The 12 Best Natural Sunscreens of 2021, According to Dermatologists

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The Rundown

Best Overall: CeraVe Mineral Sunscreen Lotion at Amazon

"It's free from chemicals and offers broad-spectrum protection and long-lasting moisture."

Best Budget: Aveeno Baby Zinc Oxide Mineral Sunscreen Lotion at Amazon

"Sensitive enough for babies’ delicate skin, but it works for everybody in the family."

Best Splurge: Solara Suncare Time Traveler at Free People

"Easy to spread and rubs in completely without leaving a white discoloration on the skin."

Best Spray: Coola Classic Body Organic Sunscreen Spray at Sephora

"Able to get to all those harder to reach bits because it's lightweight and non-greasy."

Best Powder: Colorscience Sunforgettable Total Protection in SPF 50 at Amazon

"You can re-cap the soft applicator brush and toss it in your bag when you're on the go."

Best Liquid: La Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral Sunscreen at Dermstore

"It has a fluid, lightweight texture that dries matte on the face and body."

Best for Face: Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Formulation with SPF 50 at Amazon

"Its non-greasy formula makes it a great option for layering invisibly under makeup."

Best for Sensitive Skin: EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 at Amazon

"This oil-free option is dermatologist recommended for sensitive or acne-prone skin."

Best for Lips: Supergoop! Play Lip Balm SPF 30 at Amazon

"The non-shiny finish makes this lip balm a great unisex option."

Best for Kids: Bare Republic Mineral Sunscreen Lotion at Walmart

"Easy to apply and also blends without aggressive rubbing that tends to rile up kiddos."

Whether you're going to be out and about in a new city or lazily spending your day on the beach, sunscreen is a must. However, many on the market have skin irritants or contain ingredients that can be harmful to the environment. Enter natural sunscreens. You get the same protection but without the worry that comes with certain ingredients. We interviewed dermatologists to help you find safe options for all your needs—whether you're looking to protect your lips, add a base layer under your makeup, or safeguard your kids from harmful UV rays. Many of these sunscreens also have the added benefit of leaving your skin hydrated and plump.

Read on to learn more about the best natural sunscreens on the market.

Our Top Picks

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Best Overall: CeraVe Mineral Sunscreen Lotion

First, a word about natural sunscreens as a category. “The term natural is not actually an FDA-regulated term, and the definition may vary from company to company,” notes New York dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner. “Generally speaking, natural products are those free of fragrances, dyes, parabens, and phthalates.” Among the best overall in the bunch is CeraVe Mineral Sunscreen Lotion, a 100 percent mineral sunscreen option for your face with SPF 50 that earns our pick for its efficacy, versatility, reef-safe formulation, and moisturizing properties. It’s free from chemicals, fragrances, parabens, and oil. It has zinc oxide for broad-spectrum protection, and hyaluronic acid plus three ceramides for long-lasting moisture. Wear this confidently while swimming or snorkeling in reef environments: it’s also free from oxybenzone, which is known to be toxic to coral and other marine life.

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Best Budget: Aveeno Baby Zinc Oxide Mineral Sunscreen Lotion

Aveeno Baby's Continuous Protection Zinc Oxide Mineral Sunscreen Lotion is sensitive enough for babies’ delicate skin—but it works for everybody in the family, and at an excellent price point. The broad-spectrum SPF 50 option is nongreasy, water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, and contains naturally sourced 100 percent zinc oxide as an active ingredient. Get it in a popular two-pack option for an even better value.

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Best Splurge: Solara Suncare Time Traveler

Solara

Courtesy of Neiman Marcus 

Dr. Zeichner cites the luxurious product Solara Suncare Time Traveler as a personal favorite. “This broad-spectrum sunscreen uses zinc oxide only as its UV blocker,” he notes. "Unlike many other mineral blockers, this sunscreen is easy to spread and rubs in completely, without leaving behind a white discoloration on the skin.” The mineral-only, antioxidant- and vitamin-rich formula is naturally quick-absorbing, and has no silicones, drying alcohols, nylons, or other potentially irritating ingredients commonly found in sunscreens. This moisturizing product also claims to plump lines. Wear it alone, or layer it easily under makeup.

