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Gyan14 Best Sunscreens of 2021, Recommended by Dermatologists

14 Best Sunscreens of 2021, Recommended by Dermatologists

Everyone knows sunscreen is important, but how many people actually know the best sunscreens of 2021? The dermatologist picked these options for year-round use.

View the best sunscreens of 2021, recommended by dermatologists. These are products that not only protect your skin from UV rays but also helps fight acne and hyperpigmentation. The list includes all types of sunscreen including oil-free and waterproof formulas to help you achieve a flawless complexion year round.

The “best sunscreens for face” are the 14 best sunscreens that dermatologists recommend. These sunscreens have been listed by their SPF, price, and more.

When it comes to SPF, one thing is certain: it is essential to use it on a regular basis. However, not all sunscreens are the same. That’s why, at the Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab, we’re always evaluating the finest sunscreens and SPFs and consulting expert doctors to identify the best sunblock to keep your skin safe, healthy, and young throughout the year.

Our chemists examined over 75 body and face sunscreens, as well as polled over 8,000 consumer testers, in order to get insight into the aspects that individuals value most when it comes to sun protection. After reducing the field down to the top 39 sunscreens, Beauty Lab Director Birnur Aral, Ph.D. and chemists Sabina Wizemann and Danusia Wnek recruited the aid of consumer testers from all walks of life, including (but not limited to) White, Black, Latinx, and Asian. Over the course of a week, each tester used a label-masked product at least twice.

Our specialists narrowed down the top-performing options after examining tens of thousands of replies from over 600 testers. Our experts have the right SPF selection for you, whether you’re searching for sensitive skin formulations, sunscreens for kids and infants, zinc oxide formulas, sunscreen for oily skin, or even natural sunscreen.

Note: A number of Johnson & Johnson sunscreens were recalled in July 2021 after testing revealed low quantities of benzene, a cancer-causing chemical component. The sunscreen recall does not include any of GH’s recommended sunscreens.

What factors should I consider while selecting the best sunscreen for my skin?

When selecting the proper sunscreen and SPF for you, keep the following aspects in mind:

Broad-spectrum protection, says Lucy Chen, M.D., F.A.A.D., a board-certified dermatologist at Riverchase Dermatology, “to protect against both harmful UVA/UVB rays.” UV radiation causes hazardous sunburns (also known as skin damage and perhaps skin cancers), dark spots, and a disruption in collaged formation – UV exposure is responsible for 80% of noticeable skin aging. According to David Lortscher, M.D., board-certified dermatologist and CEO of Curology, SPF 30 or above is ideal. “Most individuals don’t apply sunscreen precisely,” Dr. Chen continues, “so it’s preferable to have at least a number 30 to assure appropriate coverage.” Ingredients that are active: Chemical and mineral sunscreens are the most common choices for your key SPF agents:

  • According to Michael Somenek, M.D., chemical formulae absorb UV photons and convert them to heat. He explains, “This mechanism permits the body to discharge UV rays, which keeps the skin from burning.” Chemical sunscreens are preferable for swimming since they are water resistant, but because they are easy to apply and leave no white residue, you will need to reapply sunscreen more often than you would with a physical or mineral choice.
  • Mineral sunscreens (also known as physical sunscreens) provide a protective layer on the skin that reflects or filters UVA and UVB radiation. Dispersed zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide compositions are more difficult to apply and produce a white cast on the skin, but they stay longer than chemical preparations.

Water-resistance to withstand sweaty days or time spent in the pool. It’s important to note that there is no such thing as waterproof or sweatproof sunscreen. Only “water-resistant for 40 minutes” or “water-resistant for 80 minutes” choices are available under current FDA rules. Instead of reapplying every two hours, pay attention to the bottle’s water-resistance duration and layer the product on more often while swimming, sweating, or toweling off. Type of formula: Lotions and creams are preferred over sprays by our Beauty Lab experts because “they linger longer on skin than sprays [and] are more likely to establish a uniform protective covering over skin than sprays,” according to Wizemann. “A cream may be preferable for you if your skin is prone to dryness,” Dr. Chen says. “Sprays are simple,” she continues, “but they may need a second treatment, so spray liberally.” If you have dry skin, Dr. Chen recommends looking for compounds like dimethicone, glycerin, aloe, and oils, rather than spray or gel sunscreens that include alcohol. She also recommends using a lightweight sunscreen with elements like silica or isododecane if you have oily skin.

Now that you know the basics, check out our Beauty Lab’s top sunscreen products, as well as doctor recommendations. Remember to apply sunscreen every day, at least 15 minutes before going out, no matter what you use, to properly enable the protective film to build!

1

Best Sunscreen for the Body

SPF 50 AntiOxidant+ Sunscreen Lotion

Amazon.com: Amazon.com: Amazon.com: Amazon.com: Amazon.com

The Hawaiian Tropic performed well in our lab tests, receiving flawless ratings for neither drying or irritating the skin. It even remained place throughout a run, according to one tester, and didn’t burn her eyes. It’s also less than half the price of the other items we looked at, at less than $1.60 per ounce.

