Sunscreen Gel Vs Cream: Which One Should You Choose?

Sunscreen Gel Vs Cream Which One Should You Choose

Out of so many skincare ingredients, one that you can’t and shouldn’t miss is sunscreen. Since the sun’s rays are extremely harmful to the skin and overexposure can cause fatal diseases like cancer, wearing sunscreen becomes of utmost importance. They protect the skin by either reflecting or absorbing UV rays.

This protective cosmetic comes in two forms- gel and cream. While the function of both is to safeguard skin from sun, their composition differs and it makes all the difference.

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If you are not able to decide which one should you pick- sunscreen gels vs. creams, this article will help. Here, we will compare both of them and find out on what factors they differ. Based on it, you can decide what will suit you- sunscreen gel or cream.

Sunscreen Gel

Sunscreen Gel

Sunscreen gels (1) are a non-sticky and non-greasy form of sunscreen that provides protection from sun rays. They possess cooling and refreshing properties due to the inclusion of certain ingredients in their composition.

Therefore, sunscreen gels are more suitable for hot and humid conditions. Also, due to their thin consistency, they work well for acne-prone and oily skin, promising no clogged pores or breakouts.

If your work involves staying under the sun for longer hours, it is important that you wear sunscreen gel (2) with an SPF of at least 50 or more. At the same time, reapplication is essential after regular intervals to ensure skin protection.

Sunscreen Cream


As the name indicates, these are cream-based sunscreens that, besides providing sun protection, also offer extra moisturization. Due to their skin nourishing properties, they are suitable for dry skin. People with normal and dry skin should use sunscreen creams in winter when the weather makes the skin excessively dry.

For sunscreen creams, the minimum SPF is recommended to be 30 (3) to ensure enough protection. Similarly, you need to reapply it after regular intervals to ensure lasting results.

Below is the table differentiating sunscreen gels and creams based on different factors-

FeatureSunscreen GelsSunscreen Creams
TextureGel-like consistency, lightweightCreamy texture, thicker consistency
AbsorptionAbsorbs quickly into the skinTakes a bit longer to absorb
Feel on SkinOften leaves a cooling sensationCan feel slightly greasy or heavy on the skin
Suitable for Skin TypeSuitable for oily or acne-prone skinSuitable for normal to dry skin types
Water ResistanceGenerally water-resistant, may be sweat-resistantMay vary, some are water-resistant
ApplicationSpreads easily and evenly on the skinRequires a bit more effort to spread evenly
Formulation OptionsMay contain alcohol for quick dryingMay contain moisturizing agents for hydration
SPF CoverageAvailable in a wide range of SPF optionsAvailable in various SPF options
Sun ProtectionProvides effective protection against UV raysProvides effective protection against UV rays
PriceCan be more expensive than creamsPrices vary, depending on brand and ingredients

In a nutshell, their texture and moisturization level makes them different from each other. While sunscreen gel is lightweight with thin gel-like consistency, sunscreen cream is thick with creamy texture. Due to this, sunscreen cream provides hydration along with sun protection.

So, if you are someone with dry skin or live in areas where cold weather prevails most of the time of the year, pick sunscreen cream. It will keep your skin moisturized as well as well-protected from UV rays.

On the contrary, if you have oily skin that often develops acne due to overactive sebaceous glands, you want a product that does not contribute to it further. Therefore, you should choose sunscreen gel. It is lightweight and absorbs readily on the skin, without making it greasy or sticky.

Irrespective of what you choose, make sure your sunscreen has enough SPF to provide full protection from intense sun rays.


Sunscreen is one of the essential skincare products that you can’t say no to. It is essential to wear your sunscreen, either gel or cream before stepping out of home. In fact, skin specialists suggest that you should apply it even when you are inside.

Whether you are exposed to the sun directly or indirectly, sunscreen will protect you from the harm sunrays could make. Make sure the SPF of your sunscreen is at least 30 that will ensure sufficient protection. Also, perform a patch test before using any sunscreen to check skin’s sensitivity to it.
If you are heading to the beach or pool, make sure that your sunscreen is waterproof. Also, reapply every 30 to 40 minutes for extra safety. Lastly, check your skin type and then buy sunscreen gel or cream to reap maximum benefits.

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