I live in Los Angeles, so naturally most of my conversations begin with some quip about the weather. So far this year, where it’s rained more in LA than in Seattle, everyone in the city has been floundering. For months, plans were canceled, raincoats were purchased, and umbrellas were excavated out from the depth of our storage containers. We may have kept up with our SPF face routine, but the best sunscreen for our body wasn’t on anyone’s radar.

However, now that we’re finally getting some sun, we’re making the most of it. Going to the beach is like a sport in Los Angeles. Everyone has their favorite spot, and most of us have a beach bag packed and ready to go on any occasion. As a beauty editor, it won’t surprise anyone that mine contains a mini pouch filled with beach-ready skin and body care. Here’s what’s inside:

Featured image from our interview with Megan O’Neill by Belathée Photography.

Image by Riley Reed

How to Find the Best Sunscreen for Your Body

When it comes to your face, you can pick between a thousand different formulas made for different skin tones and skin types. But when it comes to your body, most sunscreens seem to be sticky, streaky goops that smell like chemicals. No, thanks.

In my time around the block—or the beach, as it were—I’ve tried many body sunscreens. Some have made their way into my beach bag, others have never seen the light of day. And while I usually evaluate my body products based on touch and texture, I consulted a dermatologist to discover what I should really be looking for in the best sunscreen for body.

Dr. Caroline Robinson is a board-certified medical and cosmetic dermatologist, with subspecialty expertise in alopecia, preventative skincare, and ethnic skin dermatology. She is also the founder of Tone Dermatology.

“There are considerable differences in the products available now with many great options,” says Dr. Robinson. “I always tell my patients finding the right sunscreen is like finding the right pair of jeans; you have to try out a few, and it can take a while, but once you find the one you like, you will love it and want to wear it every day.”

Image by Sara Prince

My Criteria for Determining the Best Sunscreens

After our conversation, I established these criteria for the best body sunscreens:

  • Key Ingredients: What’s in it?
  • Type of protection: Is it a physical/mineral or chemical sunscreen?
  • SPF: What level of protection does it offer?
  • Size: How much do you get? And (important!) can you pack it in your carry-on?
  • Water Resistance: How long does it stay effective in the water?

Ready to dive into the best sunscreens? Read on to discover the products that offer the best protection —and that don’t feel icky while shielding your skin.

Image by Michelle Nash
Dr. Caroline Robinson
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Board-certified medical and cosmetic dermatologist and founder of Tone Dermatology

What are the most important factors to consider when selecting a sunscreen for the body?

I always recommend choosing sunscreen formulas that are non-comedogenic and free from fragrances, dyes, parabens, oil, or certain chemicals like oxybenzone. For daily use, use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. On days when you are out in the sun for long periods of time, apply an SPF 50 or above.

What are the differences between chemical and physical sunscreens for the body?

To further explain, mineral sunscreen contains active ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that sit on top of the skin’s surface to deflect and scatter harmful UV rays. Chemical sunscreens contain UVB- and UVA-absorbing chemicals that convert UV rays into heat through a chemical reaction, which then releases the heat.

Image by Michelle Nash

What ingredients should we look for in sunscreens for the body?

Most drugstore sunscreens contain a combination of chemicals that provide reasonable UVA and UVB protection. While using these products is definitely better than not using anything, here’s the rub: these are chemicals our bodies absorb. Fortunately, they are well-studied and labeled by the FDA as non-toxic. And, despite the reports, they do not cause cancer and have not been shown to cause hormone disruption in humans.

Zinc provides the most comprehensive protection against Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays that cause sunburns and Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays that cause brown spots and wrinkles. It has a reputation for being thick and white, making people look ghost-like, but an increasing number of sunscreens with zinc are becoming more cosmetically elegant. And unlike the chemical sunscreen ingredients discussed above, zinc is a naturally occurring mineral, not absorbed by your body. Even the nano-sized particles are safe, as confirmed by recent studies. Titanium dioxide is another good physical sunscreen, but it only protects from UVB rays, so products need to have zinc even if they have titanium dioxide.

