The Best Sunscreens That Have You Covered Year-Round

ISDIN's Eryfotona Actinica is formulated with SPF 50 to protect you from UV rays

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Midsection Of Woman With Sunscreen By Swimming Pool
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Sun exposure can lead to dangerous burns and cancerous melanoma. I can also “expedite the degradation of collagen faster than normal aging," says Carmen Castilla, MD, a dermatologist with New York Dermatology Group. For this reason, Dr. Castilla calls sunscreen a necessity all year round to keep your skin healthy.

Reviewed & Approved

ISDIN's Eryfotona Actinica is formulated with a lightweight SPF 50 to protect your skin from UVA and UVB rays. We also recommend EltaMD's Broad Spectrum SPF 46 if you have acne-prone skin.

When buying a sunscreen, look for a “broad spectrum” sunscreen with a minimum SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 30 to aid in preventing sun exposure from degrading the collagen. “Consistent use of sunscreen prevents the development of skin cancers, fights fine lines and wrinkles, helps keep your complexion even, and keeps broken blood vessels at bay,” she says. 

It's recommended to apply every two hours and after swimming, toweling off, or doing sweat-inducing exercises. We researched dozens of sunscreens and evaluated them based on ingredients, SPF count, and the area of the body they’re good for.

Here are the best sunscreens on the market.

Best Overall: ISDIN Eryfotona Actinica SPF 50+

4.9
Isdin Eryfotona Actinica SPF 50+

 Courtesy of Amazon

We chose ISDIN's Eryfotona Actinica as our top pick because it's a mineral-based, broad-spectrum sunscreen with a lightweight formula that does not feel greasy when it's applied to the skin and offers SPF 50 protection. So what does it mean that it is broad-spectrum? Dr. Castilla says that label ensures the product protects you from both UVA and UVB rays, which are both harmful to the skin. Also, Isdin Eryfotona Actinica SPF 50+ includes photolyase, for helping repair damage caused by the sun, and vitamin E to boost the skin’s natural defense.

Best for Acne-Prone Skin: EltaMD Broad-Spectrum SPF 46

EltaMD Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 Sunscreen

Amazon

Finding a non-oily face sunscreen can be a priority for people with more acne-prone skin. EltaMD Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 uses clean ingredients and is fragrance-free and oil-free to fit the needs of anyone with acne-prone or sensitive skin. 

Besides delivering broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays, the product also incorporates lactic acid for smoothing, hyaluronic acid for hydration, and vitamin E to boost the skin's barrier, all without clogging your skin's pores. What more could you want? 

Best Drugstore: Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby Mineral Sunscreen Lotion

Neutrogena Pure & Free

One of the best tricks in the books when buying beauty products is to look in the baby aisle, as they tend to use ingredients that won’t irritate your skin. Neutrogena’s Pure & Free Baby Mineral Sunscreen lotion is not only affordable, but it’s formulated with zinc oxide–an ingredient Dr. Castilla says sits right on the skin and protects the barrier from sun rays immediately upon application. 

Another bonus of the sunscreen is that it's fragrance-free and has been awarded the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance. One customer with sensitive skin says they’ve been using the sunscreen for years after finding it doesn’t irritate the skin's barrier or leave a white residue upon application. 

Best for Face: Coola Organic Classic Face Sunscreen SPF 50

Coola Organic Classic Face Sunscreen SPF 50

Amazon

Coola Organic Classic Face Sunscreen SPF 50 is the perfect product to grab because it works as both a sunscreen and lotion all in one. The formula hydrates skin while working as an invisible shield against harmful rays. Plus, it’s easy to apply prior to putting on makeup. 

Ingredients include antioxidant-rich nutrients like red raspberry seed oil, buriti oil, meadowfoam seed oil, and prickly pear extract—all of which protect the skin from free radicals while providing nourishment, says Dr. Castilla. Avobenzone is another key ingredient, meaning the chemical sunscreen should be applied at least 15 to 20 minutes before sun exposure, Dr. Castilla says.  

Best Powder: Eminence Organic Skin Care Sun Defense Minerals

Eminence Organic Skin Care Sun Defense Minerals

Amazon

Sunscreen powders are beneficial because they can work two-fold: providing protection from sun rays and absorbing oils that build-up on the face throughout the day. Eminence Organic Skin Care Sun Defense Minerals comes in multiple shades, so it can act as your makeup powder upon application. The powder also makes it easy to reapply every two hours, which is recommended by dermatologists to best protect the skin from the sun. 

