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Your face is one area on your body that’s frequently exposed to the sun. It’s important to protect it — as well as your ears, neck, and other exposed body parts — with sunscreen every day, not just on trips to the pool or the beach. Even when you’re indoors, ultraviolet A (UVA) rays can filter in through windows, causing sun damage and breaking down collagen.

Applying sunscreen should become part of your daily morning routine, although you may need to reapply so that you’re protected all day. According to Dr. Joy Chastain, a dermatologist in Athens, Georgia, peak hours to wear facial sunscreen are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This applies no matter the season, even if it’s cloudy outside. The sun’s rays can penetrate through clouds.

“Our face is exposed to UV rays every day, so it’s important to provide protection to prevent cumulative sun damage that may occur and result in skin cancer or signs of photodamage, such as sun spots, fine lines, wrinkles, and skin laxity,” explains Dr. Marisa Garshick, New York-based dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Cornell – New York Presbyterian Medical Center.

The type of sunscreen you choose also matters. Some sunscreens may not have a high enough sun protection factor (SPF) or are made with chemicals that may be harmful to the skin. Additionally, chemicals in some sunscreens can cause an allergic reaction or may be absorbed into the bloodstream.

Finding a sunscreen that does all of that while also absorbing and blending nicely can be challenging. To help narrow down your search, here’s a list of the best face sunscreens.

Although you might be tempted to choose the first sunscreen you see, or the one with the highest SPF, there are many factors to consider when purchasing a sunscreen.

  • Is it broad spectrum? There are three main types of ultraviolet (UV) rays: UVA, ultraviolet B (UVB), and ultraviolet C (UVC). All sunscreens protect against UVB rays, which cause most types of skin cancer. However, only broad spectrum sunscreens protect against both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays can also contribute to skin cancer, and they cause skin to age prematurely.
  • Is it at least SPF 30? The American Cancer Society recommends using a sunscreen that’s at least SPF 30. A 2012 review suggests that when used properly, SPF 30 sunscreen will block about 97 percent of UVB rays.
  • Is it water- and sweat-resistant? This would be an important consideration for individuals who live in hot places, plan on spending a lot of time outside or in the water, or tend to sweat a lot.
  • Does it match my skin type? If you have oily skin, look for options that are lightweight and oil-free. If you have dry skin, consider sunscreens that have moisturizing ingredients. Reading customer reviews can also be helpful. Oftentimes, companies will list what skin types their product is best suited for.
  • Does it match my skin tone? If you have dark skin, you might find that some sunscreens, especially mineral-based ones, are hard to rub in or leave a white cast. However, some options are designed specifically for darker skin tones. Additionally, some tinted products are able to blend more easily.
  • What are the ingredients? Keep an eye out for anything you may be allergic to, especially if you have sensitive skin, and look for vegan or gluten-free labels as needed. If you have rosacea, be sure to avoid ingredients like alcohol and fragrance. Check out our roundup of the best sunscreens for rosacea.
  • Is it chemical or physical? Consider whether you’d prefer a mineral or chemical sunscreen. Mineral sunscreens that don’t contain nanoparticles are considered safe, but they can be hard to rub in. Chemical sunscreens tend to be sheerer, but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is still evaluating their safety. Some chemicals found in these sunscreens can be absorbed into the bloodstream. While the FDA’s decision on many of these chemicals is still pending more research, be aware that para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) and trolamine salicylate aren’t recognized as safe.
  • Is it reef-safe? If you choose a mineral sunscreen, be sure it’s made with non-nano zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, rather than versions with nanoparticles. If you opt for a chemical sunscreen, be sure to choose one without:
    • 3-benzylidene camphor
    • 4-methylbenzylidene camphor
    • octocrylene
    • benzophenone-1
    • benzophenone-8
    • PABA
    • oxybenzone
    • octinoxate
    • homosalate
    • parabens
    • triclosan
    • homosalate

To create this list, we asked our dermatology experts for recommendations. They have no interest or affiliation with any of these companies.

We also took recommendations from our editorial team and searched for well rated sunscreens that have added benefits like hydration, brightening, and more.

