Best Sunscreens of 2023 - Consumer Reports (2023)

If you’re planning a beach vacation this winter, sunscreen is probably on your packing list. But what if you’re headed to the slopes, or simply taking a walk around your neighborhood? Truth is, you near to wear sunscreen on exposed skin year-round, even if you live in a cold, snowy part of the country. There may be fewer hours of daylight and the sun may feel weaker this time of year, but the sun’s ultraviolet light, which causes skin cancer, sun burn, and skin aging, is still definitely there.

Your go-to sunscreen in summer may not be right for you in the winter, though. Maybe you rely on a spray all summer, but in the winter a lotion would be easier to apply. Or you might want a sunscreen that has more moisturizing properties, or even a different scent. Consumer Reports’ sunscreen ratings will help you find the best sunscreen for you.

Best Sunscreens of 2023 - Consumer Reports (1)

Photo: John Walsh/Consumer Reports Photo: John Walsh/Consumer Reports

How We Test Sunscreens

(Video) Here are the best sunscreens, according to Consumer Reports

CR uses a testing protocol that’s modeled on the one the Food and Drug Administration requires sunscreen manufacturers to use. But as is the case with other products we test that have government or industry standards, we use those standards as benchmarks and develop our own methodology to identify differences in performance and give consumers a comparative evaluation.

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“We buy the sunscreens for our tests off the shelf, the way consumers would,” says Susan Booth, who oversees our sunscreen testing. “We use three samples, preferably with different lot numbers, of each product.” All the products are tested for SPF and ultraviolet A (UVA) protection.

(Video) Best sunscreens of 2022, according to Consumer Reports

SPF, or sun protection factor, is a measure of how well a sunscreen protects against sunburn, which is mostly the result of exposure to the sun’s UVB rays.

To check SPF, a standard amount of each sunscreen is applied to a 2x3-inch rectangle on panelists’ backs. Then they soak in a tub of water. Afterward, smaller sections of that area are exposed to five to six intensities of UV light from a sun simulator for a set time. About a day later, a trained technician examines the areas for redness. The resulting SPF ratings—Excellent to Poor—reflect each product’s effectiveness after water immersion and are based on an average of our results for each sunscreen. We also calculate a score for variation from SPF. This is a measure of how closely a sunscreen’s tested SPF matched the SPF on the label.

In order to be labeled “broad spectrum,” the FDA requires that a sunscreen protect against UVB and UVA rays. UVA rays penetrate deeply into the skin and cause damage that can lead to skin cancer and skin aging.

To test for UVA protection, we smear sunscreen on plastic plates, pass UV light through, and measure the amount of UVA and UVB rays that are absorbed. That information is used to calculate our UVA score.

This test is similar to the critical wavelength test the FDA requires sunscreen manufacturers to do in order to label their products broad-spectrum. This is a pass/fail test, and just as you can pass a test with either an A or a D grade, some sunscreens do a much better job of defending against UVA than others. That’s why, for our ratings, we also use a test that allows us to measure the degree of UVA protection a sunscreen provides.

@consumerreports Sunscreen is a year-round product to use ☀️. We test them each year to help you make the best purchasing decision 😎. See ratings + reviews at #sunscreen #skincare #skintok ♬ original sound - Consumer Reports

(Video) BEST SUNSCREENS EVER?! | Doctorly Reviews

Finding a Sunscreen You’ll Want to Use

For many people, the way a sunscreen smells and feels on their skin is as important as the UV protection it provides. So in addition to our performance tests, our trained sensory panelists also evaluate sunscreens for scent and feel. The sensory testing isn’t factored into our Overall Score. What people prefer is subjective, so we can’t say, for instance, whether a sunscreen that has a tropical aroma is better than one with a classic beachy aroma. But our panelists objectively describe the scent and feel of every sunscreen we test so that you can pick the best product for you.

Environmental concerns also drive sunscreen choices. A majority of the sunscreens in our ratings don’t contain oxybenzone or octinoxate. These two chemical active ingredients are highly effective UV filters, but they’re the ones that are most often flagged as being potentially harmful to coral reefs.

All of the sunscreens at the top of CR’s ratings contain chemical active ingredients, such as avobenzone. Some people may prefer to use a mineral, or natural, sunscreen—those with zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, or both. See “Best Mineral Sunscreens of 2023” for CR’s picks.

