Posted 29/03/2024 by Celine Selvi

15 Best Sunscreens

15 Best Sunscreens

Table of Contents

    If you landed on this page you probably already know that sunscreen is a skincare essential, summer and winter, to protect your skin from the sun's UV rays. UVA and UVB rays can cause irreparable damage such as oxidative stress of cells, premature skin aging, or worse, several types of skin cancer. However, given the volume of sunscreen options available in the market, it can be difficult to select the best sunscreen adapted to the specificities of your skin and your daily life. If you spend your days outside, you will not have the same needs as someone who only goes out occasionally. If you have oily skin and live in a humid environment, your ideal sunscreen will be much different from someone with dry skin in a dry climate. 

    To help inform your choice, we have selected several of the best sunscreen formulas out there, each offering unique characteristics and meeting various needs and preferences. But, first, discover the general elements to keep in mind when choosing a sunscreen:

    How to Choose the Best Sunscreen?

    • SPF Rating: 

    SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, is a number that gives an idea of how long sunscreen protects your skin from UVB rays (the rays responsible for sunburns). Theoretically, the higher the SPF, the longer the protection lasts.

    • Broad Spectrum: 

    Broad Spectrum is one of the most essential features of a good sunscreen. It means that the sunscreen contains UV filters that protect against both UVB and UVA rays, since the SPF only measures UVB protection.

    • Skin type: 

    Choose a formulation that suits your skin type and skin condition: sensitive, oily, dry, combination acne-prone, rosacea-prone, or prone to sun allergies. We have recommendations below for each skin type Some Sunscreens are also specifically designed for the face or children.

    • Water resistance: 

    If you are rather active or enjoy water activities, opt for water-resistant and sweat-resistant sunscreens. This feature ensures that protection remains effective despite sweat or swimming. In addition, water-resistant sunscreens have the added bonus of protecting your eyes against sunscreen that may run down and sting on hot days. 

    • Formulation:

    Make sure to check the ingredients list, especially to avoid allergens or controversial substances. For example, Niacinamide, a common ingredient found in sunscreens today for its anti-oxidant benefits, may cause irritation in some people.

    Which SPF To Choose?

    What does the SPF number exactly suggest? Here's an example, an SPF of 50 would suggest that your skin would take 50 times longer to redden or burn than if you weren't wearing any protection. Therefore, choosing an adequate SPF is crucial to ensuring effective sun protection. Dermatologists usually recommend an SPF of no less than 30.

    • SPF 15-30: suitable for moderate daily exposure, especially if the UV index is low and/or you spend the majority of your time indoors, and mostly go out before 11 a.m. or after 4 p.m.
    • SPF 30-50: recommended for any limited to prolonged exposure to the sun, particularly if you are at the beach, in the mountains, or if you practice outdoor activities. 
    • SPF 50+: essential for sensitive and very fair skin, or during prolonged sun exposure (working outdoors, traveling to a tropical region, etc.). It is also the preferred choice for children since they have more sensitive and fragile skin than adults.


    Note: While higher SPF offers better protection, don't be misled by a false sense of security. Sunscreen is just one tool in the toolbox, you still need to wear protective clothing and hats and seek shade from 11 am to 4 pm, particularly on high UV index days.

    What is the Best Sunscreen for Everyday use?

    The best sunscreen for every day is one that you like enough to wear consistently. What is best for one person may not be the best sunscreen for another. It is pointless to buy a sunscreen that has excellent characteristics, is recommended by dermatologists, and is highly tested for broad-spectrum coverage. Yet, it doesn’t suit your skin type or your personal preferences so you find yourself often skipping it. When it comes to sunscreen use, consistent efforts yield consistent results. Ideally, you need a sunscreen suitable for your skin and skin condition, provides good coverage for your day-to-day activities, is easy to apply and reapply, and does not break the bank. Here are our recommendations for the best sunscreens and why we like them (feel free to agree, disagree, or share your own experiences with sunscreens in the comment section at the end of the page):

    Remember: Choosing the best sunscreen is a highly subjective decision, we feature all very good dermatologist-approved products that check all the boxes for what constitutes a good sunscreen with good UV protection (SPF 30 or higher and broad-spectrum), but only by testing can you decide which one is the "best sunscreen" for you.

    Please note: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, ClinicAdvisor® may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our editor independently selects each product featured.

