Summer is incomplete without pictures of beaches, surfing, long bike rides up a hiking trail, and wearing colorful dresses and short shorts. But every time we get out in the sun, the one thing that ruins the entire picture is sunburn! And yes, there are a million and one sunscreens and sunblocks out there, but what you want is something that not only protects your skin from those harsh sun rays, but also preserves it long term. Research has shown that PABA-free sunscreens are a way better option to choose, when looking for the ideal sunscreen for your skincare needs.
As with any skincare product, it is so important to know what goes into the mix, because that is what goes directly on your skin. You want to find a solution to the problem, not something that aggravates it. In the case of sunscreens, you need to find the best PABA-free sunscreen for your skin type. Lucky for you, we’ve rounded up our picks of the 10 best PABA-free sunscreens out there this year, so you can rest assured your skin is well taken care of.
What Is PABA-Free Sunscreen?
A PABA-free sunscreen basically means that the sunscreen you are using has no paba-aminobenzoic acid. Paba-aminobenzoic acid is known to cause skin irritation and even stain clothes. More serious side-effects of exposure to paba-aminobenzoic acid sunscreen include nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. So it’s very important you look at the fine print on your sunscreen and skin care products and ensure they are PABA-free!
Keep Your Skin Silky And Healthy With TheTop 10 PABA-Free Sunscreens
Looking for a PABA-free sunscreen that can not only take care of your sun protection worries but also doubles up as a cosmetic tool? Try the Australian Gold’s Botanical SPF 50 Tinted Face Sunscreen lotion that does just that. Apart from being a silky smooth PABA-free lotion for your daily skincare regime, you can use this PABA-free sunscreen as a base for makeup and contouring! What we love about this particular PABA-free sunblock is that it contains titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, which provide healthy sun protection in a non-abrasive, non-chemical way. It is also rich in antioxidants like kakadu plum, eucalyptus, and red algae. And for sensitive skin woes, we are happy to say this non-greasy sunscreen lotion is fragrance-free too!
- 100% mineral sunscreen
- Can double up as foundation
- No gluten, alcohol, sulphate, dyes or phthalate
- Limited shades available
PABA-free sunscreen sticks are the best for on-the-go application. So it’s no wonder that we’d pick Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer Face & Body Sunscreen Stick. What’s great about this compact little number is that it simply glides onto your skin effortlessly and effectively, leaving behind a lightweight layer of powerful PABA-free sunscreen to protect you from the sun’s harsh rays. Even better is that it is water-resistant — great news for swimmers, surfers, or outdoor trekkers! Beat the heat and sweat and stay protected from those dangerous UVA/UVB rays for hours.
- Easy-to-use stick
- Lightweight sunscreen
- Non-greasy formula
- Suitable for all skin types
- Contains fragrance
This one’s a special treat, especially for people with oily and sensitive skin. Like other PABA-free sunscreens, ThinkBaby gives ample protection against sunburns. But what’s special about it is that it contains non-nano zinc oxide, which is biodegradable, non-toxic, and reef-friendly. It is safe to use for children, and safe for the environment as well! It’s water-resistant formula helps you enjoy up to 80 minutes in the pool or ocean, without a worry! It’s the perfect solution for a kiddie pool party, because it’s super-quick with skin absorption and you won’t have to wrestle your little ones to be still until it starts taking effect! Just lap it on and let ‘em jump in the pool!
- Gluten and dairy-free
- May not be suitable for sensitive skin
ThinkSport, as a brand, is synonymous with providing the safest standards of skincare for kids and adults alike. So their SPF 50+ PABA-free sunscreen doesn’t disappoint in the sun protection department. Taking into account your needs and health codes, ThinkSport has carefully created a PABA-free sun lotion that will keep your skin protected, preserved, and nourished all at once. Pro athletes swear by this lotion because it is water-resistant, mineral-based, gluten and dairy-free, provides broad-spectrum protection, and at the same time is gentle and suitable for daily use, even for children.