We also include the price per container and the price per ounce so that you can weigh all the factors when you’re choosing a sunscreen.

Below are some of the top-performing sunscreens in our tests, listed in alphabetical order within their category. CR members have access to our full ratings.

(Video) Top sunscreens for summer, ranked by Consumer Reports l GMA

Best Lotion Sunscreens

It’s easier to make sure you’re getting adequate coverage with a lotion than with a spray because you can see how much you’re applying. Use about a teaspoon per body part or area that’s not covered up with clothing: 1 teaspoon for your face, head, and neck; 1 for each arm; 1 for each leg; 1 for your chest and abdomen; and 1 for your back and the back of your neck. If you are in a bathing suit, you’ll need about an ounce of lotion to cover your body. That’s about the amount that fills a shot glass. (Note: The Kiehl’s product below contains oxybenzone.)

Best Spray Sunscreens

Our tests found that if you apply spray properly, you can cover your skin adequately in one pass, but proper application isn’t always easy, especially when it’s windy. Oftentimes you end up protecting the air more than your skin. Spraying the sunscreen into your hand and then applying to your body helps ensure better coverage. But if you don’t do that, hold the nozzle close to your skin and spray until your skin glistens, then rub it in. Do this even if a spray is labeled “no rub”; smoothing it into skin increases its protection. Then repeat, just to be safe. Never spray your face because you could get it in your eyes or inhale it. Instead, spray the sunscreen into your hands and rub it onto your face.

Consumer Reports recommends using a lotion on kids rather than a spray, but if you choose to use a spray, be very careful when applying it. Children are more likely to inhale the mist, which could cause lung irritation. The best thing to do is spray it into your hands and rub it onto your child’s skin. At the very least, have children close their eyes and mouth and turn their head while you spray. And sprays can be flammable when they’re wet, so be sure to keep yourself and kids away from any heat source—such as a grill—until the product is thoroughly dry on the skin.

Best Sunscreens of 2023 - Consumer Reports (2)

Trisha Calvo

I've covered health and nutrition my entire career, so I know how to separate science from hype. Whether it's about food labels, sunscreen, or food safety, my goal is to deliver information that makes following a healthy lifestyle easier. Healthy cooking is a favorite hobby, and friends think I'm crazy, but I can happily spend hours grocery shopping. Follow me on Twitter. (@TrishaCalvo)

(Video) THE BEST SUNSCREENS OF 2022 🏆 Dermatologist @DrDrayzday


What is the number 1 sunscreen? ›

Best Sunscreen Overall: CeraVe Hydrating Sunscreen Body Lotion SPF 50. Best Face Sunscreen: EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen SPF 46. Best Sunscreen For Sensitive Skin: Beautycounter Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30. Best Mineral Sunscreen: Pipette Mineral Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50.

What is the most reliable sunscreen? ›

The winner of the GH Beauty Lab's most recent face sunscreen test, Vichy came out on top in almost every category. It earned the best score for being easy to apply, making skin feel hydrated and not leaving a white cast, being sticky, causing breakouts or irritation or interfering with makeup.

What sunscreen does the FDA recommend? ›

In general, the FDA recommends that you use broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher, even on cloudy days. In addition: Apply sunscreen liberally to all uncovered skin, especially your nose, ears, neck, hands, feet, and lips (but avoid putting it inside your mouth and eyes).

What sunscreen do doctors recommend? ›

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that everyone use sunscreen that offers the following: Broad-spectrum protection (protects against UVA and UVB rays) SPF 30 or higher.

Is Coolibar a good brand? ›

Our favorite fabrics

Coolibar is one of the best UPF clothing brands, according to medical experts we previously consulted in our guides to UPF fashion and UPF hats. Quality of the fabric is perfect. Addicted to Coolibar!

What SPF is best for Florida Sun? ›

An SPF of 15 will absorb about 94-95% of ultraviolet radiation, SPF 30 around 97% and SPF 45 an estimated 98-99%. It's recommended to use an SPF of 30 or more for all skin types, year-round, in a place as hot as Florida.

What is the healthiest safest sunscreen? ›

For now, if you are concerned about health effects, the safest choice is a so-called “mineral” or “physical” sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, dermatologists say. Those are only sunscreen ingredients that the FDA says are “generally recognized as safe and effective.”

