 a tube (50 grams)
14. Lotus Organics+ - Chemical-Free Mineral Sunscreen
This natural gel-based sunscreen has an enriching formula infused with hydrating natural oils and organic butter. Thus, it is ideal for dry skin. SPF 30 PA +++ provides adequate protection against the sun and lets you perform outdoor activities under the harsh sun. Moreover, the formula is mineral based which is known to be highly effective against UV rays. It also contains frangipani extracts which have a soothing effect on the skin. This is a lightweight sunscreen that is absorbent and does not leave behind a sticky feel. You can buy this sunscreen from nykaa.com. The net weight of a tube is 100 grams and it costs Rs. 545.
15. Juicy Chemistry - Natural Sunscreen
This organic sunscreen is enriched with the goodness of camelia and raspberry extracts. SPF 30 with a rating of PA +++ provides broad spectrum protection by reflecting and scattering UV rays from the skin’s surface. Moreover, the anhydrous formula is rich in fatty acids that moisturize and nourish the skin. Other features of the sunscreen are that it is water-resistant and non-comedogenic. One other benefit of applying this sunscreen is reduction in oxidative stress. It comes in a jar whose net weight is 25 grams and is available on juicychemistry.com for Rs. 400.
16. Isntree - Watery Sun Gel with Hyaluronic Acid
This sunscreen is ideal for people with dehydrated skin as it contains 8 different types of hyaluronic acid. Besides, it contains green tea extracts which are known to be excellent for fatigued skin. Green tea nourishes and hydrates rejuvenating skin cells in the process. The watery gel texture of the lotion provides intense hydration along with top notch sun protection (SPF 50 PA ++++). The net weight of a tube is 50 ml and you can buy it for Rs. 2,050 on Nykaa.
17. Oliva - Moisturising Sunscreen
There are many benefits of using this sunscreen. To begin with, the SPF 40 valuation and PA +++ rating of the formula provides effective protection against UVA and UVB rays. The quick absorption natural formula protects from skin tanning, pigmentation and dullness, and gives even skin tone if used regularly. It also has moisturizing properties and the formula is devoid of harmful substances. Besides, it has a lightweight and non-sticky texture which makes it wearable throughout the day without experiencing any discomfort. The net weight of the lotion is 60 ml and you can buy it from web.olivaclinic.com for Rs. 545.
18. Dermadoc - Provides Broad Spectrum Sun Protection
This sunscreen has two primary functions. The first is to protect the skin from the harmful rays of the sun which is done efficiently with its SPF 50 valuation and a rating of PA +++. The second function is hydration which provides essential moisture to the skin and repairs sun damage. The sunscreen is like a lightweight armour that prevents sun spots, sunburns and tanning, and gives a dewy finish that makes your skin glow. The other features of the sunscreen are that it is sweat resistant and leaves no white cast post-application. You can buy this sunscreen on Purplle for Rs. 450.
19. Good Vibes - Hydrating Sunscreen with Aloe Vera and Shea Butter
This shea butter and aloe vera infused sunscreen does more than protect your skin from UV rays. Shea butter is rich in antioxidants and is known for its deeply moisturizing properties. It not only makes the skin soft and supple but also provides added sun protection. Aloe vera has hydrating properties and soothes the skin from irritation. Like shea butter, it assists in sun protection. The formula’s protection value is SPF 50 and provides broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays. It prevents sunburns and tans and soothes inflammation. This sunscreen is available on Purplle for Rs. 499 a bottle (net weight 110 ml).
20. Aroma Magic - For Protection and Hydration
This sunscreen both protects and hydrates. The formula is enriched with a variety of ingredients that protect, moisturize and repair the skin. Soybean, wheat germ and coconut oils contribute to sun protection which is primarily provided by the presence of zinc oxide in the formula. The SPF value of the formulation is 30 and the rating is PA +, which means it is capable of providing wide spectrum protection from UVA and UVB rays. The other ingredients are vitamins C, E and B5 which reduce visible signs of aging, lighten scars and soothe the skin. You can buy this sunscreen from Flipkart for Rs. 325 a tube ( 100 ml).
For Sensitive Skin
21. Heliocare Advanced - SPF 50 Sunscreen
The advanced formula of this sunscreen affords UV protection (SPF 50), prevents sun damage and nourishes the skin. It has an antioxidant and non-comedogenic effect on the skin and is fast absorbing and lightweight. You will get wide spectrum protection from UVA and UVB rays and also receive moisturization. The net weight of a tube is 50 ml and costs Rs. 1,180. It is available on clinikally.com.
22. Put Simply - Lightweight Sunscreen
There are many reasons why this sunscreen should be among your skin care paraphernalia. It has a natural and potent formulation infused with centella asiatica, ceramides and niacinamide, and best-in-class UV filters. Besides, these ingredients reverse sun damage. The formula is lightweight and non-greasy and hence doesn’t clog pores and is easy to wear throughout the day. It is also hypoallergenic. Other features of this sunscreen are that it is easy to blend, is fast absorbing and leaves no white cast. The net weight of a tube is 50 ml and it is available on putsimply.co.in for Rs. 899.
