Spend Less on Sunscreen

Cut costs on pricey sunblock this summer with these money-saving tips

In summer it can feel like you’re buying sunblock every time you go to the store—and the stuff isn’t cheap. Be thrifty (and sun-safe) with these simple suggestions.

  • Look for strong ingredients. Buy brands with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, which create a physical barrier between your skin and the sun’s rays. The higher the concentration of titanium or zinc, the more protection. Chemical blockers work differently by absorbing and reflecting ultraviolet rays. Whichever you decide to use, be sure to reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating.
  • Use one bottle for everyone. Kids don’t need a different type, nor does any part of your body. Just avoid getting lotion in your eyes, and if you’re worried about breakouts, opt for zinc oxide, which doesn’t clog pores (it’s great for kids, too).
  • Read the label. Always check the unit price. Surprisingly, smaller bottles sometimes cost less per ounce. Also, sunscreens sold at dollar stores can be just as effective as pricier ones at drugstores.
  • Set up a sunscreen station. Store your lotions in the same place all season to avoid overbuying when you misplace bottles. Also, don’t leave lotions in the car. They lose their effectiveness if overheated.
  • Stay in. If you’re using a spray sunscreen, apply it inside. Otherwise, you risk the wind blowing much of it away.
  • Eat to protect. Fruits, veggies and green tea are all high in antioxidants, which provide added protection from the sun’s rays. The foods should never take the place of sunscreen, however.