All the products included have been vetted to ensure that they meet Healthline’s medical and business standards. Read more about our process.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $15
  • $$ = $15–$30
  • $$$ = over $30

Best waterproof mineral sunscreen for face

Tizo 2 Mineral Sunscreen SPF 40

  • Price: $$$
  • Type: mineral
  • Who it’s best for: people with fair skin, people with sensitive skin

This broad spectrum sunscreen protects against sunburn and premature skin aging caused by the sun. It’s recommended for all skin types, including sensitive skin. One added benefit is that it’s also waterproof.

Active ingredients include zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

Reviewers say the sunscreen works great for fair skin. It may be difficult to blend into dark skin since it’s mineral-based.

Best sunscreen for eczema on face

Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Dry-Touch Sunscreen Lotion

  • Price: $
  • Type: mineral
  • Who it’s best for: people with eczema or sensitive skin

This mineral sunscreen is available in both SPF 30 and 50, though the facial formula is exclusively SPF 50.

Our experts recommend Neutrogena Sheer Zinc because it’s a broad spectrum product, and also because it has a National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance. In other words, it’s suitable for sensitive skin and doesn’t include many irritating ingredients.

“For sensitive or eczema patients, I recommend avoiding parabens, thiolates, fragrance, and other preservatives,” says Dr. Diane Madfes, New York-based dermatologist and assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

This sunscreen fits the bill.

Happy reviewers say a little goes a long way, and that it doesn’t sting if you accidentally get it into your eyes. However, some also note that it leaves a white cast on dark skin.

Best face sunscreen for sensitive skin

Blue Lizard Sensitive Face Mineral Sunscreen

  • Price: $
  • Type: mineral
  • Who it’s best for: people with sensitive skin, people looking for a physical sunscreen

Blue Lizard Sensitive Face Mineral Sunscreen has active ingredients of — you guessed it — minerals. Using titanium dioxide and zinc oxide instead of chemicals, this SPF 50 sunscreen protects your skin by creating a physical barrier, so UV rays can’t damage your skin.

It’s a broad spectrum sunscreen that’s both sweat- and water-resistant for over 1 hour. As a bonus, the cap on the packaging turns blue when UV rays are present so that you know when to apply — even if it’s cloudy outside.

Reviewers say the sunscreen is moisturizing, thanks to the addition of hyaluronic acid. They also note that it rubs in completely, with no white residue left behind.

Best tinted sunscreen for face

Supergoop! CC Screen

  • Price: $$$
  • Type: mineral
  • Who it’s best for: people who want their SPF to double as a tinted moisturizer

This Supergoop! sunscreen offers mineral-based protection. It’s made to be color-correcting, and there are 15 colors to choose from to match any skin tone.

Active ingredients include non-nano zinc oxide, apple extract for brightening, and red seaweed extract, which helps protect against free radicals. The non-nano specification is important, as it means the zinc oxide particles are large enough that they won’t enter your bloodstream or damage coral reefs.

Best sustainable facial sunscreen

Raw Elements Face + Body SPF 30

  • Price: $$
  • Type: mineral
  • Who it’s best for: people looking to avoid plastic

This sunscreen from Raw Elements is plastic-free and made from all-natural ingredients, including non-nano zinc oxide, sunflower oil, cocoa butter, and vitamin E. This broad spectrum sunscreen is also biodegradable and safe for all ages.

Healthline editor Chelsea Logan tested this sunscreen and notes that it’s a little bit hard to rub in. But it is lightweight, and once it soaks in, it doesn’t leave behind any greasiness.

Best facial sunscreen for dark skin

Black Girl Sunscreen

  • Price: $$
  • Type: chemical
  • Who it’s best for: people with dark skin, people looking for a hydrating sunscreen

Healthline editor Jasmine Seales uses this sunscreen, noting that sunscreen is still beneficial for dark skin, despite the myth that Black people don’t need sunscreen.

Black Girl Sunscreen is made specifically for People of Color to not only protect against UVA and UVB rays but also moisturize and hydrate skin without leaving a white or gray cast. This SPF 30 sunscreen is oxybenzone- and paraben-free.

Active ingredients include avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, and octocrylene. It’s also infused with avocado, jojoba, cacao, carrot juice, and sunflower oil to help hydrate and heal skin.

