Whether it’s summer or winter, sunny or cloudy—if you’re going outside, you should be wearing sunscreen. That’s according to the American Academy of Dermatology, who recommend regular sunscreen use to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays and prevent skin cancer.
In general when selecting a sunscreen, it’s recommended to look for a “broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF 30 or above,” says Dr. Ali Al-Haseni, MD, a dermatologist at the Dermatology Institute of Boston. “Always look for non-comedogenic (oil-free) sunscreens for the face to prevent acne, as thicker products can cause or worsen acne.”
But with so many different skincare and sunscreen brands on the market, it can be difficult to choose one you love and will use daily. That’s why we’ve rounded up 13 of the best sunscreens of 2023, approved by dermatologists. From mineral formulas to sprays and sticks, there’s something for everyone.
Our first pick is not just sunscreen, but also a moisturizer. “It has an SPF 30 sunscreen added,” says Dr. Al-Haseni. “So you will use one product in the morning instead of a moisturizer and separate sunscreen.”
On top of simplifying your skincare routine, this product is well-loved because it contains hyaluronic acid to retain skin’s moisture, plus niacinamide to help calm skin. It’s fragrance free and oil free, and suitable for all skin types. And just like all CeraVe products, it’s formulated with three essential ceramides to help restore and maintain the skin’s natural barrier. All this plus a micro-fine zinc oxide sunscreen for UV protection, and we have a winning sunscreen moisturizer combo you’ll reach for every morning.
Developed with dermatologists, this sunscreen lotion absorbs easily and provides water resistant, broad spectrum SPF. It’s a physical sunscreen, also known as a mineral sunscreen. “Mineral sunscreens protect the skin more reliably than chemical ones, and they cause less irritation and allergic reactions than chemical ones,” says Dr. Al-Haseni.
The Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen is suitable for even the most sensitive of skin, as it contains no skin-irritating chemical sunscreen ingredients, no parabens, and no fragrances. Plus, it’s affordable, and contains no Oxybenzone or Octinoxate in order to protect coral reefs.
While there are pros to using mineral sunscreens, they also often leave a white cast on the skin due to their large particle size. For people who prefer a chemical sunscreen, the Banana Boat Light As Air Sunscreen Lotion is a great option that rubs in totally clear and breathable. True to its name, it leaves a light, barely there feeling.
Many chemical sunscreens contain oxybenzone, but not this one. Which is excellent, because The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents consider avoiding using sunscreens containing oxybenzone on kids. This one is safe for the whole family!
This face sunscreen is a cult favorite, and for good reason. While it’s on the more expensive side, people rave about how lightweight and invisible it is, often saying it feels more like a makeup primer than a sunscreen. It’s great for wearing under makeup or for people looking for absolutely no white cast.
This sunscreen is also chock full of skin-loving ingredients, like red algae, which helps increase skin moisture and protects against all visible light, and frankincense which can provide a soothing effect. It also contains a complex derived from meadowfoam oil, which helps increase hydration levels and can lead to a more even skin texture. Keep one little bottle in your bathroom and one in your purse to be maximally sun-protected.
Owned by the Japanese cosmetics company Kao, Bioré is a popular drugstore skincare brand best known for its beloved pore strips. But this sunscreen deserves just as much attention, because it’s seriously lightweight and effective. Something akin to a gel/cream hybrid, it rubs in immediately and leaves your face feeling fresh, dewy, and hydrated.
It also has the highest possible protection grade of UVA (PA) rating, which is what the PA++++ refers to. (PA ratings are used in addition to SPF ratings on sunscreens approved for sale places outside of the US). The only downside is that since it is an imported sunscreen, it can be a little trickier to find or you might have to deal with longer shipping times. But for the cool, fresh feeling it leaves and the strong protection, it might be worth it!
Another international pick, the UK-based brand Australian Gold developed a bestselling tinted face sunscreen that offers mineral SPF and a matte finish.
“This sunscreen is water resistant and comes in 3 different shades of light to dark brown to match your skin tone without leaving a white cast or film. This is very convenient if you have a tan or darker skin type,” says Dr. Al-Haseni.