It didn’t feel sticky or oily on the skin, and it absorbed quickly with no white residue, according to testers. Its beachy aroma was also a huge hit with testers, including those who are notoriously picky about scent. 

  • SPF 50
  • Sunscreen lotion with chemicals
  • 80 minutes of water resistance

2

Best Sunscreen for the Face

SPF 30 LiftActiv Peptide-C Sunscreen

Vichydermstore.com is a website that sells Vichy cosmetics.

$39.00

This selection came out on top in our Beauty Lab’s most recent sunscreen test, with testers praising it for its moisture and lack of breakouts or irritation. It was also the simplest to apply, did not obstruct cosmetics, and received the second best grade for not leaving a white cast.

Its aroma divided testers: some enjoyed it, while others despised it. Many people liked how thin it was and how easily it sank into their skin. It received the best grade in this area because testers said it protected them from sunburn.

  • SPF 30
  • Sunscreen lotion with chemicals

3

Face Sunscreen with the Best Value

Sunscreen Lotion with Matte Effect

Amazon.com: Amazon.com: Amazon.com: Amazon.com: Amazon.com

$18.43

This sunscreen is soft on the skin and gives just enough moisture for a lightweight, more inexpensive choice (though you might need an extra layer of moisturizer if your skin is on the dry side). This sunscreen received high marks from testers with darker skin tones, who said there was little to no white cast. It also has a light, pleasant fragrance. Remember that the texture may be a little sticky and runny. 

  • SPF 50
  • Sunscreen lotion with chemical and mineral ingredients
  • 80 minutes of water resistance

4

The Most Effective Sunscreen Spray

SPF 50 Original Sunscreen Spray

Amazon.com: Sun Bum

$14.98

This tropical-scented Sun Bum spray was the clear victor in GH Beauty Lab testing, applying effortlessly and leaving no chalky residue on skin for people who like to spritz on their sun protection. The recipe won since it didn’t leave a white residue and offered great sunburn protection. 

Two testers claimed the “continuous and even” spray “covered my skin rapidly.” “I’d absolutely purchase this,” said another. It’s worth noting that some customers reported that it left an oily finish on their skin that took a long time to fade.

  • SPF 50
  • Sunscreen spray with chemicals
  • 80 minutes of water resistance

5

The Best Mineral Sunscreen for Face

Mineral Sunscreen Face Lotion with SPF 30

Amazon.com: Sun Bum

$16.63

This sunscreen’s “silky texture” was a favorite with testers. It had a “velvety” sensation to it and didn’t leave the skin shiny or oily. The sunscreen received almost flawless marks for generating no irritation or redness, and several testers said that it performed well under makeup. After application, some people noticed a white cast or a little grey tone.

  • SPF 30
  • Sunscreen lotion with zinc oxide as a mineral
  • 40 minutes of water resistance

6

Mineral Sunscreen with the Best Price

SPF 50 Botanical Sunscreen Mineral Lotion

bedbathandbeyond.com is a website dedicated to Australian Gold.

$8.99

Mineral sunscreens don’t have to be expensive to be effective: This one scored well in our testing while costing less than half as much as other high-performing mineral choices. “It applied nicely, left minimal residue, and didn’t make me feel too sticky,” remarked one of the testers, who is allergic to chemical alternatives.

Warning: While this product does not feel greasy, it does leave behind a white cast that only grows brighter when skin is moist (i.e. after a dip in the pool or a sweaty outdoor run). It also soiled one of the testers’ swimming suits.  

  • SPF 50
  • Sunscreen lotion with minerals
  • 80 minutes of water resistance

7

Sunscreen that Dermatologists Recommend

SPF 50 Anthelios Mineral Zinc Oxide Sunscreen

La Roche-website Posay’s is laroche-posay.us.

$33.50

Dr. Chen personally recommends (and uses!) La-Roche Posay’s mineral SPF. “It’s super light, has zinc and titanium dioxide, and was created with delicate skin in mind,” she explains. The product dries to a matte finish and is completely undetectable on the skin. It also includes antioxidants and gives UVA and UVB protection, so it improves skin as well as protects it.

  • SPF 50
  • Lotion with zinc oxide minerals
  • 40 minutes of water resistance

8

Best Sunscreen for Face That Isn’t Heavy

SPF 40 Invisible Facial Sunscreen Gel No Excuses

Julep sunscreen is light and simple to apply, leaving no white cast or oily residue behind, making it ideal for daily use for the face. This received flawless ratings in our Beauty Lab testing for not flowing into or irritating eyes and not creating breakouts. We found it to be a real universal product that worked well on all skin types, from dry to oily, and all skin tones, from light to dark. 

RELATED: Skincare Experts Reveal the 17 Best Face Sunscreens for Every Skin Type

  • SPF 40
  • Sunscreen lotion with chemicals

9

Sunscreen with the Best Scent

Reef-Friendly Sunscreen Lotion by Light As Air

Amazon.com: Banana Boat

$15.98

This drugstore sunscreen received the highest rating from testers because to its “pia colada” aroma, which one tester said placed her in a pleasant mood every time she used it. It’s also non-irritating to the eyes, according to the testers.

