Many people think of sunscreen only when they go to the beach. But the beach definitely isn’t the only place we need protection from the sun. Every time we’re outside while the UV Index is over 3, we are at some risk, especially if your daily activities involve prolonged exposure to the sun.
Don’t wait ‘till its too late before you give your body protection. A very simple way to protect the body from the sun, but still enjoy the benefits of sun exposure is to use sunscreens. They are useful at the beach but they are also useful every day with your daily activities, outdoor sports, etc.
There are different types of sunscreens and they are made of various ingredients. Certain sunscreens will do a better job at protecting different skin conditions or in different environments, and there are new health concerns about some types of sunscreens.
In this review, we’ll tell you about the best sunscreen for your needs.
For the purpose of better organization, we’ve grouped them into three basic categories. These categories are:
- Sunscreens for various skin conditions
- Sunscreens for sports and activities
- Sunscreens for other specific circumstances.
We’ll also give you pointers on how to select the best sunscreen, and what to look for in a sunscreen formulation.
There have been many recent reports that the FDA has found that several types of sunscreens (all of them chemical sunscreens) are absorbed into the skin in ways that may be potentially harmful. The study, published in JAMA, found evidence of sunscreens in users’ blood several days after application.
It is still unclear whether there is any real harm from this absorption, and whether that harm is greater or less than the well-known harms caused by excessive sun exposure and sunburn.
It doesn’t mean you should stop using sunscreen.
For those who want to take the path of maximum caution, be sure to choose a mineral sunscreen filter like Titanium Dioxide that does not absorb into the skin. Just be aware that the tradeoff is that many of these sunscreens don’t blend very well, and leave the skin with a white-ish cast.
Most of the choices on this list are mineral sunscreens, though there are some chemical ones. There is a balance of concern, effectiveness, and usefulness with all of these sunscreens.
For more information on the difference between Chemical and Mineral Sunscreens, see below.
Best Sunscreen For Various Skin Conditions
Sunscreens are meant to protect the skin from the sun. But some may not be willing to use them regularly because of their specific skin condition. The sunscreens in this section should not cause skin conditions to worsen.
Here are some of the various skin conditions and what sunscreen would be best for them.
Best Sunscreen For Oily Skin: EltaMD UV Clear
Use an oily product over oily skin and you’ll end up with a breakout. Many oily skinned people don’t use sunscreen because of this but there are oil-free sunscreens in the market. The EltaMD UV Clear Sunscreen, broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF46, is one of them.
It has transparent zinc oxide and octinoxate as active ingredients so it’s both a physical sunscreen and a chemical sunscreen. That means it protects against both UVA and UVB rays without resulting in a whitish cast on the face. However, some people with brown skin still experienced having a whitish cast when they used the product.
Apart from the active ingredients, it also contains niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and antioxidants that all help make the skin healthier. The lightweight and non-greasy formula makes it comfortable for the face and is perfect for everyday use.
It is also free from fragrance and paraben to further prevent skin irritation. Most customers have great experiences with this product but some believe that they were given a fake one so one should be careful who to buy it from. Some also thought that it is quite expensive for a sunscreen.
Best Sunscreen For Acne-Prone Skin: La Roche-Posay Anthelios 30
Acne-prone skin is also similar to oily skin. They easily break out when irritated. That also includes too much exposure to UV rays. A sunscreen helps but there are some formulas that can be irritating to acne-prone skin too.
The La Roche-Posay Anthelios 30 Sunscreen is carefully formulated for those with acne-prone skin. It is an award-winning sunscreen that turns into a water-like texture when on the skin to provide a cooling effect while providing protection from the sun. It is fast-absorbing and can be used for both face and body.
It contains active chemical sunscreen ingredients such as avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, and oxybenzone. Several of these sunscreens are among those that enter the bloodstream.
They effective protection against UVA and UVB rays. It is also water-resistant for up to 80 minutes so it can be used for any activity you do outdoors.
This sunscreen also uses the Cell-Ox Shield antioxidant technology to prevent free radicals from causing the cells to age at a fast rate. Non-comedogenic, fragrance-free and paraben-free, this sunscreen is ideal for those with acne-prone skin.
It has mostly positive reviews due to its effectiveness but a lot find the product to be expensive. Although it may seem pricey, most still think that it is worth every penny. Also, some previous customers advise others to be careful, especially around the eyes because it can sting.
Best Sunscreen For Dry Skin: EltaMD UV Daily Tinted
For those with dry skin, it is best to look for something that already includes moisturizing ingredients so it doesn’t only protect against the sun but hydrates the skin at the same time. EltaMD has that with its UV Daily Tinted Sunscreen.
This sunscreen combines sun protection and moisturization in one. Formulated with zinc oxide and octinoxate (a chemical sunscreen), it effectively provides broad-spectrum protection against the sun’s rays. It also contains antioxidants that help fight the free radicals associated with exposure to infrared and UV radiation.
