We updated this article in June 2022 to add more information about each featured product, based on extensive research done by our team (and that of our sister team at the Good Housekeeping Institute).
If there’s one thing you put on your face today, let it be the best sunscreen. Dermatologists harp on this because it’s one of the best ways (if not the best!) to protect your skin, regardless of your skin tone.
Of course, your first priority is to prevent a sunburn, which can raise your skin cancer risk. As a major bonus, the best face sunscreen also keeps your skin looking youthful. A quality SPF can protect your skin from the harmful UV rays that cause fine lines, and even help reverse signs of damage by getting rid of age spots, improving texture, and boosting brightness.
“Many face sunscreens contain ingredients like antioxidants or skin-brightening botanicals that offer additional benefits beyond sunscreen itself,” explains Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.
The only problem is, it can be hard to find a sunscreen that isn’t goopy or sticky and doesn’t leave a whitecast. That’s why choosing a sunscreen specifically formulated for your face can yield better results.
How we chose the best face sunscreens
We consulted Dr. Zeichner, Arisa Ortiz, M.D., assistant clinical professor in the department of dermatology at the University of California, San Diego, board-certified dermatologist Heather Woolery-Lloyd, M.D., director of ethnic skincare for the University of Miami Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery, and Brendan Camp, M.D., who is double board-certified in dermatology and dermatopathology. We also spoke to Meghan Feely, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in New Jersey and New York City and clinical instructor at Mount Sinai, Nazanin Saedi, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist with Jefferson University Hospitals in Philadelphia, board-certified dermatologist Debra Jaliman, M.D., author of Skin Rules, Shari Marchbein, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist at Downtown Dermatology in New York City, Caroline Chang, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist at Rhode Island Hospital, and Heidi Waldorf, M.D., founder of Waldorf Dermatology Aesthetics in New York. Lastly, we checked in with the Good Housekeeping Institute, which tests countless products to ensure a fair and accurate representation of each item, and online reviewers who have shared some of their own insights.
Our top picks
Here are the top dermatologist-approved picks for every skin type out there.
UV Clear Face Sunscreen SPF 46
☀️BEST OVERALL FACE SUNSCREEN
This fragrance-free sunscreen is lightweight and ideal for finicky skin types. “Designed for patients with rosacea or acne, this oil-free formula provides light moisture, rubs in quickly, and contains niacinamide as an anti-inflammatory to reduce sebum (a.k.a. oil),” says Dr. Waldorf. It’s also formulated with hyaluronic acid to hydrate skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. One reviewer wrote, “This is the best sunscreen I’ve ever put on my face! It’s so thin and moisturizing.”
Clear Face Sunscreen Lotion SPF 55
This budget-friendly sunscreen gets a stamp approval from Dr. Saedi. If you have oily, acne-prone skin, this SPF is lightweight, oil-free, non-comedogenic, and non-greasy, so you won’t have to worry about clogged pores or excess shine. The sunscreen uses helioplex technology, a clinically-proven UVA/UVB protection that derms can definitely get behind and it’s water-resistant up to 80 minutes. One shopper said, “I started using this one and I am in love with it. My skin feels great even if I workout.”
AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30
☀️BEST FACE SUNSCREEN FOR SENSITIVE SKIN
“This oil-free, non-comedogenic sunscreen contains the anti-inflammatory antioxidant niacinamide, as well as ceramides, which help the skin to retain moisture,” says Dr. Feely. Lightweight and oil-free, this hydrating SPF also contains hyaluronic acid (a humectant that draws water to the skin). It’s also fragrance-free and ultra-moisturizing for all skin types. One reviewer said, “This is the best moisturizer with SPF I have ever used. It’s not greasy and absorbs quickly.”
Total Defense + Repair Sunscreen SPF 34
☀️BEST FACE SUNSCREEN FOR ANTI-AGING
Earning a seal of approval from the National Skin Cancer Foundation, this tinted face sunscreen not only protects the skin, but also improves the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of aging, thanks to niacinamide, hydrating shea butter, and vitamins C and E, which act as antioxidants. One reviewer said, “I have been using this product for over two years, and it is my favorite when it comes to tinted moisturizers. Wearing this product both fishing and golfing, my face never burns.”
