5 Best Sunscreen Lotions that Offer Effective Sun Protection

The sun is shining brightly, are you planning a few beach trips this summer? Sunscreen is essential along with you, as well as flip-flops and sunglasses.

According to Dr. Jennifer Lin from Harward Medical School, sunscreen can be used for skin cancer prevention, including melanoma prevention. Even darker-skinned patients have a very low risk of skin cancer, using sunscreen or other sun-protective habits can effectively ward off the aging effects from the sun, such as wrinkles and hyperpigmentation.

This simple, yet powerful lotion allows you to enjoy the outdoors. However, the labeling can be confusing and certain bonus features may not have the same impact as you expect. In this article, we will discuss all the important factors to help you choose the best sunscreen lotion type.

Best Sunscreen Lotions

1. Hawaiian Tropic SPF 50 Broad Spectrum Sunscreen Lotion

$20.82 in stock
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Last update was on: April 15, 2024 7:42 am
Lightweight and effective


  • Good resistance to sweat and water for up to 80 minutes.
  • Broad-spectrum protection against UVA/UVB rays.
  • Non-greasy and leave no oily residue after applying
  • Nice smell


  • The formula contains Octocrylene, it’s not reef-safe.

2. Sun Bum Original SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion

$15.99 $18.49 in stock
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Vegan and oil free


  • Contains moisturizer and Vitamin E
  • Broad spectrum SPF 50 protection from UVA/UVB
  • Protection can last up to 80 minutes.
  • Vegan and water-resistant


  • It’s not reef-safe.

3. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Sunscreen Lotion

$44.99 in stock
12 new from $44.99
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Last update was on: April 15, 2024 7:42 am


  • Fast absorbing and drying without residue
  • Provide 80 minutes of broad-spectrum SPF 100 protection against sunburn
  • Resistance to water and sweat


  • It may sting the eyes if applying not carefully.

4. Neutrogena Sunscreen Lotion

$8.97 $10.99 in stock
24 new from $8.96
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Last update was on: April 15, 2024 7:42 am
Best for sensitive skin


  • Water-resistant sunscreen with broad spectrum SPF 70 for 80 minutes
  • Oil-free and PABA-free formula
  • Fragrance-free and suitable for sensitive skin
  • Easy to apply and doesn’t leave white residue


  • The smell is a bit unpleasant for some people.

5. EltaMD UV Sport Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Sunscreen Sport Lotion

$28.00 in stock
9 new from $28.00
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Last update was on: April 15, 2024 7:42 am
Good for everyday use


  • Provide broad-spectrum coverage against UVA and UVB rays
  • 80 minutes resistance in water
  • Easy to apply
  • No irritation


  • A big greasy for some people

What to Consider When Choosing Sunscreen Lotions?


Select a sunscreen that has a broad-spectrum label. This means that it protects against both UVA rays and UVB rays. All sunscreen products are UVB-protected, which is a major cause of skin cancers and sunburns.

In addition, UVA rays can prematurely age the skin and cause wrinkles and sunburn. Skin cancer can result from overexposure to either. Only products that pass specific tests can be called “broad spectrum”. Products with lower ratings must warn that they are not protecting against skin cancer and skin aging.

A sunscreen that only protects against sunburns and does not provide protection from UVA rays which can damage deeper tissues, is considered inadequate protection. It doesn’t matter what sunscreen lotion you buy,

SPF 30 or higher

SPF stands for sun protection factor and covers only UVB rays. The sunscreen’s SPF number indicates how much protection it provides against UVB rays.

A higher SPF number means more and longer protection. However, the greater the SPF number, the less difference you get. SPF 15 sunscreens block 93% of UVB radiation, while SPF 30 sunscreens block 97%, SPF 50 sunscreens block 98%, and SPF 100 blocks 98%. You are not protected completely by sunscreens. Any sunscreen below SPF15 must warn that it does not protect against skin cancer and skin aging. A sunscreen lotion with an SPF30 is safe and the minimum standard for most people. If you plan to do more outdoor activities, choose a sunscreen with SPF 50 or higher, and keep the sunscreen lotion with you.

Higher SPF will allow you to be in the sun for longer. It’s simple to understand SPF from protection time. You can only stay in direct sunlight for one minute without getting sunburnt. If you apply sunscreen with SPF 15, you can remain in the sun for about 15 minutes. A sunscreen with an SPF 60 means that the same person could be in the sun for approximately one hour.


Even the most effective sunscreen lotions can be washed away in water, or lose their effectiveness when you sweat. There are two options for water-resistant sunscreens: water-resistant 40 minutes and water-resistant 80 minutes. This means that the sunscreen formula is effective in water or sweat for the specified time.
When shopping for sunscreen, you should look for a lotion that resists water and sweat for at least 40 minutes. Moreover, if you’re swimming or sweating, You may rub off the sunscreen when you towel dry. Therefore, make sure to reapply sunscreen within 2 hours.


