Best Sunscreen: Smart Ways to Shield From the Sun

People wearing sunscreen

Whether you're packing for the beach, planning a day in the garden, or simply hitting the pavement for a long run, you'll want to make sure you have a good sunblock handy. Any kind of prolonged, unprotected exposure to the sun can damage your skin, cause premature signs of aging, and increase your risk of skin cancer. Besides, who wants to deal with sunburns?

With so many sunblock and SPF products to choose from, how do you know which one to get? Leave it to the ACTIVE Reviews Team. Here are our picks for the best sunscreen products on the market today.

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ACTIVE.com's editorial team relies on the knowledge and experience of fitness and wellness experts including competitive athletes, coaches, physical therapists, nutritionists, and certified trainers. This helps us ensure the products we feature are of the highest standard. Collectively, the team has spent countless hours researching equipment, gear, and recovery tools in order to create the most accurate, authentic content for our readers. Customer satisfaction is also a key part of our review process, which is why we only feature products that are highly rated. More importantly, each member of our team is a fitness enthusiast. Fitness may be our job, but it is also our passion. Therefore, we strive to bring you products that we trust and would personally use.

The Best Sunscreen - Our Top Picks

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What to Look for in Sunscreen


SPF Level

SPF, or sun protection level, measures the extent to which a sunscreen product actually blocks out the sun's rays. Most dermatologists and skin cancer specialists recommend an SPF of at least 30. People who have very light or fair skin and those with a family history of skin cancer may want to opt for something even higher.

Formula

Before buying any sunblock (or for that matter, cosmetic products of any kind), you'll want to make sure you know what's in it! Some sunscreens are loaded with synthetic chemicals, while others actually use minerals that can nourish and revitalize your skin.

Consistency

Are you looking for a lotion that you can rub onto your skin? Or do you prefer a spray?

Best Overall - Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Lotion SPF 55

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Lotion SPF 55

SPECS

  • SPF: 55
  • Type: Broad spectrum sunscreen
  • Skin type: Dry

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For all-around great protection, consider Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Lotion SPF 55. With such a high SPF rating, this product offers incredible coverage against the sun's damaging rays. We love it because it's lightweight, fast absorbing, and a good pick for dry skin.

What We Like

  • Robust SPF protection
  • Lightweight
  • Fast absorbing
  • Recommended for people with dry skin

What We Don't Like

  • Can sometimes "pill" or leave white residue on the face
  • Not recommended for those who prefer a spray-on product

BUY: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Lotion SPF 55

Best for Your Face - La Roche Posay Anthelios Tinted Sunscreen SPF 50

La Roche Posay Anthelios Tinted Sunscreen SPF 50

SPECS

  • SPF: 50
  • Type: Broad spectrum light fluid sunscreen
  • Skin type: N/A

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Looking for a sunscreen that you can rub onto your face to prevent premature signs of aging? Our pick is the La Roche Posay Anthelios Tinted Sunscreen SPF 50. This unscented, water-resistant product provides protection that's more than adequate, whether you're spending your morning beachcombing or simply taking an afternoon jog.

What We Like

  • Robust SPF protection
  • Resists water
  • Fragrance free
  • Includes mineral content

What We Don't Like

  • Needs to be reapplied pretty regularly
  • Needs to be gently shaken to ensure the right consistency

BUY: La Roche Posay Anthelios Tinted Sunscreen SPF 50

Best Mineral Sunscreen - ISDIN Eryfotona Actinica Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50

ISDIN Eryfotona Actinica Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50

SPECS

  • SPF: 50
  • Type: Broad-spectrum mineral sunscreen
  • Skin type: Dry

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For a sunscreen that's fortified with nourishing mineral content, consider ISDIN Eryfotona Actinica Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50. Designed to repair and boost the skin’s natural defenses, this is the sunscreen you want. It's 100 percent mineral based and includes a healthy dose of vitamin E.