Additionally, it contains hyaluronic acid which helps in moisture retention. This also helps obtain smoother and softer skin. When the skin has adequate moisture, it is also less likely to develop wrinkles so this is also a good anti-aging product. It is also perfect for winter or early spring when the air is dry and cold and the skin tends to be drier.
This is also tinted and creamy so it is perfect even under makeup. Many love this product and some even consider it as their holy grail product for sunscreen. However, there are some people who think that the products they receive are fakes compared to their previous ones. Just carefully choose sellers to avoid such issues.
Best Sunscreen For Rosacea: Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral
Rosacea can flare up for a variety of reasons like exposure to the sun. However, sometimes, using just any sunscreen can contribute to the rosacea flares. People with rosacea should carefully choose their sunscreen. It should be a mineral sunscreen like the one by Blue Lizard.
The Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen is specially made for those with sensitive skin like those with rosacea. It is a mineral-based broad-spectrum sunscreen with active ingredients in the form of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These stay on top of the skin to reflect the UVA and UVB rays.
This dermatologist-recommended sunscreen doesn’t contain oxybenzone or octinoxate that produces a chemical reaction in the skin when exposed to UV rays, and is not absorbed into the skin.
Furthermore, it is also fragrance-free and paraben-free to prevent irritating the skin.
This sunscreen is rated with SPF 30+ and is also water-resistant for 40 minutes. This sunscreen is also reef safe so you won’t feel guilty using it even if you’re going to the beach for swimming or other water activities. This sunscreen can be used for the face and body too.
Many love this sunscreen because it’s so gentle that even kids can use it. Those with rosacea have successfully used this product without having flare-ups. Also, many find that it is more expensive than other sunscreens but it’s worth it.
Best Sunscreen For Eczema: CeraVe Baby Hydrating
Not all sunscreens will work for those with eczema. Most of the time, the ingredients used can worsen the itchiness and inflammation of the skin with eczema. Mineral-based sunscreen that doesn’t contain alcohol and has a higher SPF is best to use.
The best one in the market today is the CeraVe Baby Hydrating Sunscreen, a recipient of the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance. It is made of naturally sourced zinc oxide and titanium oxide that provides broad-spectrum protection against UV rays and is not absorbed into the blood.
Don’t be fooled by the word “baby” on the label because even adults, especially those with eczema can use it.
Additionally, it also contains three essential ceramides, namely Ceramides 1, 3 and 6-II, which helps restore the skin’s natural protective barrier. It also helps keep moisture in the skin so it doesn’t become dry, itchy and irritated. These ingredients are essential for people with eczema.
This sunscreen is also resistant for 80 minutes so you can use it for your water sports, while on the beach or other activities. Although it’s great for those with eczema, many find that the size of the lotion is too small. Some also say that it produces a whitish cast especially when it gets wet.
Best Sunscreen For Babies With Eczema: Neutrogena Pure & Free Stick
Eczema doesn’t only affect adults, it is also common in children and babies too. Although sunscreen helps protect the skin from external triggers like UV rays, the use of sunscreen is only advised for babies who are older than 6 months. For younger babies with eczema, it is best to consult doctors before applying any sunscreen.
For babies who are older than 6 months and those with eczema, the best sunscreen to use would be the Neutrogena Pure & Free Sunscreen Stick. It is a broad-spectrum mineral sunscreen with SPF 60. It contains titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, which are both naturally sourced. Both are responsible for reflecting and scattering UVA and UVB rays.
It is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. It is also formulated to suit delicate baby skin which is why it doesn’t contain fragrance nor PABA. It is also hypoallergenic and non-greasy to make it comfortable on the baby’s skin and even on the baby’s face.
This comes in a convenient stick form which many customers found to be great. It makes application easier without annoying the child by conventionally using your hands with sunscreen. It does produce a whitish cast but some parents didn’t mind. They also used it as a guide to see if there are areas that they missed.
Best Sunscreen For Melasma: THRIVE Balm
Melasma produces darkened areas of the skin and is known to be related to hormones. To prevent this skin problem from worsening, many dermatologists advise their patients to use sunscreen. When looking for a sunscreen for melasma, it is best to choose physical sunscreens because they do not penetrate the skin and affect the hormones as they protect from the UV rays.
The best sunscreen for those with melasma is the THRIVE Sunscreen Balm. This broad-spectrum sunscreen has SPF 30. It makes use of zinc oxide, the non-nano kind, to produce an effective physical barrier against the sun’s rays.
It also makes use of other natural ingredients as source of antioxidants that help repair damaged skin by the sun or other stressors in the environment. It is a cruelty-free, non-GMO, paraben-free, reef-safe, vegan, and PABA-free product. Also, there are no synthetic colors, ingredients or fragrances in the formula.
Most users found that this leaves a white cast on the skin. Others are aware of this but they don’t mind at all because the product works. Some customers also liked the lemon scent. However, one drawback to this product is the expensive price.
Best Sunscreen For Psoriasis: Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral
Psoriasis is another skin condition that can be worsened by prolonged exposure to UV rays. Psoriasis makes the skin sensitive and the medications used to treat it can also make the person more photosensitive and sunburn easily.
