5 Derm-Approved Drugstore Sunscreens You Need This Summer



Have a conversation with any dermatologist, and in the first five minutes, they’ll find a way to mention the importance of wearing sunscreen – yes, it’s that important. The reality is; without sunscreen, you’re exposing your skin to harmful UVA and UVB rays that can lead to a myriad of skin issues like hyperpigmentation, fine lines, inflammation, not to mention skin cancer.

NY-based dermatologist, Dr. Shereene Idriss, puts it bluntly: “The sun is NOT your friend!” Adding, “If I could go back in time, it would be to tell my younger self to embrace the ghost-like qualities of my skin to skip trying to tan.” She says, “If you’re going to do anything for your skin, wear sunscreen daily!”

The only thing is, if you’re using sunscreen daily (as the derms recommend), you’ll probably need to replenish your stash every two to three months, so finding affordable sunscreens is another essential factor (no pun intended). Of course, we got the derms on board for their top recommendations that provide great protection.

1. For Everyone: SunSense Daily Face SPF 50+, $34

Sunsense-Daily-Face-tintSource: SunSense

Dr. Friedmann from the London Dermatology Clinic, confirms that when it comes to sunscreen, “you don’t have to buy an expensive brand.” However, he adds that you need a formula that “not only has a high SPF (to protect against the burning UVB rays) but one that also has at least a 4-star UVA rating, preferably 5 stars.” His go-to? “The  or any from the Nivea sunscreen line, which is targeted for children,” as they provide powerful, long-lasting protection.

2. For Sensitive Skin: EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 Moisturizing Facial Sunscreen, $39

Elta-MD-SkincareSource: elta MD

“I really like this sunscreen for my patients with sensitive skin because it helps calm and protect sensitive skin types that are prone to acne, rosacea, and discoloration,” says Dr. Pooja Sodha, a board-certified dermatologist for FaceMD+. “It’s mineral-based, lightweight, and keeps your face looking and feeling smooth.”

3. For the Body: Coppertone Sport Sunscreen SPF 50, $9

Coppertone SunscreenSource: Coppertone

If you’re hitting the beach this summer an easy-to-apply, water-resistant sunscreen is essential. Dr. Howard Sobel, a board-certified dermatologist and the founder of NYC’s Sobel Skin recommends the Coppertone Sport Sunscreen SPF 50, $9. He explains, “This water-resistant sunscreen spray stays put even when you sweat, meaning it won’t run into the eyes and sting. Plus, it offers broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection with active ingredients that absorb damaging UV radiation before it reaches the skin. It’s moderately priced, which is great.” Just remember to top up every two hours when you’re spending the day in the sun.

4. To Wear Under Makeup: La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios 60 Ultra-Light Sunscreen Fluid, $31

LaRoche Posay Broad SpectrumSource: La Roche-Posay

Dr. Sobel also insists that wearing a foundation that contains SPF will not provide adequate sun protection. He explains, “Unless you’re really caking on the coverage, the sunscreen in your makeup isn’t enough to protect your skin from the sun. It would require seven times the normal amount of foundation to provide enough coverage, so it’s important to wear a separate moisturizer that offers SPF protection.” We love how well this formula wears underneath makeup. Plus, it’s non-comedogenic and oil-free so it won’t block your pores or make your skin look greasy.

5. For Sensitive Skin: Aveeno Ultra-Calming Daily Facial Moisturizer SPF 30, $19

Aveeno Ultra CalmingSource: Aveeno

The Aveeno Ultra-Calming Daily Facial Moisturizer SPF 30, $15, is a great SPF formula to use daily whether you have sensitive skin or not; it’s hydrating, hypoallergenic, and fragrance-free, so it protects your skin without irritation. Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research in the department of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital, agrees, adding the “Feverfew extract and colloidal oatmeal [helps] protect and calm the skin.”

For more SPF products, check out our fave SPF-lip balms that’ll keep your lips protected.

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