Remembering to apply sunscreen when you’re spending the day outside in the sun and heat is usually pretty easy. Fear of a painful sunburn and terrible tan lines waiting for you at the end of a fun beach day act as enough of a reminder to reapply every two hours. But sunscreen is needed beyond the sand and surf.
Sun damage can happen anytime, even on cloudy days when your exposure to the sun is minimal. Slow and sometimes inconspicuous sun damage can add up over time, making skin appear wrinkled, creating dark spots, and prematurely aging skin.
That’s why it’s important to find a sunscreen that works for your skin and is easy to apply every day. We’ve rounded up four of our favorite sunscreens, including options that are designed for users with sensitive skin, users who don’t like the feel of lotions, and users who need a sunscreen that can be applied quickly. Whichever sunscreen you choose, make sure you apply it (and reapply it) regularly.
1. EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen
The EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen is one of the best options for users with sensitive skin. The oil-free, non-comedogenic sunscreen is made with zinc oxide and reflects the sun’s rays away from the skin, but unlike most zinc oxide sunscreens, the EltaMD goes on clear and doesn’t leave a flaky white finish. EltaMD protects users from harmful UVA and UVB rays and helps to calm the skin. EltaMD also contains hyaluronic acid, which pumps moisture back into the skin, helping to reduce the appearance of fine lines and making skin appear more youthful.
Pros: The EltaMD is ideal for users with sensitive skin.
Cons: Best for the face and not the entire body.
2. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Water Resistant and Non-Greasy Sunscreen Lotion
Protect your skin with Neutrogena and their Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Water Resistant and Non-Greasy Sunscreen Lotion. Ideal for anyone who doesn’t like the feel of lotion, the matte finish of the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer sunscreen dries quickly and leaves no greasy residue. Safe for use up to 80 minutes in water, the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer is formulated with Helioplex for superior sun protection. Safe for use on the face (it’s non-comedogenic) and body, Neutrogena Ultra Sheer offers UVA and UVB protection.
Pros: At 100 SPF, the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer has the strongest sun protection of all the options on our list.
Cons: The small container can be used up quickly and the sunscreen may be too heavy for users with oily skin.
3. Sun Bum Original SPF 30 Sunscreen Lotion
Moisturize your skin and protect it at the same time with the Sun Bum Original SPF 30 Sunscreen Lotion. Safe for sensitive skin, Sun Bum is hypoallergenic, oil-free and non-comedogenic, which means it won’t clog pores and cause breakouts like other sunscreens. Sun Bum is coral reef-friendly and made without oxybenzone, octinoxate, gluten and parabens. Providing UVA/UVB protection, the water-resistant sunscreen will last up to 80 minutes when swimming or sweating and should be reapplied every two hours.
Pros: Dermatologist-approved Sun Bum is made with vitamin E and leaves skin feeling moisturized.
Cons: Sun Bum goes on thick and can be difficult to rub into the skin. It also has a strong coconut smell.
4. Alba Botanica Sunscreen Spray
For an affordable sunscreen that is easy to apply, try the Alba Botanica Sunscreen Spray. The SPF 50 sunscreen is recommended by the Skin Care Foundation and is made with coconut extract, shea butter and avocado oil for a sunscreen that leaves skin smelling fresh without drying it out. Alba is free from oxybenzone, octinoxate, gluten or synthetic fragrances and is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.
Pros: Like Sun Bum, Alba markets itself as coral reef-friendly and is biodegradable.
Cons: Alba packages their sunscreen in an aerosol spray can, which is not eco-friendly. As with any spray sunscreen, it can be easy to miss a spot with the Alba and one can does not last as long as a bottle of lotion that is the same size. It also leaves a sticky residue on hands and must be reapplied more often than other sunscreens with the same rating.