What We Like

  • Robust SPF protection
  • Replenishes and repairs the skin
  • Fortified with vitamin E
  • Recommended for face and neck

What We Don't Like

  • Not recommended for application on the torso or back
  • Needs to be gently shaken to ensure the right consistency

BUY: ISDIN Eryfotona Actinica Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50

Best for Sensitive Skin - Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Moisturizing Face Sunscreen

Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Moisturizing Face Sunscreen

SPECS

  • SPF: 60
  • Type: Broad spectrum sunscreen
  • Skin type: Sensitive

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There are plenty of reasons why we like the Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Moisturizing Face Sunscreen for sensitive skin. This hypoallergenic product provides 60 SPF protection, good hydration, and is free of parabens and oils.

What We Like

  • Robust SPF protection
  • Replenishes the skin
  • Offers lasting hydration
  • Free of irritants
  • Especially recommended for face and neck

What We Don't Like

  • Not recommended for application on the torso or back
  • Not recommended for those who prefer spray-on sunscreen

BUY: Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Moisturizing Face Sunscreen

Best for Acne Prone Skin - EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen SPF 46

EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen SPF 46

SPECS

  • SPF: 46
  • Type: Broad spectrum sunscreen
  • Skin type: Sensitive

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When you have regular acne breakouts, you choose cosmetic products carefully. The EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen SPF 46 is a great option for those with skin sensitivities and acne. Made with zinc oxide, this sunscreen is specially designed to be highly protective without being irritating.

What We Like

  • Made specifically for those with acne
  • Great for sensitive skin
  • Recommended for those who have pigmentation or rosacea
  • Fragrance free

What We Don't Like

  • Not recommended for application on the torso or back
  • Not recommended for those who prefer spray-on sunscreen

BUY: EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen SPF 46

Best Tinted Sunscreen - CeraVe Tinted Sunscreen SPF 30

CeraVe Tinted Sunscreen SPF 30

SPECS

  • SPF: 30
  • Type: Broad spectrum sunscreen
  • Skin type: Sensitive

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Looking for something to enhance the look of your skin? Try the CeraVe Tinted Sunscreen SPF 30, a sheer-tint product that will leave all skin types with a natural-looking, healthy glow. It's also rich in mineral content, hydrating, and free from fragrances and irritants.

What We Like

  • Leaves skin with a healthy glow
  • Works well for sensitive skin
  • Naturally hydrating

What We Don't Like

  • Lower SPF
  • Only made for use on the face and neck

BUY: CeraVe Tinted Sunscreen SPF 30

Best Spray Sunscreen - Sun Bum Original SPF 50 Spray Sunscreen

Sun Bum Original SPF 50 Spray Sunscreen

SPECS

  • SPF: 50
  • Type: N/A
  • Skin type: N/A

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Sometimes, spray-on sunscreens are what's most convenient. Spray is an especially good option when choosing sunscreen for kids. Our top pick is Sun Bum Original SPF 50 Spray Sunscreen. It offers robust protection for all skin types that is oil-free, water resistant, and fortified with vitamin E.

What We Like

  • Robust SPF protection
  • Works well on both face and body
  • Made with vitamin E
  • Water-resistant
  • Oil-free

What We Don't Like

  • You'll need to reapply every 80-90 minutes
  • Can sting the eyes if you're not careful

BUY: Best Spray Sunscreen: Sun Bum Original SPF 50 Spray Sunscreen

Best Body Sunscreen - Banana Boat Ultra Sport Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30

Banana Boat Ultra Sport Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30

SPECS

  • SPF: 30
  • Type: Broad-spectrum sunscreen
  • Skin type: N/A

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For long days at the beach, it's important to invest in good sunscreen for your entire body. The Banana Boat Ultra Sport Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 is one of the best options. Not only is it lightweight and breathable, but this sunscreen also offers lasting resistance to water and sweat.

