With the sun shining constantly while we’re outdoors or indoors, it’s always hot and humid here in Malaysia. Now that most of us are back to commuting on a daily basis for work or personal purposes, sunscreen has never been more essential than right now.
If you’ve finally realised that sunscreen is an important step in any basic skincare routine, you’re probably wondering which sunscreen is the perfect one to try. Whether you’re looking for something that works better for you or figuring out which to start with, we’ve got a few tips ahead as well as sunscreen recommendations!
Why do we need sunscreen?
While daily use of sunscreen isn’t particularly ideal, especially considering Malaysia’s climate, it’s an absolute essential. We also know that some sunscreens have a bad rap for being too greasy or sticky on your skin, but trust us when we say that your skin will thank you for it in the long run.
1. It prevents sunburns
Wearing sunscreen helps to protect your skin from getting heat rashes and painful sunburns.
2. It reduces your chances of getting skin cancer
A huge reason why you should be wearing sunscreen is that it helps to prevent skin cancer. Whether it’s raining, cloudy, or sunny outside, harmful UV rays can still penetrate clouds as well as glass. These rays are still able to reach you, even if you’re sitting by the window.
3. It prevents sunspots
If you noticed dark spots on random areas of your skin, those are likely caused by sun exposure. These pesky spots are also known as hyperpigmentation, and can be easily prevented with regular sunscreen use.
4. It keeps your skin youthful and healthy
Did you know your skin has protein, just like your body? Using sunscreen helps to retain the protein in your skin, such as keratin and collagen, which are known to keep your skin smooth and healthy.
How does sunscreen work?
Now that you’ve understood why you need sunscreen, let’s find out how it works on your skin.
When it comes to UV rays, there are two types that can harm your skin: UVA and UVB. There are certain types of sunscreens that specifically protect you from UVB, UVA, or both. Sunscreen blocks and absorbs the UV rays by using a mixture of chemical and physical components found in the products.
Broad-spectrum sunscreen protects you from both UVB and UVA rays.
SPF sunscreen, however, only protects you from UVB rays. The term SPF (sun protection factor) is actually a rough measure of how sunscreen protects your skin from UVB rays.
Sunscreen vs Sunblock
Many people tend to get confused between the two. Let’s break it down into simple terms:
Sunscreen, commonly known as chemical sunscreen, filters or screens the UV (ultraviolet) rays of the sun.
Sunblock, also known as physical sunscreen, reflects and blocks the UV rays of the sun, preventing them from penetrating your skin.
While physical sunscreens tend to leave a white cast on your skin, they’re often better tolerated by those who have sensitive skin. If you don’t have sensitive skin, chemical sunscreens should work just fine.
Best sunscreens for dry skin
Supergoop! Glowscreen Broad Spectrum Sunscreen Primer SPF 40 PA+++
If you have dry skin, you’ll love the Supergoop! Glowscreen. It primes and protects, gripping onto makeup while shielding your skin from UVA and UVB rays.
The unique blend of hyaluronic acid and vitamin B5 leaves your skin looking supple, plump, and dewy. There’s also niacinamide to soothe, soften and tighten your pores. The tinted sunscreen blends in seamlessly and it won’t leave a ghastly white cast behind.
Supergoop Glowscreen Sunscreen (50ml) retails for RM160 at Sephora.
Laneige Watery Sun Cream SPF50+ PA++++
Thanks to its watery texture, it works well for both dry and oily skin types. Birch sap helps to provide moisture throughout the day, forming a moisturising, protective layer on top of your skin.
Laneige Watery Sun Cream SPF50+ (50ml) retails for RM110 at Hermo.
Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Daily Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30
This moisturising lotion has built-in SPF, which replenishes dry skin as it protects it from harmful UV rays. It has an abundant mix of potent antioxidants, skin-restoring ceramides, and anti-ageing peptides to visibly smooth fine lines and wrinkles while adding a satin glow.
Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Daily Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30 (60ml) retails for RM165 at Zalora.