    1- Best Sunscreen Overall:

    Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen

    Key Features: 

    • Chemical UV filters
    • SPF 40, broad-spectrum protection
    • It has a gel-like lightweight texture which makes so easy to apply around hair-bearing parts of the face.
    • Leaves no white cast whatsoever
    • It's fast-absorbing and easily applicable on the go

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    2- Best for Oily Skin:

    Elta MD UV Clear Face Sunscreen

    Key Features: 

    • SPF 46, Broad Spectrum 
    • Mineral sunscreen
    • Has a sheer matte finish and does not leave a white cast
    • Moisturizing formula suitable for oily and acne-prone skin
    • Contains niacinamide

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    3- Best for Dry Skin:

    La Roche Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer UV

    Key Features: 

    • SPF 30, broad spectrum 
    • It contains ceramides and thermal spring water that helps the skin barrier, so it's suitable for people with eczema and psoriasis
    • Contains niacinamide 
    • Very moisturizing texture

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    4- Best for Sensitive Skin:

    Cerave AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion

    Key Features: 

    • SPF 30 broad spectrum protection
    • Contains ceramides, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid 
    • It helps restore the skin barrier, so it's also a good choice if you have rosacea or if you are going through the sensitivity and flakiness from retinol use 
    • It has a lightweight easily absorbed texture

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    5- Best for Skin with Hyperpigmentation:  

    Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Face Shield Flex

    Key Features: 

    • SPF 50, broad spectrum protection 
    • Mineral to minimize the risk of irritation for hyperpigmented or melasma skin
    • Iron oxides help block visible light
    • contains niacinamide and other anti-oxidants
    • Comes in 4 shades that adjust to your skin tone
    • Fragrance-free

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    6- Best Budget Friendly:

    Sun Bum Sunscreen

    Key Features: 

    • Vegan 
    • Enriched with antioxidants 
    • Suitable for use on the face and body 
    • Suitable for most skin types
    • available in SPF 30, 50 and 70 
    • Reef-Safe

    To keep in mind:

    • It contains fragrance. It smells like summer, but if you're prone to sensitivity this may not be for you. 

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    7- Best Tinted Sunscreen:

    Tatcha The Silk Sunscreen Hydrating Mineral Shield

    Key Features: 

    • SPF 50, Broad spectrum protection 
    • It has a weightless sheer consistency
    • It leaves the skin looking dewy and glowy
    • Suitable for all skin tones, even deeper ones

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    8- Best Mineral Sunscreen:

    ISDIN Eryfotona Actinica Ultralight Emulsion

    Key Features: 

    • SPF 50, Broad spectrum
    • Mineral sunscreen but has a lightweight easily absorbed consistency.
    • Contains ISDIN's proprietary formula which is supposed to reverse and repair sun damage you have already sustained
    • It has a pleasant scent if you are not allergic to fragrance. 

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    9- Best for Scalp/Bald Head:

    Coola Scalp and Hair Mist Sunscreen

    Key Features: 
    • SPF 30 Broad spectrum protection 
    • 80 minutes water-resistant 
    • 70%+ Certified Organic Ingredients
    • Helps prevent UV-related hair color fading
    • Lightweight with no oily residue
    • Monoi Oil nourishes the scalp and hair
    • Reef-Safe

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    10- Best for Men:

    Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Watery Sun Gel

    Key Features: 

    • Chemical UV filters
    • SPF 50, broad-spectrum protection
    • It has a gel-like lightweight texture which makes it so easy to apply around beards
    • Does not leave any sort of white cast or greasy feeling
    • It contains niacinamide which is good for redness and hyperpigmentation 
    • It's fast-absorbing and easily applicable on the go

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    11- Best Sunscreen Stick:

    Aveeno Protect and Sooth Mineral Sunscreen Stick

    Key Features: 

    • SPF 50 Broad Spectrum
    • Water-Resistant 
    • Suitable for face & body application on the go
    • Oat extracts soothing for sensitive skin  
    • Zinc Oxide UV filter
    • Fragrance-Free

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    12- Best Korean Sunscreen:

    Skin1004 Madagascar Centella Hyalu-Cica Waterfit Sun Serum

    Key Features:
    • Chemical sunscreen
    • SPF 50
    • Packed with hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and glycerin
    • Gentle around the eyes 
    • Contains Centella extract to help with healing 