The best sunscreen for those with psoriasis is the Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen. This is really a great product for sensitive skin, which is why we also chose it as the best product for those with rosacea. It has a gentle formula that works well with sensitive skin and is also gentle to the environment as well.
This sunscreen provides broad-spectrum protection with SPF 30+ and is it only has physical active ingredients such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. It doesn’t contain any oxybenzone or octinoxate, which can disrupt the endocrine system and negatively impact the reefs as well.
It is recommended by dermatologists because it doesn’t contain any fragrance or paraben, both of which can irritate the skin, especially those with sensitive skin. This is also resistant for up to 40 minutes.
This mineral sunscreen is loved by many customers because it works well even for their sensitive skin. May are happy with how effective it is and that there are no chemicals that can be harsh to the skin. Some also found that the sunscreen is a bit thick and needs to be spread out well first. I can also be more on the expensive side but is worth the price.
Best Sunscreen For Prickly Heat: Neutrogena CoolDry Sport
Prickly heat or heat rash can be observed in both adults and children although it is more common to see in children because of their premature sweat glands. It is a result of trapped sweat under the skin. It is more common during summer months when the weather is hot but can also happen at any time of year. It is prevented by avoiding sweating excessively.
Being exposed to the sun can also aggravate prickly heat. Sunscreens like the Neutrogena CoolDry Sport Sunscreen is useful for this condition. This sunscreen protects against UVA and UVB rays with an SPF 70. It is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes so you can always take a dip in the pool or beach to cool yourself down when you feel too hot.
This has a special formulation that keeps the skin cool yet breathable for sweat to easily pass through and evaporate into the air. Not only is it cooling, but it is also lightweight so sensitive skin won’t be irritated. It is specially formulated for those with an active lifestyle, whether adults or kids.
Most of those who used this product are very satisfied with it. Many love its consistency that makes it easy to spread and it absorbs easily without a greasy feel. The packaging is also great but some wished that it came in a bigger bottle.
Best Sunscreen For Vitiligo: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer
Vitiligo is a skin condition characterized by pale areas of the skin. These areas lack melanin that is why they look paler than other areas of the body. Due to the lack of melanin, the pale areas are more susceptible to sunburn. This is why using sunscreen is very important for people with vitiligo
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Sunscreen is the best sunscreen for those with vitiligo for a lot of reasons. First of all, it has a high SPF 100+ and it provides broad-spectrum protection against the sun.
Secondly, it has a lightweight formula that is easily absorbed by the skin because of the Dry Touch technology. Lots of users love how fast it dries up into a matte and non-greasy finish.
Third, this sunscreen offers water-resistance of up to 80 minutes. This means this can be used in any outdoor activity even if it involves getting wet. Additionally, it is also noncomedogenic so it can be safely used for the face without fear of breakouts.
Customers also love the affordability of this sunscreen. On the contrary, others were still disappointed because of the white cast. Others find that after letting it absorb for about 15 minutes, it can be used as a makeup base.
Best Sunscreen For Hyperpigmentation: THRIVE Balm
Darker patches on the skin are also known as hyperpigmentation and it comes in various forms. Some cover larger areas while others are only small patches. Some of the most common types of hyperpigmentation include melasma, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and sunspots.
To stop hyperpigmentation from worsening, the best sunscreen to use is the THRIVE Sunscreen Balm. This is a physical sunscreen that protects the skin from UV light with zinc oxide. The zinc oxide is of the non-nano kind, which ensures that it really doesn’t seep through the skin and irritate it.
Aside from protecting the skin from the sun, it also has ingredients rich in antioxidants such as arabica coffee oil, Tazman pepper, Wakame seaweed, super plants from Costa Rica and many others. These make up the plant-derived formula that also helps repair the skin from various stressors and reduces redness or irritation.
Thrive Sunscreen Balm doesn’t just protect and benefit the skin but it is also supporting Costa Rican farmers. Every purchase helps the farmers that produce the plants needed for their formula.
Customers were impressed with this sunscreen and although it can have a whitish cast, it is not as chalky as others. Others also liked how easy the product spreads and smells. Some still find it as expensive but others are willing to pay more for a quality product.
Best Sunscreen For Lupus: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer
Lupus is an autoimmune disease, which means the body attacks itself. It can be caused by a person’s own genetics and also exposure to various environmental conditions. Exposure to sunlight can cause skin lesions for those with lupus because the disease increases the photosensitivity of people who have them.
The high SPF rating of Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Sunscreen is one of the reasons why it is the best sunscreen for lupus. Although the percentage of UV filtered between a high SPF and a higher SPF is not that great, people with lupus need all the protection that they can get.
Additionally, this sunscreen includes helioplex, which effectively provides sun protection for both UVA and UVB rays. The water resistance that lasts for up to 80 minutes makes it possible to enjoy any outdoor activity. People with lupus don’t necessarily need to hide from the sun but they should protect their skin from its rays.
Customers who have lupus and bought this product loved this works well for their face and body. It is not greasy at all, which is why they are comfortable using it every day. It also doesn’t have a white cast and some loved it for its scent.