Ingredients include zinc oxide to protect the skin from harmful rays, mixed with vitamin A and E to combat harmful free radicals. Customers say the product is perfect for a quick SPF touch-up and mattifies the skin’s complexion. 

Best Stick: Aveeno Positively Mineral Sensitive Skin Daily Sunscreen Stick

Aveeno Positively Mineral Sensitive Skin Daily Sunscreen Stick

Amazon

Beach and pool products can take up a ton of room in your bag. That’s where Aveeno’s travel-sized sunscreen stick comes in. With just a few swipes of the broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection, your skin is ready for sun exposure. 

The mineral sunscreen, with an active ingredient of zinc oxide, is fragrance-free and developed for the most sensitive of skin types—so it should not cause any irritation. Customers find the product is gentle enough for their skin and easy to swipe across the face and body. 

Best for Sensitive Skin: Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40

Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 40

 Courtesy of Dermstore

Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40 is certified clean for its use of ingredients that are vegan, cruelty-free, reef-safe, and gluten-free. Not only does the antioxidant-rich sunscreen boast that it provides broad-spectrum SPF 40 against sun rays, but it also protects against blue light and light emitted from phone and computer screens. 

Besides using avobenzone as a protective ingredient against the sun, the formula also includes a complex derived from meadowfoam seed to provide hydration, and frankincense to create a soothing effect. The best part is that the oil-free sunscreen is lightweight and layers easily underneath makeup. 

Best for Body: La Roche-Posay Anthelios Cooling Water-Lotion Sunscreen

4.7
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Cooling Water Lotion Sunscreen

Courtesy of Amazon

Upon applying to the skin, La Roche Posay’s sunscreen provides a cooling effect to the skin's barrier as it penetrates deep to offer protection from UVA and UVB rays. The sunscreen is formulated with Cell-Ox Shield antioxidant technology to defend against free radicals that would be harmful to the skin and accelerate the aging process. 

Besides providing protection, the sunscreen is also paraben and fragrance-free, so it should work for all skin types. Customers say the product is worth every penny and rubs on like a moisturizer. 

Best for Body Runner-Up: COOLA Organic Mineral Sunscreen & Sunblock Body Lotion Mineral Sunscreen & Sunblock Body Lotion

COOLA Organic Mineral Body Sunscreen

Amazon

This chemical-free, mineral sunscreen boasts clean ingredients that cultivate the perfect formula for protecting your skin against sun rays. If you’re looking to be environmentally friendly, this product is for you because it's reef-safe and comes in a 100% recyclable bottle. 

After you apply the sunscreen, it works to hydrate and nourish the skin while offering protection. The best part? It is non-greasy and doesn’t show a white cast across the skin. 

Best for Kids: Coppertone Pure & Simple Baby SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion

Coppertone Pure & Simple Baby SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion

Coppertone

Protecting your child’s skin from the sun is a top priority, especially because their skin can be very sensitive. Coppertone’s Pure & Simple baby sunscreen is gentle and hypoallergenic so it doesn't irritate the skin. 

The formula is also free of dyes, fragrances, and oils while providing a broad spectrum of coverage to protect against UVA and UVB rays. Customers say the sunscreen is a go-to for their children and rubs in easily while protecting them from getting sunburns. 

Final Verdict

If you’re looking for an all-around protective sunscreen that works for multiple areas of your body, we recommend Isdin Eryfotona Actinica SPF 50+. If you want something specifically formulated for the face that will sit well under makeup, we recommend Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40.

What to Look for in a Sunscreen

Ingredients

The active ingredients in sunscreens work by either absorbing or blocking UV rays. There are 16 sunscreen ingredients approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). But sunscreen makers in the US use only eight regularly:

  • Avobenzone
  • Homosalate
  • Octinoxate
  • Octisalate
  • Octocrylene
  • Oxybenzone
  • Titanium dioxide
  • Zinc oxide

Dr. Castilla recommends that people avoid sunscreens with insect repellents like DEET. Some people with highly sensitive skin may find that their skin reacts to ingredients found in chemical sunscreens. If you have sensitive skin, she says using sunscreens made with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide will not be irritating.

