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8 of the Best Powder Sunscreens for Australian Sun

Sunscreen is becoming more and more important with every year that goes by, no matter where you are in Australia. Even if you’re spending your days in lockdown or an office, SPF is still an integral, if not the most important, aspect of your skincare year-round. Clouds and windows don’t block all UV rays, and many can get through and damage your skin even if you think you are safe from harm. This damage can manifest as sunspots, redness, freckles, wrinkles and even acne, and ultimately – can lead to skin cancer.

Despite the importance of regular protection, most people are still tempted to skip on daily SPF application and reapplication. This is where powder sunscreens become a lifesaver. Powder sunscreens negate the need to apply a thick layer of cream to your perfectly applied makeup or can be a good lightweight option for those with sensitive skin. Powder sunscreens are perfect for when you’re post-workout or enjoying a hot day at the beach, adding extra UV protection as well as absorbing excess oils and evening the complexion.

Powder sunscreens rely on the mineral SPF ingredients Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide which work on the surface of the skin as a shield to block UV rays.

Zinc Oxide – one of the best protectors against UV, offering protection against both ageing and burning from the sun.

Titanium Oxide – provides extensive protection from UVB, but only partial protection from UVA, which is why it pairs perfectly with Zinc Oxide.

According to dermatologist Marisa Garshick, the main concern with powder sunscreen is that the amount of protection depends largely on how much of the product is applied. The best practice is to apply a good layer of liquid sunscreen with powdered SPF as a reapplication. Powdered SPF offers a great extra layer of protection when applied correctly and regularly, particularly for the face, chest, and upper body. Additionally, powdered SPF is available in conveniently small tubes, perfect for a bag or backpack to make regular reapplications simple.

You may have heard of powder sunscreen being referred to as dry sunscreen, or seen it incorporated into foundation. Powder sunscreen looks and applies like a loose or pressed foundation, with the added benefits of conditioning and protecting your skin from the sun and harsh radicals. Ingredient wise, you can often expect the same ingredients in a powder sunscreen as a liquid sunscreen, but the liquid will spread more evenly and stick better to the surface of the skin. If you’re only using a blot of power, you are unlikely to get the labelled protection, which is why it’s integral to use a broad-spectrum liquid sunscreen with the powder sunscreen as a touch up of extra protection.

Powder sunscreen has several benefits, such as:

  • Most brands will have a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) printed on the labels, so you can know exactly what your level of protection will be.
  • Powder sunscreen looks and feels invisible and is virtually undetectable once put onto the skin. It’s non-greasy and available in both tinted and non-tinted versions, in a range of shades to suit most skin types. It can even out your skin tone, absorb excess oil and set your makeup.
  • Powder sunscreen is easy to reapply and won’t mess up your makeup or become trapped in your pores. These products are usually non-comedogenic, so they won’t sink into your skin, making them well suited to those prone to acne.
  • Each tube of powder sunscreen comes in a tube with a built-in self-dispensing brush so you will always have an emergency sunscreen on hand.
  • The ingredients in most powder sunscreens are known to be gentle on the skin and use fewer active ingredients than a wet sunscreen, resulting in a lower risk of reactions.
  • Powder sunscreen can add extra protection to hard to apply places such as your ears, fingers, toes, and even the hairline and scalp.

We’ve compiled 8 of the best powdered SPF options to add to your skin protection collection, including:

This award-winning powder is loved by Dermatologists due to its wide range of protection from potential issues such as infrared radiation, blue (HEV) light, pollution, and harmful UVA/UVB rays. This product is a good choice for those with acne-prone skin and is water safe for up to 80 minutes.

This product from Derma-E is an affordable choice for those with sensitive skin, featuring anti-inflammatory effects such as green tea, chamomile, and vitamin E. This product is translucent making it safe for all skin tones and is free from fragrances, parabens, and sulphates.

This sunscreen is a great choice for beach and ocean lovers, being reef safe, paraben-free, and vegan friendly, with water protection up to 80 minutes. The brush is self-dispensing, and the bottle is a convenient size, perfect for touching up your T zone between waves.

This product comes with a range of different complexion options and is vegan-friendly and sulphate free. Gentle and hygienic, water-resistant for up to 40 minutes, with SPF 20, this product will offer extra protection when applied with full coverage sunscreen.

With the right rate of SPF, this product is well-loved for its antioxidant protection with the addition of sea kelp. Being hypoallergenic and fragrance-free, this Mineral Fusion power is safe for those with sensitive skin.

The formula in this brush powder includes titanium dioxide, zinc oxide and iron oxides to protect against UVA and UVB as well as blue light and infrared radiation. With SPF 50 and a beautiful finish on the skin, this is an excellent choice to add to your sunscreen routine.

This foundation is a good option to even out your complexion and provide protection from the sun with SPF 25, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.

With SPF 45, this mineral powder sunscreen delivers protection and acts as a setting powder. Perfect for touch ups during the day, this powder includes all the ingredients you will need to block out the sun’s harmful rays.

The above products are in no order and specific products will be better for some than others. Choosing the best-powdered sunscreen for you can have a few steps and there are a few important factors to consider when making your decision.

  • Always select a sunscreen with the highest amount of SPF protection, specifically 30 or higher.
  • If you have sensitive skin, go for a powdered sunscreen with titanium dioxide or zinc dioxide, which will be less irritating.
  • If you have dry skin, it is possible to use a powdered sunscreen without it drying out your skin. Simply opt for those with hydrating qualities such as hyaluronic acid or ceramides.
  • Consider a sustainable price and size to encourage you to use generously and reapply consistently.

As mentioned in our article How Safe and Effective is Powdered Sunscreen, there are some concerns among the dermatological community around powdered sunscreen. If the sunscreen is applied in a ventilated area, the user should be unaffected by the toxins, but it’s important to be aware of the risks involved from inhaling products such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. Additionally, it is integral that a powdered sunscreen user doesn’t underestimate the need to coat the product thickly to cover all areas of the upper body. If you decide to use a powdered sunscreen, it’s important to include a chemical, liquid-based sunscreen in your routine. The Cancer Council Australia highly recommends using a broad-spectrum SPF 30 or above, particularly if you’re planning to be in the sun or surf. Adding extra sun protection can never be a bad thing and including it in your pressed powder or setting powder will enhance your overall face protection.

The best sunscreen practice, according to Shari Marchbein, board-certified dermatologist, and clinical assistant professor of dermatology at New York University, agrees that powder is effective, but not if that’s the only sun protection you plan to use. The best plan is to apply a mixed chemical and physical sunscreen generously in the morning, with touch-ups or makeup setting with the powdered sunscreen. This makes powdered sunscreen a lifesaver for an event where you don’t want to put liquid sunscreen over your makeup but want to increase your sun protection.

Adding a powdered sunscreen to your routine may be the boost you need in your skincare routine to ensure constant sun protection. Along with shade, hats, sunglasses and full coverage liquid sunscreen, powder sunscreen adds an extra layer of protection that your skin will thank you for.

In addition to your skincare routine, it’s important to have regular skin checks to catch any potential or existing problems. To book in with one of our skin cancer clinics near you, free call SunDoctors Skin Cancer Clinics on 13SKIN (13 76 46) today.

Preventing skin cancer | Cancer Council