16 Dermatologist-Approved Sunscreens From the Drugstore
Sunscreen is an often forgotten step in many people's skin-care routines, but any dermatologist will tell you that wearing it is vital to your skin's health. Why? Because it keeps your face, neck, and body protected from the sun's harmful UVA and UVB rays. Even on overcast and rainy days — or days spent inside when sunscreen feels like an unnecessary addition to your morning routine — it is important to slather it on.
It can be difficult to find the perfect sunscreen formula for your skin type, especially when it doubles as a base for your makeup. If you're like most people, you don't want an SPF moisturizer that is sticky, heavy, or greasy. There are also a lot of options to consider for chemical vs. physical sunscreens. Whether you want a drugstore sunscreen for sensitive skin, a water-based sunscreen, or a reliable noncomedogenic sunscreen from the drugstore, there are plenty of products to shop for.
With affordability in mind, we asked a handful of board-certified dermatologists to share their favorite drugstore SPF. This list features quality formulas that won't break the bank, including picks from brands like CeraVe, La Roche-Posay, Neutrogena, and more. So, here are some of the best drugstore sunscreens they recommend to fit every budget.
— Additional reporting by Anvita Reddy
Dermatologist-Recommended Drugstore Sunscreen For Darker Skin
"The Black Girl Sunscreen is an affordable, chemical sunscreen with natural and hydrating ingredients such as jojoba, cacao, and avocado. The sheer formula goes on clear and is made specifically for melanated skin without any parabens, fragrances, oxybenzone or octinoxate, so it is safe for sensitive skin types." — Dermatologist Kunal Malik, MD.
You can read more about sunscreens we recommend for darker skin tones here.
Dermatologist-Recommended Drugstore Sunscreen That's Oil-Free
"La Roche-Posay's Anthelios Melt In Milk Sunscreen SPF 60 is a chemical sunscreen with a high SPF. It has a smooth, clean texture that doesn't feel greasy or sticky. This sunscreen absorbs very quickly with a nice finish." — Dr. Malik
Dermatologist-Recommended Drugstore Sunscreen That's Hydrating
"I love Neutrogena's Hydro Boost Sunscreen because it's light, not greasy or shiny, but has excellent moisturizing properties because of its hyaluronic acid vehicle, and the high-quality broad-spectrum protection we can always rely on from Neutrogena." — Dermatologist Jessica Krant, MD
Dermatologist-Recommended Drugstore Mineral Sunscreen For Dry Skin
"I like the Cerave Hydrating Face Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50. It is a physical blocker, so it reflects against both UVA and UVB spectrum. It has ceramides in it that help maintain a skin barrier, keeping it hydrated. It also has a vitamin B3 called niacinamide that helps calm the skin. Lastly, it is oil-free, which is great for acne-prone patients. They don't have to worry about clogging their pores and introducing chemicals to their skin, which can exacerbate their flares." — Dermatologist Sarika Snell, MD
Dermatologist-Recommended Drugstore Sunscreen For Acne-Prone Skin
"Differin's Oil Absorbing Moisturizer provides broad-spectrum UVA/UVB SPF 30 sun protection in an oil-free, lightweight formula. I love that it hydrates the skin without clogging the pores. It is non-comedogenic and can be used in acne-prone skin. It rubs nicely into the skin without leaving a greasy feel." — Dermatologist Claire Chang, MD
Dermatologist-Recommended Drugstore Mineral Sunscreen That's Tinted
"I love La Roche Posay's Anthelios 50 Mineral Ultra Light Tinted Face Sunscreen. It is a broad-spectrum 100-percent mineral sunscreen that is lightweight, absorbs easily, and provides a natural finish and glow. It is great for all skin types, [including] those with oily skin as it leaves a matte finish, but is also fragrance-free and paraben-free making it a great option for those with sensitive skin." — Dermatologist Dermatologist Marisa Garshick, MD
"La Roche Posay's Anthelios Mineral Face Sunscreen SPF 50 is an excellent fragrance-free, non-comedogenic mineral-based sunscreen with antioxidants infused into its formulation to help protect skin from free radical damage and harmful UV rays." — Dermatologist Tiffany J. Libby, MD
Dermatologist-Recommended Drugstore Chemical Sunscreen Stick