What is the most effective sunscreen or sunblock? ›

Broad-spectrum, mineral sunscreens also provide the most protection against the full spectrum of radiation from UV rays. And, when it comes down to skin irritation, mineral sunscreens are top-notch in this area because the ingredients aren't absorbed into the skin but sit on the surface.

Is there something better than sunscreen? ›

She recommends sunblock for people with sensitive skin or skin conditions, because some of the ingredients in chemical sunscreen might cause irritation or an allergic reaction. But ultimately, the best sun protection product is the one you like to use and works for your needs. Dr.

What sunscreen has a lawsuit? ›

Numerous class action sunscreen lawsuits have been brought against Johnson & Johnson (manufacturer of Neutrogena and Aveeno), Coppertone, Banana Boat, and other well-known brands due to the sunscreen recall conducted in 2021. The sunscreen lawsuit 2021 affected many people who are using the recalled sunscreens.

What should you avoid when buying sunscreen? ›

Avoid any skin or lip product whose label includes retinyl palmitate, retinol or vitamin A. Avoid oxybenzone, an ingredient that may behave like estrogen. Oxybenzone penetrates the skin readily and can disrupt the hormone system. Look for products with zinc oxide, 3 percent avobenzone or Mexoryl SX.

How do I choose a safe sunscreen? ›

Choose the Right Sunscreen
  1. Choose a sunscreen with “broad spectrum” protection. ...
  2. Make sure your sunscreen has a sun protection factor (SPF) 30 or higher. ...
  3. “Water resistant” does not mean “waterproof.” No sunscreens are waterproof or “sweatproof,” and manufacturers are not allowed to claim that they are.
Jun 11, 2018

What sunscreen does Gwyneth Paltrow use? ›

Gwyneth Paltrow shared the “moisturizing” sunscreen she uses everyday. She loves UnSun's Mineral Tinted SPF 30 because it “sinks in like a dream.”

Is Banana Boat sunscreen good? ›

1 bestselling spray sunscreen, Banana Boat's lightweight sunblock offers broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays. It earned a 4.7-star average rating from nearly 4,200 reviews on Amazon.

What SPF number do doctors or pharmacists recommend? ›

The American Association of Dermatology (AAD) recommends that a "broad spectrum" sunscreen (meaning it protects against ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays with an SPF of at least 15 that is applied daily to all sun exposed areas, then reapplied every two hours.

What is an alternative to Coolibar? ›'s top 5 competitors in December 2022 are:,,,, and more.

Is Coolibar a US company? ›

Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Coolibar designs, manufactures and markets premium sun-protective clothing and accessories.

Who owns Coolibar? ›

What SPF does Kourtney Kardashian use? ›

One of her must-haves is the EltaMD UV Replenish Broad-Spectrum SPF 44.

What SPF does Kylie Jenner use? ›

This is how it looks! According to Kylie Skin, the Broad Spectrum SPF 40 Face Sunscreen can be used to protect the skin from the sun, moisturise dry skin and serve as the perfect primer for your makeup.

Which SPF is best for hot weather? ›

Pick a sunscreen of SPF 30 and above and look for certification that assures protection against UVA and UVB radiation (usually labelled Broad Spectrum or PA+++).

What is the safest sunscreen without carcinogens? ›

8 Clean Sunscreens
  • Unsun Hydrating Full Coverage Body Lotion SPF 30. ...
  • Grown Alchemist Natural Hydrating Sunscreen SPF 30. ...
  • Unsun Mineral Tinted Face Sunscreen. ...
  • Saie Sunvisor. ...
  • The Organic Pharmacy Cellular Protection Sun Cream SPF 50. ...
  • MARA Algae + Zinc Sea Kale Sunscreen Serum. ...
  • Supergoop Zincscreen 100% Mineral Lotion SPF 40.
Jan 3, 2023

What are the worst sunscreen chemicals? ›

Due to their high toxicity, the following high risk chemical UV-filters have already been banned in 7 countries and regions around the globe.
  • Oxybenzone / Benzophenone-3 (BP-3) ...
  • Octinoxate / Octylmethoxycinnamate (OMZ) ...
  • Homosalate. ...
  • Octisalate / Ethylhexyl Salicylate. ...
  • Octocrylene / 2-Ethylhexyl Ester.

