Sunscreen helps to protect your skin from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays that can lead to skin cancer and premature ageing. These ultraviolet rays are always present, whether it's summer or winter, rain or shine. They are not blocked by clouds, so you should be wearing sunscreen on a daily basis. There are all different types of sunscreens available today, including traditional lotions, sprays, and sticks. While there are makeups that exist now with SPF (sun protection factor), they often don't meet the minimum SPF recommendation for sun protection. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a sunscreen with at least SPF 30. Broad spectrum sunscreens must protect against both UVA and UVB rays. We like waterproof, sweat-proof formulations for additional staying power and protection. It's generally recommended to reapply sunscreen every couple of hours. Most people use less than the recommendation, so don't be shy about applying! The American Academy of Dermatology suggests about 1 ounce (the size of a shot glass) for skin that is typically exposed day-to-day, with more as needed depending on body size.
We've compared the top sunscreens out there for price, feel, scent, and function. We've also included a sunscreen lip balm, since lips are susceptible to skin cancer as well. Though there are hair products out there with UV protection, we did not review them for this guide. Please be aware that the products we chose do come in multiple SPFs, so choose the one that's right for you (but at least SPF 30).
Best Overall: Coppertone UltraGuard
Coppertone UltraGuard is a non-greasy lotion sunscreen. It is available in an 8-ounce bottle, with SPF 30, SPF 50, or SPF 70. It is water resistant for up to 80 minutes so you can enjoy swimming and water sports with confidence while wearing it. This sunscreen offers broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection. It is photostable, which means it won't end up quickly degrading as soon as you get hit by the sun. It has an easy-to-apply consistency, and it didn't have a strong, long-lasting sunscreen scent. It's recommended to reapply after 2 hours, or after 80 minutes of being in the water. This sunscreen includes moisturizers and vitamin E, which is a nice addition if you're spending a lot of time in the sun.
Budget Pick: No-Ad Sport SPF 50
The No-Ad sunscreens tend to be less expensive than their competition since, like their name implies, they don't spend money on advertising – meaning they can sell their product for cheaper. It is available in a 16-ounce bottle. It is water- and sweat-resistant for up to 80 minutes. This sunscreen offers broad spectrum protection and features aloe and vitamin E to soothe your skin. It has no added fragrance and is easy to apply. You can't beat the price – this bottle is twice the size of most sunscreens and yet costs the same.
Best Facial Sunscreen: Neutrogena Clear Face SPF 55
If you're specifically looking for a sunscreen for your face, we like Neutrogena's Clear Face Liquid Lotion Sunscreen. It comes in a 3-ounce bottle which seems small until you remember that you're only using this sun protection on your face. This sunscreen is non-comedogenic so it won't clog your pores. It was clinically tested on ace-prone skin and Neutrogena reports that it does not cause breakouts. It's fragrance-free so you won't end up with that strong sunscreen smell. It goes on smoothly and won't leave your face looking greasy. This Neutrogena sunscreen offers UVA and UVB protection and is photostable. It is water resistant for up to 80 minutes.
Best Lip Balm with SPF: Banana Boat Sunscreen Lip Balm with Aloe Vera & Vitamin E
There are a lot of lip balms out there that offer some SPF protection, but they tend to be under SPF 20. We like the Banana Boat Sunscreen Lip Balm with Aloe Vera & Vitamin E that comes in SPF 45. It comes in a .15-ounce tube, so it's very easy to throw in your purse or pocket to reapply during the day. It is water resistant 80 minutes, so you can also use it when swimming or even just if you got caught in the rain. It keeps your lips feeling smooth and moisturized thanks to the aloe and vitamin E while protecting against UVA and UVB rays.
Best Spray Sunscreen: Banana Boat Sport Performance UltraMist SPF 100
We really don't recommend spray sunscreens, but if you're intent on one, try the Banana Boat Sport Performance UltraMist Sunscreen. It's available in SPF 15 (not recommended), SPF 30, SPF 50, or SPF 100. Just remember that you still have to rub spray sunscreen into your skin, and be careful when applying in windy conditions! The spray sunscreens tend to be more expensive than their lotion counterparts. This one is sold in a 6 ounce can with an easy twist and lock cap. It feels very lightweight to put on. It goes on clear and is quickly absorbed. It smells like sunscreen but not overly strong. The Banana Boat Sport Performance UltraMist is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.
Wearing sunscreen daily is an essential part of maintaining the health of your skin. One-in-five Americans develop skin cancer, and sunscreen with at least SPF 30 can help prevent you from being one of them. Additionally, sunscreen can help prevent against dark spots and wrinkles forming on your skin, so you'll maintain your youthful appearance. When choosing a sunscreen, make sure you get one with UVA and UVB protection. You're more likely to put on enough sunscreen if you use a lotion instead of a spray. With a spray, it is difficult to tell how much you get on your skin, and wind can interfere with application. Many people assume that a spray means you don't have to rub the sunscreen mist into your skin, but this assumption is incorrect – you still need to rub it in. Remember to re-apply every two hours. If you plan on getting wet, choose a product that is water-resistant (up to 80 minutes water-resistance is the most that sunscreens can claim). Don't forget to protect your lips too. Put on your sun protection 15 minutes prior to going outside so that it has enough time to absorb. Remember, UV rays are present even on cloudy days, so there's no excuse not to purchase sunscreen for yourself today!