Best SPF sunscreen for the body (2023)


unscreen is an absolute must when it comes to looking after our skin.

Even in the winter we need to take responsibility for protecting it from harmful UVA and UVB rays (UVA is the longwave ultraviolet light that penetrates skin and causes long term damage and ageing, whilst UVB is the short wave light that causes skin to burn).

With so many products on the market, it can be tough to work out what the best sunscreen is for you and whether spending more money really means getting better quality.

According to skin cancer expert and Medical Director of CosmedicsUK, Dr Ross Perry, there are certain factors you should look out for when purchasing SPF for your body and there are certain myths surrounding things such as factor and ingredients that it’s important to get clued up on before buying.

So… what factor do I need?

Regardless of skin type, Dr Perry recommends using at least Factor 30 when in the sun. “I always advise a minimum of factor 30 or higher but it’s important to add that no SPF, not even 100, offers 100 per cent protection. It’s important to remember that both UVA and UVB radiation can lead to skin cancer. The overall difference in UVB protection between an SPF 100 and SPF 50 is really marginal and confusing for consumers as they seem to think it offers double the protection which is in fact not true. I generally advise, no matter the skin type to use an SPF of 30 which allows about 3 percent of UVB rays to hit your skin. An SPF of 50 allows about 2 percent of those rays through, so ultimately there is very little difference.

“When used correctly, sunscreen with SPF values in the range of 30 to 50 will offer adequate sunburn protection, even for people with pale skin and this should still be applied frequently.”

What do I need to look out for?

One of the key things to be on the lookout for is a sunscreen that offers protection from both UVA and UVB rays. “Aim to buy what’s called a broad spectrum SPF which basically means it protects the skin from both UVA and UVB rays. Even with a high SPF, if a sunscreen isn't broad spectrum, you won't be protected from all UVA rays. There will be a star indication for UVA which indicates it meets the EU standard and you need to be aiming for at least 4 stars when choosing sunscreen.”


When buying, ensure you take note of the shelf life of the product. “Most sunscreens have a shelf life of 2-3 years, so if you’re using old sunscreen make sure it’s within its expiry period,” says Dr Perry. This is usually indicated by an open cosmetics pot symbol with the number of months or years indicated inside.

A word about safety

Once you’ve chosen, application and sensible use is just as important as the sunscreen itself. No sunscreen can offer 100 per cent protection from damage that leads skin cancer, so you need to factor this in when using. “The most important thing to remember is no tan is a safe tan,” explains Dr Perry. “It’s best to seek the shade, wear a high SPF and stay out the sun when it’s at its peak rather than take the risk. You are at higher risk if you have lots of moles, have fair skin, red or blonde hair rather than someone with a darker skin.”

When applying, Dr Perry advises doing so at least 20 minutes before going outside to allow it to fully absorb ad then reapplying every two hours, “particularly if swimming or spending prolonged periods of time outside.”

“I would also advise wearing a wide brimmed hat, sunglasses and loose cotton clothing whilst also keeping out of the sun as much as possible.”

Each of these sunscreens were tested for absorbency, feel on the skin and effectiveness during peak sunlight.

Best SPF sunscreen for the body at a glance

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VICHY Capital Soleil Solar Protective Water Hydrating SPF50 200ml

Best for: a water-like texture

This suncream is unlike any other on the market. It has a unique water-based texture that feels immediately hydrating the second it is spritzed onto your skin. Hydration and sun protection go hand in hand here, so you are nourishing the skin, while shielding with SPF50. The formula includes the benefits of the brand’s signature volcanic water that is paired with the skincare favourite hyaluronic acid to provide an easily applied cream for dry, sensitive and all skin types. Stock up to see you through the summer.

Supergoop! Play Everyday Lotion SPF 50 with Sunflower Extract

Best for: a beautifully scented, lightweight cream

From the herbaceous aroma to the lightweight texture, this high factor suncream from Supergoop! turns traditional formulations on its head. Never has the creaming up process been so easy with the quickly-absorbed, seemingly invisible nature of this product. It’s almost gel-like in its consistency but much thinner and yet still boasts a hard-working shielding effect from UVA, UVB and infrared rays. The scent comes from the infusion of rosemary, while there’s also sunflower and rice antioxidants to reinforce the protection against pollution and the sun’s rays.

Ultra Violette Extreme Screen Hydrating Body & Hand Skinscreen SPF50+

Best for: hydrating, plumping protection

There’s no chalky textures or white casts in sight with this lightweight suncream from Ultra Violette. Whether you’re popping it into your handbag to adorn your digits (an ofter overlooked area) with sun protection or in your holiday wash bag, the brand has got you covered for skin-loving formulations that protect against enviromental aggressors and strengthen the skin’s natural moisture levels at the same time. The SPF50+ product contains soothing aloe vera and nourishing vitamin E, leaving behind a subtle sheen and a fresh scent.

