Carry On

The Best Travel Sunscreen for Any Trip

June 9, 2016
oak street beach chicago
best sunscreen for travelers

Confession: I did not always appreciate the power of the sun to cause long term skin damage. Growing up in Wisconsin I lived for summer. We only get three months of truly warm weather, and I couldn’t wait to be outside, soaking up the sun as much as possible. The hope was to get tan enough to last into the fall. (Winter is a hopeless season of scarily pale, dry skin). Then I moved to DC, where summers were longer (and muggier) and beach weekends were easy. Then, I moved to Rome, where the most beautiful beaches are just a quick train ride away and lying for hours in the sun is a national pastime. The first weekend above 80 degrees, usually sometime in early May, my friend Livia and I would head to Santa Marinella or another beach and settle in for the day. And I mean all day. It’s not that I didn’t wear sunscreen. I did, and have always known how important it is. But I was not as diligent as I should have been and one day my legs got so painfully burned that I couldn’t sit down without wincing for a week. The next Monday at work I panicked to my desk mates.

“Look how red my calves are! They’re peeling everywhere!”

“You’re probably going to get skin cancer,” said Andre, our editorial director. He’s a charming guy with an especially dry sense of humor. I still don’t know if he was joking or not.

Each year, there are more new cases of skin cancer than breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancer combined. In the US alone, more than 5.4 million cases are treated each year. It’s deadly, and even if it wasn’t it causes wrinkles! Not something I want either way.

Since that incident, I have become obsessed with sunscreen. I don’t love being ghostly pale, but I do love living. It can be hard to stay protected from the sun when traveling–sunscreen is often expensive outside of the US, it’s difficult to pack enough without going over the carry on limit, and reapplying is a hassle. These are the sunscreens I’ve come to love while traveling. Each for different reasons. Any new ones I should try?

tranvel sunscree

Go-To Face Sunscreen–Dr. Jart+. I. Love. This. Sunscreen. It’s super moisturizing without feeling like too much for hot days, it soothes skin irritated by the sun, brightens skin tone, and is SPF 50. I especially love that makeup glides on easily over it without sticking.

best waterproof sunscreen

For Adventure Travel–Fresh Sugar Sport Treatment Sunscreen. Easy to apply on the go, great for travel because it doesn’t spill in your bag, and waterproof + moisturizing.

best travel sunscreen

For City Travel–Clarins UV Plus Anti-Pollution. If your summer vacation plans include city travel, you’ll love this sunscreen, which not only defends against UV rays, but also pollution. Plus it prevents dark spots, feels silky on your skin, and is tinted.

best powder sunblock

For Reapplication–Peter Roth Instant Mineral SPF 45. Once you’re ready for the day you don’t want to be putting lotion on your face every couple of hours. That’s fine if you’re at the beach, but if you’re out exploring or wearing makeup it’s kind of an ordeal. Mineral powder sunscreen to the rescue! Just brush it on for sheer coverage over your makeup. Bonus: it decreases shine and smoothes skin.
best travel sunblock

All Over Favorite–Shiseido. This is the only sunscreen I use on my body. I tried it once and fell in love. It’s so smooth! Not greasy or sticky at all, plus it’s sand, sweat, and water-resistant. You can buy the travel size but it’s tiny, so I usually buy the larger one and squeeze it into two GoToob bottles.

Don’t forget your lips! There are a million lip balms with SPF in them, but lately I’m pretty into Supergoop! AcaiFusion.

Have an amazing summer!!

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  • Reply cupcakeamy June 9, 2016 at 1:21 am

    I always appreciate suggestions to help sort out the million options out there for sunscreen. I checked your suggestions against the Environmental Working Group’s database of sunscreens. Oxybenzone, an ingredient in many sunscreens, is considered a hormone disrupter, and it is also responsible for bleaching (killing) coral reef, so I try to avoid it. The only one of your suggestions that is included in the database was the Clarins sunscreen, which does contain oxybenzone.

    • Reply curiosityandacarryon June 26, 2016 at 4:35 pm

      Thank you for letting me know! That’s definitely a great thing to consider, and I’ll look into other options as well.

    I love to hear from you!

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