Now you know the exercise. Sunscreen is non-negotiable – yes, even on cloudy days – and every dermatologist we spoke to agreed that the best sunscreen is the one you Actually utilize. That’s why we love sun sprays. If applied correctly, they offer the same protection as their lotion or cream-based brethren, but the advantage is that you don’t have to spend as much time rubbing them in (though, to make sure you don’t miss any areas, you should also pass with your hands). The wrong side? Aerosols can be carried by the wind.
To ensure you get adequate coverage, position the nozzle within six inches of your body, hold for four to five seconds, and coat your skin until it “glows,” Erum N. Ilyas, MD, certified dermatologist. at Schweiger Dermatology and CEO of AmberNoon, tells Oprah Daily. “Spray sunscreen should be applied like spray paint, not perfume,” adds Joshua Zeichner, MD, board-certified dermatologist in New York City. “If you can’t see it, it’s not there.” And don’t forget that you should reapply every two hours during the summer months, and especially after sweating or swimming.
Sprays also work over makeup when you’re looking to refresh your SPF, but only after you’ve already lathered up your broad-spectrum sunscreen as the last step in your morning routine, says board-certified dermatologist Tsippora Shainhouse, MD. at SkinSafe Dermatology and Skincare of Beverly Hills. “Face mists can be used as in addition layer of sunscreen on your makeup without smudging or washing it off. Look for ingredients like avobenzone and zinc oxide when shopping,” she adds.
Ready to select the product that’s right for you? Start with the science: there are two different types of sunscreen: physical and chemical. “Chemical blockers work to prevent damage when the sun is absorbed by the skin. Physical blockers, such as zinc and titanium, found in mineral sunscreens, prevent the sun from penetrating the skin and cause harm choice,” says Shari Sperling, DO, board-certified dermatologist and medical director and president of Sperling Dermatology in New Jersey. Although mineral spray sunscreens are less common (they tend to clog the nozzle, most of companies avoid using them), we’ve included several dermatologist-approved choices below.
Short? Whether you’re looking for something that’s gentle on your sensitive or oily skin, or great options for dark skin that won’t leave a plaster, go for one of these spray sunscreens with an SPF of 30 or more (not , 100 isn’t necessary) before you hit the beach or the pool float, and you won’t have to worry about anything except which new book to read.
Our top picks
Most recommended by dermatologists: La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light Sun Spray Body and Face SPF 60
Better Choice of pharmacy: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist
Ideal for sensitive skin: SunBum Mineral Sun Spray SPF 50
Ideal for oily skin: Elta MD UV Aero Broad Spectrum SPF 45
Ideal for the face: Neutrogena Invisible Daily Defense Face Mist
Ideal for children: Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Sunscreen Spray
Ideal for makeup: SuperGoop (Re)Setting Refreshing Mist SPF 40
Ideal for dark skin: Coola Classic Sun Face Mist SPF 50
Best mineral: Bare Republic Mineral Sunscreen and Sunscreen Spray with Zinc Oxide
Appreciated by dermatologists
Anthelios Ultra-Light Body and Face Sun Spray SPF 60
- Since it is a lotion spray, you will need to scrub it
All the dermatologists we spoke to loved this La Roche-Posay lotion spray. “It’s super light and oil-free, so it won’t break out your chest and back,” says Evan Rieder, MD, board-certified dermatologist at NYU Langone Health. Sperling adds, “It goes on elegantly, and it’s great for sensitive skin.”
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Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sun Spray
- Goes smoothly
- Does not leave a greasy residue
- Good for sensitive skin
This Neutrogena spray is another choice widely recommended by dermatologists. Rieder says the spray has a “sleek formulation that goes on smoothly and doesn’t leave a harsh residue.” Sperling notes that it’s also a good option if you have sensitive skin.
Good for oily skin
UV Aero Broad Spectrum SPF 45
- Does not leave oily skin
- Does not leave a strong white cast on dark skin
Zeichner applauds this ultra-lightweight zinc oxide formula because it can be used from head to toe without leaving skin feeling heavy or oily. Ranella Hirsch, MD, board-certified dermatologist and co-founder of Atolla Custom Skincare, adds that it’s also suitable for oily skin and darker skin tones. However, like most mineral spray sunscreens, reviewers note that it requires extra rubbing to absorb.
