Your 30s are when you start to see that gradual skin damage showing up in the form of roughness, uneven skin tone, and wrinkles. That is if you haven’t been using sunscreen regularly up until this point. But don’t be discouraged. There are amazing sunscreens that do double duty for your skin in your 30s. So even if you barely wore sun protection up until now, you can still prevent sun damage and even reverse existing damage!
There are products that offer broad-spectrum protection, meaning that they are protecting your skin against both UVA and UVB rays. And they’re jam-packed with skin-loving antioxidants! And they’re still weightless on your skin! Would you look at that? If only I knew about these when I was in my 20s.
I always stand back and listen to people, in complete awe, when they talk about how they started wearing sunscreen at the age of 9 or whatever. The cookie crumbled a little different for me!
I mean, I didn’t enjoy wearing sunscreen in my 20s because I simply didn’t know any product that felt light on my skin. And I’m guilty of choosing makeup over skincare and spending my college years in a tanning bed.
If you’re like me, science has some good news! Sun exposure remains to be the #1 reason for extrinsic aging. It damages healthy collagen and causes uneven pigmentation, rough skin, dullness, and wrinkles (1).
But luckily, SPF remains to be the #1 tool against the damaging effects of UV rays! Proper sun protection prevents those harmful UV rays from damaging your skin. And when your skin isn’t under constant attack, there’s always more room for improvement.
In fact, this study (2) suggests that one year of daily sun protection with SPF 30 did not only prevent further sun damage but also reversed existing sun damage!
So cheer up because we can still tackle signs of sun-induced damage. After all, sunscreen is the best anti-aging product there is!
The Best Sunscreens For Your 30s
Find below the best sunscreens to wear in your 30s for the ultimate sun protection.
If you want a tried and true, no-muss no-fuss sunscreen that protects with broad-spectrum SPF, doesn’t get in the way of your makeup, and is just overall cost-effective, then this is the one to use in your 30s. This is a chemical sunscreen that protects the skin from UVA and UVB rays.
And it can be used both on the face and on the body. It’s oil-free, fragrance-free. And it practically disappears into the skin and has a nice, natural finish. It’s water-resistant for up to 80 minutes and blends super easily. To amplify the protection, the sunscreen also has candle tree extract, and vitamin E to stave off free radicals.
This has a very liquid consistency and contains mineral sunscreens. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide provide broad-spectrum SPF while also protecting the skin from blue light damage. But the better part is that it’s formulated with antioxidants, especially vitamin C, for added anti-aging benefits.
The sunscreen goes on super easily and does not leave a white cast on the skin. It is not oil-free but it’s not heavy on the skin either. So whether you have oily skin or dry skin, you can safely use it to protect your skin from further sun damage in your 30s.
Similarly, this is also enriched with vitamin C with a concentration of 10%. It also has niacinamide, and Kakadu plum extract, which is readily rich in vitamin C too. This is like a brightening serum that was enhanced with SPF. Either way, it is super light on the skin and has chemical SPF in it that looks amazing with a radiant finish.
If you don’t have sensitive skin and if you’re dealing with particularly uneven skin tone, this sunscreen is going to help a lot to prevent and treat hyperpigmentation. Chemical sunscreens are overall more aesthetically pleasing, so that’s just a nice bonus!
If you have dry skin and you aren’t sensitive to chemical sunscreens, then this one will give you just the right amount of protection and moisture. This is a hybrid, meaning that it contains both chemical and physical sunscreens.
So it offers the best of both worlds in that sense. It provides broad-spectrum protection and contains hydrating hyaluronic acid as well as antioxidant vitamin E. The fragrance-free formula feels great for dry skin that’s prone to redness and sensitivity.
OK, I’d like to first point out some of the controversies around this sunscreen. This is a pretty pricey sunscreen! And because it’s in serum form and the amount of product you get is not that much, it makes the product seem redundant. So if you’re looking for something cost-effective, this is not it. However, that doesn’t make it any less effective. In my opinion, this is still one of the most pleasant sunscreens to wear on your skin.
It’s broad-spectrum and has a very hydrating base made with hyaluronic acid, vitamin B5, and glycerin. And it’s as potent as a face serum all thanks to antioxidant-rich purslane extract, vitamin E, and green tea. Because it’s a chemical sunscreen, it’s practically invisible on the skin and looks good on both lighter skin tones and darker skin tones. And it has an amazing dewy finish that just revives your complexion, which is always a plus in your 30s. It’s like makeup and skincare together!