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Best Spray: Coola Classic Body Organic Sunscreen Spray

Coola Body Organic Sunscreen Spray SPF 50

 Courtesy of Sephora

Coola’s continuous spray sunscreen with broad-spectrum SPF 50 is water and sweat-resistant for up to 80 minutes. The hydrating spray includes 70 percent organic ingredients like cucumber, algae, and strawberry extracts. Plus, it’s oxybenzone free, so it’s reef safe, and it’s hypoallergenic, vegan, and cruelty-free. The formulation has many fans for being lightweight and non-greasy, so it's able to get to all those harder to reach bits and gives full coverage. But remember this tip from New York dermatologist Dendy Engelman when administering: “Sprays are easy and convenient, but you have to apply significantly more than you think to get anywhere close to the SPF on the bottle.”

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Best Powder: Colorscience Sunforgettable Total Protection in SPF 50

“I like powder sunscreens for easy re-application throughout the day,” Dr. Engelman says. Her picks include Colorscience Sunforgettable Total Protection in SPF 50, a 100 percent mineral sunscreen that feels super lightweight with a finish that helps to conceal discoloration like hyperpigmentation or rosacea. And this formula doesn't just protect against UV rays—it also shields against other environmental aggressors like blue light and infrared radiation. This goes on with a soft applicator brush, allowing you to re-cap it with one hand and toss it in your bag while on the go. Sunforgettable is also oil-free and calming for sensitive skin.

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Best Liquid: La Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral Sunscreen

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral Face Sunscreen

Courtesy of Target 

Dr. Engelman recommends La Roche-Posay Anthelios for a liquid sunscreen, which has a gentle formula with broad-spectrum SPF 50. “I like that this one can be used on the face and body,” Engelman notes. “Look for non-comedogenic and fragrance-free sunscreens like this one, which is great for sensitive skin.” The 100 percent mineral face sunscreen absorbs fast and is non-whitening and oxybenzone free. It has a fluid, lightweight texture that dries matte. If you like liquid sunscreens in general, note Dr. Engelman’s tips for use: “Liquid sunscreen is best for initial application. Apply before makeup. It should provide even, sufficient coverage.”

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Best for Face: Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Formulation with SPF 50

Neutrogena Sheer Zinc formulation with SPF 50 is a personal favorite of Dr. Dhaval Bhanusali, a New York dermatologist—in fact, he calls this a “derm favorite” product overall among the community. The water-resistant face sunscreen is made with naturally-sourced 100 percent zinc oxide and has a distinctly non-greasy formulation. It’s sheer and free from fragrance, parabens, phthalates, and other potential irritants, so it’s gentle on the skin and doesn’t sting if it gets in your eyes. This is a great option for layering invisibly under makeup.

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Best for Sensitive Skin: EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46

EltaMD UV’s clear facial sunscreen with SPF 46 is among the favorites of Dr. Bhanusali. The broad-spectrum, oil-free option is dermatologist recommended for sensitive or acne-prone skin. Its mineral-based zinc oxide formula goes on silky smooth with a lightweight feel. In fact, this option, “goes on and absorbs better than most,” Dr. Bhanusali notes. All EltaMD sunscreens are formulated with zinc oxide, a natural mineral compound; none of them use oxybenzone.

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Best for Lips: Supergoop! Play Lip Balm SPF 30

Supergoop!’s Play Lip Balm includes natural ingredients like shea butter, honey, and sunflower seed oil, so its texture is luxurious and gentle. But it’s also got SPF 30 to protect your lips, which are one of the most delicate areas of your body exposed to the sun—though they’re often forgotten during the sunscreen application process. Reviewers praise it for its favorable comparison against other popular lip balms—noting it’s neither greasy nor waxy—and appreciate that its non-shiny finish makes it unisex as well. Plus, it uses a reef-safe formula, so you can swim in the Caribbean or Hawaii guilt-free knowing you're not threatening the marine life.