You also don’t have to be concerned about a white cast on your skin or garment transfer. Plus, the sunscreen is quite inexpensive, approximately three times less expensive than the average price of all of the products evaluated!

  • SPF 50
  • Sunscreen lotion with chemicals
  • 80 minutes of water resistance

10

Sunscreen with Zinc Oxide is the best.

Body Shield SPF 50 Sunforgettable Total Protection

Amazon.com: Colorescience

$46.00

This zinc oxide product glides on smoothly and produces a powdery, silky finish, according to our consumer testers. It “melted into” the skin of one of the testers. Yes, it’s a splurge (more than three times the average price of the others we tested), but if you’re looking for a high-end mineral choice, this is it. It was very mild on the skin, producing no irritation or stinging even when used near the eyes of our testers.  

  • SPF 50
  • Sunscreen lotion with minerals
  • 80 minutes of water resistance

11

What is the Best Sunscreen for Oily Skin?

Sunscreen Gel-Lotion with Minerals

walgreens naked republic

$16.99

This sunscreen received the highest score in this area after many testers said that it left a matte finish or helped regulate their oily skin throughout the day. It also received high reviews from testers for not leaving a shine after usage and remaining put throughout exercises. It’s worth noting, though, that some testers found it chalky and lacking in moisture, so you may need to top it with your preferred moisturizer.  

  • SPF 30
  • Gel-lotion containing zinc oxide
  • 40 minutes of water resistance

12

What is the Best Sunscreen for Dry Skin?

Anti-Oxidant Day Cream with SPF 30

walgreens.com/YourGoodSkin

$7.79

When it comes to leaving testers’ skin moisturized, YourGoodSkin tied for first place in our Beauty Lab’s latest test. One person even said that the chemical composition felt more like a moisturizer than a sunscreen! It also received the top grade for aroma because of its mild, fresh perfume that wasn’t overbearing.

This is an excellent alternative for daily use since you can apply the sunscreen beneath your makeup without it interfering with your other products. It didn’t irritate the skin, create outbreaks, or leave a white cast, as we discovered. A few oily-skinned testers stated it left a small residue that added some undesirable shine, but that was easily hidden when the remainder of their makeup was done. 

  • SPF 30
  • Sunscreen lotion with chemicals

13

Sensitive Skin’s Best Sunscreen

Guava Mango SPF 50 Classic Body Sunscreen

Many testers remarked they forgot they were using Coola’s fruity sunscreen since it feels so light on their skin. It has the thickness and feel like a light skin lotion rather than an usual thick sunscreen, according to one reviewer. It received excellent rankings for being soft on skin, making it ideal for persons with sensitive skin (face and body). 

Warning: At first, the tropical aroma is rather intense. Some testers thought it was great, while others felt it was simply too much — despite the fact that it only lasts around 15 minutes. 

  • SPF 50
  • Sunscreen lotion with chemicals
  • 80 minutes of water resistance 

14

The Best Sunscreen That Isn’t Greasy

SPF 50 Activated Sun Protector Sunscreen

kiehls.com kiehls.com kiehls.com kiehls.com kiehls

$24.00

Kiehl’s lotion, which is meant for both the face and the body, tied for first place in our 2017 Lab test. Its finest feature is that it doesn’t make skin feel greasy, oily, or slippery, even when exposed to the sun. This water-light lotion was described by customers as “moisturizing” and having a “neutral scent.” The sunscreen was runny as it came out of the container, according to a few testers. 

  • SPF 50
  • Sunscreen lotion with chemicals
  • 80 minutes of water resistance

Sabina Wizemann, Senior Chemist, Health, Beauty, and Environmental Sciences Lab, Good Housekeeping Institute Sabina Wizemann is a senior scientist at the Good Housekeeping Institute’s Health, Beauty, and Environmental Sciences Lab, where she designs, produces, and conducts studies to assess beauty and health products.

Shanon Maglente Product and Reviews Editor Shanon formerly worked as the Goods & Reviews editor at the Good Housekeeping Institute, where she covered the greatest discounts and products in the areas of home, appliances, health, beauty, and parenting.

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The “best sunscreen for body” is a sunscreen that has been recommended by dermatologists. It is the 14 best sunscreens of 2021.

Frequently Asked Questions

What sunscreen do dermatologists recommend?

A: A sunscreen with an SPF of at least 20 is recommended by dermatologists.

What are the top 5 sunscreens?

A: The best sunscreen for you is dependent on the type of skin that you have. If your skin is sensitive, look into a higher SPF or broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect against UVA and UVB rays.

What is a highly recommended sunscreen currently available?

A: The best sunscreen available at this time is the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen for Face SPF 50. This product has an excellent rating on Amazon currently with 4,843 reviews and its price point will not break your bank balance.

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