Cheapest Place To Buy Sunscreen [PATCHED]
We read studies on FDA-approved active ingredients, investigations into how people apply sunscreen (spoiler: poorly), and literature reviews. Over years of work on this guide, we have several times consulted the agency to learn more about its regulation of sunscreens.
cheapest place to buy sunscreen
The pricier physical sunscreens can have a higher zinc oxide content. More zinc oxide is more protective, health educator Lisa Quale explained. But sunscreens with higher zinc oxide levels can also go on pastier.
Along with continuous sprays, we also skipped sunscreen sticks, foams, and powders, since those formats are less common, and it can be hard to tell how much to apply. (We plan to test the stick versions of our lotion sunscreen picks for a future update to this guide.)
In each round of testing, a panel of testers tried the sunscreens in swatches on their arms. All of the bottles were covered in duct tape to avoid the influence of brand names and marketing claims. Testers rated the smell, texture, feel, and appearance of each formula, assessing whether it was a pain to rub in, either because it took too long or it was not spreadable enough. We wanted to account for how different sunscreens might work for people with different skin tones and body-hair textures, so we made sure to assemble a panel made up of people with racial and gender diversity.
To get a better idea of how the sunscreens felt and smelled in larger quantities and over longer periods of time, three people took the two best-rated physical and chemical sunscreens home and slathered most of their bodies with them. And to get feedback on how the sunscreens stood up to wind and waves, we also sent some of our favorite sunscreens with groups of kids and adults going to beaches in Georgia and California.
Physical sunscreens available for sale in the US contain varying concentrations of the FDA-approved active ingredients zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, or both. The FDA recognizes these ingredients as safe and effective.
Blue Lizard Sensitive SPF 50+ comes in two easy-to-handle, packable sizes, both of which have reliably seal-tight caps: a 5-ounce tube and an 8-ounce bottle (the largest size that any of our picks come in). Note that the sunscreen is slightly less expensive per ounce if you buy it in the bottle.
Compared with most mineral sunscreens, this sensitive formula is especially runny, which makes application and absorption much easier. It rubs in almost as smoothly as a chemical sunscreen (like our pick from Coppertone), and most people find this sunscreen to be translucent on the skin (though people with darker skin are more likely to see a white cast).
Thinksport sells three versions of this sunscreen, marketing them for babies (Thinkbaby), kids, and adults. Our testers preferred the adult formula, though fragrance and branding aside, they are all the same. (Members of our panel found that the baby and kids formulas smelled sweeter and more artificial than the adult one.) All three come in travel-size (3-ounce) and family-size (6-ounce) bottles; they have seal-tight caps and are easily packable. The family-size versions cost slightly less per ounce than the travel-size ones.
Most chemical sunscreens available for sale in the US contain varying concentrations of the FDA-approved active ingredients avobenzone, ecamsule, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, oxybenzone, or some combination of these. The FDA is evaluating additional data to further determine the safety and efficacy of these ingredients. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends to avoid using sunscreens containing oxybenzone on kids. (Our Banana Boat pick does not contain oxybenzone.)
Researchers have lab tests to assess UVB protection (SPF values), UVA protection (broad spectrum), water resistance, contact irritancy, phototoxic reactions, and even how well a given sunscreen sticks to skin following mechanical abrasion (which is meant to mimic the action of toweling off).
Since July 2021, sunscreen makers Beiersdorf (Coppertone) and Johnson & Johnson (Aveeno, Neutrogena) have issued voluntary recalls of sunscreens in which Valisure and, in some cases, the manufacturers themselves have detected benzene contamination.
A common gripe with sunscreen is that it can cause yellow stains on light-colored clothing. Nearly every chemical sunscreen on the market has the potential to cause staining, especially if you live in an area with hard water. A reaction between avobenzone and iron creates the stain, which is actually rust.
If you have trouble with sunscreen stains, consider wearing darker clothing to the beach or switching to a mineral sunscreen. If you want to give up neither your white swimsuit nor your chemical or combination sunscreen, consider a dedicated stain remover.
Customer and test-panelist reviews are mixed for the All Good Mineral Sport Sunscreen SPF 30, a physical formula that contains less non-nano zinc oxide than the Thinksport SPF 50+ we recommend. And the All Good sunscreen is comparatively more expensive than the Thinksport, even in its largest size (a 16-ounce jug).
Banana Boat Baby Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50+ and CVS Health Baby Sun Lotion SPF 50 both contain less of the active ingredients (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) than other physical sunscreens we recommend. However, they are also well priced, readily available, and highly rated by customers.