Best facial sunscreen for dry skin

Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47

  • Price: $$$
  • Type: mineral
  • Who it’s best for: people with dry skin

This SPF moisturizer packs both skin nourishment and UV protection into one product. The sunscreen is SPF 47 and features zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as main ingredients, providing broad spectrum coverage. Other ingredients include argan oil, jojoba oil, and green tea leaf extract.

In testing, Logan noted that the product rubbed in very easily, thanks to the thin consistency. It’s very lightweight and absorbs quickly.

However, it does have a strong floral scent, which might be irritating for people with sensitive noses or skin.

Best sunscreen for face and body

Beauty Counter Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Lotion

  • Price: $$$
  • Type: mineral
  • Who it’s best for: people who want one product for both face and body

This broad spectrum sunscreen is lightweight and contains zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as active ingredients.

It’s SPF 30, water-resistant for up to 40 minutes, and good for the whole family.

Reviewers say it blends easily and doesn’t leave a greasy residue.

Best organic sunscreen for face

Juice Beauty SPF 30 Oil-Free Moisturizer

  • Price: $$$
  • Type: mineral
  • Who it’s best for: people looking for a physical sunscreen

Logan has been using this moisturizer and sunscreen for years. She loves that it rubs in easily and feels lightweight, not greasy.

This broad spectrum sunscreen helps prevent signs of premature aging and protects against sun exposure. In addition to offering protection against both UVA and UVB rays, the ingredients also hydrate the skin and moisturize with plant-derived hyaluronic acid.

Ingredients include organic aloe leaf juice, organic pomegranate, algae, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin B5, in addition to the active ingredient zinc oxide.

Best sunscreen for face and scalp

EiR Surf Mud

  • Price: $$
  • Type: mineral
  • Who it’s best for: people who want to avoid plastic

This natural sunscreen is SPF 30 and broad spectrum. It’s made from all-natural, organic ingredients, including coconut oil, cocoa butter, cocoa powder, beeswax, tea tree oil, and zinc oxide.

Thanks to the cocoa butter and cocoa powder, it has a chocolatey smell. The beeswax provides water-resistant properties.

The packaging is plastic-free, making it more environmentally friendly. However, because it comes in a tin rather than a tube, some reviewers note that it’s a little bit difficult to apply.

Best sun serum for face

EleVen by Venus Unrivaled Sun Serum

  • Price: $$$
  • Type: mineral
  • Who it’s best for: people who want to avoid heavy products

Tennis star Venus Williams created her own SPF 35 sun protection product, and the result is this unique serum. The product is vegan and made with zinc oxide and prickly pear stem extract. It leaves a semi-matte finish.

Best face sunscreen with blue light protection

Murad City Skin Age Defense

  • Price: $$ to $$$
  • Type: mineral
  • Who it’s best for: people who spend a lot of time in front of a screen

You don’t see too many sunscreens that also protect against blue light, but Murad City Skin Age Defense does.

This indoor and outdoor SPF 50 sunscreen is mineral-based. The company claims it’s great for protecting and brightening dull skin.

Ingredients include zinc oxide, titanium oxide, iron oxides (to brighten), and lutein (to protect against blue light).

Best facial sunscreen for acne-prone skin

Andalou Naturals Vitamin C Beauty Balm

  • Price: $$
  • Type: mineral
  • Who it’s best for: people with acne-prone skin

Andalou Naturals Vitamin C Beauty Balm is SPF 30 and has zinc oxide as the active ingredient. It’s positively rated by online reviewers with acne-prone skin.

Even though it includes vitamin C to help fight dullness, you might want to apply a topical vitamin C separately to get more benefits. When vitamin C is mixed with other ingredients, it’s not usually as effective since it’s an unstable molecule.

Healthline editor Kelly Morrell has been using this sunscreen for years and says it’s light and never greasy. Plus, it’s easy to wash off. She also notes, “I don’t really wear makeup and find that the tint is just enough to even out my skin and camouflage any blemishes. It’s also got a light, lemon scent that’s not too strong.”

