The Best Sunscreens to Pack For Your Summer Vacation

When my skin was breaking out in rash-like bumps my dermatologist told me to only use oil-free products and to stick with brands known for their “honesty” and clean ingredients, like Vichy (he also recommended Dermalogica and La Roche Posay).

With that I highly recommend Vichy SPF 60 Soft Sheer Sunscreen Lotion ($30.50) if you’re prone to breakouts. I’ve mentioned this before but when I went oil-free it completely cleared up my skin – and I was at the point where I was considering Accutane! This Vichy formula is sheer and oil-free. It absorbs immediately (unlike most SPF products higher than 15). It’s also dry to the touch relatively quickly and doesn’t smell “sunscreen-y.” Acne is very stressful! It’s such a relief to have lightweight, oil-free products like this one that I can trust.

I’ve given my boyfriend – who doesn’t have sensitive skin at all – an endless assortment of sunscreen products. He doesn’t want to use anything “fancy.” He says they don’t work and they smell. I’m guessing most guys are the same. They want what they know and that’s usually a drugstore buy. To that end Coppertone is a go-to, especially their sprays. It’s worth noting that dermatologists often say that people are more likely to miss spots if they use sprays. I find though that especially with men convenience is key, so if it’s between using a spray or not applying at all, better the guy uses a spray! Men tend to sweat a lot so I would opt for Coppertone’s sports line (they have a lotion as well – Coppertone Sport Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30), but they also have a new oil-free line. Better yet, for anyone on a budget, almost all products are $10.99 or less.

If you’re working out outdoors you can’t risk it when it comes to your sunscreen. SkinCeuticals Sport UV Defense SPF 50 ($40) is a marathon-runner-tested sport sunscreen specifically formulated for extreme conditions and active use. Equally important – it won’t melt into your eyes and burn when you’re sweating! It’s also formulated to be wear-off resistant from wiping and rubbing and is formulated for 80 minutes of water resistance. I’ve worked out for 45minutes, washed my face, and then stupidly walked in the sun for 15 minutes and didn’t get burned. I forgot to bring SPF to lather on post-workout. I’m not recommending risking it, but just to say this product does seem to have exceptional staying power.

Like Vichy, Peter Thomas Roth is a go-to line for myself (and one that’s highly dermatologist recommended) because I breakout so easily. The brand’s Max Sheer All Day Moisture Defense Lotion ($42) is great if you’re worried about weighing your skin down, especially if you have dry skin. Not only is it lightweight but it’s very moisturizing so you won’t need anything else on top of it (not even a primer if you’re applying makeup). It’s also oil-free, which as mentioned is key if you’re prone to breakouts.

When it comes to my body SPF I’m not as picky because my body isn’t as sensitive as my face. If you’re on a budget Coppertone is totally fine! I’ve used it countless times. But if you have the budget to splurge, there is a difference in feel with a luxury brand like Zelens. The dermatologist developed Body Defence Sunscreen SPF30 ($78) not only feel fantastic on the skin, you can use it on your hair! (great for color protection and preventing scalp burns). It’s also water-resistant for 40 minutes. 

Image: Vogue

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