23. Derma Essentia - Mineral Sunscreen with Zinc Oxide
A mineral based sunscreen with zinc oxide and an SPF count of 50 with a rating of PA +++ will give you the most effective sun protection. Lipochroman along with the zinc oxide protects your skin from UVA and UVB rays. The anhydrous base of the formulation produces a dry effect that makes the lotion lightweight, non-greasy and easy to spread. There are no chemical filters in the formula and thus it is ideal for sensitive and reactive skin. The sunscreen also promotes complete detox and reduces visible signs of aging. The net weight of a bottle is 50 ml and it costs Rs. 750. You can buy it from dermaessentia.com.
24. Minimalist SPF 60 Sunscreen for Reducing Skin Inflammation
This sunscreen is a complete package. It not only provides full sun protection but also reverses signs of sun damage and inflammation. The formula contains Tinosorb S - an organic oil that is a highly effective UVA and UVB filter, Uvinul A Plus - provides sun care and has an anti-aging effect, Uvinul T 150 - an effective UVB filter and titanium oxide - a mineral UV filter that scatters UV rays from the skin’s surface.
The other ingredients are silymarin which is a strong antioxidant and reduces damage caused by free radicals and sun rays, hyaluronic acid and vitamin E that reduce sun spots and evens out skin tone. Moreover, the SPF value is 60 with a rating of PA ++++. Thus, your skin receives complete sun care. The net weight of a tube is 50 ml and it is available on foxy.in for Rs. 599.
25. Conscious Chemist SPF 50 - Sunscreen that Leaves a Soothing Feeling
This daily sunscreen not only provides effective sun protection (SPF 50 PA ++++) but also soothes and moisturizes sensitive skin. The formula is enriched with niacinamide, blackberry extracts and ceramides. They minimize pores, fight free radicals and moisturize and soothe the skin. The lotion has a lightweight and non-greasy texture that is easy to spread, is fast absorbing and leaves no white cast.
Moreover, it gives you the coveted dewy look. The sunscreen effectively counters premature aging, photosensitivity and sun damage. It is available on consciouschemist.com for Rs. 399 a tube (50 ml).
26. Kaya Skin Clinic Hypoallergenic Sunscreen
This sunscreen is a non-sticky and lightweight lotion that provides effective protection against UVA and UVB rays (SPF 15). It has been formulated for sensitive skin especially (hypoallergenic formula), and provides wide spectrum sun protection while being gentle on the skin. Besides, it has a matte finish and gives the skin a radiating glow. This sunscreen is available on Amazon for Rs. 790 a tube (50 grams)
27. Suncros - Moisturizing Sunscreen with Zinc Oxide
This sunscreen has a formulation that is ideal for sensitive skin. The formula is enriched with vitamin E and antioxidants. It is hypoallergenic, water resistant has a non-greasy texture, is aqua based and has moisturizing properties besides providing wide spectrum sun protection with an SPF value of 50. It also evens out the skin tone giving you a uniform complexion. The net weight of this product is 60 ml and it is available on Amazon for Rs. 499.
28. Derma Co. - Matte Sunscreen with Pure Zinc
The formula of this mineral-based sunscreen contains zinc and titanium oxides and has an SPF value of 30 with a PA +++ rating. It offers broad-spectrum protection and keeps many of the skin problems caused by UV rays at bay. It is ideal for Indian skin types and gives a matte finish even in humid weather conditions. Besides sun protection, it counters hyperpigmentation thus helping in attaining an even skin tone. The net weight of a tube is 50 grams and it is available on Nykaa for Rs. 699.
29. Re'Equil - Non-greasy Sunscreen with Broad Spectrum Protection
This sunscreen is enriched with Eurol Bt, vitamin E and aloe vera extracts. Eurol Bt is a versatile ingredient that provides excellent sun protection besides being anti-acne, anti-irritating and anti-aging. It also has antioxidant and moisturizing properties. Vitamin E provides protection from acute UVB damage. Aloe vera extracts effectively treat redness, inflammation and sunburns. These are common effects of UV ray damage and are excessively pronounced on sensitive skin. SPF 50 PA +++ blocks about 98% of UVA and UVB rays. Other features of the sunscreen are that it is a lightweight lotion that is non-greasy and leaves no white cast, it does not clog pores and is suitable for acne-prone skin. The net weight of a tube is 50 grams and it is available on Amazon for Rs. 550.
30. Wow - Natural Sunscreen with Quick Absorption Feature
This sunscreen has the following ingredients in its formula- carrot seed extract, avocado oil and raspberry extract. Carrot seeds extract controls photodamage, avocado oil provides nourishment and raspberry extract, which is rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, repairs damaged skin.
Moreover, the formula is organic and devoid of harmful substances which makes it suitable for sensitive skin. SPF 55 PA +++ provides broad-spectrum protection shielding the skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays. The sunscreen has a lightweight and non-greasy texture that spreads evenly leaving no white cast and clogging no pores. Get this nourishing sunscreen on Amazon for Rs. 499 a bottle (100 ml).
When choosing the best sunscreen for your skin type, you should consider your skin's sensitivity, oiliness, and skin tone. For sensitive skin, mineral sunscreens containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide are best. For oily skin, choose a lightweight, non-greasy, and waterproof formula. If you have dark skin, choose a broad-spectrum, non-whitening sunscreen. Always look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher and a high PA+ for maximum protection from both UVA and UVB rays.