Best Sunscreen For Scars: Badger Clear
People have different scars and some fade in time. People with new scars are advised to prevent exposing them to the harsh rays of the sun. New scars that are still healing and are most likely pink in color shouldn’t be exposed to UV rays due to the risk of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Even if the scar is already old, it still needs sun protection, especially because it is more sensitive than normal skin.
The Badger Clear Sunscreen is the best one for those who have scars. It has an organic clear zinc oxide active ingredient that provides broad-spectrum protection. This sunscreen can be used for the whole body even in areas with scars.
The jojoba, organic sunflower, vanilla and tangerine oils plus beeswax all help in providing moisture to the areas it applied to. Also, this sunscreen has a hypoallergenic formula that’s also non-GMO certified, making it safe even for scars.
Reviews from previous customers reveal that they love this product because it doesn’t give them a white cast even on darker skin. You just have to let it sit for a while to remove the initial white cast. It may also be a thicker cream consistency but it is still spreadable.
Best Sunscreen For Different Sports And Activities
Don’t take your skin for granted when you do outdoor sports and activities. Sunscreen will protect you from the harsh rays of the sun while enjoying your activities. Water-resistant sunscreens are mostly chosen for this category because the body is more prone to sweating or getting wet with different sports.
Best Sunscreen For Cycling: Neutrogena Sport Face
When cycling, the focus should be on the road and on the surroundings for safety purposes. This is why some cyclists don’t realize that their skin already has sunburn until after their cycling session. With the Neutrogena Sport Face Sunscreen, you don’t have to worry about your skin and sunburn.
This sunscreen provides broad-spectrum protection thanks to the helioplex technology. It has SPF 70+ and it shields against UVA and UVB radiation. This is a chemical sunscreen, which is great for cyclists because it doesn’t rub off during movement.
Sweatproof and waterproof, this sunscreen won’t be easily wiped off or sweat off. Just remember that even if it resists sweat, it still needs to be reapplied every 2 hours. It also needs to stay in the skin for 15 minutes before you go and start your activity. In case you go for a swim or sweat a lot, some sunscreen can be removed so reapplication is needed.
This sunscreen has received mostly good ratings and even dermatologists love using it while exercising. It blends into the skin well, even if it has a thick formulation. Some use it for the face only but others have also tried using it for the body as well.
Best Sunscreen For Surfing: Thinksport Safe
It’s fun surfing until the end of the day when you find out you have an awful sunburn. Protect your skin while doing the thing you love with the Thinksport Safe Sunscreen. We found that this is the best sunscreen for surfing because it does not only protect your skin from the sun, it is also reef-safe.
The active ingredient list doesn’t contain any harmful active ingredients like avobenzone, oxybenzone that can harm the coral reefs. Instead, it contains non-nano zinc oxide that’s a physical sunscreen. This protects from both UVA and UVB.
This sunscreen is also rated as an SPF 50+ and water-resistant up to 80 minutes. But remember that even if it’s water-resistant, it still needs to be reapplied often because surfing also involves swimming. It is also non-greasy, gluten-free, cruelty-free, fragrance-free, and top-rated by EWG.
Fellow surfers comment that this is a great sunscreen to use because it provides adequate protection but it does have a whitish cast because of the zinc oxide. Nevertheless, most surfers still use it because it protects them even if they are always in and out of the water.
Best Sunscreen For Swimming: La Roche-Posay Melt-In
Swimming under the sun whether on the beach or the pool means you’re always in contact with water. That is why it’s best to find a water-resistant sunscreen. The highest-rated today is 80 minutes and one of those sunscreens is La Roche- Posay Melt-In Sunscreen. It is also with SPF 60 and it protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
This is the best sunscreen for swimming because it doesn’t only protect you from the sun, it also has antioxidants that can help protect the skin cells from aging. Also, it is very easy to apply to the skin. It has a non-greasy texture once applied.
Looking at the ingredients list, there isn’t any fragrance, paraben, oil or chemicals that can block the pores. When swimming, it is supposed to be applied to the skin after 80 minutes. After towel drying, it should be applied immediately because some sunscreens can be wiped off.
Those who have used this for swimming are impressed with the product although they advise constant reapplication, especially after getting out of the water and drying with a towel. However, some observe that it can run down the eyes while swimming but it doesn’t sting.
Best Sunscreen For Runners: Zealios Sun Barrier
Runners sweat a lot and that means they need a sunscreen that can withstand sweat. The Zealios Sun Barrier is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes so it can be used for running as well as other sports like biking, swimming, and even a triathlon run.
This has SPF 45 that shields against both UVA and UVB rays. The formula is free from oils and paraben, making it suitable even for those with sensitive skin. The active ingredient is zinc oxide that dries quickly and with a non-greasy feel.
Many runners have already used it in their marathons or personal runs. They love it because it dries clear. It isn’t matte but it isn’t also dewy too. It also doesn’t leave a white cast so it is suitable for any skin color.
