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Meet The New Sunscreens With Skincare Benefits

Everything you need to know about ‘skinscreens’

Lucy Adams

I’m a sun lover and my preferred temperature is 25 degrees Celsius and over. Admittedly, this isn’t warmth I’ve experienced in Sydney recently, but that doesn’t mean I venture outside without wearing sunscreen… ever. I know that if there’s one skincare behaviour that helps protect against damage and ageing, it is wearing an SPF every single day (and reapplying it regularly).

Thankfully, sunscreen has come a long way since my teenage years, when thicker formulations gave me a pasty face and frequent breakouts. In fact, what used to be a boring pharmacy product has become a stylish beauty shelf essential.


Image supplied by Adore Beauty

Ultra Violette really kicked off the ‘skinscreen’ phenomenon, with its chic and Insta-friendly Queen Screen propelling the brand to a $10million turnover this year. Now, an array of Australian brands are producing lightweight ‘skinscreens’ that go a step further, containing actives such as niacinamide and hyaluronic acid, vitamins and more.

Basically, they’re an extension of our skincare regimen and designed to be worn daily.

“It’s where we see sun protection and skincare collide,” explains Frances Der Velden, founder of new sunscreen brand Airyday, whose award-winning Dreamscreen contains hyaluronic acid and vitamins C, E and F. These new formulations often feel more luxe and serum-like, without that old-school sunscreen ‘fragrance’.

Do we need ‘skinscreens’?
In a word, no – at least, not when you’re using actives in your regimen. But adding moisturising ingredients may help strengthen your skin barrier, Dr Scott McGregor, GP and co-founder of We Are Feel Good Inc.

“A healthy skin barrier is extremely important for assisting in protection against UV and environmental pollutants, and preventing water loss from your skin,” he says. “Added antioxidants assist in mopping up some of the harmful molecules that are released in your skin [when it’s exposed to] UV and environmental pollutants.” It is just very difficult to measure how much added benefit is achieved from these additions.

How effective are they?
The SPF is the most important consideration when choosing any sun protection product. If it feels amazing and has added benefits then that’s a win, win.

Look for sunscreen that’s been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Australia has some of the strictest regulations in the world and recently declared SPF products a ‘medicine’. Each TGA-listed SPF product must complete stringent testing to prove its SPF rating, efficiency, and any other claims such as water resistance and hydration.

Here’s our edit of the top 8 SPFs with benefits to try now:

1. Ultra Violette Queen Screen SPF50+Luminising Serum SKINSCREEN, $47 Primer beauty ed, Sherine’s fave and the OG of ‘skinscreens’. It offers max UVA and UVB protection, is light weight, glow enhancing and has a divine rose scent. 

2. We Are Feel Good Inc. Good Morning SPF 50, $34.95 The all-rounder: My husband, kids and I share this high protection, hydrating yet lightweight formula.

3. Mecca Cosmetica To Save Face SPF50+ Brightening Sun Serum, $48 New and improved it’s already reached bestselling status at Mecca with its peachy tone and added brightness boosting niacinamide.

4. Airyday Clear As Day SPF50+ Dreamscreen, $46.95 Completely clear, almost primer- like, perfect for those who don’t like creamy textures but don’t want to skimp on dewiness.

5. Go-To Skin Care Nifty Fifty Hydrating Daily Sunscreen, $45 Another newbie worth checking out. Like its name states it’s packed with protection, skin loving goodness and hydrating heroes like Glycerin and CoQ10.

6. Emma Lewisham Skin Shield SPF 30, $94 Natural, planet positive, luxurious and it took seven years to perfect the formula. It leaves skin hydrated, glowy and resilient.

7. Naked Sundays SPF50 Clear Glow Radiant Sunscreen Serum, $49.95 A current favourite, this do-it-all SPF serum covers my moisturising, SPF protecting and priming needs and is my final step before make-up.

8. AB LAB Dewy-C SPF50+ Facial Sun Milk, $39.95 Born from learning from Adore Beauty’s vast product knowledge and beauty community, this AB LAB SPF has is a milky texture, high protection and glowy, long lasting sheen (thanks to added Vit C).

This is not advertorial, although the products were supplied to PRIMER to photograph and review. It is important to note that sunscreen is only one component of sun protection. Prolonged sun exposure should be avoided, and frequent re-application of sunscreen is required for effective protection.

Clear As Day


Naked Sundays




BY Lucy Adams

Lucy is PRIMER's beauty editor, and has spent 20 years working in beauty, including at marie claire.

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