11 Best Drugstore Sunscreens To Protect Your Skin From UV Rays

by Priyanka S
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With rising temperatures and pollution, the application of sunscreen becomes essential. Sunscreen protects the skin from UVA and UVB rays and reduces the risk of skin disease (1). The photoactive agents in sunscreen minimize the effect of UV rays and reduce the signs of aging and hyperpigmentation (2).

But with hundreds of formulas on the market, picking the right sunscreen that fits your budget could be a challenge. This article lists the 11 best drugstore sunscreens of 2020. Check them out!

TOP 10 PRODUCTS
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Best For Acne-Prone Skin: Neutrogena Clear Face Oil-Free Sunscreen With SPF 55
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Best Luxurious Formula: Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch Sunscreen Lotion With SPF 30
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Best For Sensitive Skin: Alba Botanica Sensitive Sunscreen Spray With SPF 50
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Sun Bum Unisex Clear Zinc Sunscreen
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La Roche-Posay Anthelios Light Fluid Sunscreen
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Best Sweat-Resistant: Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Sunscreen
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Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence
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Best Tinted Mineral Sunscreen: CeraVe 100% Mineral Sunscreen
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Best Gel-Based Sunscreen: Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen Gel
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Best For Anti-Aging Skin: Vichy Capital Soleil Face Sunscreen Lotion
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11 Best Drugstore Sunscreens

1. Best For Acne-Prone Skin: Neutrogena Clear Face Oil-Free Sunscreen With SPF 55

The Neutrogena Clear Face Oil-Free Sunscreen is formulated with a unique Helioplex complex, a sunscreen technology with superior broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays. This ultra-light sunscreen is perfect for the face and body. It leaves a matte finish look. It does not clog the pores and makes your face breathe properly.

Along with the active ingredients, it also contains chamomile flower extract, cinnamon bark extract, and cedar bark extract that soothe, calm, and heal the skin. Cedarwood oil is a potent astringent that helps tighten and tone the skin temporarily. Cinnamon essential oil nourishes the skin, slows down aging, and revives the skin tone.

Active Ingredients: Avobenzone (2.7%), Homosalate (4%), Octisalate (4.5%), Octocrylene (6%), and Oxybenzone (4.5%)

Skin Type: Oily, acne-prone skin

Pros

  • Ultra-lightweight
  • Dermatologist-recommended
  • Oil-free
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Treats acne breakouts
  • Water-resistant up to 80 minutes
  • Prevents sunburns
  • Fragrance-free
  • Non-greasy

Cons

  • May not suit sensitive skin
  • May cause burning sensation to eyes

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2. Best Luxurious Formula: Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch Sunscreen Lotion With SPF 30

The Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch Sunscreen Lotion has a broad spectrum SPF 30 that protects the skin from UVA and UVB rays. It is formulated with vitamins C and E and leaves the skin positively radiant.

The invigorating blend of mango fruit extract and shea butter complex rejuvenates the skin and restores skin resilience. The mango fruit extract is rich in vitamin C and magnesium that reduce inflammation, alleviate acne breakouts, and soothe the skin. The fatty acids present in shea butter restore the healthy skin barrier.

This dermatologically-tested formula is oil-free and does not leave any greasy residue. It provides water-resistance for up to 80 minutes. Its tropical fragrance refreshes your mood.

Active Ingredients: Avobenzone (2%), Homosalate (5.5%), Octisalate (4.5%), and Octocrylene (4%)

Skin Type: All skin types

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Grease-free
  • No white residue
  • Water-resistant up to 80 minutes
  • Dermatologically-tested
  • Hydrating
  • Restores skin radiance

Cons

  • May cause a burning sensation

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3. Best For Sensitive Skin: Alba Botanica Sensitive Sunscreen Spray With SPF 50

The Alba Botanica Sensitive Sunscreen Spray is an air-powered sunscreen that can be applied from any angle. It protects from UVA and UVB rays. It is a lightweight, fast-drying, fragrance-free formula with SPF 50 to protect against sunburns and premature skin aging and reduce the risk of skin cancer.

Along with the active ingredients, this lightweight sunscreen is infused with aloe leaf extract, chamomile flower extract, and green tea extract to protect from free radical damage. This invigorating blend of antioxidant-rich botanical extracts not only protects the skin but also soothes irritation and sunburn.

