When the going gets hot, you need the best spray sunscreen to protect your skin. You have to live with your skin your whole life, and a lifetime of sun exposure can increase your risk of skin cancer and lead to premature signs of aging like wrinkles and sunspots, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC also recommends using sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 15 to avoid these risks; however, the dermatologists we’ve spoken to typically advise using sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher for best results.
We highly recommend using a daily face sunscreen to protect your face, but what about the rest of your body? With the best spray sunscreen, you have no excuses for leaving your skin unprotected. These spray cans are a must-have for outdoor activities and sunny days where ultraviolet rays abound.
The best spray sunscreens are easy to apply quickly and many are sweat- and water-resistant so you don’t have to reapply every 10 minutes on a hot day poolside. To help you out, we’ve put together a guide to our top options, with sunscreen suitable for all skin types and activities.
Mineral vs. Chemical Sunscreens
Before we dive into the best spray sunscreen, a quick note on mineral vs. chemical sunscreens. Though both still protect skin from harmful UV rays, they do it in different ways, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
Chemical sunscreens absorb the sun’s rays, using ingredients like oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate. Mineral, or physical, sunscreens use ingredients like titanium oxide or zinc oxide to act as a shield and physically block and reflect sunlight, which is why they’re sometimes called sunblocks.
Another key difference is where they operate. Mineral sunscreens will sit on top of your skin while chemical sunscreens are absorbed into the skin. That’s why mineral sunscreens tend to be better for sensitive skin. It’s also why they often leave some degree of white tint and tend to go on a little thicker, though you’ll have to rub any sunscreen in to some degree.
Differences aside, as long as you’re getting at least broad-spectrum SPF 30, both mineral and chemical sunscreens will work great to protect your skin. The most important thing is to apply 15 minutes before entering direct sunlight.
Now with the spray sunscreen basics out of the way, check out some of the best spray sunscreens below. They’re compact, work well and protect the only skin you’ll ever have. If you’re really wary of the sun, you might also consider checking out the best moisturizers with sunscreen too.
1. Neutrogena Beach Defense Spray Sunscreen
The Neutrogena Beach Defense Spray Sunscreen offers broad spectrum SPF 70 protection to stop harmful UV rays in their tracks. It goes on clean and non-greasy and is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. There’s not much more you could ask for in the best spray sunscreen.
When you need all-over protection that lasts, the Coppertone Sport Continuous Sunscreen Spray Broad Spectrum SPF 50 won’t let you down. The continuous spray makes getting every inch of your body a breeze and the lightweight breathable formula doesn’t leave everything feeling sticky. Coppertone also added moisturizers like vitamin E into the mix to further protect and hydrate skin, and the sunscreen is water- and sweat-resistant too for whatever sunny activities you get up to.
The Oars + Alps Hydrating Antioxidant Sunscreen Spray is light on SPF but loaded with skin-rejuvenating ingredients so your skin still feels good even after a day in the sun. The brand’s signature alpine caribou moss and olive leaf extract deliver antioxidants directly to the skin, the spray sunscreen is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes and also features a pleasant Summer Splash fragrance with notes of amber, bamboo and coconut water. If you love it but want more protection from the sun, give the SPF 50 version a shot instead.
4. Sun Bum Mineral Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Sunscreen Spray
BEST FOR SENSITIVE SKIN
Mineral sunscreens are great for sensitive skin because the sun-blocking ingredients won’t absorb into the skin. The Sun Bum Mineral Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Sunscreen Spray relies on zinc oxide and titanium oxide to keep the sun from harming your skin without irritating your skin itself.
It sprays well without clogging and is sweat- and water-resistant, though it goes on a little sticky and will leave some white tint. But it’s vegan and well worth it for sensitive skin.
The La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra Light Sunscreen Lotion Spray SPF 60 is oil- and alcohol-free for the lightweight, non-greasy sun protection you’ve been looking for. Suitable for sensitive faces and bodies, this spray features the brand’s mineral-rich spring water alongside naturally derived chemical sunscreens to protect and refresh your skin. Alas, this spray sunscreen is a bit pricey, but it’s a small price to pay for one of the most comfortable sunscreens to wear.
The Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Spray with broad spectrum SPF 50 may be the priciest spray sunscreen on this list but for those who can pay, it’s worth it. It simply delivers on everything you want in a great sunscreen: It offers strong SPF protection, fast absorption, a non-greasy feel and great water resistance. Just make sure to spray the sunscreen into your hands before applying to your face for best results.
The Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Sunscreen Spray offers a ton of protection in a sensitive-skin-friendly spray sunscreen. With 24% zinc oxide, harmful UV rays will be the least of your worries. Because it’s heavy on minerals, it does spray on a little thick and rubbing it in is definitely recommended. But nothing will absorb into your skin, it’s water- and sweat-resistant and you’re getting a ton of earth-friendly, sensitive skin protection.
Public Goods is all about eco-friendly, vegan and sustainable products. If that sounds appealing, pick up the Public Goods Spray Sunscreen. Everything about this spray sunscreen is simple and vegan friendly while still providing the same benefits you expect, such as SPF 50 protection and water resistance for up to 80 minutes. If you’re not particularly married to brands and want something simple, reliable and affordable, this spray sunscreen won’t let you down.
9. Coral Safe Natural SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen Spray
BEST FOR CORAL REEFS
It may come in a more traditional spray bottle, but the Coral Safe Natural SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen Spray prides itself on its natural and biodegradable mineral formula. The formula is also excellent for sensitive skin because Coral Safe uses non-nano zinc oxide and titanium oxide, meaning the mineral particles are bigger and therefore more difficult to absorb into skin. Add in other skin-rejuvenating plant-based ingredients like aloe, green tea, sunflower and mango and you can see why this is a winning natural spray sunscreen.
Need a little extra protection? Pick Up Sun Bum’s SPF 70 sunscreen spray, which is a chemical formula that offers broad-spectrum protection. The formula is water-resistant for 80 minutes as well. Sun Bum’s clever packaging features a lighter color packaging the higher the SPF, coordinating with the different needs of different skin tones. Like other Sun Bum sunscreen, this option is reef-safe and vegan.
Supergoop! makes skincare products with a focus on sun protection, ranging from lip balm to everyday lotion. This sunscreen spray, which they refer to as a “body mist,” provides SPF 50 protection and 80 minutes of water and sweat resistance. The canister sprays at all angles, and it even uses a non-chemical propellant. Plus, the spray includes vitamin C, green tea & acai extracts for extra skin care and nourishing.