Dubai, like most of the Middle East, has a hot climate. The winters are warm and the summers are brutally hot! It may seem like a desert climate at times, and at others it possesses the powerful humidity of the most tropical of destinations. So sun protection in Dubai is no joke!
It is wise to adhere to the Skin Cancer Foundation’s guidelines for sun protection while in Dubai. This involves wearing UV protective clothing, hats and sunglasses, and seeking shade whenever possible!
But sunscreen is possible the most important method in this mix. The strength of the sun’s rays in Dubai means you need a durable and effective broad spectrum sunscreen to prevent damage to exposed skin.
Finding the right sunscreen for Dubai may seem perplexing because of the intense heat and variable humidity, but it is doable. Let me help you figure out what your skin will need for proper and effective sun protection in Dubai!
After thorough research into what your skin needs for protection in Dubai, SimplySunSafe recommends thinksport Sunscreen SPF 50+ as the best sunscreen for Dubai. Keep reading for a detailed buyer’s guide, comparison table, and in-depth reviews of the top 5 sunscreens for Dubai.
If you want to be sure that your skin is properly protected in Dubai’s sun, then there are a few must-have features that you should look for in a sunscreen:
Broad spectrum protection
If you only remember one thing during your search for sunscreen for Dubai, remember that it needs to provide broad spectrum protection. This means that you will be receiving balanced protection against both UVA and UVB rays. This is important because each type of ray works differently.
- UVB rays damage the outer layer of your skin causing you to burn or tan.
- UVA rays penetrate the deepest layer of your skin (the dermis) and cause premature aging.
Exposure to both types of rays increases your risk of skin cancer so you want to be sure to protect against both!
Finding sunscreens that provide broad spectrum protection won’t be too difficult, as they are accessible everywhere. In order to easily identify which sunscreens provide broad spectrum protection, check the sunscreen’s label and ingredients list.
It is very likely that you might see a label with the words ‘broad spectrum’ or ‘UVA/B,’ clearly indicating that your protection is sufficiently covered. You can also search the ingredients list for zinc oxide. Sunscreens with zinc oxide protect against the full range of UVA/B rays which means they are a safe choice for Dubai!
I’m guessing that you know that the Sun Protection Factor (SPF) matters when choosing a sunscreen? But do you know why? Don’t worry, I didn’t either. Understanding what SPF really means and how it works will enhance your search for a sunscreen for Dubai!
The SPF rating tells you what fraction of the sun’s rays will reach your skin if you have properly applied the formula. For example, if you are wearing a sunscreen with an SPF rating of 100, then only 1/100th of the sun’s rays will reach your skin. So now you see why you can stay longer in the sun when you’re wearing sunscreen. But don’t overdo it!
Wearing a sunscreen with an SPF rating of 100 does not mean that you can spend 100 times longer in the sun than if you weren’t wearing sunscreen. Make sure not to make that mistake in the hearty Dubai sun!
This table below will help you to better understand how much protection different SPF ratings provide:
|SPF Rating||UVB Protection|
Surprising, right? As you can see, there is really very little difference between a sunscreen with an SPF rating of 100 and one with 30. So which should you choose? SimplySunSafe sticks with the FDA’s recommendation and suggests that you always wear a sunscreen with an SPF rating no lower than 30 and no higher than 50.
And when in Dubai, be sure to reapply at least every two hours no matter what SPF rating you’re wearing!
Best SPF for Dubai
The climate in Dubai is hot all year round, and brutal in the summers. It can vary between dry and humid weather, but the sun never lets up.
Dermatologists recommend that you protect your skin with a higher SPF rating in Dubai. This is because the intensity of the sun’s UVB rays can reach your skin very easily, and perhaps before you even realize that your skin is being damaged from tanning or burning.
If you can find one that fits your specific needs, a sunscreen with an SPF rating of closer to 50 will be a great choice for Dubai!
Physical is better than chemical
Did you know that sunscreens can be separated into main groups – chemical and physical? The differences between the two types lie in their active ingredients and in the ways in which they work to protect your skin.
- Chemical sunscreens absorb UV rays as they reach your skin
- Physical sunscreens reflect UV rays before they reach your skin
There are many reasons to choose physical sunscreens over chemical ones. Physical sunscreens work immediately upon application, last longer, are less likely to cause irritation, and have a longer shelf life. Lots of benefits!
