A lot of people in Pakistan don't wear sunscreen.
With a growing demand for protection against the sun’s harmful UV rays, Pakistani sunscreens are in vogue.
Despite the weather, SPF is a vital product and needs to be incorporated into your daily skincare routine.
The sun’s UVA and UVB rays can cause a lot of damage to our skin, though in different ways.
UVB rays are mainly responsible for sunburn as the B stands for ‘burn’.
UVA rays, on the other hand, are responsible for signs of ageing, causing and worsening existing hyperpigmentation.
The A in UVA stands for ‘ageing’.
No matter how many lotions and potions we apply, we won’t reap the benefits if our skin is being attacked by UV rays every single day.
Without sunscreen, a skincare routine is just a routine. Despite this, a lot of people in Pakistan don’t wear sunscreen.
Aesthetically speaking, for brown skin, the biggest downside of most sunscreens is the white cast they leave behind.
It can be quite difficult to find the right sunscreen for Desi skin. Being melanin-rich, skin of colour is prone to hyperpigmentation.
Therefore, sunscreen for Desi skin should be free of irritants to minimise hyperpigmentation and maximise the benefits of sunscreen.
Not all sunscreens are created equal and everyone’s skin needs are different.
Knowing the difference between chemical and physical sunscreen is key to choosing a sunscreen that fits your criteria.
Physical or Mineral Sunscreens
Physical sunscreens use mineral filters such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide that sit on the skin to block UV rays.
The culprit behind the unfavoured white cast some sunscreens leave behind is physical sunscreen filters.
A great advantage of using physical sunscreen is that it starts protecting your skin as soon as applied.
However, as physical sunscreens tend to be thicker and feel heavier on the skin, they might not be the best choice for oily or acne-prone skin.
Chemical or Organic Sunscreens
Chemical sunscreens use organic filters such as avobenzone, octinoxate and homosalate to absorb the sun’s UV rays.
They are typically less thick, apply easily without leaving a white cast and do not feel heavy on the skin.
They are also more resistant to water and sweat.
All of these properties make chemical sunscreens easy to use daily in summers.
Unfortunately, chemical sunscreens need about 15-30 minutes before they start working.
While physical UV filters can be found alone in sunscreens, they can also be used alongside chemical filters.
There are some fears surrounding the safety of chemical sunscreens.
There are also claims about certain chemical sunscreen filters getting absorbed into the blood.
However, more research is needed to support this claim.
As a general rule of thumb, the PA rating should ideally have four pluses for utmost protection against UVA, and the Sun Protection Factor (SPF) should not be less than 30.
DESIblitz has curated a list of brown skin-friendly sunscreens available in Pakistan.
The products listed are affordable, provide maximum protection, are easily accessible and leave no to minimal white cast.
SunPRO SC Gel
SunPRO SC Gel is a purely chemical sunscreen by Mazton Pharmaceuticals with SPF 40 and PA +++ rating.
It has a silky texture that blends seamlessly into the skin.
It is alcohol, fragrance and essential oil-free and has filters with a good reputation; hence it is the first product to be recommended in this list.
The non-sunscreen ingredients included in this product are a bunch of emollients and solvents for sunscreen agents that give this sunscreen its silky texture.
This sunscreen is a combination of high-quality sunscreen filters.
If you prefer a gel sunscreen that’s oxybenzone free, then this one is perfect for you.
Suncoat SC Gel
Suncoat SC Gel by Aftech Pharma is an SPF 40 with PA+++ which makes it a broad-spectrum sunscreen.
The active ingredients of this sunscreen are similar to that of SunPro SC gel by Mazton Pharmaceuticals.
This product is also oxybenzone free, as well as alcohol, fragrance and essential oil-free.
Suncoat SC Gel also contains Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, which is more commonly known as octinoxate.
It is used in chemical sunscreens, and it protects against UVB rays.
This sunscreen is broad-spectrum therefore it absorbs both UVB and UVA rays.
The texture feels like a primer but mattifies the skin after 5-10 minutes of application.
Ceta Derm SC
Another purely chemical sunscreen that instantly mattifies and glides smoothly over the skin is the Ceta Derm SC.