What We Like

  • Resists water
  • Resists sweat
  • Lightweight
  • Works on face and body

What We Don't Like

  • Lower SPF
  • Not recommended if you're looking for a spray

BUY: Banana Boat Ultra Sport Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30

Best for Dry Skin - MDSolarSciences Mineral Moisture Defense SPF 50

MD SolarSciences Mineral Moisture Defense SPF 50

SPECS

  • SPF: 50
  • Type: Broad-spectrum sunscreen
  • Skin type: Dry

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People with dry skin find using sunscreen products can have an irritating, dehydrating effect on their skin. If that’s you, MDSolarSciences Mineral Moisture Defense SPF 50 is one of the top options to consider. Its mineral-rich composition helps lock in moisture and keep skin nourished.

What We Like

  • Moisturizes and nourishes
  • Robust SPF protection
  • Oil-free

What We Don't Like

  • Not recommended if you're looking for a spray
  • Not as sweat resistant as other products

BUY: MDSolarSciences Mineral Moisture Defense SPF 50

Best for Lips - Coppertone Sport Sunscreen Lip Balm SPF 50

Coppertone Sport Sunscreen Lip Balm SPF 50

SPECS

  • SPF: 50
  • Type: Broad spectrum lip protection
  • Skin type: For use on lips only

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Are you spending a long time out in the sun? Don't forget to protect all your exposed skin, including your lips! The Coppertone Sport Sunscreen Lip Balm SPF 50 resists water, provides lasting protection, and is fortified with vitamin E.

What We Like

  • Resists water
  • Resists sweat
  • Fortified with vitamin E
  • Robust SPF protection
  • Keeps lips soft and moisturized

What We Don't Like

  • Not for use elsewhere on the body
  • Small container may not last very long

BUY: Coppertone Sport Sunscreen Lip Balm SPF 50

Best Stick Sunscreen - Sun Bum Mineral SPF 50 Sunscreen Face Stick

Sun Bum Mineral SPF 50 Sunscreen Face Stick

SPECS

  • SPF: 50
  • Type: Broad-spectrum lip protection
  • Skin type: Sensitive

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For sunscreen in a stick, check out the Sun Bum Mineral SPF 50 Sunscreen Face Stick. Ideally suited for kids and babies, this sunscreen is made with shea and cocoa butter. It’s an excellent option for anyone with sensitive skin. We also recommend this for anyone wanting a vegan sunscreen product.

What We Like

  • Vegan/plant-based
  • Made for kids and babies
  • Works well on sensitive skin

What We Don't Like

  • You'll need to reapply every 80 min.
  • Small container may not last very long

BUY: Sun Bum Mineral SPF 50 Sunscreen Face Stick

Best for Runners - Coppertone Sport Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50

Coppertone Sport Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50

SPECS

  • SPF: 50
  • Type: N/A
  • Skin type: N/A

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Runners should always protect themselves from the sun. Coppertone Sport Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50 is an easy way to do just that. This is one of the most water-resistant sunscreens we've come across. It'll stay on even through intense sweat. The robust SPF 50 protection is more than sufficient to keep your skin healthy.

What We Like

  • Robust SPF protection
  • Works well on both body and face
  • Resists sweat

What We Don't Like

  • Not recommended if you prefer spray-on sunscreens
  • Has a stronger sunscreen smell than other products

BUY: Coppertone Sport Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50

FAQs About Sunscreen


Which sunscreen protects the most?

Dermatologists recommend sunscreens with SPF 30 or higher. SPF 30 blocks out about 97 percent of the sun's rays.

What sunscreen should I use daily?

For day-to-day use, consider a sunscreen of at least SPF 30. Those with fair skin may wish to choose something even higher.

Can I use SPF 50 every day?

Absolutely. Doing so will help protect your skin from sun damage.

What SPF do dermatologists recommend?

Dermatologists recommend sunscreens with SPF 30 or higher.

Which is better, sunblock or sunscreen?

Both can be extremely helpful for protecting your skin. In fact, the American Academy of Dermatology does not recommend one over the other.

How do I choose a safe sunscreen?

Look for water-resistant, broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher sunscreens.

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