Are there any sunscreens for the body that are safe for sensitive skin?

If you have sensitive skin, I suggest opting for a mineral sunscreen as chemical sunscreens can sometimes irritate and exacerbate existing conditions. Oil-free sunscreens will be best for those with acne-prone skin. If you are going to be sweating or coming into contact with water, I recommend using a water-resistant sunscreen for longer-lasting protection. 

Image by Michelle Nash

How often should you apply sunscreen to your body, and how much should you use?

Mineral sunscreens immediately protect your skin upon contact, but chemical sunscreen should be applied at least half an hour before going out into the sun since it requires some time to absorb.

It’s best to reapply every hour to hour and a half if you are participating in activities that cause sunscreen to wear off like swimming or anything that prompts sweating. If just sitting in the sun without excessive sweating (not dermatologist recommended!), a good rule of thumb is to reapply every two hours.

What SPF level is best for body sunscreen?

Studies have shown that higher levels of SPF offer more protection than lower SPF, so you should use SPF 50 or above. The minimum SPF recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology is SPF 30. 

Image by Emma Bassill

The Best Sunscreen for the Body

You never know what you like until you’ve tried it. And I’ve tried a lot of different options—including some of the most viral sunscreens out there right now. But are they worth the hype? Sunscreen isn’t the most glamorous product on the market, so when people rave about one, I’ve generally found that it lives up to my expectations. Here are some of my favorites that I’ve tried, tested, and endlessly researched.

Every product is curated with care by our editors and we’ll always give an honest opinion, whether gifted or purchased ourselves. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a small commission at no cost to you.

Best Overall: Bask Suncare SPF 30 Lotion & Continuous Spray

The wear and tear on the packaging says it all: this duo is a staple in my beach bag. From the lotion’s creamy texture to the spray’s refreshing mist, this is a set that makes me excited to apply my daily sunscreen. Perfect for application and reapplication, it’s proof that the best sunscreen is the sunscreen you’ll actually wear.

Whenever I apply it around a group of friends, they perk up at the light coconut and vanilla scent. Invariably, they ask what sunscreen is that? and I respond by spraying the group with a cloud of my staple sunscreen. No gatekeeping here. It’s the brand I recommend to everyone.

  • Key Ingredients: Avobenzone, Homosalate, Octisalate, Octocrylene, Aloe, Cocoa Butter
  • Type of Protection: Chemical
  • SPF: 30
  • Size: 5.5 fl oz and 4 fl oz
  • Water-Resistance: 80 minutes

Bask Suncare SPF 30 Lotion & Continuous Spray

This SPF 30 bundle is non-toxic and suitable for sensitive skin. Enriched with aloe and antioxidants, it’s also a treat for your skin. Pro tip: start with the lotion then reapply with the spray throughout the day.


Best Sunscreen Oil: Supergoop! Glow Oil

Summer is the season for glowy skin. I love slathering on silky body oil after the shower, deeply nourishing my skin while giving it an iridescent look. Sometimes, it feels disheartening to apply sunscreen and dull the effects of my body oil. No more! The Supergoop! Glow Oil glides on smooth and dries fast for a shine and shield that last all day. I wear this when I’m laying out by the pool or beach. While the formula is lightweight and soaks into the skin fast, the oil does transfer to clothes if you don’t let it dry for long enough. You’ve been warned.

  • Key Ingredients: Avobenzone, Homosalate, Octisalate, Octocrylene, Shea Butter, Coconut Oil
  • Type of Protection: Chemical
  • SPF: 50
  • Size: 5 fl oz
  • Water-Resistance: 80 minutes

Supergoop! Glow Oil

With a mix of chemical protectants and natural plant and seed oils, this sunscreen is both protective and nourishing. The spray bottle makes it easy to reapply for more shine and protection throughout the day.