- No fragrance
- Great for outdoor sports
- On the pricier side
Taking your little ones out for a picnic in the sun on a bright summer’s day? What a wonderful idea! And you needn’t worry about their soft, sensitive skin being riddled with burns or redness because you will have Babyganics SPF 50 Sunscreen Spray in your bag! Babies rarely sit still, and certainly do not like their faces covered in cream! So this PABA-free sunscreen spray is the perfect solution for quick protection under the sun for your excitable little toddlers! It boasts the Neo-Nourish Seed Oil Blend of tomato, sunflower, cranberry, black cumin, and raspberry seed oils, which provide sufficient moisturizing protection for sensitive skin. The fragrance-free formula ensures you won’t have to deal with sneezies and wheezies on your picnic, either!
- Tear-free and non-allergenic
- Suitable for babies under 6 months
- Spreads easily
- Easily available
- Not ideal for wet skin
Cetaphil is reputed as a skincare brand, giving special attention to people with sensitive skin needs. The Cetaphil Sheer Mineral Sunscreen is the ideal PABA-free sunscreen that protects, hydrates, and moisturizes your skin in one go. With vitamin E in the mix, your skin is left rich, supple and healthy, safe from environmental pollutants and radicals. It also contains zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, and prebiotics, taking good care of your skin cells, while you are out in the sun. Cetaphil’s PABA-free sunscreen is a safe bet for daily wear, whether you are into outdoor sports, or are simply on-the-move for work. It’s hypoallergenic formula is free of paba-aminobenzoic acid, octinoxate, avobenzone, parabens, oxybenzone, and fragrance.
- Suitable for sensitive skin
- Deeply hydrating
- May leave a white cast on skin
- Not very absorbent
Got tennis practice in the afternoons and worried that you’ll lose your grip on your tennis racket with all that sunscreen slipping off of your arms? We get it. You need a PABA-free sunscreen that doesn’t make you feel slick and slippery, but at the same time protects you from sun burns. Kinesys Oil-Free Clear Active Skin Performance Sunscreen answers your prayers! It’s 100% oil-free formula is tailor-made for active sports. You even get up to 80 minutes of water and sweat resistance. Being hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic, makes this PABA-free sunscreen all the more desirable, because it is suitable for sensitive skin. And since it isn’t slick on your skin, you can even use it as a firm placeholder under your make-up!
- No fragrance, alcohol, preservatives, gluten, dairy, or sulphites
- Suitable for sensitive skin
- Ideal for daily use
- Easy-to-use pump
- Non-comedogenic and hypoallergenic
- May not blend well with makeup
- On the oilier side
Imagine you’re on a work trip and you have off-site visits every day. In the sun. In the peak of summer. Yup, you’re toast. But you don’t have to be. And neither do you have to worry about spilling icky lotion all over your work tote bag, because Safetec’s Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30+ comes in single serve sachets (pack of 100) that are easy-to-use, apply-and-throw, compact, and perfect for your on-the-go needs. This PABA-free sunscreen is good protection from UVB rays for about 2 hours in the sun, without a burn in sight! Tear one open, apply it where it’s needed about 15 minutes before you are outdoors and you’re on your way!
- Value for money
- High protection factor
- Easy to carry
- Perfect for emergency use on-the-go
- May require more than one packet for full-body coverage
It’s bikini season and you want to get out and lay on your deck chair, get that golden glaze on your legs before winter sets in and you’re all covered up again. And with a good PABA-free sunscreen, you can get the roast you want, without getting charred under the sun! Panama Jack’s SPF 8 Sunscreen Lotion is the ideal PABA-free tanning lotion on the market for those tanning sessions at the beach, by the pool, or on the sundeck. With a healthy balance of antioxidants and moisturizing oils (including green tea leaf extract), this anti-aging sunscreen is your bae this season. The SPF is at a modest 8, which indicates that this PABA-free sunscreen is ideal for skin with a higher resistance to sunburns, and is lighter than most heavy-weight sunscreens in the market. What we loved about this easy-to-pump bottle is that the PABA-free lotion has no parabens, gluten, retinyl palmitate, or oxybenzone. And it’s reef-friendly!