Active Ingredients: Homosalate (15%), Octocrylene (8%), Ethylhexyl Salicylate (5%), and Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane (3%)

Skin Type: Sensitive skin

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Fast-drying
  • Fragrance-free
  • Water-resistant
  • Gluten-free
  • 100% vegan
  • Reef-friendly

Cons

  • May cause skin irritation
  • Leaves a white residue

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4. Sun Bum Unisex Clear Zinc Sunscreen

The Sun Bum Unisex Clear Zinc Sunscreen is formulated with added aloe vera and vitamin E to safeguard against harmful sun radiation. The topical application of zinc oxide as an active ingredient acts as a mild astringent to treat minor abrasions, burns, chaffing, and skin irritation. It is non-comedogenic and adds a barrier to deliver UVA and UVB protection.

Active Ingredients: Octinoxate (7.5%), Octisalate (5%), Octocrylene (6%), and Zinc Oxide (7%)

Skin Type: All skin types

Pros

  • Hypoallergenic
  • Gluten-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Moisturizes skin
  • 100% vegan
  • Reef-friendly
  • Smells good

Cons

  • Not sweat-proof
  • May cause mild irritation

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5. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Light Fluid Sunscreen

The La Rosche-Poshay Anthelios Light Fluid Sunscreen blends seamlessly with the skin tone and protects against UVA and UVB rays. It is oil-free and formulated with Cell-Ox Shield Technology (specifically designed for sensitive skin) to offer broad-spectrum SPF 60 protection.

It combines UVA and UVB filters with powerful antioxidants that safeguard against free radical damage. This fast-absorbing fluid is further formulated with Senna Alata, a tropical leaf extract that blurs the signs of premature aging and defends skin cells from oxidative damage.

Active Ingredients: Avobenzone (3%), Homosalate (15%), Octisalate (5%), and Octocrylene (7%)

Skin Type: Normal to combination skin, sensitive skin

Pros

  • Non-greasy
  • Dermatologically-tested
  • Fast-absorbing
  • Allergy-tested
  • Paraben-free
  • Fragrance-free
  • Water-resistant up to 80 minutes
  • Non-whitening
  • Suitable for use under makeup

Cons

  • Not sweat-resistant
  • May stain clothes

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6. Best Sweat-Resistant: Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Sunscreen

The Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Sunscreen is formulated with antioxidant oats to seal the moisture barrier. It leaves the skin feeling better, healthier, and soft without making it too greasy. It also helps fade away the premature signs of aging. The UV filters provide broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays.

The sunscreen is sweat- and water-resistant up to 80 minutes. It offers you long-lasting moisturization and protection. This unique formula is fast-absorbing, oil-free, and non-comedogenic. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends it as an effective broad-spectrum sunscreen.

Active Ingredients: Avobenzone (3%), homosalate (8%), octisalate (4%), octocrylene (4%), and oxybenzone (5%).

Skin Type: All skin types

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Paraben-free
  • Fast-absorbing
  • Oil-free
  • Long-lasting moisturization
  • Water-resistant
  • Sweat-resistant
  • Does not leave a white cast

Cons

  • May cause a burning sensation
  • Can be a little sticky

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7. Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence

The Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence Sunscreen is formulated with an invigorating blend of moisturizing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, royal jelly extract, and citrus mix that seal skin hydration. The sunscreen leaves the skin feeling soft, smooth, and plump. This fast-absorbing formula glides easily on the skin. It leaves no white residue.

The powerful UV filters with a broad-spectrum SPF 50 protect the skin from UVA and UVB sun rays and soothe the symptoms of sunburn. The product is made in Japan and is suitable for the entire face and body. It is allergy-tested and waterproof for up to 80 minutes.

Active Ingredient: Hyaluronic acid

Skin Type: All skin types

Pros

  • Fast-absorbing
  • Water-resistant
  • Hydrates skin
  • Seals moisture
  • Leaves no white cast
  • Allergy-tested
  • Suitable for face and body

Cons

  • May not suit fair skin tones

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8. Best Tinted Mineral Sunscreen: CeraVe 100% Mineral Sunscreen

The CeraVe 100% Mineral Sunscreen is a hydrating face lotion with broad-spectrum SPF 50 that protects the skin from sun damage and UV rays. This ultra-gentle mineral sunscreen is formulated with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to form a protective barrier on the skin’s surface. It helps reflect the sun’s UVA and UVB rays without irritating the skin.

The three essential ceramides are fatty acids that act as a protective barrier that seals hydration and prevents skin dryness and irritation. The product also helps protect the skin from environmental damage. The infused niacinamide helps calm and soothe the skin. Hyaluronic acid plumps the skin and reduces the signs of premature aging.

The product is gentle and oil-free and has been awarded the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance and the Skin Cancer Foundation Daily Ise Seal of Approval.

