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The 7 best sunscreens for your face, recommended by dermatologists

Find the perfect sunscreen for your face, from Aveeno to Vanicream.

Quick Overview
  • EltaMD UV Elements Tinted Sunscreen Moisturizer, SPF 44


  • Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Water Resistant Sunscreen, SPF 70

    Best High-SPF Facial Sunscreen

  • Isdin Eryfotona Actinica Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 50+

    Best Facial Sunscreen for Sun-Damaged Skin

  • Vanicream Lip Protectant Sunscreen Tube, SPF 30


  • Banana Boat Protection + Vitamins Sunscreen for Face, SPF 50

    BEST FACIAL SUNSCREEN for dry skin

  • Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Moisturizing Face Sunscreen, SPF 60


  • Derma-E Sun Defense Mineral Oil-Free Sunscreen for Face, SPF 30

    Best Hypoallergenic Facial Sunscreen

  • CeraVe Sunscreen Stick, SPF 50


See 3 more

After more than a decade as a beauty editor, with fair skin that's basically begging to be burned, I use sunscreen on my face every day. I slather it on as part of my morning routine to help minimize the UV damage that may cause cancer — but I'm also trying to prevent premature aging (think wrinkles, sun spots, uneven texture and tone, redness and loss of elasticity.) I love getting info straight from the source, so I'm regularly asking doctors which products they use themselves. To find the very best facial sunscreens around, I polled top-rated dermatologists on the key ingredients to look for, as well as application tips and tricks. We've got something in the mix for every skin type, whether you're sensitive, dry, oily or something in between. Below, we've rounded up the 7 best sunscreens for your face that dermatologists recommend — and actually use themselves.

Dr. Claire Wolinsky, board-certified dermatologist in New York City, prefers a tinted mineral sunscreen like this one because it provides broad-spectrum physical SPF coverage, hydration and works well under makeup. EltaMD is known for high-quality sunscreen that so many docs recommend. It offers broad-spectrum UV protection from zinc oxide and titanium dioxide and leaves a smooth finish, even on dry or sensitive skin.

$40 at Amazon

Most folks don't apply enough sunblock, so a high SPF can help add extra coverage. Derms love this lotion for its broad-spectrum protection and fast-absorbing finish. “This sunscreen has been clinically tested and shown to give better sunburn protection compared to sunscreens with lower SPFs,” Dr. Joshua Zeichner, a New York City–based dermatologist, tells Yahoo Life. Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen is lightweight, fast-absorbing and has a non-greasy, matte finish that's great for anyone with combination, oily or acne-prone skin. Dr. Zeichner particularly likes its high SPF. “In the real world, consumers do not apply as much sunscreen as they should, so the level of protection gets diluted,” he explains. “Starting with a higher SPF to begin with acts like an insurance policy to give you the best level of protection possible.”

$8 at Amazon$8 at Walmart

This mineral sunscreen is amped up with 11% zinc oxide for superior protection, and it's packed with enzymes that have been shown to help heal sun damage and protect against future issues. The name may be a mouthful, but board-certified dermatologist Gary Goldenberg swears by this one. He particularly recommends it for patients who have known sun damage. Isdin’s Eryfotona Actinica is lightweight, so it works for all skin types, won’t leave your skin feeling greasy and has UVA/UVB protection. It also has DNA repairsomes and vitamin E to help fight UVA-induced damage.

$70 at Amazon

Do your lips feel the burn? Derms recommend this formula that's specifically designed for your smackers (i.e., it's free of sensitizing chemical sunscreens you may not want in your mouth). Dermatologist Dr. Cynthia Bailey, founder of Dr. Bailey Skin Care, tells Yahoo Life that while she relies heavily on her own sunscreen line for daily use — she uses this for lips. Vanicream is SPF 30 and goes on like a lip balm. It’s water-resistant for up to 80 minutes and is free of chemical sunscreens, dyes, fragrances, lanolin, parabens, formaldehyde, flavoring, oil and gluten, so the odds of having an allergic reaction to it are low. “It also fights lip chapping,” Dr. Bailey said.

