#Skin Care

The 13 Best Sunscreens to Shield Every Skin Type

by Jin Moon

The 13 Best Sunscreens to Shield Every Skin Type
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If you dream of beaches all day long or just love being out and about getting your daily dose of vitamin D, you need to protect your skin with sunscreen. The best sunscreens will shield your skin from harsh ultraviolet rays from the sun, and thus reduce the risk of skin cancer and signs of premature aging (like fine lines and dark spots). With all the sunscreen options available now, you’re more able to cater your choice to your skin type. Whether you have acne-prone or sensitive skin, a fair or dark complexion, or tend to be oily or dry, there’s a sunscreen that will simultaneously work on your skin-care concern while protecting you from harmful rays.

 

Because sunscreens are sold over the counter, they fall under regulations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Even though that should make choosing a sunblock easier, it’s still important to read the labels to determine the best sunscreen for you. If you see a warning about skin cancer or skin aging on your sunscreen label, it doesn’t meet the FDA standards.

 

Here are some other key criteria to keep an eye out for: First, look for broad spectrum sunscreens. These reflect both UVA and UVB rays away from the skin through a chemical barrier. Next, scan the list of active ingredients. Only sunscreens with active ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are considered safe and effective, and you can read the full list of approved ingredients on the FDA website. Last but not least, consider the sun protection factor (SPF), which measures UVB protection. The FDA recommends a minimum of SPF 15, while many dermatologists advise SPF 30 or higher. It’s important to note that SPF doesn’t measure how long the sunscreen is effective but rather the strength of protection. Sunscreen should always be reapplied at least every two hours, and more often if you’re swimming or actively sweating. In general, fairer skin will require a higher SPF between 30 and 50 to avoid sunburn as it absorbs more sunlight than darker skin

 

RELATED: The 15 Best Bronzers for Pale Skin So You Can Look Sun-Kissed Without the Burn 

 

Then there’s the question of how sunscreen will work in water or during sports. Though no sunscreen is truly waterproof, labels will say “water resistant.” This simply means they will remain effective while swimming or sweating for a limited amount of time — usually 40 to 80 minutes, which should be indicated on the label. 

 

To get the most out of your sunscreen, apply it 15 minutes before going into the sun so it has time to soak in and work its magic. Cover any part of your skin that will be exposed to light, avoiding eyes and mouth, and don’t forget your ears and the back of your neck.

 

We know we just threw a ton of info at you, so to make your life a bit easier, we researched the best sunscreens for every skin type and preference. Ranging from the best sunscreen for acne-prone skin to the best mineral sunscreen, check out our faves below, and shop the one that fits your needs. 

 

 

 

1 of 13 Image Credits: Ulta

Best for Sensitive Skin

Clinique Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen Fluid For Face

Price:$28.50

This Clinique mineral sunscreen is formulated especially for the face and ticks all the boxes, being broad spectrum and SPF 50. It’s lightweight, so it won’t feel heavy on your face, and gentle enough to use around your eyes. Its “Invisible Shield” technology means it will go on clear on almost every skin tone.

2 of 13 Image Credits: Dermstore

Best for Acne-Prone Skin

EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46

Price:$35.00

This EltaMD sunscreen is oil and fragrance free so it won’t clog pores or irritate your skin. It’s also formulated with sodium hyaluronate to hydrate skin and lactic acid to smooth texture and reduce shine.

3 of 13 Image Credits: Sephora

Best for Oily Skin

Farmacy Green Defense Daily Mineral Sunscreen

Price:$36.00

In addition to all the basics of a good sunscreen, this cruelty-free Farmacy product provides antioxidant benefits via its black chokeberry and marigold extracts. Interestingly, these extracts also protect against blue light from all your smart devices. The mineral formula promises never to leave your skin greasy or with a white cast.

4 of 13 Image Credits: Sephora

Best Spray

Supergoop! Play Antioxidant Mist SPF 30 with Vitamin C

Price:$21.00

Sunscreen sprays are often easier to apply than lotions, especially on large areas of your body, and this Supergoop! spray-on sunscreen also uses 35 percent less alcohol than others to keep your skin hydrated. It’s also formulated with vitamin C, acai and green tea extracts for free radical protection.

5 of 13 Image Credits: Amazon

Best Drugstore

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch SPF 100+ Sunscreen

Neutrogena’s dry touch sunscreen formula is our go-to affordable and effective sunscreen, and it comes in SPF 100+ to comfort even the most cautious among us. It’s lightweight enough to use on your face and body without leaving a greasy feeling.

6 of 13 Image Credits: Amazon

Best for Tanning

Lancaster Sun Beauty Melting Tanning Milk SPF 15

Yep, you can still get a tan while protecting your skin with sunscreen. This Lancaster Sun formula contains Tan Activator Complex to give you a golden glow, while also protecting from infrared rays, another cause of skin cancer.

7 of 13 Image Credits: Saks Fifth Avenue

Best for Body

Kiehl’s Activated Sun Protector Water-Light Lotion SPF 30

Price:$32.00

This Kiehl’s sunscreen has an easy-to-apply, water-like texture that hydrates and absorbs faster. With a patented “Sun-Filter Technology,” the lotion uses FDA-approved active ingredients like avobenzone and oxybenzone to protect against UVA and UVB rays. The formula also has vitamin E to protect your skin against free radicals.

8 of 13 Image Credits: Nordstrom

Best Tinted

bareMinerals Tinted Moisturizer Hydrating Gel Cream SPF 30

Price:$33.00

Get the benefits of sunscreen with this tinted moisturizer from bareMinerals that is SPF 30 available in 17 different shades to match your skin tone. Mineral electrolytes hydrate the skin, while the formula’s heart-leaf globe daisy gives antioxidant benefits.

9 of 13 Image Credits: Dermstore

Best for Fair Skin

Replenix Sheer Physical Sunscreen Cream SPF 50+

Price:$33.50

This Replenix sunscreen has the safe active ingredient of zinc oxide, and the formula is also packed with a ton of antioxidant benefits from vitamins C and E and green tea. It also has coenzyme q10, which reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

10 of 13 Image Credits: Sephora

Best for Dry Skin

Supergoop! Glow Oil SPF 50

Price:$34.00

The Supergoop! Glow Oil glides on and helps moisturize with meadowfoam seed oil. It also has marigold extract and grapeseed oil for antioxidant benefits, and the lightweight texture won't leave skin feeling greasy.

11 of 13 Image Credits: Sephora

Best for Under Makeup

Nars Radiance Primer Broad Spectrum SPF 35 Sunscreen

Price:$36.00

This Nars Radiance Primer creates a smooth base for your makeup in addition to a protective barrier of SPF 35. Clean your face before applying, and get ready to glow. With regular use, this sunscreen should rejuvenate your face thanks to the formula's Radiance Boosting Complex.

12 of 13 Image Credits: Amazon

Best for Dark Skin

Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen

This Drunk Elephant sunscreen goes on sheer, which can often be hard to find for darker complexions as many formulas with zinc oxide leave a white cast. It’s also a mineral sunscreen, which is the best choice if you have any hyperpigmentation.

13 of 13 Image Credits: Amazon

Best Mineral

C'est Moi Gentle Mineral Sunscreen Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 30

This C’est Moi mineral sunscreen has everything you need for sun protection and skin care and then some. The silky formula is fragrance free and lightweight and features zinc oxide, organic aloe and shea butter to protect your skin. The sunscreen also contains strawberry extract to treat oily skin, kiwi extract to fight free radicals and apple extract for anti-aging.