Eye(s) cream, youth cream, we all scream for sunscreen! 10 best UV protection creams for daily use

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Illustration. (Getty Images)
Illustration. (Getty Images)
  • For eyes, face, and body, sunscreen is the ultimate cream we should all be prioritising this summer and beyond.
  • Our sun exposure was decreased significantly this year, while our blue light exposure was at an all-time high.
  • This created a Vitamin D conundrum as a few headlines suggested that sun exposure could decrease coronavirus complicationsbut with not much science to back the claims up.
  • But whether these claims are factual or not, we need to be even more vigilant about wearing UV protection now that outside activities have resumed. We've recommended 10 of the best UVA/UVB protection creams. 

Just in time to face the belly of our summer season, we can officially go outside and safely absorb Vitamin D that doesn't come in the form of supplements, which means sunscreen is now not a luxury but a necessity.

But to quickly nip sunscreen myths in the bud, UV protection creams are not just for when we're going to be outdoors in sweltering weather - they're for daily use, even when you're indoors.

More importantly, they're for every skin tone - us melanin folk shouldn't be skimping on SPF either. And lastly, while we're on melanin - contrary to the contentious, colourist belief that SPF creams help maintain light skin and prevents you from "getting darker" - that's not the purpose of sunscreen. 

Sunscreen has brightening properties. I repeat: brightening, not lightening. 

What this means is that it can help with the appearance of blemishes, hyperpigmentation, acne scarring, and dull skin. 

READ MORE: Hyperpigmentation still a leading skin concern among black women - but experts say it can be treated

Alright, school's out and so is the sun. Let's talk about sunscreen.

For many people, the scent of sunscreen is synonymous with summer. And with the dangers of UV rays more prominent than ever, the two should now be entirely inseparable.

Leading UV protection brand, Piz Buin, revealed that in 2010, NASA scientists discovered that the amount of ultraviolet (UV) radiation reaching the Earth’s surface had increased significantly over the previous thirty years. The reason for this increase was due to the decreasing levels of stratospheric ozone.

Essentially, the Earth is protected by a “natural sunscreen,” a colourless gas (also known as the ozone layer), which shields the Earth’s surface from damaging UV radiation. The emissions of ozone-depleting gasses, mass production around the world, wild fires and pollution gradually destroy the ozone layer, and have ultimately resulted in global warming. 

But what does this mean for our skin?

While sun exposure has always been dangerous, the increase in UV rays reaching the Earth’s surface means that our skin is in greater danger than it was 50 years ago. We need to be more cautious and consistent when it comes to applying an SPF, both to the face, and the body. 

And guess who invented SPF? Piz Buin - the brainchild of a couple who fused aesthetic expertise and chemistry.

Piz Buin was one of the first to make sun exposure safer by implementing the Sun Protection Factor (SPF) system in the 1960s. 

READ MORE: Why are we still splitting hairs over whether women shave or not? Blame history... and men

After suffering overexposure to the sun while climbing the Piz Buin alpine peak in 1938, chemistry student, Franz Greiter, developed one of the world's first sun protection products in 1946, Piz Buin Gletscher Creme, or Glacier Cream.

Working with his wife, Marga - a trained beautician - they developed a specialist sun care brand dedicated to developing cutting edge sun protection with luxurious skincare for anyone who wanted to enjoy life in the sun. And so Piz Buin was born.  

Today - with products suitable for all skin types and tones - Piz Buin has earned its place as a favourite sun protection brand among those in the beauty industry, and consumers alike. 


We recommend the Piz Buin Allergy Lotion SPF50 200ml, R259.95 at Dis-Chem

SPF recommendations
Image supplied on behalf of Piz Buin 

Now keep scrolling to see more top recommendations: 

Note: I've made sure to include several SPF50 and PA+++ options. The former is the highest protection against UVB - the rays that burn the skin, while PA+++  is very high protection against UVA, the rays that can cause permanent damage and accelerated ageing.

Additionally, I've suggested sunscreens that don't leave a grey film on darker skin tones.

Clinique SPF50 Mineral Sunscreen Fluid for Face

Ultra-lightweight, 100% mineral sunscreen is incredibly comfortable, even for sensitive skins. It's gentle enough to use around the eye area, too. Invisible Shield Technology forms a protective veil that's virtually invisible on all skin tones and it is oil-free. 

Shop it for R415 at Woolworths

UV protection for summer

Dr Grandel SP UV Protection 30/50

UV rays from the sun can damage skin, and that includes the breakdown of collagen. It is essential to choose a sunscreen with broad-spectrum UV of at least SPF 30 as this protects from both UVB and UVA rays. Use the Dr Grandel Protection UV 30 (UV 50) as well as limit your exposure to sunlight.  