Caudalie Vinosun High Protection Spray SPF30

Best for: a luxury twist on suncare

Luxury French skincare label Caudalie is known for its innovation, bringing natural ingredients to your bathroom cabinet without sacrificing on efficacy. The plant-powered products are formulated from a specialised ingredient derived from grapes and the wine making process. This includes the Vinosun cream that uses these antioxidants and UVA and UVB protecting components to shield the skin from the burning and ageing effects of the sun.

There’s SPF30 and SPF50 that also contain vtamin E to provide corporal care and is water-resistant so you’re covered when dipping in and out of the water. Although if the latter is occuring, topping up is no fuss thanks to the lightweight texture.

BIODERMA Photoderm Hand-Free Transparent Sunscreen Mist SPF50+

Best for: long spray, suitable for face and body

One of the most irritating things about most sunscreens is that they’re only formulated for the body, causing the skin on your face to break out if you apply it there. This offering from Bioderma, however, is suitable for both and even comes with a continuous wide-angle spray applicator, so you can apply it without actually touching your skin.

Offering a water resistant formulation with broad spectrum protection and a patented Cellular Bioprotection that works to activate the skin’s natural sun defences, it settles easily onto the skin with no residue. We loved how hydrating this one felt - particularly on the face - as well as the fact that it offered such high protection, which felt strong enough for sensitive skin.

Avene Very High Protection Spray, SPF 50+

Best for: high protection for pale skin

From French brand Avene, this formula offers intense protection for pale and sensitive skin and is particularly adept at protecting from very intense sunlight, so if you’ve got plans to visit heat spots such as Australia within the next couple of years (travel restrictions permitting) it’s a trustworthy choice.

Containing thermal spring water and an antioxidant called pre-tocopheryl, it quickly absorbs into the skin and dries completely clear, so make sure you take care to cover every area during application.

Hawaiian Tropic Satin Protection SPF 30

Best for: high water resistance, added Vitamin C and E

Using a lotion formula, Hawaiian Tropic has created a sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays and comes with the approval of the Skin Cancer Foundation. This one is chemical based with the main ingredients of octocrylene and ethylhexyl benzoate, meaning they convert the light and heat hitting the skin into non-damaging rays.

We found this one absorbed quickly without leaving a sticky feel and was particularly steadfast at staying put even when exposed to water and sweat. Following the instructions on the packaging, we reapplied every 80 minutes to ensure optimum protection and found that even after several applications our skin was left with a pleasant smell, soft texture and a glowing radiance.

Garnier Ambre Solaire SPF 50+ Sensitive Advanced Dry Mist Sun Spray 150ml

Best for: hypoallergenic, dry mist spray

Another affordable option, this one has been specially formulated to be kind to sensitive skin types - it’s both hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog your pores up - excellent if your skin is prone to breaking out.

What we loved most about this one was how easy it was to apply. It’s a dry spray, meaning you can easily get to those hard-to-reach places such as the back of the knees or your back. We particularly liked this because it makes for easy application if you’re out somewhere alone and don’t fancy asking a stranger to apply it for you, or are in charge of excitable kids that don’t want to stand still for long. Quick drying and quickly absorbed, this one left behind no residue at all.

UltraSun Sports Gel, SPF 30

Best for: water resistant

This Swiss pharmacy brand is renowned for its high quality sun care range and this sports option is no exception. Designed for those playing sport in the sun, it’s made with a gel formula, making it easy to spread with a quick absorption rate. Free from fragrance, preservatives and mineral oils, it offers UVB, UVA and infrared protection - something that not many sunscreens have. As it’s water resistant, it claims to withstand a substantial amount of sweat - something we’re happy to report is true, with even high-concentration spots such as the underarms, backs of knees and elbow crooks staying protected.

Piz Buin Hydro Infusion Sun Gel, SPF 30

Best for: chlorine and salt water protection

With a gel formula, this one won’t leave behind a sticky white residue like many other sunscreens, sinking into the skin quickly and without fuss. Aqua based, Piz Buin’s Hydro Gel offers hydration as well as protection from UVA and UVB rays. We liked the fact that this one has been created to provide protection from both salt and chlorinated water, which can break down SPF protection, so if you’re planning any length swims, it’s a great option. It’s also enriched with Vitamin E, which made our skin look radiant.


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