Active Ingredients: Titanium dioxide (9%) and zinc oxide (7%)

Skin Type: Sensitive skin

Pros

  • Fragrance-free
  • Oil-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Chemical-filter free
  • Seals moisture
  • Gentle on skin
  • Dermatologist-approved
  • Allergy-tested

Cons

  • May not suit African-American skin tone
  • May clog pores

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9. Best Gel-Based Sunscreen: Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen Gel

The Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen Gel provides head-to-toe protection from UV rays. This SPF 30+ formula is infused with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that provide broad-spectrum protection from sun rays. This mineral formula also contains vitamin E and hydrogenated castor oil that plumps the skin, seal hydration, and safeguard against the harmful sunburn. The product has a unique smart cap technology where the cap turns blue when you are in contact with UV rays.

Active Ingredients: Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide

Skin Type: Sensitive skin

Pros

  • Paraben-free
  • Fragrance-free
  • No irritating chemicals
  • Water-resistant up to 40 minutes
  • Long-lasting protection
  • Moisturizes skin

Cons

None

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10. Best For Anti-Aging Skin: Vichy Capital Soleil Face Sunscreen Lotion

The Vichy Capital Soleil Face Sunscreen Lotion is an ultra-lightweight formula that provides broad-spectrum protection with SPF 50. It is formulated with UV filters, 15 mineral-rich Vichy Volcanic mineral water, vitamin E, and grapeseed extract. The signature ingredient Vichy Volcanic Water contains 15 different minerals that protect the skin from environmental aggressors. The vitamin E and grapeseed extract hold the moisture levels and safeguard against the harmful sun damage.

The powerful blend of antioxidants blur the signs of aging and add a new lease of life to dull, dehydrated skin. The product is safe for daily use and easily gets absorbed in the skin, leaving a matte finish. It helps protect the skin at the cellular level and keeps it looking young.

Active Ingredients: Avobenzone (3%), homosalate (10%), Octisalate (5%), Octocrylene (5%), and Oxybenzone (6%)

Skin Type: Sensitive Skin, aging skin

Pros

  • Paraben-free
  • Fragrance-free
  • Allergy-tested
  • PABA-free
  • Water-resistant up to 40 minutes
  • Dermatologically-tested
  • Leaves no white cast
  • Non-sticky
  • Moisturizes skin
  • Ultra-lightweight

Cons

  • Not suitable for African-American skin tone

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11. Dr. Dennis Gross Dark Spot Sun Defense Sunscreen

The Dr. Dennis Gross Dark Spot Sun Defense Sunscreen is formulated with Mela-C Complex, a breakthrough technology that contains melatonin along with vitamins C and E. The Mela-C Complex helps minimize and prevent hyperpigmentation and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The vitamins C and E are potent antioxidants that fight free radicals and protect the skin from oxidative stress.

The product also contains zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that act as UV filters to protect from UVA and UVB rays. It also contains hyaluronic acid, a humectant, which seals skin moisture and blurs the signs of aging. This broad-spectrum, high-protection, SPF 50 formula is safe and gentle and contains no chemical filters. It also is FDA-approved to nourish and protect the skin.

Active Ingredients: Mela-C complex, titanium dioxide, and zinc oxide

Skin Type: Sensitive skin

Pros

  • Paraben-free
  • FDA-approved
  • Reduces fine lines and wrinkles
  • Hydrating
  • Reduces hyperpigmentation
  • 100% vegan
  • Non-greasy

Cons

None

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These are the 11 best drugstore sunscreens that are available online. But how do you decide which one is the best? The following checklist may help.

Choosing The Best Drugstore Sunscreen – A Detailed Buying Guide

  • Buy a sunscreen that has broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher.
  • It should be non-comedogenic and oil-free to offer a sweat-resistant feel and matte finish.
  • Check the ingredients list. A good-quality sunscreen should contain avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, oxybenzone, titanium dioxide, and zinc oxide.
  • Natural botanical extracts like aloe vera, chamomile leaf extract, shea butter, and hyaluronic acid help moisturize the skin and leave it soft and smooth.
  • Try to grab mineral sunscreens as they are non-comedogenic. The minerals also provide nutrients to skin cells and alleviate inflammation and redness.
  • Also, ensure the product fits your budget.

Protecting your skin from the harmful UVA and UVB rays is essential to slow down the process of aging and reduce hyperpigmentation. The sunscreens listed here are effective and also lighter in your pocket. We hope this list will help you select the best sunscreen as per your skin type. Choose your favorite product from this list!

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

Is applying sunscreen one time enough?

If you are spending a lot of time outside, applying sunscreen every two to three hours is advisable.

Can you still get a tan with a sunscreen with SPF 50?

No. In fact, sunscreen will prevent tan if applied properly.

What precautions should you take?

You should wait for at least 30 minutes after applying sunscreen. Do not go out immediately after applying sunscreen as it may cause irritation and a burning sensation.

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