14 Best Body Sunscreens for Every Need, Backed by Dermatologists and Skin Pros (2024)

Beach days. Backyard barbecues. The long days of summer call for serious sun protection. But did you know your face sunscreen isn’t enough for the rest of your body? When it comes to skincare, safeguarding your body against harmful UV rays is non-negotiable, yet is often overlooked. And you might be wondering why the distinction between body and face sunscreen? Well, just as your facial skin has unique needs, so does the rest of your body. When seeking the best body sunscreen, considerations extend beyond mere SPF numbers to encompass things like water resistance, texture and application ease. Finding the ideal body sunscreen takes into account things like broad-spectrum protection to non-greasy formulas that won’t leave you feeling sticky or weighed down.

Related: The Anti-Sunscreen Trend Is Here: Why People Are Ditching Sunscreen and Why It Is Important Not To

14 Best Body Sunscreens for Every Need, Backed by Dermatologists and Skin Pros (1)

Here, we tapped top dermatologists to find out more about exactly what you need to look for when it comes to your body sunscreen, plus we’ve curated a lineup of the crème de la crème in body sunscreens to meet your every need. From the best body sunscreen spray for convenient application to the top mineral option for those with sensitive skin, get ready to find your best match and soak up the sun —safely, of course. Read on to see our ultimate guide to the best body sunscreen options.

Related: Should I Use a Mineral or Chemical Sunscreen? Pros Weigh In + Share the Best SPF Formulas

Why you should use a separate body sunscreen from a face sunscreen

Facial skin is different than body skin, saysMona Gohara, MD, board-certified dermatologist and Associate Clinical Professor of Dermatology at Yale School of Medicine. “There are more oil-producing glands, for example, on the face,” she adds. “Also, patients usually want more cosmetically elegant facial SPFs that are compatible with a more robust skin care routine, or take into account more sensitive skin such as the lips, ears and eyes.”

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Board-certified dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD also notes that the main differences between a facial and body sunscreen are the textures and any additional benefits, such as hydration or anti-aging effects. “Many of the facial sunscreen products are designed to help brighten the skin, provide antioxidant effects, reduce shine or to give a variety of other cosmetic effects,” he says. “With the exception of people who are significantly acne prone, or have conditions like rosacea or eczema, most people can apply a body sunscreen to the face without any issues.”

If you have any specialized facial issues or are looking for a facial product that contains anti-aging effects or cosmetic coverage, then you may want to have a different sunscreen for the face and for the body. And Dr. Zeichner adds that “to my knowledge, there are no body sunscreens that contain a tint, the way that many facial SPF products are designed.”

Dr. Zeichner also doesn’t recommend spraying an aerosol sunscreen directly on the face. “The reason for this is that I would not want a patient inhaling the sunscreen accidentally or getting it into the eyes,” he explains. “Spray sunscreen can be used on the face, however, I recommend spraying it into the palm of the hand first and then rubbing it onto the face.”

Related: 7 Best Face Sunscreens for Mature Skin To Ward Off Wrinkles and More

What ingredients and SPF level to look for in a body sunscreen

In general, if it is broad spectrum 30 or higher, you are in good shape, says Dr. Gohara. “The texture is up to the individual, some prefer a gel or light lotion, others a cream. Whichever one you will apply is the one I recommend!”

Dermatologist, cosmetic surgeon and skin expert, Purvisha Patel, MD also recommends using SPF 30 or higher and one that’s water-resistant. Dr. Patel says it’s best to use physical blocks (aka mineral formulas) with ingredients such as titanium oxide and zinc oxide and avoid chemical SPFs that are made with oxybenzone or octinoxate because they can irritate skin. “I love stick sunscreens, especially when they are physical blockers that give excellent protection and can be targeted to areas of use,” she adds. “Targeted areas should be areas that are burned easily and that sunscreen rubs off easily — such as noses, tops of ears and shoulders.”

Also important? Nurse practitioner Jodi LoGerfo, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC says you want your body sunscreen to be labeled “broad-spectrum,” which means it can protect you from both UVA and UVB rays. And it’s also good to note that “water-resistant formulas can last about 40 minutes or so,” she says, meaning re-application frequently when in water or sweating is paramount.

How to apply body sunscreen

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“The proper amount of sunscreen you should use is about one shot glass worth of sunscreen for the body — I tell people for each half of the body though,” says Dr. Patel. The sunscreen should also be rubbed onto your skin like you’re icing a cake, she notes. Sprays tend to miss spots on the skin, so it may help to enlist a friend or family member to help you apply.

“Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours, and it should cover all exposed skin,” adds Dr. Patel. To that point, “don’t forget to apply sunscreen to your shoulders, hands, back, backs of the thighs and arms (not just the front), ankles and feet,” says Dr. LoGerfo. “These body parts are often forgotten.” And lips a commonly missed spot too, which is why Dr. Patel suggests using a SPF-infused lip balm. One we like: SOL LABS SPF 15 Lip Balm.