If you’re still not convinced, listen to this. Chemical sunscreens often contain ingredients that mess with your hormones. You don’t want that! The worst of these chemicals is called oxybenzone, and is still legal despite the FDA’s concerns. I suggest that you check all sunscreens for this ingredient and avoid it like the plague!
You will be using a lot of sunscreen in Dubai. Be safe and choose a physical one!
Although Dubai is often thought of as a desert, it can still get very humid, especially during the intensely hot summers! With this mixed climate, you don’t want to be caught without water resistant protection because there is always a chance that you will find yourself sweating heavily.
Sunscreens are available with water resistance for 40 or 80 minutes. You know your body the best and how much you sweat normally. I suggest using a sunscreen with 80 minutes of water resistance just in case you do find yourself sweating heavily. It will also cover you for any swimming or water activities you want to take part in!
For Dubai, choosing a sunscreen with water resistance is like adding the insurance plan to your sun protection!
Suitable for daily use
In a tropical desert like Dubai, there is no way to get around wearing sunscreen every day! It’s absolutely essential to protect your skin from potential damage. This means you need to find a sunscreen that will fit into your daily skincare routine with ease.
Consider these questions before beginning your sunscreen search:
- Do you want to use one sunscreen for both your face and body?
- Will you wear makeup on top of your sunscreen?
- What skin conditions or sensitivities must you factor into your choice?
I have found that when I have these questions answered, my search for sunscreen is much smoother!
SimplySunSafe has provided you with five options that are effective yet gentle enough for daily use and frequent reapplications, which you’ll need in Dubai!
Best Sunscreen for Dubai Comparison
|thinksport Sunscreen||EltaMD UV Pure||Vanicream Sunscreen||Tropical Sands All Natural||BADGER Sport Sunscreen|
|Active ingredients||Zinc Oxide (20%)||Zinc Oxide (10%) & Titanium Dioxide (5.5%)||Zinc Oxide (6%) & Titanium Dioxide (3.4%)||Zinc Oxide (22.5%) & Titanium Dioxide (6%)||Zinc Oxide (22.5%)|
|Water resistance||80 Minutes||80 Minutes||80 Minutes||40 Minutes||80 Minutes|
5 Best Sunscreens for Dubai
After deep research into what is needed in sun protection for Dubai which included discussing issues with customers, reviewing customer feedback, examining manufacturer specifications, and participating in skincare forums, SimplySunSafe has determined the best 5 sunscreens for Dubai.
Each recommended product will provide you with physical, broad spectrum protection with an SPF rating of 30 or greater. All of these sunscreens are water resistant and ideal for incorporating into your daily routine!
SimplySunSafe’s choice for the best sunscreen for the middle east is thinksport Sunscreen SPF 50+. With the high SPF rating and the broad spectrum protection provided through its active ingredient zinc oxide (20%), thinksport will protect your skin in the hot Dubai sun.
Don’t be fooled by the sports focus in this sunscreen’s name. It is extremely safe and gentle. It was actually the first sunscreen to pass the Whole Foods premium care requirements. This formula is ideal for daily use on your face and body.
You will want to be aware that thinksport has a thick formula and will leave a slight white cast on your skin. This is something that can be overlooked especially since this sunscreen provides such reliable protection. And if it does bother you, makeup goes on well over thinksport!
For the hot summers and any swimming plans, thinksport provides 80 durable minutes of water resistance. If you’re looking to protect your whole family, then thinksport might be the perfect choice for you! Take a look at thinksport Kid’s Safe Sunscreen SPF 50+ and thinkbaby Safe Sunscreen SPF 50+.
Speaking of awesome desert party cities, thinksport SPF 50+ is also SimplySunSafe’s pick as the best sunscreen for Las Vegas.
- High SPF
- Durable 80 minute water resistance
- Available for kids and babies
- Thick formula
SimplySunSafe’s second recommended product and my choice for the best sunscreen for your face in Dubai is EltaMD UV Pure. It provides you with broad spectrum protection through its active ingredients zinc oxide (10%) and titanium dioxide (5.5%).
EltaMD UV Pure is specifically designed for use on the face and body, and will not cause any irritation even if you have sensitive skin on your face. It is gentle enough for daily use and multiple reapplications throughout each day.
