The 10 Best (and Worst) Sunscreens You Can Buy

As we transition into spring and summer, it’s imperative you make a point of slathering on and reapplying sunscreen every single day. However, did you know that not all sunscreens are created equally? Every year, the Environmental Working Group runs thousands of sunscreen tests and reviews to determine which consumer brands are delivering on their promises, and which are letting you down.

Believe it or not, many of your favorite brands have been found to contain harsh chemicals, overrated SPF numbers, and subpar UV shielding. Melanoma skin cancer is no laughing matter, so make sure the next sunscreen you choose falls on the right side of this list.

Best

1. The Honest Company Honest Mineral Sunscreen

The Honest Company Honest Mineral Sunscreen

The Honest Company Honest Mineral Sunscreen | Target

Jessica Alba’s The Honest Company prides itself on formulating household and beauty products using nontoxic ingredients. Their principles seem to be paying off, because their sunscreen was given a top ranking for safety and effectiveness by the EWG.

2. All Terrain AquaSport Sunscreen Lotion

All Terrain sunscreen

All Terrain sunscreen | All Terrain

Sweat is one of the greatest obstacles to keeping your sunscreen on for a few hours. Fortunately, All Terrain’s sport sunscreen is exceptionally waterproof. It’s also non-whitening, non-greasy, and fragrance-free. And the fact that it won’t burn your eyes makes it ideal for athletes who are prone to sweating and getting sunscreen down their forehead.

3. Badger Sport Sunscreen Cream

Badger Sport Sunscreen

Badger Sport Sunscreen | W.S. Badger Company

You’ll want to reach for Badger Sport Sunscreen on the days you’re going to be outside breaking a sweat (yes, this includes swimming or hanging out at the beach). This water-resistant sunscreen is formulated with extra zinc oxide, and has been given an excellent ranking by the EWG (which says a lot considering the fact that the EWG extensively tested thousands of sunblock brands last year). Badger is an ideal choice for the times you go for a run, surf, play tennis, or snowboard.

4. Goddess Garden Facial Natural Sunscreen

Facial Natural Sunscreen

Facial Natural Sunscreen | Goddess Garden Organics

Goddess Garden’s sunscreen is certified organic and packed with nourishing antioxidants. These natural ingredients also double as anti-aging features, because the aloe vera, shea butter, and essential oils will reduce dryness and tighten sagging skin. We love that this sunscreen is so easy to wear beneath your makeup, as it’s non-greasy, sheer, and scented with lavender.  

5. Sunology Natural Sunscreen Lotion for Body

Sunology Natural Sunscreen

Sunology Natural Sunscreen Lotion for Body | Target

Sunology received an impressive ranking of number one on the EWG scale, which mean it’s among the safest and most effective. Their Natural Sunscreen Lotion for Body, which has a whopping SPF 50, does not include any concerning ingredients. On all fronts, it scores very well and is a top choice for sun protection.

Worst

1. Banana Boat Sport Performance Broad Spectrum Sunscreen

 

Banana Boat Sport Performance sunscreen

Banana Boat Sport Performance sunscreen | Walmart

We have some bad news for fans of the iconic Banana Boat products. This brand scored extremely low on EWG’s safety ranking. And by low we mean Banana Boat’s sunscreen got very poor rankings in terms of danger and health concerns. The EWG says this product poses a high health concern and contains oxybenzone, a hormone disrupting chemical. Don’t be fooled by the supposed SPF 50 label. Without a doubt, this product is not a good choice for sun protection.

2. CVS Sensitive Skin Sun Lotion

CVS Sensitive Skin Sun Lotion

Sensitive Skin Sun Lotion | CVS

If you’re someone who loves a good bargain, you know how enticing the drugstore versions of products can be. But in CVS’s case, the risks posed by their Sensitive Skin Sun Lotion aren’t worth the few dollars you’ll save. The EWG estimates the SPF isn’t as powerful as advertised. It also contains retinyl palmitate, which can damage sun-exposed skin.

3. Neutrogena Age Shield Face Oil-Free Lotion Sunscreen

Neutrogena Age Shield Face Oil-Free Lotion Sunscreen

Neutrogena Age Shield Face Oil-Free Lotion Sunscreen | Ulta Beauty

As much as we love Neutrogena’s cleansing products, their sunscreen range hasn’t been living up to our skin care standards. According to the EWG, products like Neutrogena’s facial sunscreen just aren’t up to snuff. For one, it contains methylisothiazolinone, which is a serious skin allergen that’s not even allowed in leave-on products in Europe (yikes). The EWG gave it their highest health concern ranking, which means we won’t be using it any time soon. 

4. Sun Bum SPF 50 Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion

Sun Bum SPF 50 Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion

Sun Bum SPF 50 Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion | DermStore

Don’t let Sun Bum’s trendy branding fool you; EWG considers this brand a very poor choice for UV protection. Their SPF 50 Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion, for example, contains a range of worrisome chemicals, including oxybenzone and methylisothiazolinone. Although its ranking has improved in the last year, it’s still considered a less-than-ideal sunblock option.

5. Panama Jack Sport Sunscreen SPF 85

Panama Jack Sport Sunscreen SPF 85

Panama Jack Sport Sunscreen SPF 85 | Jet

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the EWG’s sunscreen rankings, it’s we should never be swayed by the SPF number printed on a bottle. As the EWG states, SPF values above 50 provide a “false sense of security.” A perfect example of this false advertising is Panama Jack’s Sport Sunscreen SPF 85. Although it sounds like a great number for protection, the organization says it has a “POOR balance of UVA protection in relation to the SPF.” We’ll stick with the SPF 30 to 50 products that are actually proven to work.

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