What is the safest sunscreen without benzene? ›

  • La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-in Milk Body & Face Sunscreen Lotion SPF 100. ...
  • Neutrogena Age Shield Face Lotion Sunscreen SPF 110. ...
  • Aveeno Ultra-Calming Daily Moisturizer SPF 30. ...
  • Sun Bum Mineral SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion. ...
  • Supergoop! ...
  • Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen with SPF 55. ...
  • EltaMD UV Daily Broad-Spectrum SPF 40.
Oct 24, 2022

Which sunscreen actually works? ›

  • Neutrogena Ultra Dry-Touch Sunscreen SPF 55. ...
  • ISDIN Eryfotona Actinica Ultralight Emulsion Sunscreen SPF 50+ ...
  • La Roche Posay Anthelios Sunscreen. ...
  • Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen, Sensitive SPF 30+, 5-oz. ...
  • Babo Botanicals Daily Sheer Fragrance Free Sunscreen SPF 40. ...
  • EltaMD UV Aero Broad-Spectrum SPF 45.
Apr 8, 2022

What is difference between sunblock and sunscreen? ›

The difference between sunscreen and sunblock

Most sunscreens only cover UV-B rays. Sunblock physically blocks the sun's UV rays from penetrating the skin, acting as a barrier. Sunblocks contain either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide and protect the skin against both UV-A and UV-B rays.

What sunscreen is being recalled 2023? ›

The recalled Banana Boat sunscreen products are 6 oz (170 gram) cans. Announced on January 27, 2023, the recall expansion affects one additional batch of Banana Boat sunscreens that are packaged in aerosol cans.

Who makes the safest sunscreen? ›

The best safe sunscreens & non-toxic sunscreen formulas for 2023
  1. Annmarie Skin Care. Save. ...
  2. Attitude. Save. ...
  3. Earth Mama Organics. Save. ...
  4. Ilia Sunscreen. Save. ...
  5. 5. Activist Skincare Sunscreen. Save. ...
  6. All Good. Save. ...
  7. Beauty By Earth Natural Sunscreen. Save. ...
  8. Babo Botanicals. Save.
Apr 15, 2022

Why Neutrogena got sued? ›

People are filing sunscreen lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson, Aveeno and Neutrogena because these companies manufactured products containing benzene, which may have led plaintiffs to develop cancer. Consumers purchased J&J's sunscreens to decrease their risk of skin cancer.

What are the two bad ingredients in sunscreen? ›

Oxybenzone, known as benzophenone-3, a hormone disrupter. Avobenzone, also a benzophenone. Homosalate, another hormone disruptor. Octinoxate, known as octyl methoxycinnamate, a hormone and endocrine disruptor.

Why you shouldn't wear sunscreen all the time? ›

There's a danger in assuming that putting on sunscreen is by itself enough to protect you against the sun. Many studies have demonstrated that individuals who use sunscreen tend to stay out in the sun for a longer period of time, and thus may actually increase their risk of skin cancer.

What two ingredients should you look for in a sunscreen product? ›

Look for a sunscreen that contains at least one of the following, Leffell says: ecamsule, avobenzone, oxybenzone, titanium dioxide, sulisobenzone, or zinc oxide.

What sunscreen does JLo use? ›

Talking to People, JLo revealed just how important SPF is to her and to get her daily dose of sun protection, the singer uses L'Oreal Paris Revitalift Bright Reveal Moisturizer.

What sunscreen does Jennifer Aniston use? ›

Aniston spends a lot of time in the sun, but she's learned the importance of protecting her skin. As a spokesperson for Aveeno, Aniston says she's all about Aveeno Protect+Hydrate Lotion Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50 ($9) and Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Sheer Hydration Lotion ($9).

What sunscreen does Angelina Jolie use? ›

Jolie's Skincare Products

Jolie's choice of products is fairly simple. She favors Rand's own Dermbasics RR Perfection Cream, a chemical-free antioxidant-rich SPF 50+ sunscreen, especially when traveling.

Why was Banana Boat sunscreen discontinued? ›

The FDA says trace amounts of benzene were detected in certain batches of spray-on sunscreen. The maker of Banana Boat recalled three batches of spray-on sunscreen after an internal review found trace levels of benzene in the products.

Why is Blue Lizard sunscreen the best? ›

Formulated with both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, this sunscreen provides broad-spectrum protection from UVA and UVB rays. Blue Lizard says this formulation (which contains no added fragrance) is sweat resistant and water resistant for 80 minutes (the highest such claim allowed by the FDA).