EltaMD UV Pure has a lightweight formula which won’t leave your face feeling greasy, and is ideal for applying makeup on top. You may find that you do want to use some makeup as EltaMD UV Pure’s formula can start to show a bit of a white cast after a couple of reapplications or if you start sweating heavily.
You will receive 80 minutes of water resistance with EltaMD UV Pure so you will be able to swim and endure sweating in Dubai. EltaMD UV Pure is a great option for travelers and especially locals who are looking to find a sunscreen to easily integrate into a daily skincare routine!
- High SPF
- Ideal for daily use on face and body
- 80 minute water resistance
- Slight white cast after reapplication
Another great option for locals and travelers seeking sun protection in Dubai is Vanicream Sunscreen. This sunscreen gives you a high SPF rating and provides broad spectrum protection with its active ingredients zinc oxide (6%) and titanium dioxide (3.4%).
Vanicream is formulated especially for sensitive skin so irritation will not be an issue, and it is a solid option for daily use in Dubai, even with many reapplications!
One advantage of Vanicream over other sunscreens with zinc oxide, is that it will not leave a white cast on your skin!
However, it is quite thick, and your skin will feel heavy if you choose to apply makeup on top of it. Something to keep in mind when considering your daily routine. Vanicream’s thickness is great for nourishing dry skin and for the dry, desert-like periods in Dubai.
It provides you with 80 minutes of water resistance to protect you even if you engage in water activities or find yourself sweating in the humid Dubai summers!
Vanicream Sunscreen also doubles as the best sunscreen for tan skin, just in case you’re on the tan side and want more specific protection.
- High SPF
- Ideal for daily use on sensitive skin
- 80 minute water resistance
- Lower concentration of active ingredients
Tropical Sands All Natural is another high SPF option which will protect you well in Dubai.
Broad spectrum protection is provided with a stellar, high concentration combination of zinc oxide (22.5%) and titanium dioxide (6%). You will receive the maximum UVA/B protection possible with Tropical Sands!
Tropical Sands is an option that is gentle enough for daily use on your face and body. It even contains skin conditioning ingredients like green tea, shea butter, and Vitamin E!
The thick formula will need to be rubbed in well and will leave a slight white cast. Think of it as a reminder to reapply, or cover up with a bit of makeup!
Tropical Sands will provide you with 40 minutes of water resistance. This is great! Just be aware and reapply more often if you find yourself sweating or engaging in water activity!
- High SPF
- High concentration of active ingredients
- 40 minute water resistance
- Thick formula
- Slight white cast
SimplySunSafe’s final recommendation for sun protection in Dubai is BADGER Sport Sunscreen SPF 35. With this sunscreen, you will receive excellent broad spectrum protection with a high concentration of active ingredient zinc oxide (22.5%).
BADGER’s formula is extremely simple, with only five ingredients in total. This makes it gentle enough for daily use on your face and body without any issue of irritation.
BADGER’s high concentration of zinc oxide makes it a thick formula that will likely leave a bit of a white cast on your skin. be sure to rub it in well and apply some makeup on top, if you’d like.
Although BADGER has a lower SPF rating of 35, it is still a strong option and provides a very durable 80 minutes of water resistance that will not be diminished by swimming or heavy sweating.
Another great thing about BADGER is that you can use it to protect all the members of your family. Check out BADGER’s kids formula and their baby formula – they could be the ideal products for the whole family!
- Simple and gentle formula
- 80 minute water resistance
- Available for kids and babies
- Thick formula with white cast
- Lower SPF
This guide was written specifically for locals and travelers seeking to find the best sunscreen for Dubai. I hope that by reading this guide you gained a deeper understanding of what your skin needs in Dubai, and found a product that fits your specific needs!
SimplySunSafe recommends thinksport Sunscreen SPF 50+ as the best sunscreen for Dubai but all 5 of the listed sunscreens will provide you with sufficient sun protection.
Before you choose your sunscreen for Dubai, you should take some time to test out different products. That way you’ll be able to see how your skin reacts to different formulas and make the best decision for you!
Learning new things and hearing about different products from other people is one of my favorite things! So if you use or know of another great sunscreen to use in Dubai, please share it in the comments below. I’ll be sure to check it out and maybe even add it to this list!