With endless options of sunscreen, it’s natural to wonder if a more expensive sunscreen is a better sunscreen. It’s unfortunate that a product essential to the prevention of skin cancer can be costly. But as an educated consumer, you can find products that are affordable and offer the necessary protective benefits.
Why Is Sunscreen Expensive?
Sunscreens contain active ingredients that work to block UV rays. Any skincare product with active ingredients is typically more pricey.
Here are some factors that increase the cost of sunscreen:
- The brand
- The amount of SPF
- The volume of sunscreen you personally use
- Ingredients (especially hypoallergenic, lightweight, and sensitive formulas)
- The country in which the sunscreen is manufactured (different countries have different sunscreen regulations and standards)
The FDA regulates the ingredients in sunscreen used in the United States and ensures that they follow evidence-based practice and are generally safe and effective. Studies are always being conducted to further scientific knowledge on various active ingredients. Before buying sunscreen from another country, check the sunscreen regulations for that area to ensure they are the same or more strict than the US.
Is Sunscreen Worth the Cost?
Even though sunscreen can be expensive, the benefits outweigh the cost. Dermatologists agree that the daily use of sunscreen is essential for preventative health and that there is no such thing as a safe tan. The American Academy of Dermatology reaffirms that all sun exposure increases the risk of all types of skin cancer.
- Anti-aging (fewer wrinkles, vein damage, and sunspots)
- Less painful sunburns
- A decreased risk of skin cancer
Skin cancer comes with associated medical costs. These may include increased dermatology appointments for skin checks, biopsies of skin lesions, and even surgeries. The medical cost of a skin cancer surgery can be thousands of dollars, while the cost of sunscreen is usually less than $100 per person per year.
How to Save Money on Sunscreens
- Go generic. A 2014 study concluded that individuals purchasing a generic sunscreen saved an average of 40 - 50%.
- Watch the SPF. The same study stated that sunscreen price increases along with SPF. SPF is essential in protecting the skin and The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. However, some sunscreens may go all the way to SPF 100, which isn’t necessary for all activities.
- Save with subscriptions. See if your favorite sunscreen brand has a “subscribe and save” option. Many companies will offer a discount in exchange for the regular purchase of their sunblock.
- Use a health savings account (HSA). An HSA is a benefit offered by many employers that allow individuals to make medical purchases out of a tax-advantaged account. Sunscreen is an eligible purchase to make with HSA funds.
The Bottom Line
As always, when making a sunscreen selection, the most important aspect is to buy a sunscreen that you’ll use every day to protect your skin from damaging UV rays.
Check out UV Skinz for a variety of sunscreen options and UPF 50+ protective clothing.