Best Sunscreen for Men to Protect Against UV Damage

by jacky chou
Updated on

While days spent in the sun and summer might get you thinking more about sun protection, applying sunscreen should be part of every man’s daily skincare routine. Also, protecting yourself from the harmful sun’s UV rays is just as imperative while indoors or in front of your laptop in your office as when outdoors because UV rays can penetrate your home or office windows. This UV exposure could lead to various skin concerns, including inflammation, early aging and even skin cancer.

Therefore, just like having an aquatic cologne for fragrance, adding the best sunscreen for men in your grooming arsenal is essential as it is your only protection against these harmful UV rays. With so many options, picking the right product for your skin type and activity level can be daunting. This blog post shares the best sunscreen for men to protect from the sun’s harmful rays.

At the top position is EltaMD UV Clear Face Sunscreen, a mineral sunscreen that contains active ingredients such as zinc oxide, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid, making it ideal for those with sensitive skin or prone to acne. It is closely followed by Neutrogena Sport Face Sunscreen SPF 70+, a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 70. This water-resistant sunscreen nourishes and restores skin balance but it may leave a white cast on dark skin individuals.

Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40 comes at the 3rd position with its unique blend that protects against UV rays and filters blue light. It doubles as a makeup primer and is easily absorbed by the skin. However, it is pricey and contains only 1.7oz.

Read on to learn more about these top products and others that you can use to adequately protect your skin.

Best Sunscreens for Men

1. EltaMD UV Clear Face Sunscreen

EltaMD UV Clear Face Sunscreen, SPF 46 Oil Free Sunscreen with Zinc Oxide, Protects and Calms...
  • EltaMD UV Clear Face Sunscreen is a lightweight oil free sunscreen made with Zinc Oxide that leaves no white cast after applying and helps block damaging UVA and UVB rays from the sun
  • Dermatologist recommended face sunscreen for acne prone skin helps protect against breakouts and is an essential acne sunscreen for those with acne prone skin care concerns and other sensitive skin...
  • This face sunscreen for sensitive skin contains Zinc Oxide, Niacinamide, Hyaluronic Acid and an antioxidant to promote the appearance of healthy-looking skin and reduce skin dryness and redness
  • Small 1.7 oz pump bottle make this the perfect travel size sunscreen when you need a lightweight daily face sunscreen to bring on the go to protect your skin from the sun
  • EltaMD UV Clear is a non greasy sunscreen for oily skin that can be worn alone or under makeup and is fragrance-free, paraben-free, and noncomedogenic

If you have sensitive and acne-prone skin, you'll probably need a specific sunscreen that calms and protects your skin. Elta MD UV Clear Face Sunscreen is a reliable facial sunscreen specifically designed to protect and calm sensitive skin. It is crafted with Zinc Oxide as its key ingredient, which works as a barrier to deflect UVB and UVA rays from your skin.

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Moreover, this sunscreen is great for rosacea or acne-prone skin because it contains niacinamide and hyaluronic acid that promote healthy-appearing skin. It has become my go-to sunscreen, especially for my face, as it blends seamlessly and doesn’t clog pores.

Furthermore, I love that this sunscreen barely leaves a white cast, and thanks to its oil-free formula, it has a smooth, silk-like application. Unfortunately, it's not waterproof and will come off easily with water or sweat. So, if you are beach or pool-bound, investing in a true water-resistant sunscreen is best.

However, Elta MD UV Clear Face Sunscreen is pricey and comes in a smaller quantity of only 1.7 oz. But this is worth the price if you have sensitive skin, and probably other sunscreen products make you break out.

  • Pros
  • Great for sensitive skin
  • Easy to apply and easily absorbed
  • Cons
  • Pricey
  • Not water resistant

2. Neutrogena Sport Face Sunscreen SPF 70+

Neutrogena Sport Face Sunscreen SPF 70+, Oil-Free Facial Sunscreen Lotion with Broad Spectrum...
  • 2.5-fluid ounce of Neutrogena Sport Face Oil-Free Lotion Sunscreen with Broad Spectrum SPF 70+ provides superior sun protection against aging UVA and burning UVB rays to prevent sunburn
  • Ideal for outdoor sport activity, this facial sunscreen resists wear off from water, rubbing, sweating or wiping, and is designed to be sweat-resistant and water-resistant
  • Facial sunscreen lotion features an electrolyte complex to help nourish and restore skin balance
  • Specially formulated for vigorous outdoor activity, our active sunscreen can help decrease the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging caused by the sun when used as directed with other sun...
  • Facial sunscreen lotion features an electrolyte complex to help nourish and restore skin balance. New formula contains no oxybenzone and uses avobenzone