Shop it for R425 on Deluxe Shop 

SPF recommendations

Environ RAD SPF15

This SPF is a sun protection cream containing sun filters and reflectors to provide SPF 15 sun protection, along with antioxidants, titanium dioxide, beta-carotene and vitamin C and E which help to fight free radicals   

Get the 100ml RAD SPF15 for R255 on Deluxe Shop  

sunscreens to buy this season

Optiphi Solar Spritz SPF30

Curb the effects of UV radiation, such as redness, sensitivity and photo-aging with this oil-free, mattifying and lightweight sun protection. The damaging effects of Infrared (IR) radiation are reduced by Thermus Thermophillus Ferment, which also boosts hyaluronic acid production. Skin texture, strength and hydration are improved, resulting in a firmer appearance of the skin. Strong antioxidant protection is provided by Tripeptide-33, which reduces the onset of photo-aging and minimises the damage caused by free radicals.

Heat Shock Proteins increase the skin’s ability to function under conditions of stress. This in turn balances the production of collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid, important anti-aging components. Both UVA and UVB rays are addressed by the broad spectrum UV Filters in the formulation. This invisible sun protection guards against the damaging properties of UV radiation, and further assists in limiting accelerated aging of the skin.

It's recommended that you apply this sunscreen (and any other) at least 20 minutes prior to sun exposure. Reapply frequently, as required, as well as after perspiration, towel drying, swimming or other physical activities.

R468 on Optiphi's online store
SPF recommendations

READ MORE: Face time - Virtual facials are the latest beauty innovation in a time of Covid 

Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Sun Defense for Face SPF50 PA+++ 

This lightweight, oil-free lotion helps protect your skin from sun exposure while hydrating for up to 8 hours. The powerful SPF 50 helps shield skin from harmful UVA/UVB rays that can cause sunburn, surface skin cell damage and premature signs of ageing.

Get yours for R360 at Woolworths 

SPF recommendations

Elizabeth Arden Prevage City Smart + DNA Enzyme Complex™ + Anti-Pollution + Antioxidants Broad Spectrum SPF 50 PA++++ Hydrating Shield 

Every day, in cities all over the world, the environment is visibly aging your skin; in fact, 80% of all signs of skin aging are due to the environment aggressors such as UV rays, pollution and smoke.

Recognising the global epidemic of pollution, Elizabeth Arden introduces the first-of-its-kind invisible skin shield to combine pollution and UV protection with our DNA Enzyme Complex™ to strengthen skin. Sheer, hydrating, invisible protection to help skin look younger, longer. 

This product defends against 98% of harmful UVB rays with a Broad Spectrum SPF 50 formula containing 100% micronised titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.

Shop it for R895 at Woolworths 

SPF recommendations

Nivea Sun Protect & Moisture Moisturising Sun Lotion

This lotion offers reliable UVA/UVB protection alongside intensive, long-lasting moisturisation for skin that feels soft and hydrated. The water resistant formula prevents damaging effects of UV rays on the skin including sunburn and premature skin aging whilst also reducing the risk of sun allergies. The new formula with Anti-Stain Formula helps UV filter induced stains to wash out more easily - compared to previous formulas. 

Currently marked down to R132.97 at Dis-Chem  

SPF recommendations

READ MORE: How to deal with maskne when protective masks cause your skin to break out

Nuxe Sun Light Fluid High Protection SPF50  

This SPF liquid for the face protects skin from the sun’s rays and prevents cellular photo-ageing. Enriched with a Water Hyacinth extract, its water-resistant formula strengthens the skin barrier to protect from dehydration and enhance tanning. Its ultra-convenient pocket format is designed to be shaken before application to provide a light non-sticky texture with a “bare skin” effect. It is ideal for normal to combination skin. Its water-resistant formula is also a delight for the senses thanks to an irresistible scent with notes of Tiare and Vanilla.

Proven SPF 50 high protection from UVB and UVA rays due to a rigorous selection of just four sunscreens:

- Natural extracts of Rice, Rosemary and vitamin E: known for their anti-oxidising power, offer anti-ageing cellular protection for the skin.

- A Kau Pe Flower extract: known for its soothing properties, it calms sensations of overheating linked to sun exposure.

- A Water Hyacinth extract (patent FR) to protect skin from dehydration.

- Photostable and water-resistant formula.

This SPF will be launched at the end of October at a RSP of R495 at select Woolworths, Truworths, and Foschini stores.   

SPF recommendations

Gatineau Perfection Ultime™ Daily Urban UV Shield SPF50+ PA+++  

A lightweight daily shield to strengthen, defend and protect skin from the ageing effects of UV, pollution and blue light damage without clogging pores.

A broad-spectrum, antioxidant rich daily SPF50+ with a non-greasy, silky texture that feels weightless on the skin, and is suitable for all skin tones. The innovative smoothing formula forms a protective layer against the damaging rays of the sun and environmental aggressors. Skin is protected and hydrated, imperfections are blurred and the complexion appears brighter and more even. 

Available at select Woolworths, Truworths & Dis-Chem stores for R695 (30ml) 

SPF recommendations

Additional information and images provided by featured brands/outlets.

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