Those who have applied and completely dried the product before running didn’t experience it running down their eyes. Some experienced the product running down their eyes but it isn’t stingy at all. On the other hand, there are some users who find the product thick. It may be more challenging to spread for them but they feel like the thickness helps provide them protection.
Best Sunscreen For Water Sports: Thinksport Safe
With water sports, it’s inevitable to make contact with the water. Whether it’s surfing, swimming, sailing, wakeboarding or any other water sport, making sure that the skin is protected against the sun is crucial. Don’t just use any sunscreen, which will easily be washed off.
Instead, use the Thinksport Safe Sunscreen. This sunscreen is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes and it offers protection from both UVA and UVB rays. It also comes with an SPF that’s at 50+. This is an award-winning sunscreen and is top-rated by the EWG.
The ingredients do not contain any harmful chemicals that can irritate the skin like avobenzone, phthalates, and other chemical absorbers. Apart from that, it also reef-friendly, which makes it great to use on sports that happen on natural bodies of water.
With the high amount of zinc, most users understand that this will produce a white cast. It is great as a sports sunscreen but not as something you’d wear every day to work. Many also love that it doesn’t contain too many chemicals that make it suitable for sensitive skin. On the other hand, some found it thicker so it can be difficult to spread.
Best Sunscreen For Golfers: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer
Golfers take their time to stay under the sun just to try to make a perfect shot. Protective clothing against the sun is available but with exposed areas of the skin, sunscreen would be needed. The Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Sunscreen is the best sunscreen to use while playing golf.
It has a high SPF 100+ rating with helioplex technology to help protect against both UVA and UVB rays. The fast-absorbing formula makes it very easy to use so you can immediately start with your game after 15 minutes from application.
This is also a water-resistant formula for up to 80 minutes so you won’t have to reapply it often. It is loved for its light and non-greasy feel. Playing golf can already make a person sweaty and it can be uncomfortable if the sunscreen used is sticky and thick.
Some say that although this sunscreen dries easily, it can still sting the eyes. This can be avoided by using sweatbands. Also, people love the minimal white cast so they can still look great in pictures while playing the game. Additionally, most people also found that this sunscreen is reasonably priced.
Best Sunscreen For Other Specific Circumstances
Sunscreens can also be used in various specific circumstances. Before purchasing a sunscreen, one must consider them too. This helps make sure the skin is adequately protected and not irritated. It also helps make sure the environment is not destroyed and other problems are avoided.
Best Sunscreen For A Tan: Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration
Contrary to popular belief, using sunscreen doesn’t prevent your skin from getting a tan. It just prevents you from having sunburns. When looking for a sunscreen that will protect yet allow the skin to have a tan, find one that offers broad-spectrum protection like the Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Sunscreen.
This sunscreen has an SPF 30, which means it can last prolonged sun exposure without sunburn on the skin. One great thing about this sunscreen is its moisturizing capabilities. It has hydrating silk proteins that can moisturize the skin continuously so even with a tan, the skin doesn’t dry up.
It is rated as water-resistant for up to 80 minutes and is made from a selection of exotic botanicals. Many users also like its pleasant scent that helps them look forward to applying the product. Sunscreens only work when they are applied and reapplied in a timely manner so this is a good thing.
Also, many agree about it being a powerful moisturizer. It has several moisturizing ingredients like glycerin and cetearyl alcohol. Some with sensitive skin have used it with not a problem at all but there are some who felt a tingly feeling when it was applied to their face.
Best Sunscreen For The Beach: Neutrogena Beach Defense
Most people who go to the beach spend most of the day on the beach and not under a shade. With that, a sunscreen that has a high SPF, is water-resistant and protects against both UVA and UVB is the best choice. All of these requirements can be found on the Neutrogena Beach Defense Sunscreen.
This sunscreen is a broad-spectrum sunscreen that has a high SPF of 70 and water resistance of up to 80 minutes. This means you don’t have to reapply it often unless you wet your body and towel dry it. It also comes in a 6.7 fl. oz so there is more than enough for multiple uses.
Users like that it’s non-greasy formula and that it is easily absorbed by the skin without any stickiness or a white film. The active ingredients provide chemical sunscreen protection. Some prefer this lotion form because it is easy to apply evenly as compared to the spray version.
On the other hand, some find the SPF too high for their liking because it prevents them from getting to the level of tan that they want. Apart from using this at the beach, some people also choose to use it for other sports because of its water resistance and broad-spectrum rotation.
Best Sunscreen For Bald Head: Babo Botanicals Sport Stick
Shaving your hair off for the summer can be refreshing but that would also mean that you are exposing your scalp to the UV rays. Hats can be worn and used as protection but sometimes they can be too hot or they can get in the way of your activities. To protect your delicate scalp, use the Babo Botanicals Sport Stick Sunscreen.
This sunscreen makes use of organic ingredients and provides broad-spectrum protection by using non-nano zinc oxide. It has SPF 30 and is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. It is designed for use in areas of the face, nose, lips, and ears where the skin can be more sensitive than other parts of the body.
