[By Gemma King]

Studies have shown that, when it comes to fighting wrinkles, sunscreen is the most potent weapon, more powerful than Retin-A and antioxidants alone. The problem: according to a new survey by the American Academy of Dermatology, only one in seven Americans wear sunscreen daily. Despite its ability to protect skin, the topical shield has a reputation for being oily and pore-clogging. We test out some of the smartest sunscreen products to help you save face without compromising on style and comfort.

Here are some simple steps you should take when choosing your perfect sunscreen. Consider this:

  • Check ingredients. Oxybenzone may interfere with hormones in the body, and nanoscale zinc and titanium oxides have been linked to potential reproductive and developmental effects. In skin, retinyl palmitate converts readily to retinoids, associated with a risk of birth defects in people using retinoid-containing acne medications. Pregnant women may want to avoid products with retinyl palmitate, noted in the Ratings.
  • Spray carefully. The FDA has said it is exploring the risks of inhaling spray sunscreens. Avoid using sprays on children, and spray sunscreen onto your hands to apply it to your face.
  • Use enough. Use 2 to 3 tablespoons of lotion on most of your body, or spray as much as can be rubbed in, then repeat. Reapply every 2 hours and after swimming or sweating.
  • Bottom line. Any sunscreen you use should ideally be water resistant, with an SPF of at least 30. Above 30, you get little extra protection. See our story on getting the best sunscreen for babies and kids for more information about choosing products for them and how to apply sunscreen properly.

Best Eco & Skin friendly sun warrior

Kiehl’s new Activated Sun Protector Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50 might be labeled for body use, but it’s actually great for the face too! According to the company, the oil-free, paraben-free sun block is non-comedogenic and won’t clog pores; it also has anti-aging goji berry, vitamin E, and einkorn wheat.

Best youth-enhancing formula

Olay Total Effects Tone Correcting UV Moisturizer landed in stores this spring and promises to even skin tone with its tinted, niacinamide-packed formula. (Niacinamide, or vitamin B3, reduces redness and improves elasticity.)

Best Makeup + Sun Protector

Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Talc-Free Mineral Airbrushing Pressed Powder SPF 30 gives skin a flawless finish and infuses it with loads of anti-aging plant extracts.

Best Natural Skin Duster

Bare Escentuals bareMinerals SPF 30 Natural Sunscreen is a mineral powder sunscreen for the face and body that comes in a portable, leak-proof brush. Made to be a weightless, breathable formula that won’t clog pores or cause breakouts. The Micronized Titanium Dioxide mineral physically shields against UVA/UVB rays to help prevent premature skin aging and sun damage. Plus, it’s infused with healthy vitamins, Aloe Vera Extract, and antioxidants to nourish and soothe sun-exposed skin.

Best No-Nonsense Oil-free Spray

This broad-spectrum protection against UVA/UVB rays is not only waterproof upon application, it is also hypoallergenic, non-greasy, paraben free, which means it is suitable even for uber sensitive skins.

Twist-and-lock cap means no leaking when packing for your trips, just throw it in your luggage and go!

Best Sunscreen for Water Sports

This SPF 50 sun warrior is specially formulated to be applied on wet or dry skin! No more toweling dry before a fresh application of sunscreen, now you can spray and go in between dips in the ocean. Protects against UVA/UVB, and is sweatproof and waterproof. Continuous spray mechanism makes application a breeze.

All-round Sun Protector

One of the top scorers on Consumer reports, Banana Boat® UltraMist™ Sport SPF 50 Sunscreen goes on clear for quick-drying, rub-free coverage with one touch. The advanced formula has AvoTriplex™ technology for photostable, high UVA & UVB protection that won’t break down under the sun.

 

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15 thoughts on “7 BEST Sun Protectors”

  1. Kiehl might just be the thing I am looking for right now as my current bottle of sunscreen is near empty. I am always on the lookout for quality sunscreens; it is one staple in my skincare that I do not forgo, even on days when the sun isn’t blaring. One thing that puts me off sunscreen is the scent or the tacky film that it can leave behind the skin. Can’t wait to give this one a go.

  2. I got tired of buying expensive brands of make-up primer, moisturizer, and foundation and putting all this stuff on my face felt too heavy, especially in the spring/summer months. I prefer natural. It’ also important for me to make sure I have sun screen protection too. After reading the reviews on ULTA and other places for the Oil of Olay Regenerist product line, I decided to give Total Effects and other Olay products a try. Now I have primer, moisturizer, foundation and sun screen on my face in 2-minutes and it looks great. I have received compliments since I started using this product. Best of all, it does not feel heavy and I think looks much more natural. I now use a night time moisturizer; otherwise, I think my skin would be too dry.

