Best Sunscreens of 2023
6 Best Sunscreens of 2022
Sunscreen really is a year-round product, but many people think about stocking up on it only when warm weather arrives and supermarkets and drugstores begin to prominently display dozens and dozens of lotions and sprays. With so many choices, how do you pick?
Dermatologists always say that the best sunscreen is the one you’ll actually use. Consumer Reports’ sunscreen ratings will help you find a lotion or spray that protects your skin and has a scent and feel that’s right for you.
How we test sunscreens
The GH Beauty Lab regularly tests the lastest body and face sunscreen formulas on the market. In the most recent sunscreen test, Beauty Lab scientists analyzed 62 new body sunscreens and polled 1,139 people on their sunscreen habits to inform the testing. After narrowing the field to the top 29 sunscreens, GH Beauty Lab Director Birnur Aral, Ph.D. and chemists Sabina Wizemann and Danusia Wnek enlisted the help of consumer testers across demographics and races to evaluate the products. Each tester used a label-masked product at least twice over the course of one week, then reported their feedback on factors such as ease of use, scent, texture, look and feel on skin and sun protection ability.
Do I need a separate sunscreen for my face?
According to GH Beauty Lab experts, sunscreen is sunscreen, so from a protection perspective, one product can do it all. But sunscreen for your body may feel too greasy or heavy on the face or can contain fragrance that could irritate those with sensitivity, so if you have oily, combination or sensitive skin, you might want to consider products that are specially formulated for your face. These formulas are less likely to clog pores or cause irritation and more likely to be free of fragrance.
What's the best way to apply sunscreen?
For the best protection, apply sunscreen liberally on all exposed areas 30 minutes before going outdoors. “Liberally” means one ounce, two tablespoons or one small shot glass-full of sunscreen for the body and a nickel-size dollop for the face, Aral says. For sprays, she suggests spray the sunscreen all over skin, then rubbing it in. Follow it with a second coat “to help cover spots you missed the first time,” Dr. Wang suggests. Another trick: Slather SPF all over before you get dressed to ensure full coverage.
“And remember, sunscreen isn’t a complete block — no matter what the SPF is,” Dr. Lortscher says. To cut down on sun damage, dermatologists recommend layering on sun-protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses, and seeking shade between peak UV exposure hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Your best bet is tripling up with the three “S’s” any time of the day, Aral says: “Apply sunscreen, stay in the shade, and wear sun-protective clothing and sunglasses.”