It doesn’t contain any fragrance and is rated as the #1 sunscreen for safety by EWG. Due to its gentle formulation, it can be safely used on the scalp. It also has moisturizing ingredients like jojoba oil. Some love the stick application but others say that it won’t apply evenly if you don’t smooth it with the hand and it can also be sticky.
Depending on your skin color, you may get some whiteish cast, but for most people it is pretty minor. Nevertheless, most agree that it works great in protecting the skin against the sun. Some people also commented on how handy it is. It’s small and compact that it easily fits in a bag.
Best Sunscreen For Hawaii: Goddess Garden Sport
Sunscreen isn’t the only way to protect yourself from sun exposure. You can always choose to wear clothing designed to protect your skin from sun exposure, especially when you’re in a sensitive area.
That said, this isn’t a solution for everybody, so you may want to pick a sunscreen that will cause a little damage to reefs as possible.
One such sunscreen is Goddess Garden Sport Sunscreen. This has an SPF 50 and offers broad-spectrum protection by making use of a physical sunscreen, which is a non-nano zinc oxide filter.
The Goddess Garden is a water-resistant sunscreen that lasts for up to 80 minutes. With all the beaches in Hawaii and all the surrounding water, it can be tempting to go for a swim. Keep yourself always protected by applying this sport sunscreen.
As a physical sunscreen, this is great for those who have sensitive skin and it is also great for the reef. Enjoy Hawaii without excessively contributing to the destruction of the reefs by choosing a non-nano zinc oxide-based sunscreen that doesn’t contain any chemical active ingredients.
Hawaii prohibits the sale and use of sunscreen that has oxybenzone.
This sunscreen has mostly positive reviews because people love how gentle it is for the skin and for the environment as well. Also, this product is suitable for kids and adults alike. Some customers also warn about a slight white cast and is a thicker formula than other chemical sunscreens.
Best Sunscreen For Pale Skin: Obagi Sun Shield
People with pale skin are more prone to have sunburns because the skin doesn’t have a lot of melanin, which acts as a natural sunscreen. Although those who have darker skin don’t burn as fast as those with pale skin, both skin types will still burn due to prolonged exposure to the sun.
For those with pale skin, the best sunscreen to use is the Obagi Sun Shield. This has SPF 50 and is a broad-spectrum sunscreen. It has zinc oxide and octinoxate as active ingredients. One is a physical sunscreen and the other is a chemical one. The combination helps in making sure UVA and UVB rays do not damage the skin cells.
Customers like that the product is easy to apply and it also dries easily on its own. Some note that it can be thick when first applied but is still spreadable. Although it claims to provide a matte-finish, customers say it doesn’t provide a true matte finish but only a semi-matte one, which is still okay.
Some say it has a white tint to it but being with pale skin, the white tint may not be obvious. Also, it can be used under makeup so it won’t be obvious. Some may find that this product is a bit pricey but some say that for an Obagi product, it is already reasonably priced.
Best Sunscreen For Sensitive Eyes: CeraVe Hydrating
The area around the eyes is very sensitive. It is much thinner than the rest of the face that is why it can get irritated easily. In cases like this, a sunscreen that is suitable for sensitive skin like the CeraVe Hydrating Sunscreen should be chosen.
This is a sunscreen specifically formulated for the face with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide active ingredients. With SPF 50 and broad-spectrum protection, this sunscreen is long-wearing too. With only physical sunscreen ingredients, it doesn’t cause any chemical reaction in the skin that can cause irritation.
Apart from that, it also contains 3 essential ceramides to make sure that moisture is kept in the skin. These also help restore the skin so it can be useful in protecting the body naturally. Such ceramides are also great for the area around the eye so it doesn’t dry out easily upon sun exposure.
Apart from moisturizing properties, this sunscreen is also gentle on the skin so even kids and babies can use them. Most who used this product didn’t experience burning in their eyes even if they sweat. One common complaint is the whitish cast that it produces but this is normal for physical sunscreens. Also, this sunscreen is not water-resistant so make sure to reapply whenever the body or face comes in contact with water or sweat.
Best Sunscreen For Sun Allergy: Vanicream
Those with sun allergy are usually reacting to the UVA and UVB rays from the sun. Protecting against them is possible through a broad-spectrum sunscreen like the Vanicream Sunscreen. This is a broad-spectrum sunscreen that comes in a 4 oz bottle so you can easily use it multiple times before it runs out.
It doesn’t only protect your skin from UVA and UVB rays, but it also doesn’t have any fragrance, paraben, formaldehyde, lanolin, dyes or other preservatives that can also irritate the skin. Water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, this sunscreen can also be used when you want to go swimming, surfing or other water sports. It also doesn’t easily wear off even if you sweat.
There are many things that customers love about this product and one of them is the absence of the white cast. Most physical sunscreens have a white cast so those with darker skin don’t want to use them. Also, many find that this sunscreen glides easily even if it’s one of thicker sunscreens in the market. This makes it easy to evenly spread.
People also loved that this sunscreen is reef-friendly. It also comes in a generous size and is fairly priced. On the other hand, some people find that it takes time for it to sink in but that is common for mineral sunblocks. Also, it would have been better if it came with a flip cap rather than a screw cap.