Best Dry Oil Sunscreen: Cay Skin Isle Body Oil SPF 30

Founded by supermodel Winne Harlow, Cay Skin has burst onto the body care scene with a bang. And though it’s new to my arsenal, I already know it’ll be here for a long time. It’s a sumptuous blend of SPF with sea moss and squalane—buzzy body ingredients that I love in all my products. This body oil is no exception. Unlike the Supergoop! oil, this one does not transfer onto clothes and has more of a hydrating effect. This is my pick to wear every day since it absorbs into the skin so easily. It’s also not water-resistant, so I use my other sunscreens for more heavy-duty occasions like exercise or beach days.

  • Key Ingredients: Avobenzone, Homosalate, Octisalate, Octocrylene, Sea Moss, Squalane
  • Type of Protection: Chemical
  • SPF: 30
  • Size: 3.7 fl oz
  • Water-Resistance: None

Cay Skin Isle Body Oil

Skin-nourishing ingredients like sea moss, squalane, and other hydrating oils come together in this ultra-light body oil with a transfer-free texture and SPF 30 protection.


Best Texture: Vacation Classic Whip

If you want a sunscreen that you’re excited to incorporate into your morning routine, look no further. With its whipped cream-inspired packaging, it’s a whimsical way to start your morning. You won’t forget it, that’s for sure. And I’ve tried this one myself (as well as other sunscreens from the brand) so I can assure you: it’s not just a gimmick. Yes, it went viral on TikTok, but the actual sunscreen is a creamy, easy-to-apply texture. None of the stickiness you associate with the sweet treat that it’s inspired by. My only warning: keep this one on your shelf and out of your day bag. The spray nozzle is a little volatile—something I learned the hard way when it exploded in my bag. Definitely keep in a cool, dry place.

  • Key Ingredients: Homosalate, Octocrylene, Octisalate, Avobenzone, Coconut Oil, Aloe Vera, Vitamin E
  • Type of Protection: Chemical
  • SPF: 30
  • Size: 4 fl oz
  • Water-Resistance: 80 minutes

Vacation Classic Whip

Banana extract and coconut oil give this mousse its signature smell while aloe and its signature oil blend make it lightweight but moisturizing.


Best Face and Body Sunscreen: Biossance Squalane + Zinc Sheer Mineral Sunscreen

Mineral sunscreens can be touch and go. No matter how long you rub them in, many of them leave an irritating white cast that feels sticky on your skin and ruins your beach photos. The first time I tried this sheer mineral sunscreen, I was immediately converted. In seconds, it disappears into your skin with no white cast—even on my dark skin. Thanks to Biossance’s signature squalane base, the formula is lightweight enough for the face and durable enough for the body. Due to its small packaging, I like using it on my face, and bringing it down to my décolletage and chest since those areas see the most sun.

  • Key Ingredients: Zinc Oxide, Squalane
  • Type of Protection: Physical
  • SPF: 30
  • Size: 1.7 fl oz
  • Water-Resistance: None

Biossance Squalane + Zinc Sheer Mineral Sunscreen

Zinc, a physical sun protectant, creates a barrier between your skin and the sun while squalane supports skin health in this sheer, invisible sunscreen.


Best Gel: Kopari Sun Sheild Body Glow Gel

Somewhere between a lotion and an oil is a gel. If you’re seeking something iridescent, this Kopari gel shimmers when it catches the light to create a glowy effect while protecting your skin. It acts as a serum, sun protectant, and glow oil without any tackiness and residue buildup. It absorbs fast to prevent transfer and oiliness, making it sweat-free and perfect for oilier skin.

  • Key Ingredients: Avobenzone, Homosalate, Octisalate, Octocrylene
  • Type of Protection: Chemical
  • SPF: 50
  • Size: 5.1 fl oz
  • Water-Resistance: 40 minutes

Kopari Sun Sheild Body Glow Gel

Hydrate and glow with this shimmering sunscreen that absorbs fast and leaves behind an iridescent shine without any stickiness. Avocado and coconut oil also provide intense moisture.