Anthelios Ultra-Light Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50
☀️BEST ALLERGY TESTED FACE SUNSCREEN
“This ultra-light formula contains antioxidants and is easily absorbed into the skin,” says Dr. Zeichner, so you won’t have to worry about that sticky or greasy feeling. Plus, it’s noncomedogenic, great for sensitive skin (fragrance-free), dries down matte, and doesn’t have that SPF smell. It also uses a Cell-Ox Shield technology for fantastic UVA/UVB protection and is water-resistant for up to 40 minutes. One reviewer said, “absolutely the best facial sunscreen product I have ever purchased.”
Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer SPF 30
☀️BEST MOISTURIZER WITH SPF
“The soy complex in this product helps brighten the skin while UV blockers provide broad-spectrum protection,” says Dr. Zeichner. It’s also oil-free, non-comedogenic (so it won’t clog your pores), and non-greasy—making it an excellent pick across all skin types. Dr. Woolery-Lloyd is a fan of this one for darker skin tones. The formula is also hypoallergenic and great to wear under makeup. One reviewer said, “This has been my go-to daily moisturizer for the past three years.”
UV Sheer Face Sunscreen SPF 50+
☀️BEST FACE SUNSCREEN FOR ACNE PRONE SKIN
This ultra-blendable SPF feels like water on the skin and leaves behind an undeniable glow, doubling as a moisturizer. The non-greasy formula quickly sinks into the skin without irritation, so those who are sensitive or suffer from acne won’t be disappointed. The zinc-based formula is also water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. One reviewer said, “It exceeded my expectations. It’s moisturizing, feels very light on the skin, stays through sweat, and doesn’t cause breakouts.”
Oil Control Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30
☀️BEST FACE SUNSCREEN AND MOISTURIZER FOR OILY SKIN
If you’re worried about looking shiny by 3 p.m., this is the one for you. Cetaphil’s face sunscreen not only protects the skin with SPF 30 but controls oil while maintaining hydration. Fragrance-free, lightweight, and non-comedogenic, this fast-absorbing SPF leaves a matte finish for flawless wear. One reviewer said, “My skin has never looked better. And it has SPF! Goes on very nicely and soaks in evenly and quickly.”
Sheer Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50
☀️BEST TINTED FACE SUNSCREEN
This tinted formula ensures your skin is left with no white cast in sight. Fragrance-free, non-comedogenic, ultra-lightweight, water-resistant for up to 40 minutes, it’s a 100% mineral SPF that looks (and feels) invisible on the face while packing translucent color spheres to give your natural skin tone a hint of radiance. One reviewer said, “it works beautifully with no white marks, no sunburn.”
Clear Sunscreen Stick SPF 50+
☀️BEST STICK FACE SUNSCREEN
This unique, roll-up formula makes for super convenient, mess-free application on-the-go. A high SPF, lightweight feel, and easily portable packaging make rubbing it on and reapplying a breeze. This product also works equally well on the face and body, making it an all around winner. Note: Dermatologists recommend at least four swipes of stick sunscreens for adequate protection. “I absolutely love sunscreen but it’s even better when you don’t need your hands to reapply. Especially when you’re on the go,” says one reviewer. “And I can say it’s a staple for my day to day skincare. Especially for someone who is sensitive and breaks out.”
CC Screen 100% Mineral CC Cream SPF 50 PA++++
☀️BEST MINERAL FACE SUNSCREEN
“For those interested in a tinted sunscreen with multiple tint options, this product comes in over  shades from which to choose,” Dr. Camp says. Offering up medium coverage, this face sunscreen will easily fit into your beauty routine. The creamy, hydrating formula features apple extract for luminosity and Irish moss extract to protect from free radicals. It’s also vegan and cruelty-free, dermatologist-recommended, and beloved by celebs like Christie Brinkley and Ashley Graham. One reviewer said, “Light coverage and natural look, which is what I wanted!”
Sunforgettable Brush-On Sunscreen SPF 30
☀️BEST POWDER FACE SUNSCREEN
This powder sunscreen is a great option for those with acne-prone skin, says board-certified dermatologist Debra Jaliman, M.D., author of Skin Rules. “Since it’s powder, it doesn’t clog the pores and never breaks out the skin.” Plus, it’s easy to reapply and helps mattify midday shine on your face, adds Dr. Waldorf. The all-mineral broad-spectrum SPF is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, hydrates skin, and is hypoallergenic for all skin types. One reviewer said, “This is my go-to sunscreen for my nose and extra protection. Improves my complexion instantly without looking like makeup.”
Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40
☀️BEST FACE SUNSCREEN WITHOUT A WHITE CAST
“This sunscreen feels somewhere between a gel and a primer. It feels weightless on the skin and can be used across a variety of skin types,” says Dr. Zeichner. Free of oils and fragrances, it dries down matte and has a slight blurring effect on pores. It’s also a top expert pick for darker skin tones, thanks to its sheer finish. One reviewer said, “Love this stuff! The best sunscreen is the one you’ll use. This is usable every day, with or without makeup. In fact, it acts as a primer for makeup.”
Mineral Crème SPF 50
☀️BEST FACE SUNSCREEN FOR GLOWING SKIN
You’ll appreciate this creamy, mineral-based sunscreen because it covers your bases with top-notch UV reflectors zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Vitamin C works to maintain radiance and keep the collagen in the skin springy, while green tea extract helps safeguard against free radical damage that contributes to aging. It’s also unscented, water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, and goes on sheer and weightless. One reviewer said, “This sunscreen is amazing! It is the first facial sunscreen that has not broken me out or made my eyes burn.”
Unrivaled Sun Serum SPF 35
☀️BEST FACE SUNSCREEN SERUM
This mineral sunscreen was formulated with Venus Williams’ stamp of approval—so you can trust that it’s made with athletes and people of color in mind. The mineral formula sinks in like any other serum, leaving behind a demi-matte finish that looks just like skin. It also includes safflower oleosomes to protect skin and prickly pear steam extract to firm, calm, and hydrate skin. Bonus: It’s cruelty-free, vegan, and bottled in eco-friendly packaging. One reviewer wrote, “This is a mineral sunscreen that doesn’t leave a white, blue, or purple cast on my skin…It doesn’t leave my skin oily or greasy.”
Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30
☀️BEST FACE SUNSCREEN FOR DARKER SKIN TONES
Formulated by women of color, this sunscreen is super popular due to its invisible finish, says Dr. Woolery-Lloyd. Infused with avocado, jojoba, and vitamin E, it layers beautifully underneath makeup for everyday wear but still withstands tough workouts, all while delivering extra hydration to the skin. Bonus: It’s also vegan and cruelty-free. One reviewer wrote, “I use this every day after I moisturize. It does not leave me oily. It doesn’t break me out. Most importantly, it doesn’t leave a white cast. It is the best sunscreen for brown skin I have found yet.”
Protect + Glow Daily Sunscreen SPF 30
☀️BEST GEL FACE SUNSCREEN
This reef-safe SPF is non-greasy and non-comedogenic, so you can trust that it will never clog your pores. Plus, it uses probiotic extracts to strengthen the skin barrier, pineapple and papaya to promote even skin tone, and wild butterfly ginger root to help protect against blue light. Great for all skin types, testers rave about its lightweight feeling and truly invisible finish (other than the soft glow it leaves behind). One reviewer said, “This stuff is the real deal! I have very acne-prone skin and it didn’t break me out. It goes on so lightly and it looks amazing under foundation.”
5 in 1 Face Cream With SPF30
With SPF 30 and both physical and chemical sun protection, this face cream helps combat signs of aging thanks to its nutrient-rich ingredient list. According to the brand, it features five major ingredients: zinc oxide, alpha arbutin, bisabolol, homeostatine, and the brand’s FAB antioxidant booster. It’s also suitable for all skin types, vegan, cruelty-free, and dermatologist tested. One reviewer said, “I haven’t had a single sign of sunburn on my super fair skin on my face since I started using this five or six years now. Even when I’ve burned terribly everywhere else on my body. Seriously, this is the best thing ever!”
Eryfotona Actinica Broad Spectrum SPF 50+
This featherlight SPF packs photolyase (DNA enzymes that repair sun damage), hydrating vitamin E, and zinc oxide to protect the skin from harmful UV rays and premature aging. “This sunscreen is beloved by both women and men, as it rubs in beautifully without leaving a white film,” says Dr. Marchbein. “And it’s a physical sunscreen, so it’s great for those with sensitive skin.” It’s also water-resistant for up to 40 minutes, fast-absorbing, and super lightweight. One reviewer said, “Even when layering Isdin with moisturizer, makeup, etc. there isn’t any heavy feeling.”