  3. So I bought Olay Total Effects Tone Correcting UV Moisturizer on a whim while I was grocery shopping. I didn’t realize when I bought it that it had a little bit of tint to it, but I actually really like it. I’m a guy, and this is not make up. It makes my skin look a lot better. I use less than a dime size amount and it covers my entire face. When I first put it on I thought it felt a little heavy, but it creates a really comfortable moisturized feeling that lasts all day. I think this would be good for women who don’t wear a lot or any makeup or men who just want to improve the overall appearance of their skin. I love this and am glad I decided to buy it.

  4. I’m pretty fair skinned and Olay Total Effects Tone Correcting UV Moisturizer is not too dark on me. I wanted tint to my makeup and this does the job on it’s own. It does not feel heavy on my skin and I love that it gives me a dewy look. This does not dry out my skin and I love the moisturizing effect. I use this with a face primer, I think it’s needed so the makeup can look a little uneven. I have never had a negative skin effects from Olay product. Great stuff.

  5. This sunblock is wonderful and is great when applied to wet skin. I am very fair skinned and burn easily, but this stuff erases my burn fears bc when applied I’m protected. Easy to apply to yourself and also good for kids.

  6. This is a great addition to the Neutrogena Sunblock family. I’ve tried Ultra Sheer, Sport, Liquid Sunblock for the face, and now this. All of the products are great, and I use this sunblock for when I have to go to work and am in the car for long periods of time. After a certain amount of time, the sunblock sinks into the skin and feels weightless and invisible. It also still gives you the protection that you need. The only downside about sunblock in general is the 30-minute wait rule before sun exposure.

  7. I have really sensitive skin. Kiehl’s new Activated Sun Protector Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50 is gentle and fragrance-free! It’s not sticky at all. Just like a lotion…. I love it!

  8. Kiehl’s sunscreen for the body has three excellent features.
    1)This product has broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection with an SPF of 50.
    2)This product is not greasy!
    3)This product has no smell.

    For those three reasons, I would definitely recommend this product to protect your body from the sun. I wore the Kiehl’s sunscreen on vacation where boating, swimming, and other water sports were the main activities for a week. I returned home with slightly tanned skin, but experienced no sunburns or even a hint of redness – anywhere.

    That said, the downsides to this product. This product is not meant to be used on the face. Because of my sensitive skin, I usually use a separate sunscreen on my face anyway, so that didn’t bother me so much. But, I imagine it would be annoying to those who prefer to purchase one product that protects them from head to toe. This product goes on less smoothly than I prefer. I needed to apply a lot more sunscreen than necessary to get the product to glide around.

    Although this made the application process a little tedious, I loved how clean and natural my skin felt while I wore this sunscreen.

    Most importantly, I was happy with how well the Kiehl’s sunscreen protected my skin, even when I was in and out of the water.

  9. Kiehl’s Activated Sun Protector Sunscreen for Body SPF 50 was easy to find at our local Shop.The sunscreen for face is sold separately, but I bought the body version and used it on my son’s faces as well. Of course, I had BB Cream on my face! I liked the sunscreen because I felt that it had good coverage and that it was truly water resistant.

    I was confident allowing my boys to swim the morning away without reapplying. I put it on about twice a day in the heat of July. One reason I was enthusiastic to try this product was because I was trying to avoid being so dependent on sprays. My boys had a few burns this summer, all following the application of spray sunscreens. I did think this was a quality product. For 5 oz, you could do a lot better at your local drugstore. However, we are not sensitive skin people. If you had trouble with fragrance, this may be an excellent product, as it is very basic.

  10. Coppertone Clear sunscreen oil free Spf 50 really is a great sunscreen it feels like nothing when applying I apply every two hours and no burn or tan, they should really make this for the body the sunscreen that offers this much protection is usually oily and something you don’t want to re apply.

  11. Neutrogena Wet skin SPF 50 is a great sunblock product. The only problem is, it says it covers through sweat, but you must re-apply if toweling off. Who doesn’t wipe or pat their sweaty skin dry? So then you have to reapply the product. Overall, I like it!

  12. I discovered Banana Boat product through my daughter. She tends to get rashes from the sun, the protection is a must. She mentioned this one left no stickiness and she was so right. LOVE IT!

  13. Banana Boat product works very much the same as most other sunscreens that spray on. Yes, it is cooling when you’re spraying it on, but I think that’s true of most of the other similar products, too. This covered my skin well without it feeling either greasy or tacky, but I’ve learned my lesson in the past to not rely on spray-on sunscreen like this to cover sensitive areas of my body that are going to get a lot of sun exposure. I just don’t think you can be certain that products like this have evenly covered your skin, unlike lotions where it’s obvious where the product has been applied.

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