SPF isn’t just used for the prevention of serious conditions like skin cancer, but also for the aesthetic impact on skin, such as premature aging and hyperpigmentation that can occur from exposure to the Sun’s powerful UVA & UVB rays. It used to be difficult to find easy-to-use sunscreen that is both vegan and cruelty-free, but luckily the beauty marketplace is saturated with sensational SPFs that are easy to apply and work on a variety of skin types.

It is widely recommended that everyone (including children aged six months and up) should wear a form of sun protection with an SPF of 30, every single day, rain or shine. We spoke to Dr. Jessica Krant MD, Board Certified Dermatologist and Lifestyle Medicine-certified Physician, about some common misconceptions when it comes to sun exposure, SPF, and why we really should be wearing it every single day, year-round.

Some common SPF myths

An interesting misconception about SPF is that despite the widespread rhetoric that certain sun protection is damaging to our oceans, Dr. Krant notes that “that has actually not been proven” and that “by far the greatest damage to coral reefs is from ocean warming, caused by global warming, caused by large scale animal agriculture and industrial pollution”. Being mindful of what you consume is important not only for the planet and its inhabitants but for our health too.

However, Dr. Kant laments that even the most varied and nutritious diets cannot protect us from sun exposure. “Another common myth among the plant-based is that you can just eat healthy and be fully protected from the sun. Eating the rainbow does provide major antioxidants and UV damage fighters, but it is still important to put sunscreen on areas that might get burned”. Wearing SPF every day should be an important part of our routine, no matter how powerful our diet may be.

Common Sunscreen Myths

Another common myth is that sun protection is somewhat a ‘one and done’ situation, but sunscreen breaks down when exposed to direct sunlight and Dr. Krant believes that one of the most common mistakes is to underapply SPF. “People use a very thin layer and then do not reapply later. They mistakenly believe they are protected up to the level indicated on the package, but those SPF numbers are obtained using a significant amount of product, in an artificial lab setup”.

It is important to keep topping your sunscreen up throughout the day, especially when you are exposed to a lot of sunlight. A fine mist SPF spray is perfect for keeping in your bag and spritzing on the go. Furthermore, when you are at the pool or beach Dr. Krant recommends “a full reapplication every two hours” to keep your skin safe. As well as being part of your daily ritual, it is important to reapply SPF throughout the day to see the benefits long term. Using SPF occasionally won’t really make a huge difference overall to the condition of your skin, because when it comes to preventing sun damage, consistency is key.

Even in the colder months, being sure to keep on top of your SPF routine is essential, this is because despite less sun being physically present, UVA and UVB rays are still able to cause harm to our skin, especially “causing damage to our collagen and skin quality and promoting aging, while contributing to cumulative UV exposure”. To help to prevent skin cancer and reduce accelerated signs of aging from sun damage, being diligent with sun protection (even when there is frost on the ground) is paramount for overall skin protection.

Our Favorite Vegan Sunscreens

1. Coola Full Spectrum 360° Sun Silk Drops Organic Face Sunscreen SPF 30, $46

Coola really has its pulse on what it means to have high-performance products that not only pack a punch when it comes to results but have naturally powerful ingredients to boot. Their organic sun silk drops have a full 360-degree complex, which delivers UVA and UVB protection as well as mitigating the impact of blue light and pollution on our skin. This easy-to-apply formula can be used alone or mixed with your favorite serum or moisturizer for an extra hit of hydration.

2. Typology SPF 30 Face Sunscreen with Aloe Vera, $37.40

Chic and effortless is what you’d expect from a Parisian brand, and that’s exactly what you get with this smooth sun protection from French skincare brand Typology. With a clean, vegan formula this product sinks effortlessly into the skin, leaving no white cast for a shine-free, non-sticky finish. As well as protecting from UVA and UVB filters, this sunscreen is spiked with hyper nourishing hyaluronic acid and aloe vera for plump, protected skin.

3. REN Clean Screen Mineral SPF 30 Mattifying Face Sunscreen, $38

Containing 22 percent Zinc Oxide, this daily SPF from REN offers broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection which offers protection from aging sun damage. It also contains Passionfruit Seed Extract, which helps to shield skin from pollution, and Rice extract, which leaves skin with a matte finish, perfect as a base for makeup.

4. Supergoop Glowscreen SPF 40, From $17

If you love a ’glowy’ look, this sunscreen from Supergoop delivers SPF 40 protection with a subtle shimmer that leaves you looking healthy, fresh, and dewy. It also doubles up as a hydrating primer, meaning makeup sits beautifully on top and stays put too. The hydrating liquid is sheer yet pearlescent, so you look naturally radiant rather than glittery or shiny and the powerful protection will keep your skin safe and supple.

5. Fenty Skin Hydra Vizor Invisible Moisturiser Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen, $35

This iconic two-in-one product from Fenty Skin is lightweight, oil-free, and totally invisible on all skin tones. Both a moisturizer and SPF, it works to hydrate and protect, whilst brightening discoloration, reducing the appearance of dark spots, and minimizing pores both instantly and over time. The SPF 30 protects against aggressors from the sun’s rays and absorbs easily with absolutely no piling (making it perfect pre-makeup).

6. Soleil Toujours Clean Conscious Antioxidant Sunscreen SPF 30, $36

This spray-on sunscreen SPF 30 mist is perfect for topping up throughout the day, ideal if you are wearing makeup or out and about and you need a hit of protection in a pinch. The 70 percent organic formula is packed full of antioxidants too, which help to protect against free radicals which may cause cell damage. It also hydrates and nourishes thanks to the EcoSunComplex® which firms and smoothes skin, as well as boosting the SPF properties. It is super lightweight, non-greasy, and dries quickly too, perfect for a spritz-and-go.

7. Glossier Invisible Shield, $27.40

It feels like a serum and sinks into skin like a lightweight gel, but this clever formula from Glossier also works hard to protect skin with its powerful SPF 30 properties. It’s totally transparent and has no greasy residue or white cast and works incredibly well if you want to apply makeup too. This small but mighty SPF really is the perfect invisible shield for subtle yet powerful sun care protection.

8. Sun Bum SPF 30 Sunscreen Lip Balm in Banana, $3.99

Unlike most lip balms, this fruity offering from cult sun care brand Sun Bum contains no beeswax and is made with a totally vegan formula. This is good news for plant-based protection, meaning our lips can stay shielded and hydrated all day long (thanks to the added Aloe and Vitamin E). You’d be bananas not to try it.

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