13 Best Drugstore Sunscreens for Optimal UVA And UVB Protection

Written by Anoushka Sinha, Skincare Coach & Writer
Updated on May 15, 2024
Best Drugstore Sunscreen
Best Drugstore Sunscreen
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Whether you love spending your day at the beach, hiking in the mountains, or just running errands around town, it is vital to protect your skin from the harmful UVA and UVB rays of the sun. To keep your skin safe and healthy without breaking the bank, investing in one of the best drugstore sunscreens can be a wise decision to make.

Based on our first-hand research, be it chemical sunscreens or mineral sunscreens, each of them has great power in shielding your skin to keep sun damage, tan, or burns at bay. Thanks to their potent blend of key ingredients and efficient formulations that safeguard the overall quality and texture of your skin.

With an array of options available on the market, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one for your skin. That's why we have rounded up the best drugstore sunscreens for you and your daily needs. From lightweight lotions and moisturizing sun protectants to water-resistant sprays, there is something for everyone on this list. So, without further ado, let us dive in and find your perfect sunscreen match!

13 Best Drugstore Sunscreens

EltaMD Skincare’s UV Clear Face Sunscreen has managed to seize the very first position in the category of the best drugstore face sunscreen for a couple of good reasons. To start off, this sunscreen soothes and protects your skin to the fullest with the help of its oil-free formula. Secondly, with the potent composition of key ingredients and a good amount of SPF levels, it works towards shielding your skin from harmful UV rays and breakouts. Moreover, the cream is fragrance-free, non-comedogenic, and a reliable choice for those who spend hours under the sun. 

Key Ingredients: Niacinamide, zinc oxide, and octinoxate 

Skin Type: Acne-prone, oily, and sensitive skin

Type: Mineral sunscreen

SPF: 46

Size: 1.7 fl oz

Pros
  • Recommended by dermatologists
  • Can be worn alone as well as under makeup
  • Ideal for rosacea-prone skin
  • Airless pump dispenser
  • Reduces hyperpigmentation
Cons
  • Not resistant to water
  • Best Vegan Formula

    Sun Bum Premium Sunscreen Face Lotion

    Sun Bum Premium Sunscreen Face Lotion
  • The next on our list of recommendations is Sun Bum’s dermatologically-tested Premium Sunscreen Face Lotion, which works wonders when it comes to sun protection. This drugstore sunscreen flawlessly moisturizes your skin and leaves it feeling smooth, soft, and supple. Whether you want to spend your entire day at the beach or stroll around, a layer of this sunscreen will cause no harm to your skin. What’s the best part? You will never notice a white cast or greasy residue behind after application! 

    Key Ingredients: Vitamin E, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, and homosalate

    Skin Type: All

    Type: Mineral sunscreen

    SPF: 50

    Size: 3 fl oz

    Pros
    • Fragrance-free
    • Lightweight
    • Oxybenzone-free
    • Water-resistant for 2 hours
    • Vegan
    • Gluten-free
    Cons
    • Doesn’t get absorbed quickly

    Quick Tip:

    Make sure that you apply this sunscreen at least 15 minutes before sun exposure. After sweating or swimming, towel-dry your face and reapply it after every 2 hours.

  • Most Hydrating

    E.l.f. Cosmetics Holy Hydration! Face Cream

    E.l.f. Cosmetics Holy Hydration! Face Cream
  • For a powerful boost of hydration along with sun protection, incorporate e.l.f. Holy Hydration! Face Cream into your daily routine. With its quick-absorbent formula, organic UV filters, and adequate SPF level, it replenishes moisture in your skin and balances uneven skin tone. Based on user feedback, it is a good drugstore sunscreen that quenches the thirst of your skin and plumps your complexion while protecting it from the ultraviolet rays of the sun. One of the users shares, “This is so insanely hydrating AND lightweight that I can’t believe it. It makes my skin feel so soft and there’s no residue or sliminess.” Bonus — this non-greasy and non-sticky sunscreen lends your skin a super-soft feel.

    Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, squalane, vitamin B5, and peptides

    Skin Type: Normal, dry, combination, and oily 

    Type: Chemical 

    SPF: 30

    Size: 1.8 fl oz

    Pros
    • Promotes collagen production
    • Lightweight texture
    • Improves skin texture
    • Cruelty-free
    • Vegan
    • Minimizes pores
    Cons
    • Might not suit those with extremely sensitive skin
  • Best Lightweight Texture

    Supergoop! Glowscreen SPF 40

    Supergoop! Glowscreen SPF 40
  • Packed with a punch of skin-loving ingredients, Supergoop’s Glowscreen is a must-have drugstore face sunscreen for everyday use. With a broad spectrum SPF level, it not only safeguards your skin from UV rays but also protects it from the blue light emitted from digital devices. In addition, it features a tinted formula and supports prolonged hydration. So, anyone who is yearning to embrace dewy and bright skin, this is your best find. 

