If You’re in Your 30s, These Are the Sunscreens to Prevent & Reverse Sun Damage

Best Sunscreens to Use in Your 30s

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Your 30s are when you start to notice skin damage in the form of dark spots and wrinkles. That is if you haven’t been using sunscreen regularly. But don’t be discouraged. There are amazing sunscreens you can use in your 30s to make up for the lost time. 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 protect your skin against both UVA and UVB rays. And they’re jam-packed with skin-loving antioxidants while still feeling 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 differently for me! I mean, I didn’t enjoy wearing sunscreen in my 20s because I 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. Well, if you’re like me, science has some good news! While sun exposure is the most common cause of wrinkles and lines, SPF is the most effective tool against signs of aging!

Proper sun protection prevents those harmful UV rays from damaging your skin. In fact, this study 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!

Whether you’re new to sun protection or you’re simply looking for your new staple, I’ve rounded up below some of the best sunscreens that offer high sun protection, maximum skin benefits, feel comfortable on the skin, and play well under makeup too!

Best Sunscreens for Your 30s

1. Lancome UV Expert Defense SPF 50+ Primer and Moisturizer

Lancome UV Expert Defense SPF 50+ Primer and Moisturizer - Best Sunscreen For 30s

I’m in my late thirties now and one thing I’m 100% sure about my skincare at this point is that a pleasant sunscreen that feels light, looks good, and actually cares for the skin is something that I can’t sacrifice. So while I try to save a buck here and there, I do invest in my sunscreens. And this is among my all-time favorites!

It’s a multi-tasking sunscreen with SPF 50. It moisturizes with its rich base and layers well under makeup too. It’s made with chemical SPF and I’ve never had any problems with it even though I have sensitive skin. It packs antioxidants like vitamin E and moringa extract and has a bright, radiant finish. Overall, you absolutely can’t go wrong with this one!

SPF: Chemical, SPF 50
Key Ingredients: Vitamin E
Finish: Radiant
Size: 1 oz/30 ml
Good To Know: Paraben-free, oil-free

2. Supergoop Glowscreen SPF 40

Supergoop Glowscreen SPF 40 - Best Sunscreen For 30s

Speaking of multi-taskers, this is one of the most cosmetically pleasing sunscreens out there. First of all, it works like a primer in that it makes your makeup look amazing and makes it last long without looking patchy or streaky. But more importantly, and this is why people love this one, it has an amazingly glowy finish!

It’s not like a subtle radiance but more like a glistening effect that can show through any type of foundation. In summer, I apply this all over my face, including the under-eye area and I don’t even wear moisturizer underneath. I then put on makeup and both my concealer and foundation look like skin because the SPF makes me look like I’m glowing from within!

SPF: Chemical, SPF 40
Key Ingredients: Niacinamide, vitamin B5
Finish: Glowy
Size: 1.7 oz/50 ml
Good To Know: Cruelty-free, vegan, non-comedogenic

3. La Roche Posay Anthelios Melt-In Milk Sunscreen SPF 60

La Roche Posay Anthelios Melt-In Milk Sunscreen SPF 60 - Best Drugstore Sunscreens For 30s

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 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.

SPF: Chemical, SPF 60
Key Ingredients: Vitamin E
Finish: Natural
Size: 5 oz/150 ml
Good To Know: Oil-free, fragrance-free, non-comedogenic

4. Murad City Skin Age Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 50 PA++++

Murad City Skin Age Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 50 PA++++ - Best Mineral Sunscreens For 30s

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.

SPF: Mineral, SPF 50
Key Ingredients: Vitamin C, vitamin E, oatmeal
Finish: Radiant
Size: 1.7 oz/50 ml
Good To Know: Cruelty-free

5. Dr. Barbara Sturm Sun Drops SPF 50

Dr. Barbara Sturm Sun Drops SPF 50

OK, I’d like to first point out some of the controversies around this SPF. 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 isn’t it. But 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!

SPF: Chemical, SPF 50
Key Ingredients: Green tea, vitamin E, hyaluronic acid
Finish: Glowy
Size: 1 oz/30 ml
Good To Know: Cruelty-free

6. Neutrogena Invisible Daily Defense Face Serum SPF 60

Neutrogena Invisible Daily Defense Face Serum SPF 60 - Best Affordable Sunscreens For 30s

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.

SPF: Chemical, SPF 60
Key Ingredients: Ginger extract, feverfew, vitamin E
Finish: Natural
Size: 1.7 oz/50 ml
Good To Know: Oil-free, fragrance-free, non-comedogenic

7. Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Face Shield Flex SPF 50

Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Face Shield Flex SPF 50

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, and 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.

SPF: Mineral, SPF 50
Key Ingredients: Niacinamide, allantoin
Finish: Matte/Natural
Size: 1.8 oz/55 ml
Good To Know: Vegan, cruelty-free, oil-free, fragrance-free

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, below are the things to keep in mind as well as answers to some of the most common questions I get from 30-something friends and family.

How to Choose a Sunscreen to Use in Your 30s

SPF Level

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

Mineral or 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 is that they can be irritating if you have very sensitive skin. Remember that you should apply sunscreen around the eyes too. And sunscreens can get into your eyes and sting. If that’s you, you can go for mineral sunscreens to use all over the face.

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.

FAQs

Should I use sunscreen every day?

Yes, you should use your sunscreen every day. After you do your skincare routine in the morning, apply your sunscreen as the last step. Wait for about 10 minutes for it to settle. And then apply your makeup if you’re wearing any.

How do I apply it?

Apply an even layer of sunscreen on your entire face like you’d apply a face cream. Make sure to cover the area under the eyes too. 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 your first step, the less you need later on.

Is sunscreen enough to keep my skin healthy?

While we all have a good understanding of the importance of sunscreen, some aspects of it are overlooked. And this is not to discourage you but to inform you. Yes, sunscreen is a must. But so is a nice cleanser. You need to wash your face in the evening with a good cleanser to remove the day’s dirt as well as sunscreen. Otherwise, you might experience clogged pores, blackheads, or even blemishes. So use sunscreen but also use a daily cleanser to keep your skin clean and clear.

If you’re new to skincare and not sure what to use, here’s a quick guide to a minimalist skincare routine for 30-somethings you can easily follow.

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