Soleil Toujours 100% Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30
You can achieve the perfect sun-kissed look with Soleil Toujours 100% Mineral Sunscreen Glow SPF 30, a tinted sunscreen that is rich in antioxidants and works to complement all skin tones. It provides both nourishment and moisturisation, this sunscreen offers skin a luminous glow that works to even out skin tone.
Soleil Toujours 100% Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 (94.5ml) retails for RM167 at Sephora.
CeraVe Hydrating Sunscreen SPF 30 Face Sheer Tint
CeraVe’s Hydrating Sunscreen SPF 30 Face Sheer Tint is packed with ceramides for hydration, niacinamide to reduce redness, as well as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide for top-notch mineral sun protection.
The moisturising formula leaves behind a healthy glow and blends in beautifully, sans white cast. Plus, it’s made to work with sensitive skin, so you don’t need to worry about irritation with this one.
CeraVe Hydrating Sunscreen SPF 30 Face Sheer Tint (60ml) retails for RM135 at Shopee.
Best sunscreens for oily/acne-prone skin
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen SPF50
A godsend for those with oily skin, Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen absorbs fast to keep your skin shine-free. It enlists the help of Helioplex™ Technology to ensure that sun protection doesn’t break down, effectively blocking damaging UVA and UVB rays.
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen SPF50 (88ml) retails for RM37.74 at Hermo.
Innisfree Intensive Triple Care Sunscreen SPF50+
A water-resistant sunscreen, Innisfree’s Intensive Triple Care Sunscreen SPF50+ has a rather thick formula, but doesn’t feel greasy on the skin. It can leave a white cast, so you may want to steer clear of it if you have a darker skin tone.
Innisfree Intensive Triple Care Sunscreen SPF50+ (50ml) retails for RM65 at Hermo.
Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF 50
If you’re looking for a sunscreen that doubles up as a primer, Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence will fit the bill. This refreshing, lightweight formula forms an invisible, waterproof shield without imparting a tacky feeling on your skin.
Enriched with hyaluronic acid and royal jelly, the sunscreen moisturises to keep your skin comfortable throughout the day.
Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF 50 (460g) retails for RM29.75 at Watsons.
Fenty Skin Hydra Vizor Invisible Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen Moisturizer
This moisturiser-sunscreen is refillable and comes in a unique packaging where you twist the bottle to reveal the nozzle, so you can pump and dispense the product.
Light as air, this hydrating sunscreen gives your SPF 30 protection. Plus, the pink-tinted cream goes on invisible, so it’s great for all skin tones.
Fenty Skin Hydra Vizor Invisible Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen Moisturizer (50ml) retails for RM165 at Sephora.
Cosrx Shield Fit All Green Comfort Sun SPF 50+ PA++++
This gentle sunscreen is made with 100% inorganic UV filters to ensure that it’s safe to use on sensitive skin. Nymphaea alba flower extract cools down inflammation while mugwort extract soothes the skin. It also feels weightless on the skin and provides a comfortable, matte finish, so it’s a great option for those with oily skin.
Cosrx Shield Fit All Green Comfort Sun SPF 50+ PA++++ (50ml) retails for RM60 at Shopee.
Best sunscreens for combination skin
Shiseido Global Suncare The Perfect Protector SPF 50+
With the ability to protect your skin from both UVB and UVA rays, this broad-spectrum SPF is perfect for combination skin. Not only does the lightweight, water-resistant formula blend easily, but it’s also a moisturising formula that prevents any dryness caused by UV exposure.
Shiseido Global Suncare The Perfect Protector SPF 50+ (50ml) retails for RM180 at Sephora.
First Aid Beauty 5 in 1 Face Cream SPF 30
A multitasking, age-delaying moisturiser with SPF 30, this face cream from First Aid Beauty nourishes your skin with ingredients to protect your skin and restore its radiance. The formula uses five active facets that work together to keep your complexion healthy-looking, including zinc oxide to shield your skin from UV rays.