    What’s more? This tinted sunscreen exudes a divine fragrance derived from sea lavender and refreshes your mood within seconds. For optimal results and skin health, consider applying it over Supergoop! Daily Dose Vitamin C + SPF serum!

    Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid and niacinamide 

    Skin Type: All

    Type: Chemical 

    SPF: 40

    Size: 1.7 fl oz

    Pros
    • Non-comedogenic
    • Loaded with antioxidant properties
    • Can be used as a primer
    • Easy to spread
    Cons
    • Unsatisfactory packaging
  • Best Fragrance-free

    La Roche-Posay Anthelios Light Fluid Sunscreen

    La Roche-Posay Anthelios Light Fluid Sunscreen
  • Backed with a Cell OX shield technology, La Roche-Posay’s Fluid Sunscreen has managed to gain all attention with its impressive blend of ingredients and antioxidant properties. Additionally, skincare enthusiasts and experts sing carols of its oil-free formula and matte finish. What makes it earn the title of the best drugstore facial sunscreen is its fast-absorbing and lightweight texture that neither feels heavy nor greasy. Plus, it is suitable to use under makeup and is resistant to water for up to 80 minutes. 

    Key Ingredients: Vitamin E, silica, and thermal spring water

    Skin Type: All

    Type: Mineral

    SPF: 60

    Size: 1.7 fl oz

    Pros
    • Non-comedogenic
    • Oxybenzone-free
    • Easily blendable
    • Tested on sensitive skin
    • Octinoxate-free
    • Unscented
    Cons
    • Leaves white cast behind
  • Best for Daily Use

    Differin Oil Absorbing Moisturizer with Sunscreen

    Differin Oil Absorbing Moisturizer with Sunscreen
  • Moving on to the next skincare essential —  Differin Oil Absorbing Moisturizer with Sunscreen featuring an exceptional formula to moisturize and protect your skin from UV rays at the same time. With its lightweight and non-greasy texture, it doesn’t clog pores. What makes it stand apart from the rest of the top drugstore sunscreen is the fact that it is equipped with Micropearl technology that absorbs surface oil and thereby controls shine. Along with that, it comes with Oleosome technology, which uses a low concentration of sunscreen filters for minimal skin irritation.

    Key Ingredients: 3% Avobenzone, 5% octisalate, and 7% octocrylene

    Skin Type: Acne-prone and oily

    Type: Chemical

    SPF: 30

    Size: 4 fl oz

    Pros
    • Gentle
    • Reasonably priced
    • Fragrance-free
    • Hypoallergenic
    • Non-comedogenic
    • Recommended by dermatologists
    Cons
    • Might tingle delicate under-eye area

    Quick Tip:

    Ensure that you apply another golf ball-sized amount of sunscreen every 2 hours. Ideally, you should reapply it every 60 to 90 minutes for maximum sun protection.

  • Best Hypoallergenic

    Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Sunscreen

    Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Sunscreen
  • For anyone seeking weightless sunscreen, Aveeno’s Protect + Hydrate Sunscreen is the way to go. Its non-greasy texture and hydrating formula promise utmost all-day sun protection while keeping your skin thoroughly moisturized. What makes it so special? This drugstore sunscreen for the face effectively combats sun-induced free radicals, which accelerate the premature aging of the skin. Addedly, it is water-resistant for 80 minutes.

    Here is what a satisfied user has to say, “I was looking for something to wear with primer and makeup that didn’t smell or feel greasy. I also wanted something with a higher SPF - one application a day is perfect. I will buy it again and keep it as a part of my morning routine.” 

    Key Ingredients: Prebiotic oat 

    Skin Type: All

    Type: Mineral

    SPF: 60

    Size: 2.0 fl oz

    Pros
    • Hypoallergenic
    • Paraben-free
    • Travel-friendly
    • Free from phthalate
    • Oil-free formula
    • Doesn’t contain oxybenzone
    Cons
    • Might not suit very delicate skin
  • Best Non-greasy Texture

    Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Lotion Sunscreen

    Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Lotion Sunscreen
  • This Hydro Boost Sunscreen introduced by Neutrogena is no less than a magical elixir — you should make it a part of your everyday skincare routine. Firstly, this sunscreen dries invisibly, keeping your skin incredibly hydrated throughout the day. Secondly, its effective formula and texture offer superior sun protection without making you compromise on your skin’s hydration levels. Powered with Helioplex Technology, it takes due care of your skin and allows you to frolic around in utmost merriment under the sun. 

    Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, octocrylene, avobenzone, homosalate, and octisalate 

    Skin Type: Dry 

    Type: Mineral

    SPF: 50

    Size: 3 fl oz 

    Pros
    • Can be worn under makeup
    • Non-greasy
    • Recommended by dermatologists
    • Non-comedogenic
    • Won’t clog pores
    • Doesn’t leave white residues behind
    Cons
    • Not suitable for sensitive skin
  • Best Reef-friendly Sunscreen

    Cetaphil Sheer Mineral Face Liquid Sunscreen

    Cetaphil Sheer Mineral Face Liquid Sunscreen
  • For anyone looking for a reliable reef-friendly sunscreen, Cetaphil’s Sheer Liquid Sunscreen is the answer to your prayers. With its ultra-lightweight formula, it blends with ease and never makes your skin feel sticky or heavy. Plus, it locks in moisture and protects your skin’s delicate microbiome against the sun. What we appreciate the most is its dry and matte finish that makes it an ideal product to be worn under makeup. A happy user shares, “Despite being all mineral, it doesn't make me look overly white or chalky. Plus, there is no beachy smell. It might seem a bit runny compared to some other facial sunscreens, but to me, that helps me get it on evenly.”

    Key Ingredients: Vitamin E and zinc oxide

    Skin Type: Sensitive skin

    Type: Mineral

    SPF: 50

    Size: 1.7 fl oz

    Pros
    • Non-comedogenic
    • Doesn’t clog pores
    • Gentle
    • Ophthalmologically-tested
    • Fragrance-free
    Cons
    • Unsatisfactory packaging
  • CeraVe Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen

    CeraVe Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen
  • CeraVe’s Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen is yet another lightweight drugstore sunscreen that feels non-greasy and comfortable on the skin. Enriched with a potent blend of ingredients, it reflects UVA as well as UVB rays of the sun to protect your skin. Also renowned as a physical sunscreen, you can also apply it to your body for added sun protection. What’s worth noting? It is recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation and the National Eczema Association as one of the most effective and broad-spectrum sunscreens. For additional skin care, consider applying it over the CeraVe Hyaluronic Acid Face Serum

    Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, ceramides, zinc oxide, and titanium dioxide

    Skin Type: All

    Type: Mineral

    SPF: 50

    Size: 5 fl oz

    Pros
    • Maintains skin’s natural barrier
    • Oil-free
    • Developed by dermatologists
    • Benzene-free
    Cons
    • Thick consistency
  • Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen

    Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen
  • Blue Lizard’s Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen works wonders on the skin when it comes to fighting against harmful UV rays. Made with zero irritating chemical active ingredients, this reef-friendly sunscreen is a must-have beauty product. Its incredible sun-protectant formula and smooth texture keep sun damage and burn at bay. We also went a step ahead and glanced through the review section. Here is what a loyal consumer has to say, “This sunscreen is incredible, and is immediately my go-to mineral now. I got it before a Caribbean vacation and after 8 hr days in the sun I have not burned a bit.”

    Key Ingredients: Zinc oxide, beeswax, castor oil, and glycol

    Skin Type: Sensitive

    Type: Mineral

    SPF: 50

    Size: 5 fl oz

    Pros
    • Unscented
    • Travel-friendly
    • Full coverage
    • Water-resistant for 80 minutes
    Cons
    • Leaves white cast on darker complexions
  • Olay Daily Moisturizer With Sunscreen

    Olay Daily Moisturizer With Sunscreen
  • Another failproof daily moisturizer infused with sunscreen is this one from Olay. Backed with SolaSheer Sensitive Technology, it flawlessly protects your skin against sun damage and also pays heed to hydration levels. Designed with skin-nourishing ingredients, the sunscreen gently conditions your skin and unveils more healthy and youthful-looking skin. Whether you want to go to the beach or spend your day hiking, with a layer of this sunscreen on your face, the burning sun is never going to bother you. 

    Key Ingredients: Vitamin E, B3, aloe vera, and zinc oxide

    Skin Type: Sensitive skin

    Type: Mineral

    SPF: 30

    Size: 2.5 fl oz

    Pros
    • Pump dispenser
    • Dermatologically tested
    • Non-comedogenic
    • Non-greasy
    • Prevents premature skin damage
    Cons
    • Less quantity
  • Best for Blemish-prone Skin

    Hero Cosmetics Force Shield Superlight Sunscreen

    Hero Cosmetics Force Shield Superlight Sunscreen
  • Lastly, we recommend Force Shield Superlight Sunscreen by Hero Cosmetics. This sunscreen is ultra-blendable and airy-light. Secondly, it blurs redness with a sheer green tint and gets absorbed within a matter of minutes. What we like the most is its makeup-gripping formula that won’t clog pores, rather it lends a smooth shine-free surface, perfect for an all-day look with no greasiness. Additionally, it is hydrating and physically blocks UVA/UVB rays to protect your skin to the maximum every day.