This popular Pakistani sunscreen is alcohol, fragrance and essential oil-free.
It contains dimethicone crosspolymer, which is a type of silicone.
It is non-irritating, non-toxic, and doesn’t clog the pores, making it ideal for those with oily or acne-prone skin.
It also mattifies the skin.
This sunscreen may work as a great makeup primer as it smoothes the skin.
Bio-One Sun Screen SPF 100 Cream
Bio-One Sun Screen SPF 100 Cream by Whiz Laboratories is a mattifying sunscreen formula that uses microencapsulation technology.
Through this technology, active ingredients are wrapped in microscopic beads with UV blocking and scattering filters.
Unlike traditional sunscreens that promote absorption, these are designed to create a protective barrier that remains on the skin.
Therefore, the chemicals do not touch the skin.
As a result, this sunscreen does not irritate while providing full SPF coverage when applied directly to the skin.
This sunscreen is also free of alcohol, fragrance and essential oils.
It provides maximum protection, using two of the best sunscreen filters known, avobenzone and zinc oxide.
Zinc oxide can also help soothe inflammation while protecting your skin.
It’s highly blendable and provides a matte finish.
Since this sunscreen remains on top of the skin instead of getting absorbed, it needs to be re-applied frequently.
This affordable and alcohol-free sunblock by Tabros Pharma contains an SPF rating of 60+.
The Pakistani sunscreen contains avobenzone, micronized titanium dioxide and micronized zinc oxide.
The non-sunscreen ingredients in this product include some beneficial plant extracts and antioxidants that are very soothing to the skin.
However, this particular product is not fragrance-free which is something to bear in mind for those with sensitive skin.
Neobrella SC Sebum Control Gel
Neobrella sunscreen from Neophar Skin Sciences is an amazing sunscreen with SPF 40 and PA +++.
This Pakistani sunscreen is alcohol, fragrance and essential oil-free.
The non-sunscreen ingredients include vitamin C that boosts UV protection, helps brighten the skin and fade any existing hyperpigmentation.
The texture of this sunscreen is a thick cream-like texture which is great for dry skin.
LUNAR Gel Sunscreen SPF 50+
This sunscreen from the H2O+ line of B&B Dermaceuticals is a chemical sunscreen with zero white-cast.
It is alcohol, fragrance & essential oil-free.
Some non-sunscreen notable ingredients are niacinamide, sodium hyaluronate, liquorice root, vitamin E and aloe vera.
This sunscreen provides instant hydration to the skin as well as long term skin brightening benefits.
This product tends to pile and doesn’t absorb instantly therefore it is best suited towards those with dry skin who need a hit of hydration.
Make sure to store this sunscreen in a cool, dry place away from sunlight.
U-Veil Lotion SPF 30
This water-based sunscreen lotion by Derma Techno provides a wide spectrum of protection against UVA and UVB rays.
It’s lightweight with a watery consistency which keeps your skin moisturised and fresh.
It adds a sheen to the skin without feeling greasy and is easy to re-apply throughout the day.
This Pakistani sunscreen also contains titanium dioxide which is a physical/mineral filter that provides broad-spectrum coverage.
Titanium dioxide is non-irritating and has an excellent safety profile.
This Pakistani sunscreen is a combination sunscreen with SPF 60 and PA+++.
It’s alcohol, fragrance and essential oil-free.
This skin care product contains octocrylene which protects the skin against UVB and UVA rays.
It also contains ultra-microfine titanium dioxide which is a physical sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection and has an excellent safety profile.
UV-XAM Lotion SPF 65++
This Pakistani sunscreen is alcohol-free, essential oil-free and lightweight on the skin.
The skin-protecting product contains octocrylene which protects the skin against mostly UVB and UVA rays.
It also increases the water-resistance of sunscreen.
Additionally, avobenzone which is the only globally available chemical sunscreen agent that provides proper UVA protection is also included in the product.
This SPF lotion has a minimal white-cast and a good safety profile.
Sunscreen is a must for all skin types and ethnicities.
Choose a sunscreen that not only fits your skin tone but also your lifestyle and skin type while providing broad-spectrum protection.
Ultimately, the best sunscreen is going to be the one you’re going to be able to wear every single day.