Gel sunscreens usually do not feel greasy or heavy on the skin and have a lightweight feel. This is very helpful since wearing sunscreen is important to protect your skin from the sun's harmful UV rays, especially when living in a hot tropical country like the Philippines. Some people may find it bothersome to apply, especially since it tends to have greasy formulas that may feel malagkit after a while.
With the many options out there, it can get overwhelming to choose the right one for your skin. This is why we’ve prepared a buying guide to lay out the things that you should look for before buying a gel sunscreen—with comments and tips from board-certified dermatologist Dr. Katrina Erika Habaluyas Luz. Continue reading to start protecting and giving your skin the care it deserves.
Dr. Katrina Habaluyas Luz is the face behind Ask Your Derma. She is a board-certified dermatologist in Metro Manila. She is also an educator and digital creator on all things skin, hair, and nails. She is a Diplomate of the Philippine Dermatological Society and offers online video consultations. You can also catch her on her Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube channel.
Disclaimer: These products are recommendations made by our team at mybest Philippines. Our expert, Dr. Katrina Erika Habaluyas Luz, is not affiliated with, nor is she endorsing any of the brands we mention below.
**Prices may vary depending on the website and their campaign period**
The products we introduce below were carefully curated by the mybest team using the points mentioned in our detailed and thoroughly researched buying guide. For ranks 1 to 3, in addition to the buying guide, we also referred to more than 100 reviews in Lazada to come up with their respective rankings.
|mybest Rating||4.8 ★★★★|
|SPF Rating||SPF 50+ PA ++++|
|Notable Ingredients||Hyaluronic Acid|
|mybest Rating||4.7 ★★★★|
|SPF Rating||SPF 50+ PA +++|
|Notable Ingredients||Niacinamide, Glycerin|
|mybest Rating||4.7 ★★★★|
|SPF Rating||SPF 50 PA ++++|
UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence
Super Screen Sun Gel SPF 50+
Ultra Light Daily UV Defense Aqua Gel
Light-as-Air Sunscreen With Hyaluronic Acid
Cruelty-Free Sunscreen Perfect for Daily Use
Lightweight Sunscreen Stay Protected and Refreshed
|Price Starts at||₱488||₱449||₱2,100|
|mybest Rating||4.8 ★★★★||4.7 ★★★★||4.7 ★★★★|
|Size||50 mL||50 mL||30 mL|
|SPF Rating||SPF 50+ PA ++++||SPF 50+ PA +++||SPF 50 PA ++++|
|Notable Ingredients||Hyaluronic Acid||Niacinamide, Glycerin||Non-Comedogenic|
We have more product recommendations in store for you! Listed in no particular order, here are seven more of our recommended products carefully chosen by the mybest team.
|SPF Rating||SPF 50|
|SPF Rating||SPF 40 PA+++|
|Notable Ingredients||Shea Butter, Frankincense|
|SPF Rating||SPF 50 PA+++|
|Notable Ingredients||Glycerine, Hyaluronic Acid|
|SPF Rating||SPF 50+ PA++++|
|SPF Rating||SPF 45|
|Notable Ingredients||Coconut Oil|
|SPF Rating||SPF 50+ PA++++|
|Notable Ingredients||Green Tea|
|SPF Rating||SPF 30|
Sunkissed Sunblock Gel SPF30
All Around Safe Block Aqua Sun Gel SPF50+ PA++++
Papaya Coconut Sunblock Gel
Hydro Boost Face Sunscreen SPF50
Unseen Sunscreen Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 40 PA+++
Perfect UV Sunscreen Skincare Gel SPF 50+ PA++++
Rescue Me Sun Gel Primer SPF 50 PA+++ with Anti-Bluelight Technology
Lightweight Moisturizing Sunscreen for Everyday Use
Gel Sunscreen for Indoor and Outdoor Use
Cute Quick-Drying Gel Sunscreen
A Hydrating Sunscreen With an Invisible Finish
Invisible Sunscreen That Works Well Under Makeup
Dewy Lightweight Gel Sunscreen
Multipurpose Sunscreen for Those On-the-Go
|Price Starts at||₱170||₱622||₱194||₱480||₱2,050||₱1,080||₱799|
|Size||20 mL||50 mL||30 mL||88 mL||50 mL||90 mL||40 mL|
|SPF Rating||SPF 30||SPF 50+ PA++++||SPF 45||SPF 50||SPF 40 PA+++||SPF 50+ PA++++||SPF 50 PA+++|
|Notable Ingredients||-||Green Tea||Coconut Oil||Glycerin||Shea Butter, Frankincense||Glycerin||Glycerine, Hyaluronic Acid|
|Broad-Spectrum||No||Yes||Not Specified||Yes||Yes||Not Specified||Not Specified|
Here are some key points to consider:
For more detailed information, read through our buying guide below.