Ideal for makeup
(Re)Setting Refreshing Face Mist SPF 40
“This slightly shimmery product sits over your makeup without smudging or moving,” says Shainhouse, who adds that “SuperGoop sunscreens have a great skin-feel and cosmetic finish.” Rieder loves that there’s no residue and adds that it “offers a refreshing, light scent for people without sensitive skin.”
Pro tip: Store in the fridge for a cooling effect, says New York makeup artist Jordan Sawyer, who uses this product over makeup.
Ideal for sensitive skin
Mineral Sun Spray SPF 50 Bum
- Gentle, natural formula is good for kids and toddlers
- Without perfume
This fragrance-free mineral product is a solid choice for sensitive skin, says Ilyas. The natural formula contains zinc oxide, nourishing coconut oil, plus shea butter and cocoa butter, making it gentle enough for kids and toddlers.
Ideal for the face
Classic Face Sun Mist SPF 50
- Works well on makeup
- Good for dark skin
Another Ilyas endorsement, this water-resistant face mist works well over makeup as an added layer of protection. However, she suggests spraying it on your hands before applying it to your face. Meena Singh, MD, a dermatologist at the Kansas Medical Clinic, also recommends this product, noting that it will “freshen up your look” seamlessly. She adds that it also complements darker skin tones.
Mineral sunscreen and sun spray
Created with antioxidant-rich ingredients like grapeseed, raspberry, and carrot oils, this vanilla-coconut-scented mineral spray gets two more thumbs up (coated with sunscreen) from Ilyas. Although like most mineral sunscreens there may be a white residue, it spreads evenly.
PLAY Antioxidant Sunscreen Body Mist SPF 50
- Comes in a non-aerosol box
- Leaves a light slick of oil
- Some reviewers note a strong smell
If you’re looking to splurge, Rieder votes for Supergoop’s body spray. The lightweight, reef-friendly, broad-spectrum formula, presented in a non-aerosol canister, is simply refreshing. Ingredients include vitamin C, green tea, and acai extracts that leave your skin hydrated.
Ideal for children
Wet Skin Kids Sunscreen Spray Mist
- Has a high FPS
- Easy to apply
This SPF 70+ spray option wipes on easily — which is essential if you have squirmy toddlers — to provide adequate protection against both UVA and UVB rays, Shainhouse says.
Ultimate Sun Spray SPF 50+
“This liquid sunscreen spray is lightweight and absorbs easily,” says Shainhouse. The water, sweat and oil resistant formula can be used on both face and body, but be sure to spray it on the palms of your hands before applying.
Sheer Zinc Continuous Spray Sunscreen SPF 30
- If properly rubbed in, it will leave no residue
Safe for toddlers and sensitive skin, this hypoallergenic mineral sunscreen has the Hirsch stamp of approval. Natural moisturizing ingredients include aloe vera, sunflower seed oil and jojoba. Sure, like its other zinc-based peers, it sprays on white, but at least you’ll know your child is covered.
UncompliKated Soft Focus Makeup Setting Spray SPF 50
- Be careful when applying near your eyes
Hirsch favors this setting spray that leaves a nice matte finish on makeup. Think of it as a mild GI filter but with SPF protection.
Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50+ Spray
- Without perfume
- Well rated
Ideal for sensitive skin, according to Hirsch, this sweat- and water-resistant mineral spray applies easily and dries clear — or, at least, lighter than most zinc-based formulas —if you take the time to massage.
Ideal for makeup
Neutrogena Invisible Daily Defense Face Mist, Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Sunscreen
- Dries quickly
- Non-sticky texture
“I discovered this face mist last summer and love it for its literally lightweight, absorbent, and quick-drying broad-spectrum UV protection,” Shainhouse says.
Kids Spray & Play SPF 50 Sunscreen
Black Girl Sunscreen manufactures products specifically designed for melanin. Board-certified dermatologist Sheila Farhang, MD, recommends her new, fast-absorbing children’s spray. It doesn’t leave a sticky residue, which means your kids won’t complain when it’s time to reapply after swimming.
Sun Bum Sun Spray SPF 30 Mineral
For the body, Ilyas also suggests this mineral sunscreen that’s chemical-free, reef-safe, easy to apply and, most importantly, reapply.
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