Reliable Sunscreens for Sunny Holidays

We always look forward to fun beach holidays as soon as fair-weather season rolls around. However, this can mean constant exposure to the damaging rays of the sun. While the sun is an effective source of vitamin D, frequent contact with UVA and UVB rays can do more harm than good. The sun can be especially harmful from 10 AM to 4 PM and these are daylight hours that are convenient for traveling. So, what’s the best thing to do then? You need to always have a trusty sunscreen on hand. Here are our top picks for the best travel sunscreens.

Buyers Guide

  1. What are the two different types of sunscreens?

    Answer: The two common kinds of sunscreen are chemical and mineral sunscreens. Chemical sunscreen is the type you often see sold in stores—it is designed to take in damaging UV rays before it reaches the skin. Chemical sunscreens usually come in lotion and spray forms. They are also easy to apply and leave little to no white residue. However, this type of sunscreen requires more application compared to mineral sunscreens, which is a physical-type sunscreen. Mineral sunscreens produce a barrier on the skin which filters out or reflects UVA and UVB rays. This type of sunscreen either comes with a zinc oxide or titanium dioxide formula. While they are longer-lasting compared to chemical sunscreens, mineral sunscreens leave a white cast and are a bit difficult to spread on the skin.

  2. How long does SPF last?

    Answer: The sun protection factor (SPF) can tolerate sweat and water but only for a specified length of time. Back in the day, the FDA required that all sunscreens must be labeled sweat and water-proof but these days the agency has obligated that all sunscreen products can only be labeled as sweat and water-resistant for up to 40-80 minutes. This is due to the fact that sunscreens ae not actually impermeable against sweat and water. If you want your sunscreen to last a bit longer, you can always opt for physical or mineral sunscreen options.

  3. What SPF is the most reliable?

    Answer: Skin experts and dermatologists often recommend sunscreen products which come with an SPF rating of 30 and more. Look for water-resistant and broad spectrum formulations that were designed to tackle both UVA and UVB rays. In addition, reapplication of the product is obligated every 2 hours for maximum protection. You can also reduce sun damage by wearing hats with a wide brim, layering your clothes, wearing sunglasses and avoiding sun exposure during peak UV hours (10 AM to 4 PM).

Our Top Picks

#1

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-In Sunscreen Milk Body & Face Sunscreen

  • Uses Cell-Ox Shield® technology
  • Powerful antioxidant protection
  • Has broad spectrum UV filters
  • Fast-absorbing and non-greasy

The La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-In Sunscreen is a multi-awarded product. Many have praised the workings of this sunscreen since it’s quite effective, absorbs quickly and it does not have a greasy after feel. The potency of this sunscreen is due to the brand’s exclusive Cell-Ox Shield® technology—this technology has broad spectrum filters which takes care of both UVA/UVB rays and has senna alata which protects skin cells against free radicals. The product is free from oxybenzone and octinoxate as well. Gentle but works hard to beat sun damage and ideal for all skin types from oily to sensitive skin.

#2

Banana Boat Ultra Sport Reef Friendly Sunscreen Lotion

  • SPF 50 broad spectrum protection
  • Breathable, lightweight formula
  • Non-greasy feel
  • Sweat and water-resistant

The Banana Boat Ultra Sport Reef Friendly Sunscreen Lotion has a high SPF rating of 50 and blocks both UBA and UBV rays. This is an affordable option that has a skin-friendly formula, easy to spread, absorbs fast and leave a non-greasy feel after application. It does not leave any unsightly white residue as well. It can resist a number of factors as well from beach/pool water, sweat, wind, extreme heat and sand for up to 80 minutes.

#3

Hawaiian Tropic AntiOxidant+ Sunscreen Lotion

  • SPF 50 broad spectrum protection
  • Oxybenzone/octinoxate-free
  • Lightweight, smooth formula
  • Refreshing jasmine and coconut scent

The Hawaiian Tropic AntiOxidant+ Sunscreen Lotion is another good option. It functions impressively as a sunscreen and is water and sweat-resistant for up to 80 minutes. Apart from being a trusty sun product, it also moisturizes well, which some sunscreens cannot do. The smooth, lightweight formula is also easy to apply, will not leave a white cast in the skin and it refreshes with its beach holiday scents of coconut and jasmine.

#4

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Liquid Daily Facial Sunscreen

  • SPF 70 broad spectrum protection
  • Made with Helioplex sunscreen technology
  • Non-comedogenic product
  • Oil and PABA-free

The Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Liquid Daily Facial Sunscreen is a topnotch face sunscreen option—its Helioplex-powered formula has been trusted by lots of people around the world for years. It spreads well without the greasy feel, provides a weightless and shine-free finish and it can be worn as is or under makeup. Helioplex provides broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection and this means it is meticulously formulated to be resistant against sweat and water for up to 80 minutes. Another bonus of this sunscreen is it will not break you out.

#5

EltaMD UV Sport Sunscreen Lotion

  • SPF 50 broad spectrum protection
  • 9.0% transparent zinc oxide formulation
  • Sweat and water-resistant
  • Fragrance/oil/paraben-free

The EltaMD UV Sport Sunscreen Lotion is a physical sunscreen so it means it must come with a mineral formulation. This product has zinc oxide, does not contain any oil, parabens or fragrances and it’s formulated to resist sweat and water for up to 80 minutes. If you worry that this one might leave a white cast, you’ll be glad to know that it’s quite transparent once applied, thus it’s a bestseller among physical sunscreens. Ideal to use for all skin types.

#6

Sun Bum Original Sunscreen Spray

  • SPF 50 broad spectrum protection
  • Vegan and reef-friendly formula
  • Comes with vitamin E
  • Oil-free and non-comedogenic

If you are on the search for a good vegan broad spectrum sunscreen option, the Sun Bum Original Sunscreen Spray is our best recommendation. This one is completely vegan, reef-friendly and provides SPF 50 broad spectrum protection quite well. it is resistant against sweat and water for up to 80 minutes and it will not leave a white cast on the skin. The spray function works well too—it mists evenly while the smooth formula covers the skin fast. Free from gluten, oxybenzone, octinoxate and parabens and hypoallergenic to boot.

The light coming from the sun will always be an instant pick-me-up—it translates to fun, breezy days hopping from one beach to another during summer vacations. However, they can do a number on your skin. Protect them well with a reliable sunscreen on hand and apply as recommended.