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8 of the Best Powder Sunscreens for Australian Sun

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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 daily SPF applications 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 and absorbing excess oils and evening the complexion.

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

Zinc Oxide – one of the best protectors against UV- offers protection against ageing and burning from the sun.

Titanium Oxide – provides extensive UVB protection but only partial UVA protection, so 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 great extra 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 simplify regular reapplications.

You may have heard of powder sunscreen being called 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 skin's surface. If you’re only using a lot 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.

Benefits of powder sunscreen

  • Most brands will have a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) printed on the labels so that you can know exactly your protection level.
  • Powder sunscreen looks and feels invisible and is virtually undetectable once put on the skin. It’s non-greasy and available in both tinted and non-tinted versions, in 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 acne-prone ones.
  • 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 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, hairline, and scalp.

Best powdered SPF options to add to your skin protection collection

Dermatologists love this award-winning powder 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 good for those with acne-prone skin and is water safe for up to 80 minutes.

This product from Derma-E is affordable 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 for up to 80 minutes. The brush is self-dispensing, and the bottle is convenient, 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 sensitive skin users.

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 for an evening out your complexion and protect 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. Choosing the best-powdered sunscreen for you can take a few steps, and there are a few important factors to consider.

Few important factors to consider

  • Always select a sunscreen with the highest SPF protection, specifically 30 or higher.
  • If you have sensitive skin, use powdered sunscreen with titanium dioxide or zinc dioxide, which will be less irritating.
  • If you have dry skin, it is possible to use 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. Still, it’s important to know the risks involved in 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 powdered sunscreen, including a chemical, liquid-based sunscreen in your routine is important. The Cancer Council Australia highly recommends using a broad-spectrum SPF of 30 or above, particularly if you plan to be in the sun or surf. Adding extra sun protection can never be bad; including it in your pressed powder or setting powder will enhance your overall face protection.

According to Shari Marchbein, board-certified dermatologist and clinical assistant professor of dermatology at New York University, the best sunscreen practice agrees that powder is effective, but not if that’s the only sun protection you plan to use. The best plan is to generously apply a mixed chemical and physical sunscreen in the morning, with touch-ups or makeup settings with 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 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.

Skin Cancer Prevention - Book a Skin Check

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

Preventing skin cancer | Cancer Council

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