Another good thing to know about applying sunscreen? It takes approximately 15 minutes for your skin to absorb the sunscreen and protect you. “If you wait until you are in the sun to apply sunscreen, your skin is unprotected and can burn,” says Dr. LoGerfo. “People who get sunburned usually didn’t use enough sunscreen, didn’t reapply it after being in the sun or used an expired product. Your skin is exposed to the sun’s harmful UV rays every time you go outside, even on cloudy days and in the winter.”

The best body sunscreens

Keep scrolling to see our experts’ favorite body sunscreens to keep in your beach bag all summer long.

Related: 4 Best Double-Duty Sunscreens for Face, Body and Hair That Go Beyond Sun Protection

Best spray body sunscreens

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Banana Boat Sport Cool Zone Clear Sunscreen SPF 50

Dr. LoGerfo says this is appealing because it is an SPF of 50, has a cooling feeling when applied to skin and it has a nice scent. “This spray sunscreen is not at all greasy and is quickly absorbed by your skin,” she says. Plus, she notes that it “has a good price point!”

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Elta MD UV AOX Mist

This is Dr. Gohara’s spray pick, as it’s “light, and blends wonderfully on brown skin.” It’s made completely of zinc (aka making it a mineral SPF) and is broad spectrum to keep you fully protected.

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Image Skincare Spray Daily Protection Prevent and Refresh Mist SPF 40

Prefer a spray that works for both the face and body? This dry oil option goes on clear and is great for refreshing your sun protection when you’re walking around in shorts.

Best drugstore body sunscreens

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Eucerin Advanced Hydration SPF 50 Sunscreen

“I am a particular fan of the Eucerin sunscreen products that recently came to the market,” says Dr. Zeichner. “They combine high-quality protection against the full UV spectrum in addition to caring for the needs of the skin.” These products all contain prospection UV protection, along with a blend of antioxidants that help neutralize free radical damage caused by both long wave UVA and visible light. “The Eucerin advanced hydration SPF 50 sunscreen comes in a large size and was designed with the body in mind, However, I recommend it all the time for use on the face as well,” he adds.

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CeraVe 100% Mineral Sunscreen

While Dr. Patel says this lotion can leave a white cast, it makes up for it in its ability to keep skin protected. Plus, it contains ceramides that keep skin moisturized and strengthens the skin barrier at the same time.

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Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Dry Touch Sunscreen

Dr. Gohara likes this one and says that the mineral formulation makes it less irritating, and the sheer nature of the product makes it amenable to daily use on all skin types. Dr. LoGerfo is a fan of it as well, “because it feels very light on the skin, and has an SPF of 100. It is also water-resistant!”

Best body sunscreen lotion

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Coola Classic Body Lotion SPF 50

For a lotion that feels anything but greasy Dr. LoGerfo recommends this formula. She likes its fresh scent and the fact it’s broad-spectrum. “It feels super light on the skin and gets absorbed readily.”

Best body sunscreen oil

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Sun Bum Original SPF 30 Sunscreen Oil

Sunscreen now comes in many forms and if you have dry skin or like your body skin to look glowing, look to a sunscreen oil. Dr. LoGerfo adds that this body SPF is “extremely nurturing to skin, smells great and offers broad spectrum protection.”

Best non-greasy body sunscreen

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Cay Skin Isle Nourishing Body Mist SPF 50

Hate how greasy or sticky skin can feel after applying SPF? Then this option is for you. It’s hydrating, but very lightweight, says Dr. LoGerfo. “It is a spray, which I appreciate — it is easy to apply.”

Best mineral body sunscreens

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La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra Light Mineral Fluid

Dr. Gohara likes this pick to protect against indoor blue light, in addition to UV rays. “The very, very light formulation makes it feel like you have nothing on — great for athletes,” she says. Dr. Zeichner adds if you suffer from melasma or other forms of hyperpigmentation, he recommends applying a tinted mineral sunscreen designed for the face. “The iron oxide pigments provide additional benefits, besides the UV filters. The iron oxide has been shown to protect the skin against visible light exposure, a common contributor to the development or worsening of melasma,” he says. “In this case, you would want to use a sunscreen specifically formulated for the face.”

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Soleil Toujours Daily Defense Mineral Body Lotion SPF 30

For a mineral sunscreen that checks many boxes, Dr. LoGerfo points to this one. “It’s a mineral (zinc oxide) sunscreen, so that is a go-to for me,” she notes. Plus, its super hydrating texture feels good on skin and contains nourishing antioxidants.

The best invisible body sunscreens

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Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen Body SPF 40

Dr. LoGerfo says this formula offers a lot of perks —“it feels invisible, it’s not tacky or sticky and has no fragrance, yet it is hydrating to skin.”

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La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt In Milk SPF 60

“This sunscreen was rated #1 by Consumer Reports for several years,” says Dr. Zeichner. “It fully melts into the skin for an invisible finish, even in darker skin tones.”

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14 Best Body Sunscreens for Every Need, Backed by Dermatologists and Skin Pros (2024)
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