Editors' note, July 14, 2021: Neutrogena has voluntarily recalled select spray sunscreens, including the Neutrogena Beach Defense spray previously featured here. Some sunscreens, including those from Neutrogena, were found to have benzene in a third-party lab test. If you have this product, or one of other recalled varieties listed here, Neutrogena recommends you dispose of it and contact the company for a refund.
Summer's in full swing -- is your sunscreen ready? If you can't remember when you bought your last bottle, it's time to toss it and get something new that will protect you from the sun's rays and save your skin from a sunburn.
Approximately 40% of Americans rarely or never wear sunscreen, according to a recent survey of more than 2,000 people. That's pretty awful considering all of the ways the sun's UVA and UVB rays can harm your skin -- including sunburn, , . And the sun can even make your tattoos fade. Everyone should use sun protection and wear sunscreen, regardless of your skin tone or skin type, because even if you have darker skin, anyone can get skin cancer.
There are so many brands and options out there, including both, that choosing the best sunscreen to protect you from the sun's damaging rays can be daunting. The list below just scratches the surface, highlighting some of the top dermatologist-recommended and best-selling sunscreens on Amazon, plus a few formulas that make sunscreen much more palatable to wear. Looking for a sunscreen product that's just for your face? Check out our guide to the .
Before we get to the list, let me add a quick note about sunscreen ingredients. There has been a general concern over chemical sunscreens that use a handful of ingredients, including (but not limited to) oxybenzone, avobenzone and homosalate, and how much our bodies can absorb these ingredients when they are on our skin. CNET's Amanda Capritto gives you the full run-down of the. There was also a significant issue with this year, which is even more reason to get yourself a new bottle.
For the purposes of this list, I am including both chemical and mineral sunscreens, as both are deemed safe to use as of this publishing. We update this periodically.
Neutrogena's Ultra Sheer is a bestseller for a reason. The lightweight formula has been around for years, doesn't feel greasy and rubs in clear on all skin tones. You can find it in a spray, lotion or stick, in many different SPF formulas. For an everyday sunscreen at a good price, you can't go wrong with this.
Greasy sunscreens are no longer the norm, thankfully. Now you can find many sunscreens that feel like (and blend into your skin like) a moisturizing lotion. One of them is Banana Boat's Light as Air sunscreen. This SPF 50 sunscreen promises to absorb quickly into your skin and absorb oil so that it actively keeps you feeling dry while providing sun protection.
It's available in a spray, lotion and face sunscreen formula, as well as a spray sunscreen for your hair and scalp.
Zinc sunscreens have come a long way from those pasty lotions that left a sheen of white behind. EltaMD UV Sport Sunscreen uses only zinc oxide to reflect harmful UV rays off your skin so they don't cause skin damage. This sunscreen is loved by Amazon reviewers because it rubs in clear. It's also oil-, fragrance- and paraben-free, so it's a good sun protection choice for anyone with sensitive skin or oily skin.
Kids rarely want to sit still long enough for you to apply (and reapply) sunscreen. But this sunscreen for kids goes on quickly and is meant to work on wet skin. The spray cuts through water to adhere to skin, so applying sunscreen is easy and your kids stay protected even as they spend all day getting in and out of the pool or ocean.
On Amazon, you can find a two-pack for $16.
Doctors recommend that you limit your baby's sun exposure by having them wear a wide-brimmed hat and sun-protective clothing and keeping them in the shade. But even with those precautions, it's still recommended to use sunscreen, generally when they are six months and older.
Once they reach the six-month milestone, you can use sunscreen to protect them from the sun's rays, but stick to formulas that are free of dyes and scents and that use minerals (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) for sun protection.
This Blue Lizard mineral sunscreen formula checks all of those boxes for sunscreen for babies and the bottle turns pink in the sun, to give you a nudge to reapply.
Editor's note, July 14, 2021: Neutrogena has voluntarily recalled the Neutrogena Beach Defense spray previously featured here. The lotion and stick formulas are still available for purchase.
Sport and water-resistant sunscreen products can feel thick and greasy, but I like Neutrogena's Beach Defense line because it's lightweight and water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. The formula, available as a lotion, stick and spray, is easy to apply and comes in SPF 30, 50, 70 or 100.
If you want or need a sport sunscreen without a scent, try Banana Boat's Simply Protect Sports sunscreen, which is fragrance-free.
Looking for a sports sunscreen that doesn't feel sticky or oily? This is a good bet. Coppertone's Sport Sunscreen is a popular lotion that's both water-resistant and moisturizing, thanks to vitamin E. It'll protect you from UVA/UVB rays for up to 80 minutes if you're in the water or sweaty, and promises it won't sting your eyes.
The state of Hawaii, Key West in Florida and a few island nations have banned some common sunscreens because a scientific study found that they can kill coral. Currently, none of these bans are in effect -- the two in the US start in 2021. However, some companies are selling "reef-safe" sunscreens that abide by the ban.
If you are heading somewhere that requires reef-safe sunscreen, this non-aerosol SPF 50 sunscreen spray from Supergoop is a good pick to protect you from the sun's UV rays. This sunscreen is not a mineral sunscreen but contains "clean chemicals" which Supergoop formulated without oxybenzone or octinoxate.
This sunblock also contains vitamin C for an antioxidant skin boost and is suitable for sensitive skin (although it is not fragrance-free).
Note that these products are independently chosen by our editors and based on extensive research into the available options in the marketplace. The prices may change.
More skin care and summer advice
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.