Given that sunscreen is to be used daily, it’s always understandable to go for something budget-friendly. And there are tons of drugstore sunscreens with broad-spectrum SPF you can use on 30-something skin. But this one right here is especially excellent if you simply don’t want the heavy feel of traditional sunscreens. Again, it’s a serum-like product that is oil-free and invisible on the skin quite literally.
It offers UVA & UVB protection with chemical sunscreens and is water-resistant for 80 minutes. Plus, it packs amazing antioxidants like ginger extract to brighten, feverfew to reduce inflammation, and vitamin E for added protection. It has a natural finish and is an overall super affordable drugstore sunscreen perfect for your 30s.
If you haven’t already, you can consider tinted sunscreens. Because tinted sunscreens offer some level of coverage for cosmetic benefits too. And this one is pretty good at it. This is a mineral sunscreen that comes in four shades to better match your skin tone. And because it’s tinted, you don’t need to worry about pasty-looking skin. It’s unique in that even though it comes in different shades, it’s actually white and starts to give out the pigments only when you start to blend it on the skin.
And it offers medium coverage to cover up minor imperfections on the skin. It protects against UVA, UVB, blue light, infrared light -whatever skin-damaging modern times light we have! It’s oil-free, fragrance-free, and a great option for 30-somethings with oily and acne-prone skin. Because this won’t clog your pores but it will also reduce the look of redness from blemishes. And it leaves the skin shine-free with a subtle dew.
So these are some of the best sunscreens that work double duty for women in their 30s. If you’re not sure how to pick one or what to look for in a sunscreen to use in your 30s, scroll down for more information.
How To Choose a Sunscreen in Your 30s?
First of all, it’s always more practical to get multi-purpose products like moisturizers with SPF. But when that’s the case, you might be sacrificing sun protection for the sake of convenience without even knowing it. So if you want hardcore sun protection and really want to be thorough, stick with sunscreens and go for at least SPF 30.
Mineral vs Chemical
You have mineral sunscreens and chemical sunscreens. And they both have advantages and disadvantages.
Physical sunscreens utilize minerals like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to block UV rays. They are more sensitive-skin-friendly but they are usually heavier in consistency and aren’t too aesthetically pleasing. And some old-school options leave a visible white cast on the skin. However, this is becoming less of a problem as there are innovative mineral formulations that can even perform better than chemical sunscreens.
Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, are usually more pleasant and easier to blend. These are the ones that feel lighter on the skin, look good under makeup, and do not leave a white cast. The only problem with them is that they can be irritating for sensitive skin. Keep in mind that there are common skin concerns that appear after the age of 30. Two of them are sensitive skin and rosacea. So chemical sunscreens are usually not the best if you have sensitive skin.
Additionally, remember that you should apply sunscreen around the eyes too. And chemical sunscreens can get into your eyes and sting and burn. If that’s you, you can go for mineral sunscreens to use all over the face. You can also use a chemical sunscreen of your choice for your face but use a separate sunscreen for the eyes too.
Tinted vs Untinted
Tinted or untinted, this is a matter of personal preference and has to do with coverage too. For example, tinted sunscreens can make you less dependent on coverage from foundations. That way, you don’t have to rely on a makeup foundation to get an even base. Because as we age, foundations tend to make wrinkles and lines more visible. So tinted sunscreens can be a great alternative if you’re more into no-makeup makeup looks.
But there’s another advantage of tinted sunscreens. Let’s say there is no way you can use chemical sunscreens because they irritate your skin. At the same time, you want something that looks nice on the skin too. That’s when you can absolutely rely on tinted sunscreens. Because that tint is there to disguise the potential white cast.
Before you go, don’t forget to apply your sunscreen as the last step of your skincare routine before moving on to makeup. You need approximately 1 teaspoon of product to cover your face and neck. Keep in mind that you need to reapply sunscreen every 2-3 hours. But the more you apply in advance, the less you need later on.
- Shanbhag, S., Nayak, A., Narayan, R., & Nayak, U. Y. (2019). Anti-aging and Sunscreens: Paradigm Shift in Cosmetics. Advanced pharmaceutical bulletin, 9(3), 348–359. https://doi.org/10.15171/apb.2019.042
- Randhawa, M., Wang, S., Leyden, J. J., Cula, G. O., Pagnoni, A., & Southall, M. D. (2016). Daily Use of a Facial Broad Spectrum Sunscreen Over One-Year Significantly Improves Clinical Evaluation of Photoaging. Dermatologic surgery : official publication for American Society for Dermatologic Surgery [et al.], 42(12), 1354–1361. https://doi.org/10.1097/DSS.0000000000000879