First Aid Beauty 5 in 1 Face Cream SPF 30 (50ml) retails for RM197 at Sephora.
L’Oreal Paris UV Perfect Matte & Fresh
With a 100% oil-free, lightweight formula, this sunscreen absorbs quickly without feeling sticky or greasy on the skin. It also contains mattifying kaolin clay, which absorbs excess sebum and keeps oily skin in check. Say goodbye to blotting papers and hello to a shine-free face!
L’Oreal Paris UV Perfect Matte & Fresh (30ml) retails for RM26.59 at Shopee.
Axis-Y Complete No Stress Physical Sunscreen SPF50+
A cruelty-free physical sunscreen that uses zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, the Axis-Y Complete No Stress Physical Sunscreen SPF50+ is infused with green tea extract, plant-derived squalane, and mugwort extract to soothe, heal, and protect your skin from UV damage.
Axis-Y Complete No Stress Physical Sunscreen SPF50+ (50ml) retails for RM62 at Shopee.
A’pieu Pure Block Tone Up Sun Base SPF50+
Keep harmful UV rays at bay with A’pieu’s Pure Block Tone Up Sun Base SPF50+. It contains papaya and grapefruit extracts to prevent sebum buildup and help your makeup last longer. The non-sticky, lightweight formula spreads easily and leaves no residue on the skin, creating a smooth, matte finish that lasts all day.
A’pieu Pure Block Tone Up Sun Base SPF50+ (50ml) retails for RM28 at Althea Malaysia.
Best sunscreens for sensitive skin
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Invisible Fluid SPF50+
Recommended by 60,000 dermatologists worldwide, the La Roche-Posay Anthelios Invisible Fluid is a customer favourite and a go-to sunscreen for those who seek high UV protection delivered in the lightest texture. Apart from UV protection, the sunscreen also has a fluid, water-like texture that’s highly resistant to water, sweat, and even sand.
La Roche Posay Anthelios Invisible Fluid SPF50+ (50ml) retails for RM116.76 at Shopee.
Clinique SPF30 Mineral Sunscreen Fluid for Face
Suitable for even the most sensitive skin types, this sunscreen from Clinique glides effortlessly onto the skin to create a protective veil while drying virtually invisible, so you don’t have to be worried about those annoying white marks.
Clinique SPF30 Mineral Sunscreen Fluid for Face (30ml) retails for RM185 at Zalora.
EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46
A derm favourite, EltaMD’s UV Clear Facial Sunscreen shields your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays. In addition to being fragrance-free and non-comedogenic, this sunscreen is rich in antioxidants that help protect against skin-damaging free radicals.
It also includes niacinamide, a vitamin B3 derivative with anti-inflammatory properties that can fight breakouts. On top of that, there’s sodium hyaluronate to moisturise and lactic acid to clear pores and reduce shine.
EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 (48g) retails for RM174 at Zalora.
Dermalogica Super Sensitive Shield SPF30
Ideal for sensitised, reactive skin, Dermalogica’s sunscreen contains mineral filters to shield your skin against photodamage and UV exposure. It contains the brand’s exclusive UltraCalming Complex with oat and botanical actives to minimise discomfort and itching.
Though the sheer formula is lightweight, it provides optimal hydration and helps to reinforce barrier lipids for stronger skin. It’s free of fragrances and artificial colouring too.
Dermalogica Super Sensitive Shield SPF30 (50ml) retails for RM299 at Dermalogica’s Official Website.
Olay Complete Daily Moisturizer with Sunscreen SPF 30
Oil-free and non-greasy, this lightweight moisturiser-sunscreen gives your skin an immediate dose of hydration. It’s formulated with vitamin E, B3, and aloe leaf extract, which soothe, hydrate, and protect your skin during the day.
Its unique SolaSheer Sensitive Technology shields your complexion against harmful UVA and UVB rays. Your skin will feel soft, smooth, and protected with this formula.
Olay Complete Daily Moisturizer with Sunscreen SPF 30 (75ml) retails for RM205 at Shopee.