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    13- Best Japanese Sunscreen:

    Bioré UV Aqua Rich Weightless Moisturizer

    Key Features: 

    • SPF 30, broad-spectrum
    • It contains hyaluronic acid to keep your skin hydrated protecting it from UV rays  
    • absorbs instantly on all skin tones leaving no white cast 
    • Its lightweight texture will not clog pores
    • Acts great under makeup

    14- Best Australian Sunscreen:

    Naked Sundays Collagen Glow 100% Mineral sunscreen

    Key Features :
    • Mineral
    • SPF 50 
    • Contains antioxidants in the form of watermelon extracts
    • Contains collagen 
    • Thick hydrating consistency 

    To keep in mind: 

    • May leave a white cast on darker skin tones


    15 - Best Sunscreen for Make-Up Wearers

    Supergoop! Glow Screen Sunrise

    Key Features: 

    • SPF 40, Broad-spectrum
    • It leaves a glowy finish which makes it a great primer
    • Its moisturizing formula that leaves the skin feeling soft and supple
    • It contains niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin b5
    • The formula is also packed with antioxidants

    Buy Now

    Note: This list is not fixed, we may shift products as formulations change, as we test new products in the market, or simply because we couldn't fit all the sunscreens we love into one list!

    Why Should I Wear Sunscreen Every Day?

    Wearing sunscreen every day is crucial for maintaining healthy skin and reducing the risk of sun damage. Even on cloudy days or during winter months, UV rays can still penetrate the atmosphere and cause skin damage, including sunburn, premature aging, and an increased risk of skin cancer. Sunscreen helps protect against both short-term and long-term effects of UV exposure, such as sunburn, wrinkles, fine lines, age spots, and skin cancer. Consistent use of sunscreen, along with other sun-safe practices like seeking shade and wearing protective clothing, is essential for maintaining skin health and minimizing the harmful effects of UV radiation over time.

    Frequently Asked Questions:

    • What is the most effective sunscreen?

    The most effective sunscreen protects against UVA and UVB rays. A high sun protection factor is recommended for longer-lasting protection. This does not, however, exempt you from regularly reapplying it every two hours. opt for a sunscreen suited to your skin type (oily, dry, etc.). Choose a waterproof sunscreen for protection in the water.

    • Which is better sunscreen or sunblock?

    Sunscreen and sunblock both protect the skin from UV rays, but they do so in different ways. Sunscreen contains chemicals that absorb or reflect UV rays, while sunblock, also known as physical sunscreen, creates a physical barrier on the skin that reflects or scatters UV rays. Sunscreen is often preferred for its lightweight texture and ease of application, while sunblock may be favored for its immediate protection and suitability for sensitive skin, although it can feel thicker and leave a white cast. Regardless of which product you choose, it's essential to opt for a broad-spectrum formula that protects against both UVA and UVB rays and to apply it generously and regularly alongside other sun protection measures such as wearing protective clothing and seeking shade.

    • Which is the best sunscreen recommended by dermatologists?

    There isn't a single "best" sunscreen universally recommended by dermatologists, as the most suitable sunscreen varies depending on individual skin type, preferences, and specific needs. However, dermatologists often recommend broad-spectrum sunscreens with an SPF of 30 or higher, as they offer protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Additionally, dermatologists advise choosing sunscreens that are water-resistant and formulated for daily use. 

    • Is SPF 100 really better than SPF 50?

    SPF indicates the amount of time it takes for UVB rays to cause sunburn on protected skin compared to unprotected skin. While SPF 100 offers a higher level of protection than SPF 50, the difference in actual protection is not as significant as the numbers might suggest.

    SPF 50 blocks about 98% of UVB rays, while SPF 100 blocks about 99%. This means that SPF 100 sunscreen provides marginally better protection, but the difference is minimal. Moreover, no sunscreen provides 100% protection, and SPF only indicates protection against UVB rays, not UVA rays, which also contribute to skin damage and aging. In practical terms, proper and regular application of SPF 50 sunscreen is often sufficient for most people, as long as it is reapplied regularly, especially after swimming or sweating. Ultimately, the most critical factors in sun protection are proper application, frequency of reapplication, and other sun-safe behaviors such as seeking shade and wearing protective clothing

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