- Paraben, gluten, and cruelty-free
- Great for beachwear and swimming
- Easy-to-use product
- Not ideal for protection against sun burns
- Not suitable for sensitive skin
Practicing for that triathlon? Thinking about that long trek way up in the mountains? Like to get that high-intensity training session out in the sun? Then the PABA-free sunscreen you need in your training bag is Coppertone’s Sport Face Mineral-Based Sun Protection Sunscreen Lotion. Even though it’s a strong cream that keeps your skin well-protected for long intervals in the sun, what we love about this PABA-free sunscreen lotion is that it is breathable and doesn’t clog your pores. The mineral-based formula protects your skin from 98% of the sun’s harmful UV rays and is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes at a time, which is considerable. And if you’re someone who sweats rivers down your face and onto your neck, this PABA-free sunscreen is your best buddy, because it was made for your face. It doesn’t slip, leak or get into your eyes, so you can rest easy with a healthy glop of this lotion on your face, while you huff-and-puff outside.
- Suitable for high-intensity outdoor activities
- High performance
- Free of oxybenzone
- Light and breathable
- May leave a white cast on skin
Before you run to the store and buy your PABA-free sunscreen, it’s important to know a few things. Read our buying guide for more information.
How To Choose A PABA-Free Sunscreen
- Know your skin
Before you buy any skin care product, it is crucial that you know your skin type and how it behaves with or without any skincare or cosmetic product. Understand if there are any skin conditions that require medical attention. Always consult your dermatologist if you have any allergies or skin ailments before you buy any skincare or cosmetic products.
For dry skin, look for deeply hydrating and moisturizing PABA-free creams or gels that contain hyaluronic acid, honey, ceramides or glycerin. For oily skin, you want a PABA-free sunscreen that is more water-based or gel-based, which doesn’t leave a shiny trail. Look for active ingredients like green tea, tea tree oils or niacinamide.
If you’re someone who struggles with sensitive skin, skin allergies and irritation, you need to stay away from para-aminobenzoic acid, oxybenzone, phthalates, fragrances, salicylates, and cinnamates. What you need is a mineral-based sunscreen with ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium oxide, panthenol, allantoin, and madecassoside. Just because you have normal skin, doesn’t mean you get slack on finding good skin-friendly PABA-free sunscreens. While most ingredients shouldn’t bother you, try organic ingredients for better and healthier skin.
- Know your needs
Buying a PABA-free sunscreen isn’t just about popping over to the chemist and picking up the first bottle or tube you see. Ask yourself why you want PABA-free sunscreen. Is it for daily wear? Is it for long hours outdoors for work? Are you into outdoor sports? Is it for surfing or just laying on the beach? Each of these activities requires a different degree of protection from the sun and you will see that each product is created meticulously to cater to your needs.
- Read the fine print
Always, always read the fine print. Look at the ingredients. Make sure there is no paba-aminobenzoic acid listed anywhere. Most PABA-free products have it written where you can see it, but it is always good to know what goes into the mix. There might be other chemical formulas that you specifically are allergic to. So never apply any product on your body without reading what’s in it.
Remember, that just buying something off-the-rack and slapping it on your skin before you go out into the sunny beyond isn’t enough. Always know what you’re exposing your body to. Some days are hotter than others, and you also have to take into account how much direct exposure your body has to the sun everyday. It’s so important to keep your skin protected, nourished and fortified against harmful sun rays. But being outdoors doesn’t have to be a stressful activity or something you’ll regret later. Let the sun shine on, in all its glory, and shine along with it, without any worries. With your PABA-free sunscreen by your side, you know you’re gonna have a blast in the sun!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is paraben-free the same as PABA-free?
While there is some debate on how they interact with one another, no, PABA and parabens are not the same. So PABA-free does not indicate paraben-free.
Can I wear foundation over my PABA-free sunscreen?
Some PABA-free sunscreens can double as BB creams and foundations, but you will have to try them out on your skin to see how well they sit and blend.
Does PABA-free sunscreen work for every skin type?
PABA-free sunscreen is usually suited to most skin types, but some have specific formulas. In the case of any chronic or underlying skin condition, it is always best to consult your dermatologist before trying any skincare products. Always read the fine print before buying anything!