Best Sunscreen Australia – 5 Top-Rated Options for Face

By Tara | Updated: 26/08/2023

Sunscreen is an absolute essential skin protection product for Australians. Whether you have a 2 or 12 step skin routine, sunscreen will be the most important product you own. We need no reminder of the damaging effects sun exposure can have on your skin — particularly for those who live under the harsh Australian sun.

In this article, I cover some of my favourite sunscreen products for face and explain the difference between physical and chemical sunscreen.

Benefits of Wearing Sunscreen

Wearing sunscreen in Australia, or any other country for that matter comes with numerous benefits such as:

Protects from UV rays.

Although the sun provides us with vitamin D, prolonged exposure can lead to skin damage. Applying sunscreen with the right SPF rating can help repel these harmful UV rays to avoid triggering any skin issues.

Reduces the risk of skin cancer.

Wearing a sunscreen lotion or spray every time you step outside is not just for beauty purposes, but it is also important in reducing your risk of getting skin cancer.

Prevents sunburn.

Sunburn is never a good experience as it leaves you with throbbing red skin that is painful to the touch. If you apply your sunscreen, you will be able to prevent this from happening. Plus, wearing this skin product stops repeated blistering of the skin which can provide relief.

Prevents tanning.

Yes, tanning may be your sole purpose in going out to the beach to sunbathe, but this can also expose you to UV rays. If you are going to push through with getting that suntan, it would help if you apply sunscreen with SPF 30 to help give your skin a layer of protection from UVB rays.

Prevents aging.

Exposure to the harsh rays of the sun can cause dryness and may even speed up the aging process. This is why it is best to apply sunscreen regularly especially during the summer to protect your skin from aging too fast.

What’s the Difference between Physical and Chemical Sunscreen?

You might have thought that all sunscreens are the same. Well, they do have some differences to them mainly because there are two categories that they may fall into and these are the physical sunscreen and then there is the chemical sunscreen. Here’s what you need to know about the two.

Physical Sunscreen

These are mineral sunscreens that basically sit on the surface of the skin where it repels the UV rays even before they reach the skin. Products containing zinc oxide as well as titanium dioxide fall under this category. With regard to their length of efficacy, it appears that physical sunscreens work better in this department. Unlike chemical sunscreens, where you need to wait for a few minutes for them to work, the physical sunscreen works immediately. Additionally, those who have sensitive skin may find that applying this type of skincare product works better for them.

Chemical Sunscreen

Chemical sunscreen, on the other hand, works by entering into the skin where it absorbs the UV rays, transform it to heat before it dissipates. However, the problem with chemical sunscreens is that you will need to re-apply them more often compared to physical sunscreens. Also, you will have to wait at least half an hour before you can step outside with your chemical sunscreen. Applying this type of sunscreen is advised to those who prefer to swim in the ocean or in the pool as well as those who are enjoying the outdoors during the summer since the sweat or water can easily remove physical sunscreens.

Is it possible to use these two types at the same time? The answer is a resounding yes! Those more stable sunscreens that we see combine both physical as well as chemical sunscreens in one. You need to apply a dime-sized sunscreen on your face every two hours to prevent burns from happening. With both the physical and chemical sunscreens protecting you, it will be able to save your skin from getting burned.

Wearing sunscreen isn’t the only way to protect yourself from the sun. For starters, you can avoid going out during the sun’s peak hours which are from 10 am to 2 pm. It would also help if you keep yourself under a shade when you are outdoors or bring an umbrella or wear a wide-brimmed hat too.

A Review of Top-Rated Sunscreens for Face in Australia

The Cancer Council has already advised about the importance of wearing sunscreen in Australia, but which sunscreen should you get? If you want to protect your face and body from the harsh rays of the sun, you can start with the following facial sunscreen products.

Ultra Violette – Clean Screen SPF 30 Fragrance Free Weightless Gel Skinscreen

If your skin doesn’t cooperate with any new skincare product, you will find that the Clean Screen from Ultra Violette will not trigger any side effects once it is applied. This is because this gel-type sunscreen is quite gentle especially to those who have sensitive skin. It is easy to apply plus it has a natural finish for that barely-there feel. It is fragrance-free too which is a plus especially to those who do not want to be exposed to strong scents in their skincare products.

What else is there to like about this product? Well, it has a high SPF rating which is at SPF 30 which can provide sufficient protection from the ultraviolet rays coming from the sun. Aside from that, you can apply this product even when you are prone to acne breakouts without worrying about dealing with overactive acne. You can use this on a daily basis even when you plan on staying indoors. Just make sure that when you apply this sunscreen that it will cover your entire face, including your nose and ears. Its key ingredients include Titanium Dioxide which is a broad-spectrum protection that helps soothe the skin and Pentavitin which is a plant-derived ingredient that is known to hydrate your skin.