Broad-spectrum is used to describe sunscreens that offer protection to both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB), two different types of harmful rays from the sun. UVA rays cause premature aging, wrinkles, and other spots, while UVB rays cause sunburns.
Without broad-spectrum protection, your sunscreen will not be as effective at protecting your skin from the sun's harmful rays. This will make you more susceptible to skin damage that can lead to more serious complications in the future.
Sunscreens protect the skin by preventing and minimizing the damaging effects of ultraviolet (UV) rays. UV radiation has a broad spectrum ranging from 40 to 400nm and is divided into different portions.
Particularly important for us are UVB (290–320) and UVA (320–400nm). UVB and UVA can lead to sunburns, photoaging, and even skin cancer. Make sure you choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen as it is able to filter UV radiation from both the UVA and UVB portions.
Simply speaking, Sun Protection Factor (SPF) measures your sunscreen’s ability to filter out UVB rays (but not UVA rays). At present, no sunscreen can block out 100% of UV rays, so one with SPF 30 is recommended since it blocks out 97% of the sun’s UVB rays, enough for daily use.
If you are going to stay under the sun for extended periods, SPF with higher ratings, such as SPF 50 gives you around 98% protection from the sun is recommended. Even if it gives you a slightly higher level of protection, it’s only a small increase, and it lasts the same time as those rated lower, which is why SPF 30 is the ideal rating.
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. It basically measures protection against erythema (or redness) after exposure to the sun. Now, you would need at least SPF 30 as this would filter 〜97% of UVB rays. If you can get one with SPF 50, even better, as it can filter 〜98% of UVB rays.
Like any other skincare product, your skin type is one of the main things to consider when choosing a sunscreen. With the different ingredients like green tea, coconut oil, niacinamide, and the like present in them, they can also offer additional benefits.
For those with oily or acne-prone skin, non-comedogenic products are the way to go. Simply speaking, this refers to products that don't clog your pores. This is important since clogged pores can cause or worsen acne.
Other ingredients to look out for include grapeseed oil, known to combat breakouts by fortifying the skin’s barrier and lessening redness caused by acne. Another great ingredient is Niacinamide, an anti-inflammatory ingredient that regulates oil and minimizes the appearance of pores. You can also look for green tea for similar benefits.
People with oily and/or acne-prone skin typically are hesitant with sunscreen use for fear that it would worsen their breakouts. However, it's important to understand that sunscreen is critical regardless of skin type. The key lies in choosing the correct one. Sunscreen is important, especially for some treatments for acne (e.g., oral tetracyclines, topical retinoids), as these can predispose to photosensitivity. Not to mention, sunscreen can assist in the prevention of residual hyperpigmentation too.
One point of discussion is that on comedogenicity. We usually see products labeled as "non-comedogenic." In truth, comedogenicity is a spectrum. Not to mention, there isn't a standardized test to determine whether an ingredient indeed clogs pores. Remember, it really comes down to the overall formulation of the product and a person's reaction to it. So if a product is labeled "non-comedogenic," there are limitations to that claim and what it means!
On the other hand, if you have dry skin, opt for a sunscreen with moisturizing ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and glycerin. Hyaluronic acid is naturally present in the skin, binding to the moisture present in the air to help retain moisture that keeps you hydrated.
Meanwhile, glycerin is a humectant, which means that it pulls in water to the outer layer of your skin and creates a barrier to lock it in. This ensures that any hydration you have on your skin is retained.
