A Dermatologist Helped Us Find the Best Drugstore Sunscreens for Safe Fun in the Sun

Grooming Outdoors Skin SkinCream Sunscreen

Summer 2021 is slated to be a big one. It looks like we may actually be able to venture out more and gather safely, which is much needed after the last year. But as much as we all want to have carefree fun in the sun, being safe also means protecting your skin from those harmful rays.

According to Dr. Joshua Zeichner, an Associate Professor of Dermatology at Mount Sinai with a practice specializing in medical and cosmetic dermatology, there are enough affordable drugstore sunscreen options on the market with different types of ingredients and delivery systems to suit every personal preference, so there’s no excuse not to find one that you’re actually using.

“The current recommendations from both the American Academy of Dermatology and the Skin Cancer Foundation are to choose a sunscreen that has at least SPF 30 protection, and you want to look for the words ‘broad spectrum’ on the bottle,” advises Dr. Zeichner. “The term SPF refers to the sunscreen’s ability to protect you from UVB rays, which are the ones that lead to sunburn. The term broad spectrum means that the sunscreen also protects you against UVA rays, which penetrate deeper into the skin and are associated with the development of skin cancers as well as premature aging.”

There are plenty of great sunscreens that will not only prevent burning and skin cancer but also address your particular skin needs. All of these drugstore sunscreens are broad spectrum, can be found online or at your local pharmacy, and have an expert’s stamp of approval.
   1. bliss Block Star Invisible Daily Sunscreen

Dr. Zeichner has noticed that mineral sunscreens are having a moment right now since people seem to be taking a closer look at what they put into and onto their bodies. Zinc is a naturally occurring element that also offers protection from the sun, so there are no harmful chemicals involved. This 100% mineral sunscreen by bliss is also broad spectrum and non-comedogenic, so it’ll protect you from UVB and UVA rays, and it won’t clog your pores.
Buy: bliss Block Star Invisible Daily Sunscreen $24.49      2. Cetaphil Sheer Mineral Sunscreen Lotion for Face & Body

Another mineral sunscreen option from cult-favorite brand Cetaphil, this lotion can be comfortably used on your face or body. It has zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which Dr. Zeichner assures are the best mineral sunscreen ingredients that keep it safe for sensitive skin. It also contains prebiotics and vitamin E for a little bonus for your skin health.
Buy: Cetaphil Sheer Mineral Sunscreen Lotion for Face & Body $9.97    3. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Sunscreen

For oily skin, Dr. Zeichner recommends gel sunscreens because they tend to be water-based and super light, like this Neutrogena Hydro Boost sunscreen line. It has a completely invisible finish and feels super refreshing on the skin, with broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection. The non-greasy formula is extremely hydrating to quench oily skin without creating any buildup.
Buy: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Sunscreen $13.97    4. Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Moisturizing Sunscreen

If your skin tends to be on the dryer side, it helps to look for a moisturizing sunscreen with ingredients like hyaluronic acid, colloidal oatmeal or ceramides to help hydrate the skin while you protect it, according to Dr. Zeichner. He suggests the Aveeno Protect + Hydrate line, which provides all-day hydrating with antioxidant oat. It’s also fast-absorbing, oil-free and non-comedogenic, so you’ll be left with all-around nourished and healthier skin.
Buy: Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Moisturizing Sunscreen $9.48    5. Neutrogena Clear Face Liquid Lotion Sunscreen

Back in the day, it was very common to start breaking out after a couple of beach days from sunscreen that clogs up your pores. Thankfully, there are now plenty of non-comedogenic options to keep you protected without causing additional acne, like the Neutrogena Clear Face drugstore sunscreen offerings. It comes in a variety of SPFs, all of which are also oil-free. It’s broad spectrum, ultra-light and gets tons of rave reviews from acne-prone users.
Buy: Neutrogena Clear Face Liquid Lotion Sunscreen $10.97    6. CeraVe Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen

If you have sensitive skin, you’re definitely familiar with CeraVe. Their sunscreens offer the same consideration to those who get easily irritated as all of their other products, so it’s guaranteed to be a safe choice. Dr. Zeichner confirms that sunscreens with mineral blockers tend to be less potentially irritating to the skin as compared to the traditional chemical sunscreens, which is the case for this CeraVe option. It’s also broad spectrum, lightweight, and contains three essential ceramides for added hydration.
Buy: CeraVe Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen $13.97    7. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-In Sunscreen Milk

When it comes to drugstore sunscreen, La Roche-Posay is probably the most luxurious brand with the highest price point, but the quality is often worth doling out a bit more dough. Your skin will feel the difference in this super lightweight, melt-in sunscreen milk that’s fast absorbing with a velvety finish. It’s safe for all skin types with broad spectrum and antioxidant protection, free of parabens and fragrances.
Buy: La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-In Sunscreen Milk $35.99    8. Vichy LiftActiv Peptide-C Face Sunscreen

Dr. Zeichner advises looking for a drugstore sunscreen formula with antioxidants or botanical brightening ingredients for double the bang for your buck if you’re dealing with mature skin. This broad spectrum Vichy anti-aging face sunscreen contains peptides and vitamin C to brighten and firm skin. It’ll moisturize, protect, and prevent wrinkles, dark spots and dullness.
Buy: Vichy LiftActiv Peptide-C Face Sunscreen $39.00    9. Coppertone Pure & Simple Baby Sunscreen Lotion

You’re probably tired of hearing about minerals, but they’re extra important when it comes to protecting your baby’s skin. You don’t want the sun damage to start early, but you also don’t want to be exposing your child to anything toxic. This 100% mineral sunscreen is specifically formulated for that delicate baby skin, using strictly mineral blockers to avoid any harmful chemicals while still offering high SPF sun defense with nourishing botanicals. It’s tear-free, broad spectrum, hypoallergenic and super affordable, even for a drugstore sunscreen.
Buy: Coppertone Pure & Simple Baby Sunscreen Lotion $10.03   
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