After scouring the market for an effective sunscreen, I landed on Neutrogena Sport Face Sunscreen SPF 70+. As someone who engages in numerous outdoor physical activities, this 2.5 oz oil-free product remains an outstanding choice. With the broad spectrum SPF 70+, this sunscreen offers superior sun protection against burning UVB and aging UVA rays.

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Moreover, it is designed to be sweat and water-resistant, making it long-lasting, so I don’t have to reapply it quite often. It’s also non-greasy and rubs well on the skin without leaving a white cast, but customers on the dark-skin color spectrum say otherwise. It also has a pleasant, neutral scent that is perfect for men.

Neutrogena Sport Face Sunscreen SPF 70+ includes an electrolyte complex that helps nourish and restore skin balance as you enjoy active pursuits outdoors. So you can also use it as a remedy to remove tan. It also contains no oxybenzone and uses avobenzone, making it an excellent choice for your skin. Furthermore, using this sunscreen and other sun protection measures helps reduce the risks of skin cancer and early skin aging caused by sun rays.

  • Pros
  • Resistant to sweat and water
  • Easily spreads out and rubs well on the skin
  • Light with a non-greasy feel
  • Small tube for easy travel
  • Oil-free for sensitive skin
  • Cons
  • Not suitable for every skin type

3. Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40

Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen - SPF 40-1.7 fl oz - Invisible, Broad Spectrum Face Sunscreen -...
  • GAME-CHANGING SUNSCREEN - Our most popular SPF, Unseen Sunscreen is a totally invisible, weightless, scentless formula that provides oil-free sunscreen protection for all skin types, tones, &...
  • COMPREHENSIVE PROTECTION - This feel-good, antioxidant-rich facial sunscreen helps filter blue light (skin-damaging light emitted from your phone, computer, & tablet), UVA, UVB & IRA rays.
  • A SUPER-POWERED PRIMER - The unique oil-free formula glides onto skin, providing shine control & leaving a velvety, makeup-gripping finish. Apply generously and evenly as the last step in your...
  • NOURISH & PROTECT SKIN - Our oxybenzone- & octinoxate-free everyday sunscreen includes clean, powerful ingredients like soothing frankincense & hydrating meadowfoam seed that nourish & protect your...
  • GREAT FOR GUYS - This beard-friendly, broad spectrum sunscreen’s clear texture truly feels like nothing.

Totally invisible and weightless, Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen - SPF 40 isn’t your regular sunscreen. This sunscreen for active men is a unique blend that filters blue light and protects against UVA, UVB, and IRA rays. It is also reef-safe, making it a better alternative for environmentally conscious individuals. And it contains powerful ingredients such as hydrating meadowfoam seed and soothing frankincense that nourish and protect skin.

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This 1.7 oz oil-free product has a great texture that is easy to apply and offers comprehensive protection to all skin types and tones. My girlfriend uses it as a makeup primer and loves the velvety, makeup-gripping finish. The makeup glides on more easily, and the sunscreen also controls shine. It is also scentless and lightweight, leaving my skin feeling fresh.

Furthermore, Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen - SPF 40 is friendly to sensitive skin but is not water resistant. I also noticed that despite being beard-friendly, it tends to sit on hair rather than being fully absorbed.