Best Sunscreen For Spray Tan: Neutrogena Beach Defense
Even with a spray tan, your skin isn’t protected against the rays of the sun. There is still a high risk of damage if you go out unprotected. Sunscreen can provide you with adequate protection but you also have to make sure that it doesn’t ruin your spray tan in the process. The best ones are the oil-free, broad-spectrum sunscreens like the Neutrogena Beach Defense Sunscreen.
It adequately protects against UVA and UVB radiation plus it’s water-resistant too so it can be used for any activity or sport. It has an SPF30 that can adequately protect from sunburns but it can still allow you to get a natural tan under your spray tan.
The lotion is easy to apply evenly on the skin so you won’t get areas that will tan unevenly due to sun exposure. There’s also a spray tan version of this sunscreen. But it can be hard to control for some especially because they can’t easily see if it’s evenly applied.
Aside from the easy application, it is also fast-absorbing, water-resistant up to 80 minutes, oil-free and free of oxybenzone. Other customers loved that it can last even when exposed to water and it doesn’t smell bad too. On the contrary, there are a few who wished the SPF was higher.
Best Sunscreen For The Environment: Goddess Garden Sport
Sunscreens can be made out of different active ingredients but there are some that can be harmful to the environment. Oxybenzone, a chemical sunscreen, is toxic to juvenile corals as well as other marine animals. In Hawaii, oxybenzone and octinoxate are both prohibited to help save the environment.
The best sunscreen for the environment is the Goddess Garden Sport. It has non-nano zinc oxide as the only active ingredient and it doesn’t contain any oxybenzone and octinoxate. This sunscreen is not only safe for the reef, but it is also safe even for those who have sensitive skin.
It also has SPF50 and is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. It also features hydrating properties, all thanks to the shea butter and coconut oil included in its formula. It also has a lavender scent, which some loved, but there is also a customer who thought it was too strong for her.
Due to it being a mineral-based sunscreen, many still observe a white cast although most don’t mind it because that is usually present in most mineral sunscreens. Also, manufacturers advise keeping spreading and blending it in until it isn’t whitish anymore.
Sunscreen Buyer’s Guide
With so many sunscreens available in the market today, it can be challenging to choose one right away. No matter how great the sunscreen is, if it isn’t used, then it won’t be able to protect the skin from the sun.
There are several factors to consider and some useful information to know that will help in finding the right sunscreen. Here are some things to look for and to consider:
There was a time when the SPF level was the best criterion for a good sunscreen. Nowadays, we know better than to focus on this factor alone. A high SPF level sunscreen may effectively protect against sunburn but not with the effects of UVA light.
When looking for a sunscreen to use, it’s best to find one that’s a broad-spectrum sunscreen. This offers protection from both UVA and UVB light from the sun. UVA light is responsible for premature aging of the skin while the UVB light is responsible for causing sunburns.
Even if the UV lights affect the skin differently, both still increase the risk of developing skin cancer in the long run. Protection against both UVA and UVB light is the best way to protect the skin from the harmful effects of the sun’s rays.
SPF or Sun Protection Factor
At the moment, sunscreens are only rated on how much they are able to protect against UVB light. That is reflected by their SPF level. An SPF 15 sunscreen can protect someone who burns in UVB light upon 10 minutes of exposure, for about 150 minutes but this is not an exact estimate.
A sunscreen with SPF 15 can block up roughly 93% of UVB light, an SPF of 30 can block up to 97% while an SPF 50 can block up to 98%. The differences may not seem too much but an SPF30 can block an additional of half of what the SPF 15 lets through.
Between the SPF 50 and SPF 30, there is only a 1% difference but that can also mean a lot in the long run. No matter what level of SPF is used, it still won’t be able to completely block the UVB rays.
Most experts suggest using an SPF 30 sunscreen for everyday sun exposure will suffice. The SPF 15 is the minimum while an SPF 50 offers a little more added protection.
There are still sunscreens that have higher SPF ratings than 50 but they aren’t ideal because they can make users feel secure about sun exposure when they shouldn’t. By using higher SPF sunscreens some people think they are invincible against the sun and end up burning their skin because they were exposed for too long without reapplication.
No matter what SPF sunscreen has, it needs to be applied in the proper quantity and reapplied in the proper time interval for the best sun protection. It is recommended to use an oz of sunscreen for the entire body in each application.
When shopping for sunscreens, the active ingredients that are responsible for blocking or deflecting UV light should also be checked. The FDA has provided a list of active ingredients that most sunscreens contain. These active ingredients work in two ways to block out the UV rays, either physically or chemically.
A physical sunscreen, like the name implies, creates a physical barrier on the skin to prevent UV rays from penetrating the skin. They are not absorbed by the skin and they somewhat form a shield that stays on top of the skin to deflect the UV rays.
Physical sunscreens can also be called mineral sunscreens because they contain minerals that block the UV rays. The most commonly used today are titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, both of which offer instant protection against UVA and UVB rays and are approved by the FDA.