Best face sunscreen for oily skin

Dr. Dennis Gross Lightweight Wrinkle Defense Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30

  • Price: $$$
  • Type: mineral
  • Who it’s best for: people with oily skin

This broad spectrum, SPF 30 sunscreen uses non-nano zinc oxide to protect against the sun’s rays. It’s oil-free and claims to aid in minimizing the look of fine lines and wrinkles. It also helps protect against blue light from computer screens, tablets, TVs, and phones.

Other ingredients include lingonberry and sea buckthorn.

It’s a favorite of Healthline editor Mellanie Perez, who says it’s lightweight and great for people with oily skin.

Knowing how to properly use sunscreen is just as important as choosing the right sunscreen for your skin. Madfes recommends washing your face before applying sunscreen in the morning.

If you like to use moisturizer or vitamin C serum as well, apply that to your face first, then layer sunscreen and any makeup you want to use. However, wait about 15 minutes after applying the sunscreen before continuing with your skin care routine.

When it comes to how much you should use, Garshick says about 1/4 of a teaspoon, or a nickel-sized scoop, should be enough. “Another way to think about this is using the two-finger rule,” she says. “Squeeze your sunscreen into a line the length of your pointer and middle finger, then apply to your face and rub in.”

In order to make sure you cover everything, Madfes recommends applying from the center of your face out toward your ears. She adds, “Don’t forget your upper lip and the tops of your ears, too.” It’s also important to apply sunscreen to your neck and scalp as well. Not applying sunscreen to your neck can increase your risk of developing poikiloderma of civatte, a skin condition caused by sun exposure.

Be sure to apply your sunscreen at least 15 minutes before heading outdoors. This allows time for the sunscreen to absorb into your skin before sun exposure.

Additionally, be mindful that some facial sunscreens aren’t water-resistant or may only be water-resistant for up to 40 or 80 minutes. You’ll need to reapply all sunscreen as directed, especially after swimming or sweating. Madfes recommends reapplying every 2 hours you’re in the sun.

Which SPF is best for face?

“Our faces are exposed to a lot of UV rays and blue light,” says Madfes. “Daily SPF 30 should be the minimum. Bump it up to SPF 50 or higher for extended outdoor activities.”

What kind of sunscreen is best for face?

When searching for facial sunscreen, take a close look at not only the ingredients but also the sunscreen filter. This can be a chemical filter or physical blocker in the form of minerals, explains Garshick.

Minerals sunscreens that contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide are best for individuals with sensitive skin, she says.

She adds, “For those who experience hyperpigmentation, especially as a result of melasma, it can help to use a tinted sunscreen, which often contains iron oxides that protect against blue light.”

If you have sensitive skin or eczema, Madfes recommends opting for sunscreens that are labeled “noncomedogenic.” Noncomedogenic sunscreens are designed not to block your pores. They’re also a good choice for people prone to breakouts from sunscreen.

When choosing between chemical and mineral sunscreens, keep in mind that only mineral sunscreens are currently recognized as safe by the FDA. The FDA is gathering more information about the safety of chemical sunscreens.

Which sunscreen is best for face without chemicals?

Garshick advises that it’s best for individuals, especially those with sensitive skin, to avoid certain types of chemical sunscreens, specifically those containing oxybenzone. Sunscreens with avobenzone and benzophenone-4, as well as sunscreens with added fragrance, alcohol, or preservatives, can also be irritating for sensitive skin.

Luckily, most of the above items on our list are mineral-based and generally made without chemicals. Some options include:

  • Blue Lizard Sensitive Face Mineral Sunscreen, which works well for people with sensitive skin
  • EiR Surf Mud, which is made from all-natural ingredients
  • Andalou Naturals Vitamin C Beauty Balm, which works well for acne-prone skin

It’s best to do a little digging and research before applying a sunscreen to make sure you’re aware of all the ingredients.

Can I skip moisturizer and use sunscreen instead?

Most people can benefit from moisturizing their skin before facing the day. However, you can find sunscreens with moisturizer in them. In that case, you may be able to skip an additional moisturizing step.

“Moisturizing sunscreens are my favorite and excellent for most skin types,” Madfes says.

Protecting your face from the sun’s harmful rays decreases the risk of sunburn, premature aging, and skin cancer.

Whether you’re gardening, playing sports, or enjoying other outdoor activities, choose a sunscreen that’s specific to your skin type and apply it daily for superior sun protection.