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Best for Kids: Bare Republic Mineral Sunscreen Lotion

Bare Republic Mineral Sunscreen Lotion

Courtesy of Bare Republic

Bare Republic’s mineral sunscreen lotion has broad-spectrum UVA/UVB SPF 50 without any chemical sunscreens or synthetic fragrances, so it’s just right for babies over six months old. It’s easy to apply and also blends without aggressive rubbing that riles up kiddos—a battle most parents know all too well. The non-nano zinc oxide formula shields the sun physically, not chemically. Natural ingredients include coconut oil, meadowfoam oil, shea butter, and chamomile extract. The brand’s whole line is biodegradable and reef friendly.

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Best Tinted: Suntegrity 5 in 1 Sunscreen

Suntegrity 5 in 1

 Courtesy of Suntegrity

Suntegrity’s 5 in 1 sunscreen does triple duty as a high-performing moisturizer, sunscreen with SPF 30, and foundation. Natural ingredients include aloe vera, jojoba, sunflower, pomegranate, cucumber, and green tea for sun protection and hydration. The active ingredient is 20 percent non-nano size zinc oxide, an important ingredient to Dr. Bhanusali. “Natural sunscreens generally refer to physical or mineral sunscreens,” he notes. “For these, I like to look for ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.” Suntegrity’s product is also vegan and made in America. Color options come in fair, light, golden light, and medium tones.

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Best Invisible: Supergoop! Unseen SPF 40 Sunscreen

Sugargoop! Unseen Sunscreen

Courtesy of Dermstore 

Supergoop!’s Unseen SPF 40 sunscreen has developed a cult following for being as truly invisible on the skin as it claims. The formula for its everyday face sunscreen is lightweight, non-greasy, and scent- and oil-free, with an ultra-soft finish. It also works well as a makeup primer. Natural ingredients here include red algae (which it claims helps protect against the blue light emitted by tech); frankincense (for soothing the skin); and a complex derived from meadowfoam seed (to increase hydration).

Final Verdict

If you want a simple, effective, and reef-safe sunscreen, we recommend the CeraVe Mineral Sunscreen Lotion (view at Amazon). It's formulated without parabens, fragrances, and other harmful ingredients that could irritate your skin. Looking for something more affordable? Try Aveno's Zinc Oxide Mineral Sunscreen (view at Amazon). It comes in packs of two and is gentle enough for the whole family.

What to Look for in a Natural Sunscreen

Clean and Hydrating Ingredients

Generally, natural sunscreens are formulated without parabens, dyes, phthalates, and other harmful ingredients that will irritate sensitive skin. Hydrating ingredients to look for in your sunscreen are hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and shea butter which will provide long-lasting moisture throughout the day. You should also consider finding a sunscreen free of oxybenzone to ensure you're not harming reef environments.

Formula

Natural sunscreens are usually formulated with physical sunscreen ingredients, such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These provide excellent broad-spectrum protection but can sometimes leave skin with a white residue. This can be bothersome, especially for those with deeper skin tones. While discovering a sunscreen that doesn't leave a white residue is primarily trial and error, an easy fix can be finding a tinted sunscreen that matches your skin tone.

SPF

SPF (sun protection factor) measures the strength of your sunscreen. To ensure optimal protection, we've recommended products with at least SPF 30. Most of the products that we've listed for use on your body are SPF 50.

Type

Sunscreen comes in three different forms: liquid, spray, and powder. Liquid sunscreen is best for initial applications and will provide the most adequate protection from the sun. Spray sunscreen is great for hard to reach places, but you will need to use a lot to ensure you're protected from the sun. Finally, powder sunscreen is a great way to reapply sunscreen throughout the day, especially if you're wearing makeup.

Why Trust TripSavvy

Alesandra Dubin has fair skin and her favorite travel destinations include all the world’s tropical beaches and islands. Plus, she has young twins with whom she's traveled since they were babies. So she's pretty much experimented with every product (literally) under the sun to find what works best. She interviewed three dermatologists for this article.

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