There are two main sunscreen formulas: mineral sunscreens and chemical sunscreens.

Mineral sunscreens, also known as physical sunscreens, are made with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. They sit on the skin and create a barrier against harmful UVA and UVB rays. Mineral sunscreens are best for sensitive skin or those with acne-prone skin. They last much longer than chemical formulas. However, the zinc oxide and titanium dioxide formulas are more difficult to spread onto your skin, they can leave behind a white residue.

Chemical sunscreens are made with ingredients like oxybenzone and avobenzone, which absorb UV radiation and convert them into heat. Due to their resistance to water, the chemical formula can be used for swimming. In addition, compared to their mineral counterparts, they are more transparent, easier to apply, more easily absorbed by the skin, and leave no white residue. However, chemical sunscreens are effective in a shorter time and require applying more frequently than mineral sunscreens.

Creams and lotions last on skin longer than sprays. And, they can form an effective protective layer over the skin. Sprays are easy to apply but require more generous sprays each time to keep the effectiveness.

Skin type

If you have dry skin, it’s best to choose sunscreen creams and lotions with moisturizing ingredients like aloe and oils. You should not choose sunscreen sprays or gel with alcohol ingredients.

If you have oily skin or acne-prone skin, sunscreens containing silica are more suitable. They usually are labeled ‘non-comedogenic’.

Hypoallergenic lotions are also available for those with sensitive skin, such as mineral or physical formula. You can test your skin with a small amount of sunscreen lotion before you apply it.


Sunscreen lotions can be found in small packages of 1 ounce or larger containers such as a gallon. Because 1 ounce of sunscreen lotion is sufficient to cover an average-sized person and you must reapply every 2 hours, purchasing sunscreen lotion in large quantities can be more economical and efficient.

Applying ways

Spray-on lotions are not recommended because of inhalation concerns. This is especially true if it’s being used on children. Pumps or squeeze tubes are the best way to ensure that sunscreen is actually being applied to your skin and not blowing off in the wind. You should choose the method that works for you. Some protection is better than none.


It is becoming more clear that sunscreen lotions can have a detrimental effect on fragile marine ecosystems like coral reefs. While research is ongoing, it is believed that sunscreen lotions containing ingredients like oxybenzone and butylparaben are potentially hazardous to marine ecosystems. To protect the fragile ecosystems of some areas, such as Hawaii, there is a ban on sunscreens that aren’t reef-safe.

Here are some ingredients to avoid when buying a reef-safe sunscreen:


Choose a sunscreen lotion that is pleasant to the nose if you value smell. Sunscreen lotions can be infused with the fragrance of tropical fruits, flowers, milk, or even coffee.

Bug repellent

You can buy a sunscreen lotion that has bug repellent, but it is better to use two products.

How to Properly Use Sunscreens?

  • Apply sunscreen before sun exposure. Sunscreen protection is best when applied early. It takes between 30 minutes for sunscreen to fully protect you.
  • Apply sunscreen generously. Apply the recommended amount of sunscreen to all exposed areas, even your entire body. Rub it and let it absorb. To ensure complete coverage, you can apply the second layer.
  • Re-apply sunscreen every two hours as long as you are exposed to the sunlight. Applying sunscreen only once a day is not enough.
  • Sunscreen is not waterproof. Water-resistant does NOT mean waterproof. You will need to apply sunscreen again if you are in water or sweat.
  • Seek shade during peak UV exposure hours. No matter how high the SPF is, sunscreen doesn’t provide complete protection. Wear extra sun-protective clothing, a wide hat, and sunglasses, and use a sun umbrella to increase sun protection between 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. UV rays can also pass through clothing if you can see the light through it.
  • Avoid sprays. They don’t cover well and can cause inadvertent inhalation of the mist.
  • Sunscreen lotion is not recommended for infants younger than six months. Babies should be kept away from the sun.
  • Sunscreen should be applied daily: Applying sunscreen every day can help you look younger and protect you from harmful UV rays.
  • Apply sunscreen underneath your makeup. You should be aware that many cosmetic products do not provide protection, or offer protection that is lower than the SPF30 recommended.
  • Sunscreen should be used not only on sunny days but also on cloudy or cool days. A cool day in summer may have the same UV levels as a sunny day.
  • Apply sunscreen when you drive for a long time.

What Is The Difference Between Facial Sunscreen and Body Sunscreen?

Facial sunscreens are specifically made for the face. They are less oily, lighter, and more easily absorbed than body sunscreen, especially when the skin can develop or break out from acne. Mineral-based sunscreens are great for sensitive skin or those with clogged pores. Facial sunscreens are often fragrance-free and friendly to sensitive skin.

Body sunscreens can be used on the arms, legs, stomach, back, and other areas. In order to prevent sunburns or skin peeling, they may be either thick or oily depending on the amount you apply. Scented body sunscreens may cause irritations on sensitive skin.


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