Due to their size, they remain on top of the skin but that also means they can be rubbed off. They also produce a whitish cast because they reflect light. Proper application of sunscreens with these active ingredients will help prevent the UV rays from penetrating the skin due to the gaps in the molecules of the sunscreen.
Today, the white cast due to the minerals can be remedied by making the size of the particles smaller. Some people are concerned about the small size because of the risk of penetrating the skin but there is no need to worry. They still don’t penetrate deep within the skin. Furthermore, most particles are also coated to lessen the risk.
Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, are absorbed into the skin. They need to be absorbed first, for about 20 minutes, before they being effective at preventing the UV rays from damaging the cells. Once the chemical sunscreen is absorbed by the skin, it also absorbs the UV rays and dissipates it through a chemical reaction.
This type of sunscreens contain ingredients such as octocrylene, avobenzone, homosalate, octinoxate, oxybenzone, and octisalate. Recently, the FDA has raised concern about oxybenzone and other sunscreens being absorbed in the skin and affecting the hormone levels of the body.
They also issued a “proposed rule” so they can gather data or make comments about various sunscreen ingredients to they can make a final monograph.
Despite the current potential concern, some people prefer chemical sunscreen because it is easier to spread and blend, and less product is required for it to be effective. They are also usually preferred for water-resistant formulas because they do not turn milky when in contact with water or sweat.
That said, chemical sunscreens, it can sting the eyes or cause irritation in the skin. Due to its action of dissipating UV rays into heat, those with rosacea and other heat-sensitive skin conditions aren’t advised to use them.
Sunblock VS Sunscreen
Some people use the terms sunblock and sunscreen to mean the same thing. Take a look at the labels today and you’ll rarely see products marked as sunblocks. This is because the FDA released guidelines prohibiting the identification of products as sunblocks.
Before products that were formerly known as sunblocks can be labeled as sunscreens or mineral sunscreens. These products reflect the UV rays before they can penetrate the skin. These products are known today as physical sunscreens.
Water-resistant sunscreen is best used by those who engage in sports or activities that can get them wet while under the sun. Whether it’s sweat or water, the water-resistant property of the sunscreen helps it to stick to the skin even when exposed to the liquid.
There is no sunscreen that is completely waterproof. They will eventually be removed. Water-resistant sunscreens will last for either 40 minutes or 80 minutes. The time brands claim their sunscreen to be water-resistant should clearly be placed on the label as per the FDA’s requirements.
The provided minutes of water-resistance is just an estimate as a result of controlled testing. The sunscreen should be reapplied after an hour or two depending on the activities done. Similarly, most people don’t apply enough water-resistant sunscreen. Experts strongly advise on proper application and reapplication of sunscreen for effective protection.
Most people know sunscreens as lotions and some people hate them for being sticky. Nowadays, sunscreen doesn’t only come in lotion but in other forms as well. This makes the application better and more comfortable so that people will more likely use and reapply the product.
Here are some of the most common forms of sunscreens available in the market today:
- Lotions – Most sunscreens come in this form. It is usually preferred when a huge area of the body is to be covered with sunscreen. Some sunscreen lotions are thick while there are also others that come in a thinner formulation for better spreadability.
- Cream – This type of sunscreen is usually applied to the face. It is thicker as compared to lotions but most also have hydrating properties. It isn’t as easy to spread as a lotion so it’s more used for the face.
- Spray – Sprays are very easy and convenient to apply. They usually have a lightweight formulation that isn’t sticky and they also dry up easily. They can also be used in areas with hair like the nape and the legs. When using sprays, one must be careful about spraying on the face, the spray can accidentally reach the mouth or the eyes. It can also be difficult to estimate how much sunscreen is already applied.
- Stick – Many also love stick sunscreens because they are easy to apply. You don’t need to spread them at all because you just swipe the product on your face or other areas of the body. It can even be used safely around the eye area because you can pinpoint exactly where you want to apply the sunscreen.
- Gel – Gel sunscreens are lightweight and some choose it over creams and lotions which have richer formulation. They don’t feel greasy and they easily dry to a matte or satin finish.
Thousands of sunscreens are available in the market today and it can be confusing, tiring and frustrating to figure out which sunscreen is best. There isn’t a single sunscreen that would be best for all skin conditions, activities and sports or other specific circumstances but all these specifications can help find the best sunscreen to use.
Generally speaking, sunscreens should be broad-spectrum to provide adequate protection against UVA and UVB rays. Physical sunscreen ingredients make the gentlest sunscreen for the skin and also for the environment. Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, aren’t easily rubbed off and are easier to spread evenly.
For activities that make you sweat a lot or expose you to water, the water resistance feature should also be considered. Also, sunscreens aren’t limited to lotions alone, there are other forms and some can suit others better than another.
With your specific needs in mind, scroll through our comprehensive list once again to find them. Each of the sunscreens suggested for specific conditions and requirements were carefully selected. However, if you don’t find a sunscreen for your specific needs from our list, you may also use the suggested products for conditions similar to your needs.