The 13 Best Sunscreens for Everyday Use
Credit: Sephora

The Absolute Best Sunscreens to Use Every Day, According to Dermatologists

La Roche Posay Anthelios Melt-In Milk was a top contender.
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By now, you know the importance of wearing sunscreen everyday. Wearing sunscreen is our number one defense against skin cancer, yes, but it comes with other skin benefits, such as protecting our skin barrier, preventing acne, and reducing fine lines. There's really no reason to skip it. But knowing to use it and liking to use it are two different dilemmas. 

Luckily, the sunscreen market has so many options that finding a good one that meets your needs has never been easier. To help you, we tapped dermatologists Dr. Dendy Engelman, Dr. Shereene Idriss, and Dr. Harold Lancer to share their favorites. La Roche Posay Anthelios Melt-in-Milk is our favorite for best overall, because it hydrates as it protects, thanks to its skin-loving ingredients. 

See below for more dermatologist recommendations (as well as some of our own) for the best sunscreens to use year round.

Our Picks

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best sunscreens
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Best Overall: La Roche Posay Toleriane Double Repair SPF 30

View at Amazon ($25-$36)

What We Love: This effective sunscreen is good for all skin types.

What We Don't Love: The runny formula tends to leak out of the tube packaging.

For an everyday sunscreen you can use on your face and body, reach for La Roche Posay Melt-in-Milk. The milky texture is fast-absorbing and velvety, making it easy to reapply throughout the day without making your skin feel greasy or heavy. It packs broad-spectrum sun protection as well antioxidants to further protect your skin from damaging free radicals. Plus, hydrating ingredients like glycerin and the brand's spring water moisturize your skin. Free from oils, fragrances and parabens, this gentle-formula is great for all skin types, including sensitive and acne prone skin.

Type: Chemical | Good For: Face and Body | SPF Level: SPF 60 | Size: 3-5 fl oz.

Also available at Ulta and Target

best sunscreens
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Best Value: Sun Bum Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50

View at Ulta ($16)

What We Love: It provides strong sun protection at a decent price. 

What We Don't Love: If you aren't a fan of strong (or any) scents, this comes in the brand's signature fragrance.

Dr. Idriss loves the brand Sun Bum because it gives you plenty of trusted options at a reasonable drugstore price. If you had to pick one though, you can't go wrong with its OG sunscreen lotion that is also packed with vitamin E to neutralize environmental aggressors that are known to cause fine lines.

Type: Chemical | Good For: Face and Body | SPF Level: SPF 50 | Size: 8 fl oz.

Also available at Sun Bum

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Best for Sensitive Skin: Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50

View at Target ($15)

What We Love: It is formulated with sensitive skin in mind. 

What We Don't Love: It might take extra effort to work into skin to get rid of a white cast.

Those with sensitive skin should look for sunscreens that are hypoallergenic, made without harsh chemicals and drying ingredients, and are fragrance- and paraben-free, says Dendy Engelman, M.D., board-certified cosmetic dermatologist and Mohs surgeon at the Shafer Clinic. She recommends this sunscreen for her clients that are prone to sensitivity, because it checks all those boxes and is formulated specifically for them. It is a true mineral sunscreen with no chemical active ingredients that is super gentle, while also providing strong sun protection.

Type: Mineral | Good For: Face and Body | SPF Level: SPF 50 | Size: 5 fl oz.

Also available at Amazon

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Best for Dry Skin: Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Sunscreen SPF 50

View at Sephora ($34)

What We Love: The hydrated, dewy finish it leaves on your skin. 

What We Don't Love: The watermelon scent isn't for everyone.

While looking dewy and fresh is a goal for everyone, it's a major task when your skin is drier than a glass of Chardonnay. This SPF from the queens of hydration, Glow Recipe, is one to try. It has niacinamide and aloe vera to soothe skin as well as hyaluronic acid for hydration. Like the name suggests, it leaves skin with a super nice glow and has a lovely watermelon scent. 

The lightweight scent rubs in quickly and the chemical-mineral hybrid gives you the best of both worlds in terms of protection. 

Type: Chemical and Mineral | Good For: Face | SPF Level: SPF 50 | Size: 1.69 fl oz.

Also available at Glow Recipe

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Best for Oily Skin: Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40

View at Sephora ($36)

What We Love: It's an oil-free formula that leaves skin looking matte. 

What We Don't Love: Reviews are quick to point out that it does contain avobenzone, which isn't reef safe.

Though suitable for all skin types, Dr. Idriss recommends this for oily skin because it gives a matte finish and won't clog pores. It's an oil-free formula made with frankincense and a special complex derived from meadowfoam seed to soothe skin and even skin texture. It glides on easily and has the right primer texture to double as a base layer to grip foundation.

Type: Chemical | Good For: Face | SPF Level: SPF 40 | Size: 1.7 fl oz.

