Cheap Sunscreens?

Some of my patients ask why the better sunscreens are so expensive and are they worth it?

In general, the answer is yes – especially for the face, neck and chest. The more expensive sunscreens have higher amounts of the zinc and titanium — these are the minerals that really protect your skin and don’t degrade with light exposure. Mexoryl or Parsol/avobenzone are also good but degrade somewhat with light exposure. Most of the other ingredients in sunscreens are inexpensive and block UVB only.

You want sunscreens that block both UVA and UVB well, and that requires the more expensive, higher concentrations of at least 5% zinc and/or titanium.

If you want to save money on suncreens, use the cheaper ones for your body, especially the parts that get less sun in general.  Your face, neck, chest, hands, and arms tend to get lots of sun and light, so use good suncreens on those areas.

The Elta MD suncreens are high quality and not too expensive.  Solbar and Estion are high quality and cheap, but can go on white, chalky, or a bit too thick.

See Dr. Irwin’s article on Suncreens for more info on picking a good suncreen.

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin. I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skin care advocate.

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One of the best investments in your skin is your daily skincare. Why? Because you can prevent many problems with blotchy skin color, lack of glow, texture, some types of acne, and fine lines with good skincare products. You can also correct some of these problems with effective skincare products. Great skincare is often more expensive because quality ingredients are expensive. Some companies spend on research/development which benefits all of us and adds to the cost. Are they worth it? In general - yes! I have handpicked some of what I consider to be the best skin care products, and offer them for sale on SkinTour's shop. This is based on my team and I's testing and research at our clinic. Many of the products are in my own regimen. What could be better than using skin care products a dermatologist uses?!