The Sunscreen Showdown: We compare four sunscreens under P500
More than all the skin care in the world, sunscreen is the most important thing you can and should apply on your skin. Not only can it delay wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and other signs of aging, it also protects you from skin cancer! That’s a real health issue well outside the confines of everyday vanity.
There’s no debate that everyone needs to wear sunscreen everyday. The question now is, how do you choose the best sunscreen for your needs? Here are three basic factors you should check for!
All sunscreens should have an SPF or sun protection factor declared on their labels. This is what protects us from UVB rays that cause redness and sunburn. What you should know is that you don’t actually need a lot of it to get yourself protected.
With just SPPF15, a sunscreen can already block 93% of UVB rays. SPF30 increases that protection to 97%, and SPF 45 to 50 blocks up to 98%. There’s very little difference in protection as you go for a higher rating. Up to this day, no sunscreen can promise 100% protection.
UVA rays cause photoaging and suppression of the immune system. In the US, sunscreens are labeled “broad spectrum” when they offer UVA protection. Here and in other Asian countries though, we use a system called Persistent Pigment Darkening (PPD). The higher the PPD rating, the longer it takes for the skin to tan, as compared to when the skin is unprotected.
Thus, products that have UVA protection are labeled as “PA+, ++, +++,” and so on, indicating the protection grade. PA+ means a PPD rating of 2 to 4, PA++ means a PPD rating of 4 to 8, PA+++ means a PPD rating of 8 to 16, and PA++++ means a PPD rating of 16 or higher.
The US FDA doesn’t allow sunscreens to be labeled as “waterproof” or “sweatproof.” Instead, sunscreens that can last for up to 40 minutes in water may be labelled as “water resistant” while those that can last effectively for up to 80 minutes in the water are labeled “very water resistant.”
We’ve already covered a lot of facial sunscreens in the past but lest we forget, the rest of our body needs protection, too! So for this showdown, we decided to put four body sunscreens that we regularly use to the test. Meet our contenders!
Nivea Sun Protect and Moisture, P459 for 125ml at Watsons
With broad spectrum SPF50 PA++, the Nivea Sun Protect and Moisture has you completely covered. It’s labeled as water-resistant, and I made it to 40 minutes in the water before feeling like I needed to reapply it already. It can be really sticky though even if the label says otherwise. It creates a white cast. There’s a strong sunscreen scent upon application but it seems to fade afterwards. This would be good to use for when you’re outdoors and expecting to sweat a lot, or for swimming.
Belo SunExpert Body, P459.75 for 100ml at Watsons
At SPF60, Belo offers the highest SPF coverage among the products I tested plus a pretty high broad spectrum protection at PA+++. It’s also the only product here that’s labeled as hypoallergenic and paraben-free, making it a great choice for those with sensitive skin or conscious about product ingredients. It’s also water-resistant but I find that it does not last as long as Nivea does. It’s not really sticky and doesn’t have a white cast but it leaves a sheen on my skin. It still smells like sunscreen but the scent is less noticeable compared to Nivea.
Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel, P460 for 90ml at Watsons
Unlike all the other products I tested, this features a gel formulation that you can apply on both your body and face. It’s not water-resistant but I love that it absolutely feels like nothing once applied.
The downside, however, is that it doesn’t have any moisturizing properties that a cream lotion formulation usually provides. For my face, it’s okay because I have combination skin and I only need a bit of moisturizer on my cheeks. But I have dry skin on the rest of my body, so I’d need to apply lotion first before putting this on. If you have normal skin on your body though, this is a good pick for you as you can use it all over. No need to bring a separate sunscreen just for your face!
Silka Premium Whitening Lotion in Papaya with Milk and Honey, P174 for 200ml at Watsons
This moisturizes really well and has a skin brightening effect because of the addition of niacinamide, sweet almond milk protein, and papaya enzyme in the formulation. It does not claim to be water-resistant but I wouldn’t mind reapplying this every two hours because I love the scent. The price is very budget-friendly! It’s an economical option for everyday use, however, we recommend a different sunscreen if you’ll be outdoors long or when swimming.
Reminders about using sunscreen
It’s best to apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes BEFORE sun exposure to give the product time to dry on your skin. Be generous with your application because a thin layer won’t build up enough product to shield you from the sun's rays - you’ll usually need about a shot glass worth of sunscreen to cover EACH limb in your body. Finally, regardless of whether you’re swimming or just outdoors, you need to reapply about every 2 to 3 hours to ensure that you get continuous protection.
Care to share what your fave body sunscreen is? Why do you love it?