With endless sunscreen options, it’s natural to wonder if a more expensive sunscreen is better. It’s unfortunate that a product essential to the prevention of skin cancer can be costly at times, but does a higher cost mean better quality? Fortunately, as an educated consumer, you can find affordable sunscreen that offers the necessary SPF protective benefits.
Today, we go over if price matters when it comes time to select a sunscreen.
Why Is Sunscreen Expensive?
Sunscreens contain active ingredients that work to block UVB rays. Any skincare product with active ingredients is typically more pricey.
Here are some factors that increase the cost of sunscreen:
- Amount of SPF
- Ingredients (especially hypoallergenic, lightweight, and sensitive formulas)
- 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.
Is Sunscreen Worth the Cost?
Even though sunscreen can be expensive, the benefits outweigh the cost. So, yes, sunscreen is worth the cost as it can save your life. 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 affirms that all sun exposure increases the risk of all types of skin cancer. Also, sunscreen's benefits are very beneficial and include the following:
- Anti-aging (fewer wrinkles, vein damage, and sunspots)
- Less painful sunburns
- 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.
Remember: 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.
Is More Expensive Sunscreen Better for You?
There's not really a correlation between a sunscreen's price and its effectiveness. While yes you want to choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, after that, you're probably just paying for branding.
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Once you find that sunscreen, look for one that best suits your preferred price range. You don't need to get the most expensive sunscreen out there for it to protect you properly.
How to Save Money on Sunscreen
- 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 for 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). Many employers offer An HSA benefit that allows 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.
And while some sunscreen can be more expensive, spending money on sunscreen is worth it if it means saving your life.
Check out UV Skinz for a variety of sunscreen options and UPF 50+ protective clothing.