$5 at Liorda

This formula from Banana Boat is lightweight, non-greasy and leaves skin with a matte finish, while also providing 12 hours of hydration. An affordable solution, we're excited to try it. According to Dr. Jenny Liu, a board-certified dermatologist based in Minneapolis, MN, "it’s enriched with efficacious levels of Vitamins C and B3 that nourish and visibly brighten skin with intense 12-hour hydration that will keep skin looking fresh throughout the entire day.” Bonus: Banana Boat's sunscreen is reef-friendly, as it doesn't contain octinoxate and oxybenzone and it's fragrance-free for anyone sensitive to scents. This option is best for those with normal-to-dry skin.

$10 at Amazon

Broad-spectrum, SPF 60 protection aside, this oil-free sunscreen won't clog pores, and it contains oatmeal, a nourishing ingredient that helps repair and moisturize the skin's finicky outer layer. Dr. Zeichner likes Aveeno’s Protect + Hydrate sunscreen for a few reasons. “Besides offering broad-spectrum sun protection, it delivers a little oatmeal to repair and hydrate the outer skin layer,” he says. “We know that UV light can disrupt the outer skin layer, leading to dryness and irritation.” The sunscreen is fast-absorbing, oil-free and noncomedogenic, so it won't clog your pores. It’s also water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.

$9 at Amazon

This unscented formula is safe for sensitive skin — it's made with fast-absorbing zinc oxide and is packed with bonus ingredients like vitamin C and green tea to help quell irritation. Derma-E’s Sun Defense sunscreen is 100% unscented, which Dr. Bailey likes, and is ideal for those with sensitive skin. It’s also fortified with vitamin C and green tea to help skin recover after sun exposure and fight the signs of aging. The sunscreen’s zinc oxide provides broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sun protection, and it’s oil-free, so it won’t clog your pores.

$18 at Amazon

Dr. Wolinsky finds this CeraVe sunscreen stick to be a great option to apply underneath makeup since it has some hydrating ingredients like ceramides and hyaluronic acid. A broad-spectrum stick sunscreen is so handy for on-the-go application and it's a no-brainer for travel. This one from CeraVe works well with makeup, unlike sunscreen sticks that are thicker and less hydrating, explains the dermatologist.

$13 at Walmart


How often should you apply sunscreen for your face?

Spoiler alert: All the time. Forget about whether it's sunny or not — UV rays will get to you no matter what, so it's important to add this step to your morning routine. Dermatologists don’t just talk about the importance of regularly wearing sunscreen — they practice what they preach. “I wear a tinted mineral sunscreen every single day of the year,” Dr. Wolinsky tells Yahoo Life. She starts her a.m. routine with Skinceuticals CE Ferulic (a powerful vitamin C antioxidant serum), followed by EltaMD Elements Tinted Mineral Sunscreen SPF 45 and then puts on her makeup.

And they make it easy to remember: “I actually incorporate sunscreen into my daily grooming routine and apply it right after shaving,” Dr. Zeichner tells Yahoo Life. Even if you are diligent about applying sunblock every morning, don't forget to reapply throughout the day — especially if you are spending a lot of time in the sun. Every two hours is what dermatologists recommend during outdoor activity, and don't sleep on sun exposure when you're in a car or sitting at a desk by a window. While most UVB rays (which lead to sunburn) are blocked by a window, over 50% of UVA rays (contributors to premature skin aging), can penetrate glass, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

As far as the amount of sunscreen to apply, Dr. Wolinsky suggests two full finger lengths (of cream) for the entire face.

How do dermatologists shop for facial sunscreen?

You may already be familiar with the basics, but we asked Dr. Deanne Mraz Robinson, Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology at Yale New Haven Hospital, for a refresher. "The two most important things to look for are the terms broad spectrum (meaning it protects against UVA and UVB rays) and an SPF indicator of 30+ (if I am being picky, I’d nudge you to 50+). Additional things to consider are a water-resistance indicator, which is helpful if you’ll be outside for extended amounts of time, in the water and/or sweating, as well as the words oil-free and noncomedogenic if you are acne-prone."

"I always use mineral sunscreens with the active ingredients [of] either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide," says Dr. Kristina Collins, a board-certified dermatologist based in Austin, TX. "I also think mineral sunscreens protect the skin more effectively because they act as a true shield, stopping harmful UV rays from penetrating. Mineral sunscreens are safer for coral reefs and for the environment. For people with melasma, mineral sunscreen is much more effective at preventing recurrence than chemical sunscreens."

Other than that, a lot boils down to personal preference. “Whether it’s a lotion or gel, stick or spray, the best sunscreen is ultimately the one you are actually using on your skin,” Dr. Zeichner offers.