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Cheap & Best suncreams of 2024!

Lei Hang wearing a blue green maxi dress at the beach on the Isle of Wight enjoying the sun. While enjoying the sun she wears suncream to protect her skin.
Lei Hang at Seaview ( Isle of Wight ) Seafront.

With some lovely, warm spring days you may be spending more time in your garden or local park or even planning a vacation once the travel restrictions lift. Before you head out for a walk in the park, a swim in the beach or spend some time in the garden, remember that a decent suncream is a must no matter what skin type you have. After all, the last thing you’d want is a nasty sunburn, speed up aging process or skin cancer.

Is the expensive branded suncream or sun lotion the best?

Man with suncream on back with green plant background

I used to believe that the big brands such as Nivea, Garnier Ambre Solaire, Hawaiian Tropic etc. produced better quality sunscreens compared to supermarkets own branded sun protection creams, lotions or sprays. Many of us just trust and go for the known big brands, but are they really that good? Or are you just paying premium prices for no reason?

When buying sunscreen do you only pay attention to the sun protection factor (SPF)? I used to think that the only important thing was a high SPF rating and wasn’t aware of the UVA Star rating. Since I’ve been aware what protection SPF and

What is SPF in suncream or other cosmetic products?

The sun protection factor also known as SPF rating indicates the amount of ultraviolet B radiation (UVB) protection the product is able to provide. The SPF scale starts at 2 and goes all the way to 50+, with 50+ being the maximum, offering the strongest protection against UVB rays.

According to the NHS, we should pick a sunscreen with at least SPF 30 to protect against UVB. I personally, always buy sunscreen for me and my little girl Yasmin with a SPF of 50+. Even my Intensive Skin Serum Foundation by Bobbi Brown that I use has SPF40 to protect my face from UVB rays that can cause skin burns and can contribute to premature aging even on cloudy days.

What does the UVA star rating mean?

Lei Hang's the thrifty island girl isle of wight based money saving blogger suncream / sunscreen UVA star rating

If you are based in Europe, you will see that most suncreams or sun protection sprays have the letters “UVA” printed in a circle with up to 5 stars. This mark signifies that the ultraviolet A radiation (UVA) protection meets the EU recommendations. The higher the UVA rating the more protection against UVA rays the product provides. The NHS recommends us to go for sunscreens with at least 4 star UVA protection. I have to say, that I’m quiet disappointed that there are a few known branded suncreams with only 3 star UVA protection.

Suncreams or sun lotions to avoid

When purchasing sunscreen, avoid anything below a 4 star UVA rating and an SPF below 30. I always got for a sun lotion with 5 star UVA rating and SPF 50+ to insure maximum protection from ultraviolet A and B rays. I also avoid the big brands as there are better suncreams out there that do the same or even better job at protecting you from the harmful rays as well as only cost a fraction of the top brand products. According to the Channel 5 program Shop Smart:Save Money Aldi sun cream and sun lotions are better at protecting us from the harmful UV rays than the big brands such as Nivea Sun, Garnier Ambre Solair and Piz Buin.

For instance Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration SPF30 with only 3 star UVA protection cost £6.80 for a 180ml bottle. For that price, I’d expect top protection from Hawaiian Tropic sun cream. Where as Aldi’s own brand sun lotion Lacura at SPF30 has still got a 5 star UVA protection. Plus it only costs £2.29 for 200ml in a bottle. Also the Lacura sunscreen lotion has 24hrs of moisturisation, where as Hawaiian tropic only 12 hours.

Aldi Lacura moisturising sun lotion is a cheap but very effective suncream. The sunscreens blue and yellow packaging looks very similar to Nivea Sun products.

Now to the budget friendly, best sunscreens!

Best sunscreen for babies and kids: Aldi Lacura Mamia Baby sun lotion SPF 50+ & UVA 5 Star, £1.49

Aldi lacura baby kids sun lotion sun cream is cheap and effective

With SPF 50+ protection and a 5-star UVA rating, this bargain baby and kids sun lotion is a must buy. It’s suitable for baby’s delicate skin, fragrance free, very water resistant and and gives 24 hours of moisturisation.

I’ve bought this for my daughter Yas, as she has mild eczema and sensitive skin. I like this sunscreen, because it is easy to apply and doesn’t feel sticky on the skin. It’s also small, so perfect to put in the handbag for when we are out and about. £1.49 for the highest UVA & UVB protection is definitely a bargain!

Best sunscreen for sensitive skin: Aldi Lacura extra sensitive sun lotion SPF 50+ & UVA 5 Star, £2.29

Lacura extra sensitive sun lotion suncream by Aldi on red fluffy background

If you have fair skin or very sensitive skin, ALdi’s extra sensitive sun lotion is the sunscreen for you. Providing the highest UVA and UVB protection with 5 star UVA rating and SPF 50+. It’s also extra water resistant, so perfect for on the beach and holidays. It provides 24 hours of moisturisation, is fragrant free and contains vitamin E.

I’ve bought this sun lotion for myself, as I suffer from mild eczema and have very sensitive skin. I love how this sunscreen feels on my skin. It doesn’t feel sticky on the skin and is absorbed quickly. The last thing I want is to feel sticky while enjoying the sun.

To save more money, ditch the brands to save £100+ a year on medicines!

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