Perfect to use underneath makeup or on its own as a tinted moisturizer, the tint blends seamlessly into your skin and minimizes the appearance of uneven skin tones. Plus it contains kakadu plum, a native Australian fruit that’s high in vitamin C and a great antioxidant.
Those looking for an affordable, non-greasy sunscreen need look no further than this Neutrogena product from their Ultra Sheer line. It’s formulated with NeutrogenaMD’s Helioplex® technology, specifically engineered to deliver broad spectrum, superior protection from UV damage.
The dry-touch technology means this sunscreen is also super fast absorbing and ultra-light, leaving an invisible finish that won’t clog your pores or feel heavy throughout the day. Neutrogena claims to be the #1 dermatologist recommended brand, and it’s easy to understand why—their products are well-researched, tested, and have stood the test of time.
This hypoallergenic sunscreen is perfect for sensitive and acne-prone skin, as it’s fragrance free, paraben free, and non-comedogenic. Plus, it can even help reduce the appearance of discoloration on your skin thanks to the niacinamide it contains.
On top of its calming formula safe for all skin types, this sunscreen provides stellar protection from the sun’s rays by utilizing micronized zinc oxide. It was even recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation for daily use to prevent skin damage that can lead to skin cancer. With this sunscreen in your beach bag, you can enjoy the sun’s rays with some more peace of mind.
For those who prefer the convenience of a sunscreen stick, Sun Bum’s Mineral SPF 50 version is one of the best on the market. Perfectly sized for taking it on the go, this glide-on stick easily rubs into your face, lips, and ears, providing you with a high level of SPF protection.
In addition to the zinc oxide, which keeps your skin protected from the sun, this formula also contains lots of moisturizing, nourishing ingredients, like coconut oil, avocado oil, and cocoa seed butter. Plus, it’s water resistant for up to 80 minutes, making it the perfect sunscreen for you and the beach bums in your life.
An effective spray sunscreen can be difficult to find, but after trying Hampton Sun’s Continuous Mist you’ll likely never look back. This crystal-clear, non-sticky mist absorbs into your skin right away and provides top tier broad spectrum protection. Plus, it’s infused with vitamin E, which combats free radical damage and locks moisture into the skin, as well as aloe vera, which hydrates and helps fade dark spots.
One of the best parts of this sunscreen is its infused with Hampton Sun’s signature Privet Bloom scent, an elegant aroma that one reviewer called “heaven”. Not only will you be protected from the sun’s rays with this on, you’ll also smell amazing and feel extra luxurious.
Lots of sunscreens are developed without women of color in mind, which is why the creators of Black Girl Sunscreen stepped in with this top-tier product. It offers effective sun protection in an ultra sheer lotion that leaves absolutely no white residue! It’s perfect for daily use under makeup, or before engaging in sports or swimming outside.
This sunscreen is also stuffed with tons of ingredients your skin will love, including:
- Avocado: moisturizes and reduces signs of aging
- Jojoba: soothes and moisturizes
- Cacao: evens out complexion
- Carrot juice: contains vitamin C, which promotes healing
- Sunflower oil: prevents skin irritation and provides inflammation relief
This affordable, silky sunscreen is nourishing and moisturizing without being heavy. It spreads on easily and the mineral actives provide your skin protection from UV rays, free of parabens. Plus, despite its mineral formula, it blends into your skin with no white cast, and ingredients like coconut and kukui nut offer extra moisturization.
This sunscreen is also great for those who want to feel like they’re always on a beach vacation, as it has a signature Hawaiian Tropic scent, infused with island-inspired botanicals like guava, plumeria, passion fruit, mango, and papaya. This brand also strives to be eco-friendly, with packaging that’s made from 25% recycled materials.
This moisturizing sunscreen is perfect for those with dry or aging skin. Infused with vitamin C, pomegranate, and green tea, it has a cloud-like, super soft texture that melts into your skin for invisible coverage. Plus, a blend of ceramides help to preserve and restore the skin’s natural moisture barrier.
This sunscreen is now offered in a TSA-approved size, so take it with you on your next vacation and luxuriate in the feeling of super smooth, sun-protected skin.