My Favourite Sunscreen For Just About Everything


This article is proudly supported by La Roche-Posay and L’Oreal New Zealand

Sunscreen and skincare have always had an arduous relationship.

I, for one, have spent countless summers internally debating between acne and sunburn. Throughout my teens and early twenties, no matter what sunscreen I applied to my face I was rewarded with either a breakout or a rash. Hardly the outcome desired by any young women already negotiating a host of crippling insecurities. The irony became: Do I want inflamed, irritated skin from the sun or do I want inflamed, irritated skin from sunscreen?

Thankfully, as the beauty industry continues to grow and aestheticians and dermatologists explore and inspire new avenues within skincare, I’ve been able to identify a (small) handful of sunscreens that are as inoffensive to my face as humanly possible. And perhaps none have been less offensive than La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios XL range. Or, more specifically, the La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Ultra Light SPF 50+ sunscreen.

Before I go into the details of this little powerhouse, let’s quickly recap on the difference between chemical and physical sunscreen. Because readers are always like “Isn’t physical sunscreen the devil?” and “Won’t it break me out?” and “Doesn’t the chemical stuff damage your skin?” and “Why does he watch my Instagram Stories but never text me back?”. Physical sunscreen (also known as “mineral” sunscreen) creates a physical shield for the skin, reflecting UV light. Generally speaking, physical sunscreens are more amenable to sensitive skin because they contain zinc and titanium dioxide – two ingredients that dermatologists have identified as the best for avoiding sunburn while also lowering the risk of irritation. A chemical sunscreen, on the other hand, absorbs that UV light, so your skin doesn’t have to. They also tend to be far superior in terms of comfort on the skin since they don’t need to be thick in texture or colour to create a physical barrier. And if you’re someone who’s concerned about the potential free radical damage from long-term use of a chemical sunscreen, most modern formulas like La Roche-Posay contain antioxidants designed to safe guard your skin’s health. Basically, there are merits to both variations and I’ve been known to use either (because when 92% of sunscreens make you want to rip your face off you can’t really be picky when something works). 

Formulated by dermatologists to be perfect for sensitive skin while still providing broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection, La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Ultra Light SPF 50+ is a light-weight formula that uses a combination of physical and chemical sun filter. I love it because it’s never sticky and is completely invisible both on its own or under makeup. It’s also paraben and fragrance free – bonus. And while the temptation to go sans-sunscreen in summer (or winter for that matter) may be there, for me it was never and will never be an option; I am incredibly fair-skinned and I do not tan, but I want to spend time outside because I know the overall health benefits are too great to forego them entirely. So this is my summer skin-surance policy. What’s yours?

La Roche-Posay is available from Chemist Warehouse and selected Life Pharmacy & Unichem stores
Header image by Ashleigh Brooksbank for The Twenties Club