What are the issues with Banana Boat sunscreen? ›

Three batches were already recalled last summer. While benzene is not an ingredient in any Banana Boat products, the company says unexpected levels of benzene came from the propellant that sprays the product out of the can. The Food Drug Administration classifies benzene as a carcinogen.

Does higher SPF mean more chemicals? ›

Higher SPF sunscreens contains higher concentrations of chemical sunscreen ingredients. It is scientifically shown that chemical (organic) sunscreen ingredients can be absorbed into the skin, and when struck by UV radiation, these can become quite aggressive free radicals, increasing the risk of damage.

What is a good SPF to wear everyday? ›

Most experts recommend looking for a broad-spectrum sunscreen that has SPF 30 or higher because it prevents 97% of UV rays from penetrating your skin. The EltaMD Facial Sunscreen, our best overall, has an SPF of 46, which is the perfect level of protection for everyday wear.

What SPF is best for melanoma? ›

Regular daily use of SPF 15 sunscreen can reduce your risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) by about 40 percent, and lower your melanoma risk by 50 percent.

Is SPF 30 or 50 better for face? ›

A sunscreen with SPF 30 will protect you from around 96.7% of UVB rays, whereas an SPF of 50 means protection from about 98% of UVB rays. Anything beyond SPF 50 makes very little difference in terms of risk of sun damage, and no sunscreens offer 100% protection from UVB rays.

Is sunscreen SPF 50 the best? ›

Sunburn protection is only marginally better.

Sunbathers often assume they get twice as much protection from SPF 100 sunscreen as from SPF 50. But the extra protection is negligible. Properly applied SPF 50 sunscreen blocks 98 percent of UVB rays; SPF 100 blocks 99 percent.

Is SPF 50 too much for face? ›

Experts say sunscreens with an SPF higher than 50 aren't worth buying. They only offer marginally better protection. They might also encourage you to stay out in the sun longer. Instead, choose an SPF between 15 and 50, apply liberally, and reapply often.

What SPF should you wear on your face everyday? ›

What sunscreen should I buy? For day-to-day use, pick a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. If you spend time outdoors, choose a product with SPF 60 or greater. In reality, most people do not use as much sunscreen as they should, and this higher SPF helps compensate for the reduced application.

What is the difference between sunblock and sunscreen? ›

The difference between sunscreen and sunblock

Most sunscreens only cover UV-B rays. Sunblock physically blocks the sun's UV rays from penetrating the skin, acting as a barrier. Sunblocks contain either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide and protect the skin against both UV-A and UV-B rays.

Why is factor 30 better than 50? ›

An SPF 30 allows about 3 percent of UVB rays to hit your skin. An SPF of 50 allows about 2 percent of those rays through. That may seem like a small difference until you realize that the SPF 30 is allowing 50 percent more UV radiation onto your skin.

Is factor 30 or 50 better? ›

Interestingly, SPF50 offers only marginally better protection from UV radiation than SPF30 filtering out 98 per cent of UV radiation compared to 96.7 per cent blocked by SPF30. It's important to consider how you apply sunscreen.

Is SPF 100 too much? ›

Should you use SPF 100? Experts unequivocally say no. "The benefit is that it affords us about 1 percent more coverage from the UVB burning rays than an SPF of 50," says Ciraldo. "But the risk is not worth it."

What sunscreen does Kelly Ripa use? ›

“I love the Laura Mercier tinted sunscreen because it's a great moisturizer, but it doesn't look chalky,” she noted. The tinted moisturizer from Laura Mercier comes in two sizes—a standard and a mini for easy traveling and on-the-go perfecting.

Is Blue Lizard Sunscreen dermatologist recommended? ›

Blue Lizard is highly recommended by dermatologists and pediatricians. All of our sunscreens contain broad spectrum Zinc Oxide, protecting you from both UVA and UVB rays. Our Sensitive, Baby, Kids, Active and Sport sunscreens are also water resistant for splash time, swim time and sweat time.

What company owns Blue Lizard Sunscreen? ›

Crown Laboratories, Inc. is a privately held, fully integrated global skin care company that is committed to developing and providing a diverse portfolio of beauty, consumer, OTC, prescription, medical and aesthetic skin care products that improve the quality of life for its customers.


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