Why you can trust us
We may earn commission from links on this page, but we only recommend products we believe in. Pricing and availability are subject to change.

The best sunscreens dermatologists recommend — and use themselves

A woman is applying sunscreen and skin care to protect her skin from UV rays. She is applying sunscreen on her hand and arm. The sun symbol is a very sunny background. Health and skin care concept (Ake Ngiamsanguan via Getty Images)

Despite what you've been doing in previous years, sunscreen should be a part of your daily skincare routine. Adding an SPF cream can help decrease your chance of developing skin cancer, and it can help prevent unwanted damage from the sun’s rays. It's an extra 60 seconds to your routine that can make a whole world of difference no matter your skin type.

Quick Overview
  • Best High-SPF Sunscreen

    Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Water Resistant Sunscreen

  • Best Noncomedogenic Sunscreen

    EltaMD UV Sport Body Sunscreen

  • Best for Sun Damaged Skin

    Isdin Eryfotona Actinica Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50+


    Vanicream Lip Protectant Sunscreen Spf 30 Tube

  • Best Reef-Friendly Formula

    Coola Organic Face Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50


    Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Moisturizing Face Sunscreen

  • Best Hypoallergenic Sunscreen

    Derma-E Sun Defense Mineral Oil-Free Sunscreen SPF 30 Face

See 2 more

To get the scoop on what you need to know about sun protection, we tapped several dermatologists to find out everything from how often you should apply it to how to shop for the best types of sunscreen for your skin.

How often should you apply sunscreen?

Ideally, every day even in winter. “I wear it every day, 365 days a year,” Dr. Gary Goldenberg, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. (His top pick for daily wear is EltaMD's Sunscreen Sport Lotion.) "Even in winter, you still get some UV that can cause skin damage."

Another a New York City–based dermatologist, Dr. Joshua Zeichner recommends, “I actually incorporate sunscreen into my daily grooming routine and apply it right after shaving.” Applying once is better than nothing, but it's important to reapply throughout the day — especially if you are spending a lot of time in the sun.

What are the key words to look for?

An SPF or 30 or higher and the words “broad spectrum” on the label are a good place to start. “Broad spectrum” protects against both UVA and UVB rays, eliminating risks of sunburn, aging and skin cancer.

The type of applicator is up to you. “Whether it’s a lotion or gel, stick or spray, the best sunscreen is ultimately the one you are actually using on your skin,” Zeichner says.

What are the best sunscreens, according to dermatologists?

Find the seven best sunscreens that dermatologists recommend — and actually use themselves — below!

Most folks don't apply enough sunblock, so a high SPF can help add extra coverage. Derms love this lotion for its broad-spectrum protection and fast-absorbing finish.

$10 at Amazon

“This sunscreen has been clinically tested and shown to give better sunburn protection compared to sunscreens with lower SPFs,” Zeichner says. Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen is lightweight, fast-absorbing and has a non-greasy, matte finish. Zeichner particularly likes its high SPF. “In the real world, consumers do not apply as much sunscreen as they should, so the level of protection gets diluted,” he explains. “Starting with a higher SPF to begin with acts like an insurance policy to give you the best level of protection possible.”

This lightweight formula is all about the finish. It absorbs quickly and gives the perfect dose of moisture. Dermatologists recommend it to patients with acne-prone skin who need great SPF protection but a non-greasy formula.

$30 at Amazon

EltaMD is known for its quality sunscreen, and Goldenberg is a fan. “This product is noncomedogenic, offers broad-spectrum UV protection and does not leave your face feeling greasy,” he says. EltaMD’s UV Sport is mineral-based and water-resistant, so it won’t drip into your eyes when you sweat.

This mineral sunscreen is amped up with 11% zinc oxide for superior protection, and it's packed with sun damage–healing ingredients to help protect against further damage and help heal from the inside out.

$60 at Amazon

The name may be a mouthful, but Goldenberg swears by this one. He particularly recommends it for patients who have known sun damage. Isdin’s Eryfotona Actinica is lightweight, won’t leave your skin feeling greasy, and has UVA/UVB protection. It also has DNA repairsomes and vitamin E to help fight UVA-induced skin damage.

Do your lips feel the burn? Derms recommend this formula that's specifically formulated for your smackers (i.e., it's free of sensitizing chemical sunscreens you may not want in your mouth).

$5 at Liorda

Dermatologist Dr. Cynthia Bailey, founder of Dr. Bailey Skin Care, tells Yahoo Life that while she relies heavily on her own sunscreen line for daily use — she uses this for lips. Vanicream is SPF 30 and goes on like a lip balm. It’s water-resistant for up to 80 minutes and is free of chemical sunscreens, dyes, fragrances, lanolin, parabens, formaldehyde, flavoring, oil and gluten, so the odds of having an allergic reaction to it are low. “It also fights lip chapping,” Bailey says.

Packed with zinc oxide for broad-spectrum protection, this water- and sweat-resistant formula wears well under makeup, and it's reef-safe, meaning it won't release harmful chemicals into the water while you're frolicking.

$22 at Amazon

Bailey calls Coola’s Organic Face Sunscreen “a nice zinc oxide product.” This fragrance-free option doubles as a lotion, so you can moisturize and protect in one go. It’s easy to wear under makeup and is water- and sweat-resistant for up to 80 minutes. A nice feature: Coola’s sunscreen is reef-friendly, so you don’t need to worry about harming ocean life when you go for a swim.

Broad-spectrum, SPF 60 protection aside, this oil-free sunscreen won't clog pores, and it contains oatmeal, a nourishing ingredient, that helps repair and moisturize the skin's finicky outer layer.

$10 at Amazon

Zeichner likes Aveeno’s Protect + Hydrate sunscreen for a few reasons. “Besides offering broad-spectrum sun protection, it delivers a little oatmeal to repair and hydrate the outer skin layer,” he says. “We know that UV light can disrupt the outer skin layer, leading to dryness and irritation.” The sunscreen is fast-absorbing, oil-free and noncomedogenic, so it won't clog your pores. It’s also water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.

This fragrance-free formula is safe for sensitive skin — it's made with fast-absorbing zinc oxide and is packed with bonus ingredients like vitamin C and green tea to help quell irritation.

$19 at Amazon

Derma-E’s Sun Defense sunscreen is 100% fragrance-free, which Bailey likes. It’s also fortified with vitamin C and green tea to help skin recover after sun exposure and fight the signs of aging. The sunscreen’s zinc oxide provides broad spectrum UVA/UVB sun protection, and it’s oil-free so it won’t clog your pores.