"I've always been a fan of Neutrogena and EltaMD sunscreens — it's what I use for my family and myself. Within the last six months, Neutrogena released its Beach Defense Water line. I like the stick versions, which look like deodorant sticks so they aren't messy and are good for anyone who likes to avoid sprays. The Neutrogena Beach Defense Sunscreen Stick With Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ in particular is formulated especially for those who break a sweat or hit the pool. While you still need to reapply, they give better protection and I think they are more for practical outdoor use. Almost everyone breaks a sweat when the sun is pounding and unfortunately, more times than not, that can reduce the amount of sun protection you get. This tries to remedy that." — Dermatologist Dhaval Bhanusali, MD
Dermatologist-Recommended Drugstore Mineral Sunscreen Stick
"As I tell my patients, the best sunscreen is one that you will actually use. I love offering different applicators as options to my patients who may not want a lotion formulation – I particularly like stick formulations for reapplying as well as for babies and kids, as they tend to be less resistant to the stick applicator and find it even fun to do it themselves. The Bare Republic Mineral SPF 50 Sport Sunscreen Stick is 20 percent zinc oxide (the higher the better!) and gives broad-spectrum coverage against UVA and UVB with SPF 50 and is water resistant." — Dr. Libby
Dermatologist-Recommended Drugstore Sunscreen For Sensitive Skin
Cerave AM Face Moisturizer with Broad Spectrum Protection SPF 30 ($17, originally $21)
"The Cerave AM Face Moisturizer with Broad Spectrum Protection is great for all skin types, especially sensitive skin and/or acne prone skin. It moisturizers the skin throughout the day and is formulated with SPF 30. I recommend using at least SPF 30 for optimal protection." — Dermatologist Shari Sperling, DO
Dermatologist-Recommended Drugstore Sunscreen That's Fragrance-Free
"I love the La Roche Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer. It's elegant and hydrating, yet fragrance-free, so it's good for sensitive skin." — Dr. Sperling
Best Dermatologist-Recommended Drugstore Sunscreen That's Lightweight
Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer ($19, originally $24)
"Aveeno's Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer is a chemical sunscreen that is easy to put on daily. It has a light texture and blends in well to all skin types. It also contains soybean extract, which is an antioxidant and helps even skin tone." — Dr. Chang
Best Dermatologist-Recommended Drugstore Sunscreen For Tattoos
"The Mad Rabbit Defend Tattoo Sunscreen SPF 30 [is] specifically designed for tattoos. In my clinic lately, I am seeing skin peeling on patients from not wearing SPF on their tattoos. Not using sunscreen causes tattoos to fade when they're exposed to sunlight." — Dermatologist and founder of Uptown Dermatology Elizabeth Mullans, MD
You can read more about sunscreens we recommend for tattoos here.
Best Dermatologist-Recommended Drugstore Mineral Sunscreen For Kids
"The bottle of the Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50 changes colors when exposed to the sun's UV rays to alert you to use it. It's good for sensitive skin, it's chemical- and paraben-free, and kids love it because of the color change." — Dr. Sperling
Dermatologist-Recommended Drugstore Mineral Sunscreen That's Tinted
"The Tizo Photoceutical AM Replenish Lightly Tinted SPF 40 combines zinc and titanium, plus vitamins C and E, for a dose of antioxidants. It also contains ceramides to fortify the skin barrier and maximize moisturization." — Dermatologist and founder of Skin Wellness Dermatology Corey L. Hartman, MD
Dermatologist-Recommended Drugstore Mineral Sunscreen
"I love the Cetaphil Sheer Mineral Face Liquid Drops SPF 50, which uses zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to block UVA and UVB rays, and is easy to apply without leaving a white cast or greasy finish. It also includes vitamin E for antioxidant benefits, protecting skin from free radical damage." — Dr. Garshick
Dermatologist-Recommended Drugstore Sunscreen For Oily Skin Types
"The Cetaphil Oil Control Moisturizer SPF 30 is a favorite amongst my patients who have more oily and acne-prone skin types. It's a lightweight moisturizer that absorbs quickly, delivers a long-lasting matte finish, and helps to control and minimize shine while protecting skin from harmful UV rays." — Dr. Libby