best sunscreens with antioxidants

If you could only use ONE anti-aging product for the rest of your life, opt for a sunscreen with antioxidant.

I bet you thought I was going to say a retinol serum or a peptide cream, right? Those can help, but you can do without them.

Sunscreen is the real anti-aging powerhouse, especially when enriched with antioxidants to boost its sun protection. Here’s why:

Why Is Sunscreen The Best Anti-Aging Skincare Product?

Did you know that UV rays are responsible for up to 90% of premature aging?

You can use all the retinol and peptides your skin can take, but if you’re skipping sunscreen, you’re sabotaging your entire skincare routine. Here’s the proof:

In one study, researchers divided participants in two groups: the first one was asked to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen every day for 4 years while the control group to simply use sunscreen as they always had.

The results? Four years later, the participants who had been using a broad-spectrum sunscreen daily looked younger than the control group. So young, researchers discovered that “the daily sunscreen group showed no detectable increase in skin aging!”

If that’s not enough to make you apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen daily, I don’t know what is!

Related: 13 Common Myths About Sunscreen You Need To Stop Believing Right Now

Is your sunscreen up to the job? Download your FREE “Sunscreen Audit” to find if your sunscreen is both safe AND effective:

How To Boost The Sun Protection Of Your Sunscreen

Now for the bad news: NO sunscreen protects you from 100% of UV rays. Even SPF blocks around 98%.

That means 2% of UV rays hits your skin, initiating a chain reaction of free radicals that damage collagen, elastin, cellular DNA, and everything else they find on their path. Cue wrinkles, dark spots, and in the worst cases, even cancer.

Enter antioxidants. These little molecules patrol your body looking for the few free radicals your sunscreen lets though. When they catch one, they neutralise it before they can wreak their damage on your skin.

All antioxidants do these, but here are some of the most powerful:

  • Green tea: Studies show that “green tea polyphenols are photoprotective” and that applying them to your skin can help reduce inflammation and redness caused by sun exposure.
  • Resveratrol: Derived from grapes, a 2008 study shows it prevents UVB-induced damaged.
  • Vitamin C + Vitamin + Ferulic Acid: Studies show this combination “doubled photoprotection to solar-simulated irradiation of skin from 4-fold to approximately 8-fold as measured by both erythema and sunburn cell formation. This combination of pure natural low molecular weight antioxidants provides meaningful synergistic protection against oxidative stress in skin and should be useful for protection against photoaging and skin cancer.”

FYI, this is why I love to layer a Vitamin C serum under sunscreen to boost its sun protection. But what if you could get your antioxidant fix in-built in your sunscreen?

Here are the best sunscreens with antioxidants for every skin type and concern:

Best Antioxidant Sunscreen For Oily Skin: Paula’s Choice Resist Super-Light Daily Wrinkle Defense SPF 30 ($33.00)

Paula’s Choice Resist Super-Light Daily Wrinkle Defense SPF 30 is my fave sunscreen for oily skin. Let me count the ways why I love it. For starters, it uses zinc oxide, a gentle UV filter that protects from the entire UV range without irritating skin. Yet, the texture of this sunscreen is lightweight, fast-absorbing, and doesn’t leave a greasy mess behind. The slight beige tint doesn’t provide much coverage, but it counteracts the white cast zinc oxide sometimes leaves behind. The best part? It’s loaded with antioxidants – including Vitamins C and E, resveratrol, and quercetin – to boost sun protection and keep skin younger-looking for longer.

Related: My Full Review Of Paula’s Choice Resist Super-Light Daily Wrinkle Defense SPF 30

Available at: DermstoreFeel UniqueNordstrom and Paula’s Choice

Best Antioxidant Sunscreen On A Budget: The Ordinary Mineral UV Filters SPF 30 With Antioxidants ($9.70)

The Ordinary Mineral UV Filters SPF 30 With Antioxidants isn’t the most lightweight option at the drugstore. You do feel like you have something on your skin when you first apply it. It does leave a white cast, too. So why would I recommend it? Drugstore sunscreens are cheap for a reason. They skip on antioxidants. Not this one. The Ordinary has added a bunch of antioxidants – including rosemary and an ester of ferulic acid – to fight off free radicals before they give you wrinkles. If you can put up with the white cast, your skin will thank you.

Available at: Beauty Bay and Cult Beauty

Related: Help! Why Does My Face Look White In Photos?

Best Antioxidant Sunscreen For Mature Skin: Replenix Sheer Physical Sunscreen Cream SPF 50 Plus ($33.50)

Replenix Sheer Physical Sunscreen Cream SPF 50 Plus isn’t as sheer as it claims. The texture’s on the thicker side and it does leave a white cast behind that eventually fades away (common issues with mineral sunscreen). But I love it because it has one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants I’ve ever come across in a sunscreen. You get 2 forms of Vitamin C, green tea polyphenols, resveratrol… All the antioxidants that have been scientifically proven to protect skin from UV rays – when paired with sunscreen. If you’re serious about anti-aging, this is one of the best options out there.

Available at: Dermstore and Skin Store

Related: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Green Tea In Skincare

Best Antioxidant Sunscreen For Outdoor Activity: MD SolarSciences Mineral Creme SPF 50 ($30.00)

MDSolarSciences Mineral Creme SPF 50 is mineral sunscreen with an incredibly light texture (almost like water!) that absorbs quickly and is never chalky (phew!). It does have a silicone feel, but I like that. It makes my skin so soft to the touch. Just, don’t touch it! You can remove sunscreen that way! As long as you leave it intact, it provide high, broad-spectrum, water-resistant (up to 80 minutes) sun protection. Plus, it has a sprinkle of antioxidants – including Vitamin C and green tea – to boost sun protection.

Available at: Dermstore

Related: 6 Things To Look For When Buying Sunscreen

Best Antioxidant Sunscreen For Dry Skin: Derma E All Sport Performance Face Sunscreen SPF 30 ($13.95)

Derma E All Sport Performance Face Sunscreen SPF 30 is too thick for oily skin. Dry skin? It’ll dig its moisturising ability so much, you may even be able to skip your morning moisturiser. On your skin, the sunscreen has a lightweight texture that feels luxurious on, dries to a matte finish, and doesn’t leave a white, greasy mess behind. Just broad-spectrum, water-resistant (up to 80 minutes) sun protection enriched with green tea and other antioxidants for extra help in fighting free radicals.

Available at: Ulta

Related: The Best Skincare Routine For Dry Skin