For those with dry skin, the great thing is a lot of newer sunscreens have been incorporated with moisturizing ingredients, or a lot of moisturizers now contain SPF. Look for ingredients such as hyaluronic acid. It acts as a great humectant that binds water and offers hydration to the skin or glycerin, and draws in moisture from the deeper layers of the skin.
Mineral sunscreens, as the name suggests minerals as their active ingredients, sit on top of your skin instead of penetrating it. Two common minerals that sunscreen uses are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Zinc oxide forms a protective layer for your skin, while titanium dioxide reflects and scatters UVA and UVB rays off of it.
Aside from these minerals, choosing a natural gel sunscreen is also great for those with sensitive skin as naturally sourced ingredients are less likely to be irritants. Some great ingredients to find would be tea tree oil and aloe vera that both provide either anti-acne or moisturizing benefits to your skin.
Sunscreens are typically divided into two types - mineral or inorganic sunscreens vs. chemical or organic sunscreens. For mineral sunscreens, look for ingredients such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These make for a good option for those with sensitive skin as they are generally less irritating.
Getting the right sunscreen is just the first step to ensuring that your skin stays protected against the harmful UV rays of the sun. Check out these tips by Vogue on how to properly apply your sunscreen:
Once you've found the right sunscreen, actually apply it and correctly too! Let's start with the correct amount. Ideally, 2.0 mg per square centimeter of skin should be applied for the face alone! For easy reference, that's equivalent to two fingerbreadths just for the face. As for the application, it's important to slather it on, making sure that all surfaces are covered. Don't forget the eyelids, ears, and neck too!
Here are Dr. Katrina's answers to the internet's most asked questions. Continue reading to get the correct information when it comes to gel sunscreens!
Yes, people with dry skin can use gel sunscreens. In fact, some gel sunscreens have been incorporated with moisturizing ingredients to provide you with both SPF and moisturization. However, if you have extra dry skin, you may also want to consider a cream-based sunscreen. Creams are thicker and greasier than lotions or gels, but they make a good choice, especially for the face.
Standard rules for sunscreen application apply, meaning you can reapply your sunscreen every 2- 3 hours, same as if you were using a cream or lotion-based sunscreen.
Typically, the active ingredients in both sunscreens are the same. However, you'll notice that sunscreens for the face are designed to be more lightweight and easier to spread or rub into your skin. So if you only have one sunscreen on hand, then please don't hesitate to use that face sunscreen on your body too!
The choice of sunscreen is a very personal one. Remember, the best sunscreen is the one that you use regularly and consistently! Definitely, this is one step in your skincare routine that you should not skimp on or miss!
To complete your skincare routine, you're going to need some other products to ensure that your skin is as healthy as it can be. Check out our other articles below for the best skin care products out there.
Sunscreen is an essential step in everyone's routines to ensure that your skin is protected against the harmful UV rays of the sun. Gel sunscreens are a great option, especially for a humid country like the Philippines, as they offer protection without leaving your skin feeling sticky nor greasy.
Author: Bianca Angela Dela Cruz
Reviewed by: Dr. Katrina Erika Habaluyas Luz
Curious to know how we chose the products on our list? Our buying guide was carefully crafted by the mybest team of writers and editors, so we used it as a basis for choosing and rating. For the top 3 product recommendations, we also looked at reviews from Lazada in addition to the buying guide.
*Please note that we did not test the products and were not paid by any of the brands to include their product on the list.
Ratings and Reviews
For each product on the top 3, we looked at and referenced more than 100 reviews, as well as product ratings on EC sites like Lazada.
Go for a Gel Sunscreen With Broad-Spectrum Protection
For this criterion, we gave products a higher rating if they provide broad-spectrum protection.
Get a Gel Sunscreen With SPF 30 or Higher
We gave a higher rating to products that have SPF 30 protection and gave more points to products that have a higher SPF rating.
Choose a Sunscreen That Suits Your Skin Type Best
There is a wide variety of gel sunscreens available nowadays, and they all target different skin concerns. We looked at the products' ingredients list and the brands' claims, as well as reviews from different sources, and gave a higher rating if the majority of the reviews support and back up the brands' claims.
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