  • Pros
  • Filters blue light
  • Invincible and weightless
  • Perfect for all skin types and tones
  • Reef-friendly
  • It can be used as a makeup primer
  • Cons
  • Pricey

4. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-in Milk Body & Face Sunscreen Lotion

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-in Milk Body & Face Sunscreen Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 100,...
  • This product is non-sealed
  • SPF 100 sunscreen for face and body, specifically formulated to help protect skin that burns easily. Ideal for: face + ears, nose, scalp + hairline, arms + hands, full body, neck + chest.
  • The only oxybenzone-free SPF 100 Sunscreen with Cell-Ox Shield Technology: broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection with antioxidants.
  • Oxybenzone and Octinoxate-free sunscreen for face & body helps protect sun-sensitive skin and skin prone to burning from UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) rays with our highest SPF level of 100
  • Blends easily without leaving a white cast behind. Wearable under makeup. Water resistant up to 80 minutes

It can be challenging to tell from just looking at the packaging whether a sunscreen will leave a white cast on your skin after application, making finding the right sunscreen, especially for dark skin, work. Luckily, there’s a SPF that works best for a myriad of skin tones. LA ROCHE-POSAY Anthelios Melt-in Milk Body & Face Sunscreen Lotion is designed with a lightweight texture that melts into the skin and dries fast, leaving your skin feeling hydrated and well protected.

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This broad-spectrum sunscreen offers SPF 70 protection, ideal for protecting your skin from UVA and UVB rays. I used it on my body and face, and it left no white cast behind. It also contains antioxidants and is oxybenzone-free. Furthermore, this allergy-tested sunscreen for men is TSA-friendly and comes in a non-sealed package. This matte-finish sunscreen is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, making it my go-to option when swimming or engaging in wellness activities.

  • Pros
  • Fast-absorbing
  • Has hydrating effect
  • Oxybenzone-free
  • Matte finish
  • Water-resistant
  • It can be used on the body and face
  • Cons
  • Packaging could be better

5. Badger Mineral Sunscreen Cream SPF 30

Badger Mineral Sunscreen Cream SPF 30, All Natural Sunscreen with Zinc Oxide, 98% Organic...
  • SAFE EFFECTIVE SUN PROTECTION: Help prevent sunburn and skin damage with a zinc oxide sunscreen with broad spectrum UVA UVB protection. Gluten free & non-GMO
  • SIMPLE NATURAL INGREDIENTS: Made with just 5 simple ingredients that moisturize, nourish & protect. Hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic and gentle on sensitive skin
  • EASY TO USE: Light sunflower based, easy to apply, face and body sunscreen. 40 minutes sweat & water resistant keeps you protected during outdoor activities
  • REEF FREINDLY / REEF SAFE SUNSCREEN: No oxybenzone or any chemicals that harm coral reefs. Hawaii and Mexico approved travel sunscreen! Safe for reefs means safe for you
  • SUSTAINABLE SUNSCREEN: Badger mineral based sunscreens contain no synthetic ingredients, are cruelty free, and come in 50% PCR tubes. Made with 100% solar power in the USA by a women-owned family...

Badger Mineral Sunscreen Cream SPF 30 is an all-around performer designed for balance and simplicity. It is a reef-friendly alternative crafted from 98% certified organic ingredients like zinc oxide and Vitamin E, deflecting the sun’s harmful rays for broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection.

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I have rosacea, so I was looking for a mineral sunscreen that won’t irritate my skin. This sunblock didn’t irritate my skin, and I didn't have breakouts on my face after wearing it. It is very thick and may take a minute to rub in, but it leaves no white cast, even on dark skin tones. It also resists water and sweat for up to 40 minutes, so you can use it during beach or other outdoor activities.

In addition to the body-friendly vibe, this sunscreen comes in eco-friendly packaging and is convenient to travel with. However, I noticed it’s a bit greasy upon application and stains clothes. It is also unscented, which might be a downside to those who love the Bay Rum smell on their lotions, colognes, and skin care products.

  • Pros
  • Gentle on sensitive skin
  • Doesn’t leave a white cast
  • Water and sweat-resistant
  • Cons
  • Greasy 

What to Look for When Choosing the Best Sunscreen for Men

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1. SPF

The SPF (Sun Protection Factor) measures a sunscreen’s ability to protect the skin against UV rays. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Higher SPFs of 50 and above provide more protection and are recommended for those spending much time under the sun. However, you can use a lower SPF to achieve satisfactory protection, but you’ll have to reapply it more frequently.

2. Active Ingredients

sunscreens come in chemical and mineral formulas. Chemical sunscreens contain active ingredients such as avobenzone and oxybenzone that absorb and disperse UV rays from the skin, circumventing sunburns. Chemical sunscreens tend to have better water resistance and are oil and fragrance-free, which can help reduce breakouts and irritation.