Dermatologist Favorite: EltaMD UV Pure Broad-Spectrum SPF 47

I’m an Elta MD fan because, like many lovers of the brand, I had it recommended by a derm. But most people—myself included, until recently—grossly underappreciate its potential as a body sunscreen. Formulated for the face and body, it’s gentle and fuss-free. For sensitive skin, eczema, or easily irritated skin, this is a great pick.

  • Key Ingredients: Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide, Vitamin C
  • Type of Protection: Physical
  • SPF: 47
  • Size: 4 fl oz
  • Water-Resistance: 80 minutes

EltaMD UV Pure Broad-Spectrum SPF 47

This dermatologist’s favorite for the face and body is a lightweight mineral sunscreen fortified with two different types of physical sun protectants, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Plus, vitamin C helps prevent signs of aging and protects from environmental damage.


Best for Sensitive Skin: CeraVe Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50 Body Lotion

You can’t go wrong with CeraVe. For anyone with sensitive skin, or just seeking a simple but effective sun solution, CeraVe’s mineral sunscreen physically shields your skin while deeply hydrating your skin barrier. Its ceramide-rich formula makes it a powerful moisturizer, while hyaluronic acid hydrates for all-day softness. Experience no irritation as this formula creates a protective barrier around your skin to reflect UVA and UVB rays.

  • Key Ingredients: Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide, Hyaluronic Acid, Ceramides
  • Type of Protection: Physical
  • SPF: 50
  • Size: 5 fl oz
  • Water-Resistance: None

CeraVe Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50 Body Lotion

Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide create a physical shield for your skin while skin-favorites hyaluronic acid and ceramides nourish and fortify your body’s skin barrier, making it a perfect solution for sensitive skin.


Best Drugstore Sunscreen: Sun Bum Original SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion

Approved by The Skin Cancer Foundation, this sunscreen is by beach bums, for beach bums. If you spend a lot of time in this sun, this creamy coverage offers hydration and protection. Vitamin E, a potent antioxidant, helps prevent premature aging and damage from environmental stressors. All this comes in one affordable package, lining the shelves at your local drugstore, waiting for you to make it a summer staple.

  • Key Ingredients: Avobenzone, Homosalate, Octisalate, Octocrylene, Vitamin E
  • Type of Protection: Chemical
  • SPF: 50
  • Size: 6 fl oz
  • Water-Resistance: 80 minutes

Sun Bum Original SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion

Simple but effective, this sunscreen offers moisturizing sun care with antioxidant-rich vitamin E. Slather it on liberally for all-day SPF 50 sun protection.


Best Body Sunscreen for Darker Skin Tones: Black Girl Sunscreen for Face and Body

The white cast on many body sunscreens is especially problematic for anyone with more melanated skin. For people with darker skin tones, physical sunscreens have historically been out of the question. We either have to deal with a super obvious white film or forgo sunscreen. (Perhaps this is what perpetuated the myth that melanin-rich skin doesn’t even need sunscreen.) But don’t believe it! Darker skin does need sun protection. And finally, brands like Black Girl Sunscreen are creating quality, hydrating products for the face and body that shield your skin without leaving any white residue behind.

  • Key Ingredients: Avobenzone, Homosalate, Octisalate, Octocrylene, Carrot Juice, Sun Flower Oil, Cacao
  • Type of Protection: Chemical
  • SPF: 30
  • Size: 3 fl oz
  • Water-Resistance: 80 minutes

Black Girl Sunscreen for Face and Body

This moisturizing sunscreen contains rich skincare ingredients like avocado, jojoba, and cacao to deeply nourish your skin and promote healing, softness, and even complexion. Meanwhile, carrot juice contains vitamin C to even breakouts and boost melanin, while sunflower oil calms inflammation from sunburn and irritation.


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