Also available at Supergoop

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Best for Combination Skin: Glo Skin Beauty C-Shield Anti-Pollution Moisture Tint SPF 30+

View at Bergdorf Goodman ($47)

What We Love: It's a multi-tasking product that provides SPF 30 and skin care benefits. 

What We Don't Love: It's tinted so you will have to shade match to use properly.

Dr. Engelman recommends this for combination skin as it is packed with antioxidants to protect skin from environmental aggressors and hydrating ingredients, like squalane, to deliver moisture and repair damage. It's super lightweight and won't clog pores while also providing SPF 30 protection against UVA and UVB rays.

If you want a clear formula, this might not be for you. The tint is sheer, however there are only 10 shade options, which might not suit every skin tone.

Type: Chemical | Good For: Face | SPF Level: SPF 30 | Size: 1.7 fl oz.

Also available at Glo Skin Beauty

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Best for Mature Skin: Lancer Skincare Sheer Fluid SPF 30

View at Nordstrom ($60)

What We Love: It is packed with anti-aging skin care ingredients. 

What We Don't Love: It's one of the more expensive sunscreen options.

Harold Lancer, M.D., board-certified dermatologist and founder of Lancer Skincare, is known for working with the likes of Victoria Beckham and Beyoncé, says a lot of his clients love his sunscreen. On top of sun protection, it contains grape stem cells that help reduce the appearance of fine lines and photo-aging, sunflower sprout extracts to give you that radiant glow, and chamomile extract to soothe and calm any irritation.

Type: Chemical | Good For: Face | SPF Level: SPF 30 | Size: 2 fl oz.

Also available at Lancer Skincare

best sunscreens
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Best Moisturizer with SPF: La Roche Posay Toleriane Double Repair SPF 30

View at Ulta ($20)

What We Love: It contains ingredients like ceramides and glycerin to hydrate skin. 

What We Don't Love: It can feel heavy on the skin.

Shereene Idriss, M.D., board-certified dermatologist and founder of Idriss Dermatology, whose famous clientele include Emily Ratajkowski and Ashley Graham, likes that this lotion is rich in ceramides. It also contains other nourishing ingredients like glycerin, niacinamide, and La Roche-Posay's proprietary thermal water to provide hydration for up to 48 hours and help strengthen the skin's natural barrier to lock in that moisture.

Type: Chemical | Good For: Face | SPF Level: SPF 30 | Size: 2.5 fl oz.

Also available at Dermstore or Amazon

best sunscreens
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Best Splurge: Isdin Eryfotona Actinica Daily Mineral Sunscreen

View at Isdin ($60)

What We Love: It is designed to protect skin from the sun as it repairs damage. 

What We Don't Love: It's on the more expensive side.

A past InStyle Best Beauty Buys winner and beloved by many of Dr. Idriss' clients, this is a non-tinted mineral sunscreen that works to protect against UVA and UVB rays and is suitable for all skin types. It is non-irritating and goes on super lightweight. It also contains naturally occurring enzymes that help to repair existing sun damage.

Type: Mineral | Good For: Face | SPF Level: SPF 50 | Size: 3.4 fl oz.

Also available at Amazon

best sunscreens
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Best Spray On: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Lightweight Sunscreen Spray SPF 30

View at Target ($8)

What We Love: It provides great sun protection at an affordable price. 

What We Don't Love: It does contain oxybenzone, which might not be safe to use on kids.

You can never go wrong with the ever popular Neutrogena Ultra Sheer sunscreen, which offers UV protection at a great price. It is an oil-free and non-comedogenic formula that goes on as a super lightweight mist and absorbs easily into the skin.

While using sunscreen daily is super important, research is still being conducted on the safety of all chemical sunscreen ingredients. Specifically, oxybenzone, which the American Academy of Pediatrics advises people to avoid using on kids. 

Type: Chemical | Good For: Body | SPF Level: SPF 30 | Size: 5 fl oz.

Also available at CVS

best sunscreens
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Best Lotion for Body: Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Body Shield Classic SPF 50

View at Colorescience ($46)

What We Love: It's a one hundred percent mineral sunscreen. 

What We Don't Love: While it's fragrance-free, it does have a distinct smell.

This is Dr. Idriss' favorite body sunscreen. It is made with hydrating and nourishing ingredients like shea butter, glycerin, and fruit extracts while also protecting the entire body from UVA and UVB rays, blue light, pollution, and infrared radiation.

Type: Mineral | Good For: Body | SPF Level: SPF 50 | Size: 4 fl oz.

Also available at Dermstore

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Best Compact: Skinbetter Sunbetter Tone Smart SPF 68

View at Skinbetter ($65)

What We Love: It absorbs excess oil and is super lightweight. 

What We Don't Love: The compact is small and sold at a higher price point. 

This compact sunscreen starts as a putty-like texture that you apply with the included sponge, however the product then feels like a mattifying powder. Dr. Engelman recommends it especially for those with oily skin, because it absorbs excess oil to avoid looking too greasy and it blurs the appearance of pores, lines, and discoloration. It's a great product to keep in your bag and use to reapply SPF throughout the day. 