On the other hand, mineral sunscreens, typically formulated with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, reflect the sun’s rays away from the skin. However, these formulas may be thicker and come in a harder-to-apply texture, leaving users with a white cast. But they are ideal for sensitive skin thanks to their hypoallergenic properties.

Ultimately, your ideal sunscreen comes down to your preferred formula, which will make you more likely to continue wearing sunscreen. Also, consider products packed with nourishing hydration extracts and antioxidants like vitamin E.

3. Formula Type

Sunscreens are available in lotion, cream, spray, and stick formats. Lotions can last longer and give you a better tactile indicator of your coverage. Sprays and sticks can also help you avoid sun damage, but you’ll need to use them copiously and frequently.

4. Water-Resistance

The absolute best sunscreens for men should be water-resistant. These sunscreens last longer on your skin, whether working out or swimming, so you don’t have to reapply as often. Water-resistant formulas are normally rated to have 40 or 80 minutes of water resistance. Look for terms like sweatproof, water-resistant, or sport on the label to ensure comprehensive protection even when you’re active.

5. Skin Type

Apart from the sunscreen's active ingredients, other compositions can be indicative of whether it will work for you or not. Some products can be drying, so they're normally manufactured with hydrating ingredients to offset this side effect. If you have dry skin, choose sunscreens with moisturizing ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin, or other humectants. And if you have oily skin, you may want to go for mattifying options as they’ll often include silicone-based components that can help to absorb excess oil. There are also sunscreen products marketed as best for all skin types and tones

6. UVA and UVB Protection

The best sunscreens for men offer broad-spectrum coverage, i.e., UVA and UVB protection. Wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen is critical in protecting your skin against sunburn, premature aging, and skin cancer. Some sunscreens also protect against blue light coming from your phones and computers. Look for products labeled broad spectrum or full spectrum to ensure you’re getting complete coverage.

Tips for Correctly Applying Sunscreen

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1. Apply enough sunscreen: The most common mistake with sunscreen is applying too little. Wear enough sunscreen in any part of the body which is exposed to ensure adequate coverage for better results

2. Reapply sunscreen regularly: Sunscreen wears off. Ensure you reapply your sunscreen at least every two hours or immediately after sweating, swimming, or towel drying. This is key to maintaining protection.

3. Wear broad-spectrum sunscreen: Both UVA and UVB rays cause lasting skin damage and lead to skin cancer. While SPF only covers how well a product protects against UVB rays, wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen will protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays. 

4. Wear sunscreen indoors: Most car, office, and home windows protect against UVB rays, but they leave you susceptible to UVA rays that cause premature aging and skin cancer. So ensure you wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen every day at all times.

5. Select the suitable product: Choose the best men's sunscreen for your skin type and activity. Look for suitable SPF levels, broad-spectrum protection, and water resistance if needed.

6. Time it right: It’s important to apply sunscreens on time. Apply sunscreen for optimum protection at least 15 minutes before stepping into the sun.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Best Men's Sunscreens

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1. Which SPF should men use?

Most dermatologists advise men to use sunscreens with SPF 30 or higher. This can protect the skin from up to 97% of the sun's harmful UV rays. With SPF 30 sunscreens, it will take about 30 to 50 minutes for the UV rays to reach your skin. On the other hand, it can take up to 2 hours for the sun’s UV rays to reach your skin with SPFs above 50.

2. What type of sunscreen works best for swimming or sports?

The best sunscreen products for sports and swimming should be water-resistant formulas with up to 80 minutes of protection. These products use ingredients that allow them to stay on the skin for longer periods. However, no sunscreen is waterproof, so you should reapply your sunscreen every two hours after swimming or sweating.

3. How do you choose a sunscreen suitable for your skin type?

When choosing a sunscreen, consider your skin type (oily, dry, or sensitive) and the product’s SPF. If you have sensitive skin, go for hypoallergenic sunscreens. People with normal or oily skin may opt for oil-free, non-comedogenic products, while those with dry skin should look for sunscreen products with extra humectants to keep their skin moisturized. Moreover, broad-spectrum sunscreens with high SPF are recommended for extreme sun exposure.

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jacky chou


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