5 Best Lab Tested Sunscreens for 2022

Written by Jenny Wu
Jenny Wu

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  1. Elle says:

    I disagree with your take on US sunscreens and avobenzone. Avobenzone can be stabilized in newer formulations, and also provides more than twice the power and protection as modern UVA filters such as Tinosorb S. For example, think breadth and depth both of which Avobenzone has. Good manufacturing practices Also will encapsulate avobezone and combine it with antioxidants to prolong its photostability. Neutrogena’s helioplex has shown that it can provide up to 5 hours of protection and stability with very little degradation. The reason why sunscreen need to be a reapplied regularly is not due to breakdown of the chemicals or it’s photostability issue, but more the film that binds the sunscreen together as it cracks much like foundation does.

    • Jenny Wu says:

      Except Tinsorb S, unlike Avobenzone, is never the only UVA filter used in a formula. Yes there are ingredients that can help stabilize Avobenzone, but the overall UVA protection is still going to be lower compared to EU/Australian/Asian formulas that have access to additional UVA filters. Eg. brands like La Roche Posay and Neutrogena both have great sunscreen formulas that are sold elsewhere in the world except the US, where the formula is modified to adhere to FDA regulations. If US sunscreen formulas are superior or even the same, why not just sell that same formula worldwide? While I believe that certain formulas like Neutrogena Helioplex can offer stable UV protection, Asian/EU brands can offer that plus higher UVA protection and often times better texture and price. So no, until the FDA approves of these new filters, I will not recommend US sunscreens when superior options are available.

  2. Sandy B. says:

    Hi Jenny,

    Thanks for all your in-depth information on sunscreens. Very helpful! Up until now my go-to product has been Biore watery essence until I read the disappointing research :-/. Anyway, I’m in Canada also and am trying to buy the Aussie or EU version of the LRP Anthelios ultra fluid. I see you’ve listed some sites but it is out of stock. Do you have a preferred site where you buy Aussie/European sunscreens? Thank you so much for your help. :-)

  3. Pat says:

    Great info! You mentioned 2 US sunscreens: Neogen Day-Light Protection Airy Sunscreen or the Paula’s Choice Youth-Extending Daily Hydrating Fluid SPF 50. Do you know what the UVA rating is on either of those?

  4. Megan says:

    What would you recommend for a Korean sunscreen for use on the family for the beach? Looking for something that comes in a pretty big bottle that I can use on the body for me and my kids (youngest is 3). Really would like to use the newer filters. Thanks!!

  5. Ana says:

    I had read your post on UVA protection some time ago! Do you think the Axis Y has a good amount of UVA protection? I live in Los Angeles were the UV index is often 7+ so I want to ensure adequate protection! Also I have my skin shade is type IV-V if that’s relevant.

    • Jenny says:

      Yes, it’s been independently tested to have PFA 24.3, which is a PA++++. This is about as strong as you’ll get for Asian sunscreens, so if you want even stronger UVA protection I would recommend European formulas like the La Roche Posay Anthelios (make sure it’s the EU version!). But if you’re applying the correct amount and diligent about reapplying, I think the AXIS-Y one should suffice for everyday activities.

      Just saw your comment about skin shade, and the AXIS-Y one is a physical sunscreen. While the white cast went away for my skin tone eventually, I’m not sure how it’ll fare with darker skin tones. Going with a chemical formula may be a safer choice in this case.

  6. Leigh Brooker says:

    As someone with oily & acne-prone skin, I compared the BOJ and Face Republic Purity Sun Essence (half-and-half on my face), then literally went outdoors on a slightly cloudy day. After 4 hours of sweat and oil, the BOJ side was significantly oilier than Face Republic. It was a neck and neck battle but the Face Republic took the crown (plus, it is vegan!). It is such an underrated suncreen; you should try it too :)))

    • Jenny says:

      Thank you for sharing this Leigh! It’s my first time hearing of this brand and I’ll definitely have to try it in the summer when my skin get oilier!

  7. Ledia | Kbeauty Notes says:

    Love Both the Scinic and BOJ. You’ve described their differences perfectly.

    Ledia | K-Beauty Notes

  8. Amanda says:

    Can you go more into detail about how the chemical sunscreen active ingredients that are not approved in the US are in fact safe? There is suspicious that chemical sunscreens that are approved in the US are not actually safe in the long term.

    • Jenny says:

      Photostable and larger molecules are two traits shared by next-generation chemical filters (those not approved in the US). That means the filter won’t become unstable or easily get absorbed into the skin. You can click on the individual product reviews for more details on the ingredients, but this blog post by a research physician in cosmetic dermatology also list these newer filters as safe: https://www.dr-jetskeultee.com/blog/my-list-of-good-and-bad-sun-filters/

      There’s a reason why those “suspicious” US approved filters are rarely (if ever) used in other countries, they’re just inferior in every way.

  9. Jessie says:

    Any more recommendations for body sunscreen? Some of these are a bit too expensive to spread over my whole body!

    • Jenny says:

      Olive Young occasionally has great deals on Korean sunscreens, especially for their sets of 2. If you don’t mind sacrificing some protection, Equate (Walmart) Ultra Lotion SPF 50 Sunscreen for $5 a tube or the Trader Joe’s Spray SPF 50+ Sunscreen for $14 are both recommended by Consumer Reports. Both have SPF that came in lower than 50 (in the 30s) but if you apply enough and reapply frequently it should be ok.

  10. Anne says:

    The La ROche-Posay one is also my go-to for outdoor days in summer. I wonder how the UVA protection of the new one compares to the previous version.

    Anne from Doctor Anne

    • Jenny says:

      It’s supposedly better since they have the new UVA filter, and I can’t imagine it getting worse (though the possibility is always there)

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