Type: Mineral | Good For: Face | SPF Level: SPF 68 | Size: 0.42 fl oz.

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Best Smelling: Vacation Classic Lotion SPF 30

View at Vacation ($18)

What We Love: It smells like a tropical getaway.

What We Don't Love: The scent is strong, so be warned if you were looking for something more subtle.

Sunscreens that have that distinct sunscreen-y scent can be a huge turn off. Grab this one, if you're looking for something that smells more like a beach side vacation in a bottle. Its fragrance is sweet with notes of salt water, coconut, banana, and bergamot. It also contains skin nourishing ingredients like coconut oil, aloe vera, vitamin E, and niacinamide to hydrate and soothe skin while providing SPF 30 protection against harmful UV rays.

Type: Chemical | Good For: Face and Body | SPF Level: SPF 30 | Size: 3.4 fl oz.

Also available at Ulta

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Best Water Resistant: EltaMD UV Sport Broad-Spectrum SPF 50

View at Dermstore ($28)

What We Love: It's water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.

What We Don't Love: The formula is on the thicker side, so it is not as breathable as others.

When you're looking for a sunscreen that can stand up to active days, turn to this water-resistant formula. It blocks both UVA and UVB rays and is made with vitamin E to protect the skin from environmental aggressors. It's fragrance-free and won't rinse off for up to 80 minutes while you swim or perspire.

Type: Chemical | Good For: Face and Body | SPF Level: SPF 50 | Size: 3 fl oz.

Also available at Amazon or EltaMD

What to Keep in Mind

Sun damage

"The sneaky thing about sun damage is that it accumulates over time, and we may not even notice that our skin has sustained small amounts of damage until it's too late," says Dr. Engelman. "Protecting your skin every day with sunscreen should be an automatic part of everyone's routine."  

Best sunscreen practices include wearing it every single day (not just on hot days or at the beach). You'll also want to reapply every two hours to keep skin protected. Most experts recommend looking for a broad-spectrum sunscreen that has SPF 30 or higher. 

Chemical vs. mineral

Even though both types of sunscreen are safe and have the same rate of effectiveness, which you choose may depend on your skin tone and skin type, says Dr. Idriss. 

"Most mineral sunscreens leave a white cast. There's been some innovation in this category, but we still haven't perfected it. So darker skin tones often opt for a chemical sunscreen because it's more cosmetically elegant," says Dr. Idriss. "However, chemical sunscreens are not always great for sensitive or acne-prone skin as they can be irritating especially around the eye area." 

Scent and texture

In the end, the best sunscreen is the one that works best for you and your needs. "Your sunscreen use should be dictated by what you're actually going to use, and that's a personal preference," says Dr. Lancer. "Everybody has a different taste for the feel and scent of sunscreen they like; so whatever you're actually going to put on daily, is what you should use." "You'll often hear me say that the best sunscreen formula is the one that you love and will regularly wear," adds Dr. Engelman. "Because when it comes to protecting your skin, that's the most important factor."

Your Questions, Answered

What is the difference between chemical and mineral sunscreen?

With so many sunscreens on the market, how do you go about picking the right one for you? First, know the basics. There are two types of sunscreen to choose from: physical (a.k.a. mineral) and chemical. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, a chemical sunscreen contains ingredients like avobenzone and octisalate, which absorb UV rays before it damages your skin, while a physical sunscreen contains ingredients like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, which block and scatter UV rays before it penetrates your skin and is less likely to cause skin irritation.

How much sunscreen should you apply?

SPF is a measurement of how well a sunscreen protects the skin from the sun's rays, not how many minutes you can stay in the sun or how long it takes to get a sunburn, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. A SPF 30 sunscreen blocks 97% of the sun's UVB rays. Higher-number SPFs block slightly more of the sun's rays, but no sunscreen can block 100%. Most adults need about an ounce of sunscreen—enough to fill one shot glass— to cover their whole body. 

How often should you reapply sunscreen throughout the day?

While sunscreen is often the first thing people reach for in terms of protection, remember that covering your skin is even more effective. Protective clothing, like sun hats or UPF clothing, are another tool to keep in your sun safety arsenal. Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours, but be extra careful during peak sun times—10am to 4pm, depending on the season of the year. 

Can you use the same sunscreen for your face and body?

While you can use the same sunscreen for face and body, there may be a case for having separate products. The first being formula type, you may want the blendability and texture of a chemical SPF for your face, but prefer the ingredients of a mineral for your body. Second, consider your skin type. If you have acne-prone or sensitive skin, you may want to opt for a mineral formula, or one specifically designed for your skin type. And finally, consider your application method. Do you want a spray to reach your back? A luxurious feeling lotion that hydrates as you apply? Those decisions can guide you to the right SPF for your needs.