SPF Count

Look for a sunscreen that says ‘broad spectrum’ with a minimum SPF of 30,” Dr. Castilla says. The “broad spectrum” label means the sunscreen will protect against both UVA and UVB rays from the sun. For the SPF to work as it should, Dr. Castilla says applying frequently is a must.

Check the Label

On the label, you’ll see whether the sunscreen:

  • Is broad-spectrum, which means the sunscreen protects against UVB (burning rays) and UVA (aging rays) and helps prevent skin cancer and sunburn.
  • Has an SPF of 30 or higher. While SPF 15 is the FDA's minimum recommendation for protection against skin cancer and sunburn, the American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends choosing a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
  • Has a "Skin Cancer/Skin Aging" alert in the Drug Facts section of the label, which means the sunscreen will only prevent sunburn and will not reduce the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging.
  • Is water-resistant (effective for up to 40 minutes in water) or very water-resistant (effective for up to 80 minutes in water). This means the sunscreen provides protection while swimming or sweating up to the time listed on the label.

Area of the Body

The sunscreen you use on your body will not always work well for your face, as that area can be more sensitive or prone to acne. Dr. Castilla recommends being aware of your own skin type–whether it be dry, sensitive, acne-prone, etc—when selecting what sunscreen to use on your face. 

Chemical vs. Physical Sunscreens

There are two primary kinds of sunscreen: chemical sunscreen and physical sunscreen. Chemical sunscreens work like a sponge, absorbing the sun’s rays, while physical sunscreens use minerals to block the sun from penetrating your skin. Many dermatologists recommend physical sunscreens because they contain fewer potential irritants than chemical sunscreens. But physical sunscreens may leave behind a thick, white residue. 

Texture

Sunscreens come in many textures and formulations, including sprays, lotions, creams, and sticks. The best type for you will depend on your personal preference, convenience, activities, and where you'll be applying it. Lotions are a good do-it-all choice, while the American Academy of Dermatology Association says these forms may be best for specific uses:

  • Sticks: Around the eyes
  • Creams: On the face and dry skin
  • Gels: On hairy areas
  • Sprays: On squirmy children

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Does sunscreen expire?

    Yes, technically. Sunscreen is considered a drug and is regulated as such by the FDA. Makeup and moisturizers that have SPF are regulated as both drugs and cosmetics. Drugs, including ones that are also considered cosmetics, must be tested for how stable they are over time and thus have expiration dates. Because manufacturers list expiration dates based on how long it remains safe and effective, it’s best to not use sunscreen past its expiration date.

  • Does sunscreen block vitamin D?

    No, not directly. Sunscreen blocks UVB light to prevent sunburn. The body makes vitamin D by absorbing UVB rays in the skin. However, sunscreen doesn't block all UVB light and therefore some UVB rays can still get through for the body to use in vitamin D production.

    Studies show there is little evidence that vitamin D levels are decreased with real-life sunscreen use. The risk of skin cancer from not using sunscreen is greater. More research is needed on high-SPF sunscreen use, though.

  • Does sunscreen prevent tanning?

    No. You can still get a tan with sunscreen. A tan is caused by some UV rays getting to the bottom layer of skin and turning on melanin production. Melanin is the pigment that gives the skin a tanned color. While sunscreen does protect against UV rays, some inevitably will still get through, especially as the sunscreen wears off from sweat and clothing.

  • Should you wear sunscreen everyday?

    It’s a good idea. Even if you aren’t hanging out in the sun, you are still exposed to UV rays when, for example, you take a short walk outside. Regular sunscreen use helps prevent those everyday exposures from adding up to skin damage. Of note, while some makeups have SPF built-in, it is probably not enough to actually provide adequate protection. Consider adding sunscreen to your daily skin routine to keep you covered.

Why Trust Verywell Health

As a seasoned health writer, Danielle Zoellner knows the importance of finding just the right product to fit your medical needs. Throughout her career, Danielle has interviewed a variety of experts in the medical and health fields while reviewing dozens of products. Her experience and knowledge in the field work together to help readers like yourself find the best products for your daily life.

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5 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Sunscreen FAQs.

  3. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Shelf life and expiration dating of cosmetics.

  4. Neale RE, Khan SR, Lucas RM, Waterhouse M, Whiteman DC, Olsen CM. The effect of sunscreen on vitamin D: a review. British Journal of Dermatology. 2019;181(5):907-915. doi:10.1111/bjd.17980

  5. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Sunscreen and your morning routine.