A moisturizer and sunscreen in one? Where do I sign up? It appears that Invisible Zinc has a great product that moisturizes the skin while keeping the damaging effects of the sun at bay. What makes this a good choice if you are searching for a facial sunscreen? Well, it only has a single key ingredient which is zinc oxide which is known to provide ample protection from the sun. What it does is repel UV radiation before it even reaches your skin thus helping your skin remain smooth, nourished, and free from the effects of premature aging. It is a broad spectrum type of sunscreen that protects against UV and UVB rays plus it is non-comedogenic too.

If you are worrying that it will feel heavy on your skin, you’ll be happy to know that this tinted moisturizer is quite lightweight. It gives you up to 2 hours of water protection, but you will have to reapply afterwards to maintain the sun protection on your skin. It is quite easy to apply and it is non greasy too so you don’t have to worry about being too shiny when you step outside your home. It is free from parabens and fragrances which means that it doesn’t have any chemical components that can irritate your skin.



Medik8 – PHYSICAL SUNSCREEN™ Broad Spectrum SPF 50+

Medik8 Physical Sunscreen SPF50+

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Another option for the best sunscreen to use in Australia is Medik8 physical sunscreen. For starters, it is a broad spectrum type of sunscreen with a high SPF level beating the previous brand. This product has an SPF rating of 50+ that can easily repel both UV and UVB rays with ease. This physical sunscreen makes use of non-nano mineral sunscreen filters that absorb and reflect the sun’s rays effectively to minimize the damage to the skin. Applying it on your face as well as every exposed part of your skin is a breeze because of its new formula that simply glides on your skin when applied.

What you’ll love about the Medik8 Physical Sunscreen is that it can be applied on a daily basis because it works not just to repel the rays of the sun, but also comes with anti-infrared, anti-pollution, as well as anti-glycation that prevent premature aging. If you are worried that it will harm the coral reef, you will be able to breathe a sigh of relief knowing that this product is not dangerous to the denizens of the deep. It has a semi-matte finish when applied making it a good choice for those who have oily to blemish-prone skin type.



Mecca Cosmetica – To Save Face SPF50+ Superscreen

Mecca Cosmetica offers a powerful, but lightweight sunscreen that keeps the harsh rays of the sun from damaging your skin when you are out and about. What you will get from this superscreen is protection from both UVA and UVB which means that you won’t be dealing with premature aging, sunburn, or dry, irritated skin. It comes with a matte finish so no need to worry about that white streaks on your skin after application. This works well even when you are wearing makeup so that not only will you look great, but you are also protecting your skin at the same time.

What are its key ingredients? For starters, it comes with vitamin E which is known to improve your skin’s natural barrier while preventing free radicals from wreaking havoc on your skin. It also comes with pycnogenol which is a strong antioxidant that helps keep your skin’s elasticity. And finally, it contains Sodium PCA that works as a hydrating agent. Apply this at the last part of your skincare routine for that added protection so that, whenever you go outside, you’ll stay protected from the sun.



Skinstitut – Age Defence SPF 50+

Skinstitut Age Defence SPF 50+

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The combination of moisturizing and sunscreen makes this Age Defence by Skinstitut a useful product to invest in. It offers the highest broad-spectrum solution against the UVA as well as UVB rays coming from the sun in Australia. With an SPF rating of 50+, you don’t have to worry about the effects of the sun on your vulnerable skin. What makes this a great option to protect your skin from constant sun exposure is its Age Defence 50+ formula that efficiently scatters the harsh rays of the sun while preventing irritation from occurring. Not only that, but it also protects your skin from free radicals and other age-inducing elements making it a great investment for your skincare routine.

Skinstitut has made a lightweight moisturizing product that can work as a pre-foundation primer too. It does sit well under your makeup so that there is an extra layer of protection between the sun and your skin. Even those with sensitive skin can enjoy using this Age Defence product too.



Wrap Up

Now that you have an idea on the best sunscreens to use in Australia, you might be thinking which one ranks at the top. For me, it will be the Skinstitut Age Defence 50+. This broad-spectrum sunscreen is not just a product for sun protection, but it also works as a moisturizing agent too. Its high SPF rating ensures that your skin won’t get damaged so easily whenever you step outside. It is lightweight and easy to smooth into your skin. Plus, it can work on those with sensitive skin too. Stop signs of aging while keeping the sun at bay with the Age Defence 50+.

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Tara Lusk is the founder and creator of Beauty Space
Tara Lusk is a Sydney-based beauty enthusiast and the founder of Beauty Space. She launched the blog in 2018 to showcase the best beauty and skincare brands emerging from Australia, while also providing insider tips and tricks for hair and skincare. With a focus on tried-and-true products, Tara puts the latest cult products to the test to separate hype from substance.

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