Early on in our testing, we eliminated one chemical sunscreen lotion, Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Lotion Sunscreen Weightless Face SPF 30, because of its bottle. With one drop on the floor, the pump broke, making it difficult to use.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-In Milk Sunscreen SPF 60 is a much-revered chemical sunscreen lotion. Per ounce, it tends to cost more than 10 times as much as our picks from Banana Boat and Coppertone. In a practical sense, each hour spent wearing this formula costs a few dollars.
Panelists generally liked EltaMD UV Sport Broad-Spectrum SPF 50, a combination sunscreen lotion, rating its feel and appearance highly. Note that it costs four times as much per ounce as CVS Health Baby Sun Lotion SPF 50.
The cap on the bottle of Pure Sun Defense Sunscreen Spray SPF 50, another aerosolized chemical sunscreen, gave us significant trouble. It was tough to click shut.Ellen Lee and Shannon Palus contributed reporting.
I've heard horror stories of people buying fake or knock-off sunscreen, resulting in major burns and sunstroke. Can you buy western brands like Hawaiian Tropic in (ta && ta.queueForLoad ? ta.queueForLoad : function(f, g)document.addEventListener('DOMContentLoaded', f);)(function()ta.trackEventOnPage('postLinkInline', 'impression', 'postLinks-97837961', '');, 'log_autolink_impression');Bangkok (or connecting airports like Seoul, Hong Kong or Tokyo)? I'm just bringing a backpack and I won't be able to bring sunscreen with me. What are recommended stores/chains that you recommend to shop at? Also, are there any brands that are recommended (I heard Japanese sunscreens were available in BKK)?
You can find sunscreens in the big box stores, such as Tesco and Big C, major grocery stores, pharmacies. You can also find "whitening" creams from companies like Vaseline, that are nothing more than sunscreen (without the higher price). You can find the "whitening" products in mini-marts as well.
Boots stocks Banana Boat sunscreen, which is my favourite brand. Frankly I've never ever heard of anyone suffering from "major burns and sunstroke" from using "fake or knock off sunscreen." Do have a source for that?
Why do I suggest packing sunscreen? Well first, sunscreen in Costa Rica is one of the more expensive items so if you can, bring it. For example, the Sun Bum SPF 50 lotion in Costa Rica is around $21 USD and on Amazon, it is $12.79 USD.
Cylcopentasiloxane/Cyclomethicone are 2 other ingredients in beauty products that has been proven to be toxic to the ocean organisms. In fact, there are some places in the world like Hawaii that bans the sale of sunscreen with oxybenzone, octinoxate, avobenzone and octocrylene. (I wish Costa Rica would too, hopefully one day).
If you burn easily, then I highly recommend to bring sun protection clothing. Rash guards, SPF shirts, hats with UPF, etc. Seriously, the sun is strong here! And even if you grew up in Florida or California or if it is cloudy, cover up and use sunscreen.
The more I research reef-safe sunscreens, the more complicated I find the problem. To make your search easier for Hawaii reef-safe sunscreens, here are 21 sunscreens that will protect you from the sun and are reef-safe (per current research).
Beginning January 1, 2021, bans the sale, offer of sale, or distribution in the State of any sunscreen that contains oxybenzone or octinoxate, or both, without a prescription issued by a licensed healthcare provider to preserve marine ecosystems. Hawaii law: SB2571 SD2 HD2 CD1
The following sunscreen best-sellers are banned by Hawaii for sale or distribution as of January 1st, 2021. These are not classified as reef-safe sunscreens by the State of Hawaii or Key West Florida because they contain the two banned chemicals.
As of January 1st, all sunscreens sold in Hawaii will be reef-safe. You can buy it once you land at all Hawaii grocery stores, Costco, department stores, convenience stores, and is often given out for free on tours, like whale watching in Maui.
With a 6-ounce bottle of sunscreen averaging $12.99 at a grocery store in Hawaii, you may want to bring your sunscreen from home. If you are already checking a bag, throw your reef-safe sunscreen in there too.
When Hawaii passed a law banning the sale of sunscreens containing chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate, that became the de facto definition of reef-safe or reef-friendly. The city of Key West Florida passed a similar law shortly after Hawaii.
Some manufacturers use both chemicals and minerals. For example, the popular baby-safe sunscreen (in our drawer now) Coppertone Water Babies uses oxybenzone as the active ingredient and zinc oxide as the mineral base. It will be illegal to sell this sunscreen in Hawaii by January 1st, 2021. 041b061a72