As coronavirus stay-at-home orders are starting to lift in the US, more of us are venturing out into the sun after months of being stuck inside. I don't know about you, but I don't think I've ever been this pale. But before you put on your face mask and head outside into the summer sun, make sure to apply sunscreen.
A recent survey of more than 2,000 Americans showed that 40% of participants rarely or never wear sunscreen. That's pretty awful considering all of the ways the sun can harm your skin — including sun burns, skin cancer, wrinkles and sagging and even fade tattoos. Everyone should wear sunscreen, regardless of your skin color, because anyone can get skin cancer.
Read more: What is the best SPF for sunscreen? The guidelines for 2020
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There are so many brands and options out there that choosing the best sunscreen for you can be daunting. The list below just scratches the surface, highlighting some of the best-selling sunscreens on Amazon, plus a few formulas that make sunscreen much more palatable to wear. Looking for sunscreen that's just for your face? Check out our guide to the best facial sunscreens.
Below 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 writer Amanda Capritto gives you the full run-down of the safety of sunscreen ingredients.
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.
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Coppertone Defend & Care Ultra Hydrate Whipped SPF 50
For people who hate sunscreen
Do you avoid sunscreen because you hate rubbing in a thick, greasy lotion? Try this. Coppertone's whipped sunscreen comes out as a foam, similar to shaving cream or hair mousse, and contains moisturizing ingredients to make your skin feel soft, not sticky or greasy.
Most other foam sunscreens hail from higher-end brands, like Supergoop and Evy, so it's nice to see this kind of formula from a drugstore brand — and for less than $10 to boot.
$8 at Amazon
Banana Boat Light as Air Sunscreen SPF 50
Everyday sunscreen that goes on clear
Greasy sunscreens are so 2019 — not that you can find many sunscreens that feel and blend into your skin like a lotion. One of them is Banana Boat's new Light as Air sunscreen, which goes on clear. This SPF 50 sunscreen promises to absorb quickly into your skin and absorb oil so that it actively keeps you feeling dry.
It's available in a spray, lotion and face lotion formula, as well as a spray for your hair and scalp.
$15 at Amazon
EltaMD UV Sport Sunscreen SPF 50
Clear mineral-based that blends in well
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 UV rays off your skin so they don't cause 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 choice for anyone with sensitive skin.
$25 at Amazon
Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Sunscreen Spray
Easy application for kids who don't want to leave the pool
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.
$16 at Amazon
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Blue Lizard Australian Baby Sunscreen SPF 30+
Mineral sunscreen that's safe for infants
Doctors recommend that you limit your baby's sun exposure with a wide-brimmed hat, sun-protective clothing and shade, and that you not use chemical sunscreen products on infants under six months. Once they reach the six-month milestone, you can use sunscreen, 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 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.
$14 at Amazon
Neutrogena Beach Defense SPF 70
Spray sport sunscreen with a tropical scent
Sport and water-resistant sunscreen products can feel thick and greasy, but I like Neutrogena's Beach Defense line because it's lightweight, water-resistant for up to 80 minutes and smells like a tropical beverage. The spray is easy to apply and comes in SPF 30, 70 or 100. The line is also available as a lotion sunscreen or stick.
If you want or need a sport sunscreen without a scent, try Banana Boat's Simply Protect Sports sunscreen, which is fragrance-free.
$9 at Amazon
Coppertone Ultra Guard Lotion SPF 70 Sunscreen
Moisturizing sports sunscreen
Looking for a sports sunscreen that doesn't feel thick or greasy? This is a good bet. Coppertone's Ultra Guard is a popular sports sunscreen lotion that's both water resistant and moisturizing, thanks to vitamin E. It promises to never be greasy and protect you from both UVA and UVB rays.
$9 at Amazon
Alba Botanica Fragrance Free Clear Spray SPF 70
Scent-free, biodegradable and reef-safe
The state of Hawaii; Key West, Florida; and a few island nations have banned because a scientific study found that it can kill coral. Currently, none of these bans are in effect — the two in the US start in 2021. Some companies are selling "reef-safe" sunscreens that abide by the ban.
If you are heading somewhere that requires reef-safe sunscreen, this one from Alba Botanica is a good pick. It's fragrance-free (perfect if most artificial scents give you a headache) and is certified as gluten-free, for those who have severe sensitivities to gluten.
$18 at Target
Note that these products are independently chosen by our editors and based on extensive research into the available options in the marketplace. It's updated periodically. The prices are accurate as of publishing time, but may change.
More skin care coverage
- The best facial cleansers to buy in 2020: Tatcha, CeraVe, Fresh and more
- The best skin care products: Basics for your skin care routine
- How to measure your sun exposure when you're outside
- The best facial sunscreens for 2020
- Best facial moisturizers in 2020: SkinMedica, The Ordinary, Drunk Elephant and more
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.
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