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In as little as 15 minutes, the sun’s UV rays can do serious skin damage. Enter: sunscreen, your best friend for summers and vacations—though it should really be your best friend, every day. The sun’s UVA rays can cause sunburns, while UVB rays penetrate skin and lead to aging effects, like wrinkling, leathering or sagging skin. Both can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. The best sunscreens provide broad-spectrum protection against both, are lightweight, non-greasy and water-resistant. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention advocates using sunscreens with an SPF of 15—most of our favorites start at SPF 50. Find what works best for you.
Keep your skin safe from the sun with Aveeno’s Protect + Hydrate lotion. It has an SPF of 30, is oil-free, will soak into your skin quickly, and is dermatologist-recommended. The 3-ounce bottle is airplane-friendly, too. Don’t worry if it gets too hot, since it’s both sweat- and water-resistant.
The La Roche-Posay’ Anthelios SPF 60 body and faces sunscreen uses its incredibly effective “Cell-Ox Shield” to protect your skin against harsh UVA and UVB rays. Since it’s fast-absorbing and non-greasy—they recommend you apply 15 minutes before being in the sun—so you’ll barely notice it’s on. It’s also water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.
Don’t sacrifice your beach volleyball, sandy ultimate frisbee, or long runs if it’s too sunny. Coppertone’s Sport lotion is designed for people that sweat or like to go in the water. The SPF 30 lotion is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, so you can float on your back in the water for quite some time before needing to reapply. The 7-ounce bottle is packed full of Vitamin E to nourish your skin and will protect against UVA and UVB rays.
You can’t go wrong with the No. 1 dermatologist recommended classic: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch, with SPF of 100+ (up to 80 minutes of water-proof protection). Neutrogena is lightweight and fast-absorbing with a matte-finish, meaning you can apply it and forget it—no streaky white spots or oily feel. It’s water-resistant, BABA free and non-comedogenic, which means those with sensitive skin won’t have to worry about breakouts and side effects. The formula uses Avobenzone—you’ll be protected from both aging UVA rays and skin-burning UVB rays, and it works as well for the body as the face.
This eco-friendly sunscreen uses Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide to provide sun-protection against UVA and UVB rays. It’s water-resistant up to 80 minutes, and formulated without harmful chemicals: parabens, phthalates, PABA, oxybenzone, petrolatum, sulfates, dyes, or oils. Apply this gentle, effective sunscreen before heading out to the farmer’s market, or a long picnic. Its powdery matte feel is designed not to irritate sensitive skin or clog pores. It will, however, infuse your skin with Australian herbal antioxidant goodness for a little dose of luxury.
Hate rubbing yourself down with sunscreen? The Alba Botanica sunscreen comes in a convenient spray tube. The sunscreen is barely there, lightweight oil finish, and includes emollients like coconut extract, Shea butter and avocado oil to give skin nourishment in addition to sun protection. It’s a Skin Cancer Foundation recommended and reef-friendly formula—perfect for your next tropical vacation, or to pretend you’re on vacation as you run Saturday errands on a sunny day.
Seira Wilson, Amazon Books Editor
Slather on sun-protection and beach vibes with the Sun Bum hypoallergenic, chemical-free, vegan sunscreen that provides broad-spectrum protection, and comes with a dose of Vitamin-E goodness: an antioxidant that moisturizes and helps with anti-aging. Trust a formula that follows Skin Cancer Foundation guidelines to protect you as you laze in the sun.