    Key Ingredients: Zinc oxide, green surge, and extremolytes

    Skin Type: Acne-prone and blemish-prone skin 

    Type: Mineral

    SPF: 30

    Size: 1.69 fl oz

    Pros
    • Non-irritating formula
    • Weightless
    • Reef-safe
    • Clinically-tested
    Cons
    • Might peel off

    That was our comprehensive list of the best drugstore sunscreens. Now, let us run you through a detailed buying guide.

    What to Look for in a Drugstore Sunscreen?

    Here are a few aspects that you should consider before splurging on the best drugstore sunscreen for the face:

    Skin Type: Ensure that you analyze your skin type before investing in any of the non-greasy drugstore sunscreen. If you are dealing with sensitive skin, then pick a gentle, lightweight sunscreen. Likewise, for those possessing oily or acne-prone skin, non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic, and oil-free sunscreen can be a wise investment. Refrain from purchasing sunscreens that are not meant for your skin type.

    Key Ingredients: Next, pay heed to the list of key ingredients. Ideally, a sunscreen infused with niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, ceramides, titanium dioxide, beeswax, castor oil, vitamin E, B3, aloe vera, and zinc oxide are preferred for added skin nourishment and sun protection. Make sure that you avoid sunscreen that contains harsh chemicals like parabens, sulfates, silicones, gluten, and artificial fragrances.

    SPF (Sun Protection Factor) Levels: Consider the SPF levels depending on your needs. If you are someone who spends an entire day under the sun, then look for sunscreen with broad spectrum SPF ranging between 40 to 60. Likewise, for minimum coverage, you may rely on sunscreens with SPF 10 to 35.

    Texture: Always pick sunscreens that feature a lightweight texture, promising long-lasting protection. Avoid those that are too thick, heavy, greasy, or difficult to blend, as they may leave a chalky white cast behind.

    Formula: Lastly, pick sunscreen featuring a non-comedogenic formula. It is a bonus if the sunscreen is dermatologically tested, hypoallergenic, reef-friendly, and primarily water-resistant for up to 60 to 80 minutes.

    Conclusion

    Protecting your skin from harmful UV rays will be a matter of minutes as long as you have the best drugstore sunscreens in your stash. Investing in the best drugstore sunscreen can be a wise decision to make, as it not only saves money but also shields your skin to the fullest. Considering several factors like key ingredients, texture, formula, reviews, and ratings, we managed to curate this fanciful list for you. Whether you want a lightweight lotion, moisturizing sun protectant, or reef-friendly sunscreen, we managed to review all of them during our curation process. Out of all, EltaMD Skincare UV Clear Face Sunscreen managed to seize the first position for its splendid formula and skin-soothing texture. So, without further delay, pick the one that suits you best and enjoy your summer without worrying about sun damage, tan, or burns! Happy shopping!

    FAQ's

    What is the difference between the types of sunscreen?
    Different types of sunscreens use different active ingredients to protect the skin from the sun's harmful rays. Chemical sunscreens contain organic compounds that absorb UV radiation, while mineral sunscreens contain inorganic compounds that reflect UV radiation.
    Are there any reef-safe drugstore sunscreens?
    Yes, there are reef-safe drugstore sunscreens available that contain mineral sunscreens like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.
    Which type of drugstore sunscreen is recommended by dermatologists?
    Mineral sunscreens are generally recommended by dermatologists as they are less likely to cause skin irritation or allergic reactions.
    How effective are drugstore sunscreens as compared to the expensive ones?
    While expensive sunscreens may contain more luxurious ingredients and have higher SPF levels, drugstore sunscreens can be just as effective in protecting the skin from the sun's harmful rays.

    Why Trust Pinkvilla

    Our certified skincare expert, Anoushka, researched the best drugstore sunscreens for you to make a wise investment. She believes that sunscreen is the most vital skincare product that you cannot afford to skimp. Hence, she went a step ahead and listed her top picks. From the above-mentioned list, Sun Bum Premium Sunscreen Face Lotion caught her attention for the longest time. She highly appreciated its non-greasy texture, lightweight formula, and sun-protecting abilities. Likewise, you too can find your skin’s ideal match and take due care of your skin. 

    Our product experts study the specifications of every product we suggest and try them out to bring what’s proven to be worthy of your money, time, and energy. We also have subject matter experts from various fields like Fashion, Skincare, Haircare, Home Decor, and Health & Fitness onboard to make sure our suggestions are credible and trustworthy. You can trust Select to be your faithful shopping guide for all the right reasons!

    Author BIO
    reviewer
    Anoushka Sinha
    Skincare Coach & Writer

    Anoushka is certified in Professional Skincare and is a Mass Media (Journalism) graduate from Mumbai University. As a More