Solaire UV Mineral Multi-Defense Sunscreen Fluid SPF 50+
This new launch comes in a non-tinted and tinted formula, so you can find your perfect match. In addition to zinc-based SPF 50+, Avène’s sunscreen fluid boasts skin-calming niacinamide and an antioxidant complex to guard against harmful environmental factors. The emulsion needs to be worked into the skin a bit, but leaves the face feeling soft once it sinks in. It’s also certified by the National Eczema Association, Skin Cancer Foundation, and is Oncology safe. One reviewer said, “Love this! Big fan of the skincare active ingredients in here as well. Feels like the lightest, sheer foundation.”
Urban Environment Oil-Free UV Protector SPF 42
This broad-spectrum SPF is perfect for oily skin types, since it absorbs quickly, feels lightweight, and is non-comedogenic. Water-resistant for up to 40 minutes, it also contains peony root extract to diminish the appearance of pores, helping to perfect your skin before you go out. It also earns approval from the National Skin Cancer Foundation. One reviewer said, “Really love this moisturizer. It does feel light and absorbs into my skin. It doesn’t have any sticky feeling.”
Sunforgettable Total Protection Face Shield Glow SPF 50
“This hydrating sunscreen leaves almost no trace on the skin,” says Dr. Chang. She recommends it for what it does leave behind: protective antioxidants and 12% zinc oxide to ward off sun damage and pearly pigments for a radiant finish in three stunning tones. It’s also chemical-free, hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic, and water-resistant for up to 40 minutes. One reviewer said, “I think this one nailed it. It has a nice pleasant color that blends so perfectly into my skin and is completely transparent. It’s also so hydrating.”
City Skin Age Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 50
This broad-spectrum SPF 50 face sunscreen is designed to protect against UVA and UVB rays, pollution, blue light from devices, and infrared radiation. It relies on titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to help shield skin from the sun and pumps up the formula with vitamin C to boost brightness. Plus, it has a tint to help even your skin tone on no-makeup days. One reviewer said, “I love this…No white cast on melanated skin, moisturizing, and anti-aging ingredients.”
How to choose the best sunscreen for your face
Don’t skimp on quality: The label on your face sunscreen needs to say “broad spectrum” to guard against both UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) rays, says Dr. Ortiz. You really have to pay attention to the wording on the bottle because “many sunscreens only protect against UVB rays,” she says. Ideally, look for SPF 30 or higher.
Know your skin type: If you have dry skin, choose a face sunscreen with hydrating ingredients, says Dr. Zeichner, like hyaluronic acid or ceramides. If you’re oily, look for sunscreens made for acne-prone skin,which tend to have a matte finish. Lighter gel formulations will also feel less heavy if you tend to get shiny throughout the day.
Consider your skin tone: If you have a medium-to-dark complexion, chemical sunscreens (which are absorbed into the skin) apply more clear, while physical or mineral sunscreens (which sit on top of the skin and reflect UV rays) often leave some white cast. Both have their pros and cons and offer equal protection, says Dr. Woolery-Lloyd. The type you choose is a personal decision, but if you go for a mineral formula, which tends to work better for sensitive skin, apply it in sections so you can thoroughly rub in and sheer out the product.
Look for specific coverage: Dr. Camp says to choose a product with a minimum SPF of 30 and one that offers broad-spectrum protection (meaning UVA and UVB radiation). He says to also look for ones that are water-resistant, “meaning it stays on wet skin for 40 minutes.”
Layer it on last: “Generally speaking, sunscreen should be applied to freshly cleansed skin,” says Dr. Zeichner. As a rule of thumb, this should be the last step of your morning skincare before applying makeup—so it goes on after your serum or moisturizer.
Alisa Hrustic is the deputy editor at Prevention, where she leads the brand’s digital editorial strategy. She’s spent the last five years interviewing top medical experts, interpreting peer-reviewed studies, and reporting on health, nutrition, weight loss, and fitness trends for national brands like Women’s Health and Men’s Health. She spends most of her days diving into the latest wellness trends, writing and editing stories about health conditions, testing skincare products, and trying to understand the next greatest internet obsession.
Emily Goldman is the senior editor at Prevention. She’s spent the last few years editing and writing health, wellness, beauty, food, and more for Marthastewart.com and Bridalguide.com. She’s loved all things health and wellness since starting her bi-weekly podcast Pancreas Pals—a series all about the highs and lows of living life with Type 1 diabetes. When not podcasting, she spends most of her time curled up with a good book or watching a period piece on BBC.