best sunscreen ingredients

Sunscreen gave you a bad rash?

Still got a sunburn after a few hours in the sun?

So many sunscreens aren’t up to the job. Their UV filters are either irritating as hell or are so unreliable, they stop working within a couple of hours.

But how can you tell which ones you can trust? Don’t worry, I’ve done the work for you. Below, you can find the best sunscreen ingredients. Look out for them on the label:

Best Sunscreen Ingredient #1: Zinc Oxide

What it is: a white mineral. Friends call it ZnO.

What it does: it protects, on its own, from the entire UV range. It works by absorbing and transforming most UV rays into a less damaging form of energy (heat) and scattering away the rest.

Side effects: it’s thick and can leave a white cast behind.

Where to find it:

  • Drunk Elephant Umbra Tinte Physical Daily Defense Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30 ($36.00):available at Sephora
  • EltaMD UV Pure BroadSpectrum SPF 47 ($24.50): available at Dermstore and Walmart
  • Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection SPF 50 Sunscreen + WetForce For Sensitive Skin & Children ($42.00): available at  Nordstrom and Ulta

Related: Why Zinc Oxide Is The Best Sunscreen Ingredient Ever

Best Sunscreen Ingredient #2: Mexoryl

What it is: a chemical sunscreen ingredient developed and patented by L’Oreal. It’s also called Ecamsule.

What it does: it protects from all UVA and some UVB rays  It’s very photostable, so it doesn’t degrade (and lose effectiveness) too quickly when exposed to sunlight.

Side effects: irritations are rare.

Where to find it:

  • Biotherm Creme Solaire Anti-Age SPF 30 (€24,70): available at Sephora France
  • La Roche Posay Anthelios SX Daily Moisturizing Cream With Sunscreens ($33.99):available at Dermstore and Ulta
  • La Roche Posay Anthelios XL Ultra Light Fluid SPF50+ (£11.60): available at Feel Unique and Look Fantastic

Related: What Are The Best Sunscreens With Mexoryl?

Best Sunscreen Ingredient #3 & #4: Tinosorb S and Tinosorb M

What they are: two chemical sunscreens widely available in Europe and Asia, but not yet approved for use in the US. Tinosorb S is also called bis-ethylhexyloxyphenol methoxyphenyl triazine and Tinosorb M hides under the name methylene bis-benzotriazolyl tetramethylbutylphenol.

What they do: they protect from all UVA and some UVB rays. Both are photostable and help prevent other UV filters, like Avobenzone, from degrading and losing their effectiveness too soon.

Side effects: irritations are rare.

Where to find it:

Best Sunscreen Ingredient #5: Titanium Dioxide

What it is: a white mineral.

What it does: it protects from all UVB and some UVA rays. Like zinc oxide, it absorbs and transforms most UV rays into a less damaging form of energy and scatters the rest away.

Side effects: it can leave a white cast behind.

Where to find it:

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The Bottom Line

Plenty of UV filters are unreliable. The four above are the best sunscreen ingredients to keep you safe both from sun and irritations.

What are the best sunscreen ingredients you prefer to use and why? Let me know your faves in the comments below.