Best Sunscreens in 2023 & Toxic Ones to Avoid


Recent research has linked chemical sunscreens to birth problems, infertility, hormonal imbalances in children, and the destruction of coral reefs.

Researchers at Newcastle University’s Institute of Cellular Medicine conducted research by Brian Diffey, PhD, an emeritus professor of photobiology. According to his research, U.S. sunscreens allow about three times more UVA radiation to penetrate the skin than European sunscreens. The choices Americans have for sunscreen are limited and less UVA protection is available than in the European Union.

UVA radiation is more widespread than UVB and can cause harm without it being visible right away. Weakening of the immune system and premature skin aging are two of its possible effects. Studies link UVA exposure to the development of different types of skin cancer such as melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and basal cell carcinoma. According to EWG, most sunscreens available in the US would not pass Europe’s stricter regulations on UVA protection.

Since 2011, U.S. sunscreen regulations haven’t been revised. While the FDA has indicated that it will consider a position on UVA exposure, its recent plan was pulled as part of the Coronavirus bill. In the fall, the FDA will announce its long-awaited sunscreen regulations.

The Best Sunscreens of 2023: For Recreation

In their proposed draught regulations, the FDA only acknowledged zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as safe or effective ingredients, so we continue to recommend sunscreens that contain these minerals.

These are a few of the top-rated sunscreens that meet EWG’s safety and effectiveness standards:

  • 365 Everyday Value Mineral Sunscreen Sport Lotion, SPF 30
  • 3rd Rock Sunblock Sunscreen Lotion, Aromatherapeutic, SPF 35
  • ATTITUDE Mineral Sunscreen, Fragrance-Free, SPF 30
  • All Good Sunstick, Unscented, SPF 30
  • All Good Sunscreen Butter, 50+
  • Badger Sunscreen Cream, Unscented, SPF 30
  • Badger Clear Zinc Sunscreen Cream, SPF 30 & 40
  • Block Island Organics Natural Mineral Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30

It is worth noting that several well-known sunscreen brands have now begun offering safer alternatives. Although not all of their products fall within the EWG’s safe category (with 0 to 2 being the most secure, and higher scores indicating a decrease in safety), there have been positive changes among larger and store-bought brands in recent years. For instance, some items earned a score of “2” and were classified as one of the best sunscreens according to the EWG guidelines – this was after the organization had advocated for more safer sunscreens for over 10 years.

  • Banana Boat Kids Sport Sunscreen Stick, SPF 50+
  • Coppertone Water Babies Pure & Simple Sunscreen Stick, SPF 50
  • Coppertone Defend & Care Face Sunscreen Lotion, Oil Free, SPF 30
  • Equate Kids Mineral Based Sunscreen Stick, SPF 5

Best Non-Mineral Sunscreens

The rankings for this year also include the top choices for non-mineral sunscreens. If you can’t use sunscreens containing titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, this is fantastic. Most of them aren’t in the same way as the ones above, but you can look at the list to find the one that best suits your needs:

  • Alba Botanica Hawaiian Sunscreen Lotion, Aloe Vera, SPF 30
  • Australian Gold Sport Lotion, Ultra Chill, SPF 30
  • Banana Boat Kids Sport Sunscreen Stick, SPF 50+
  • Banana Boat Ultra Sport Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 15
  • Coppertone Defend & Care Face Sunscreen Lotion, Oil Free, SPF 30
  • Coppertone Sport Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30
  • CVS Health 30 Ultra Sheer Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30
  • Daylogic Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30


In its report on sunscreen for 2021, EWG rated these products to be among the top:

  • Algenist Alive Prebiotic Balancing Moisturizer, SPF 15
  • AKT Therapy Elemental Sun Balm, SPF 30
  • Andalou Naturals Men Face Guard Daily Mineral Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30
  • Ao Skincare 6000X Elemental Screen, SPF 30
  • ATTITUDE Mineral Sensitive Skin Sunscreen, Fragrance-Free, SPF 30
  • Beautycounter Countersunk Daily Sheer Defense for Face, SPF 25
  • Biossance Squalane + Mineral, SPF 45
  • Biossance Squalane + Zinc Sheer Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 30
  • Block Island Organics Natural Face Moisturizer, SPF 30
  • Cyberderm Every Morning Sun Whip, SPF 30
  • Earth Mama Lady Face Mineral Sunscreen Tinted Face Stick, Light/Medium & Medium/Dark Tints, SPF 40

The items on the aforementioned list received a “1” (remember, 0-2 are deemed the safest and the most efficient by EWG – the lower the score, the higher). However, big cosmetic companies are developing safer alternatives, too. EWG analysts, for instance, rated Olay’s three products as “2”.

  • Olay Regenerist Mineral Sunscreen Hydrating Moisturizer, Fragrance-Free, SPF 15 & 30
  • The Olay Complete Benefits Whip Face Moisturizer has SPF 25 and sunscreen.

The following selections from EWG are recommended if you’re looking for mouth balms with SPF protection.

Top Picks for the Best Baby Sunscreens

  • 3rd Rock Sunblock Sunscreen Lotion, Infant, SPF 35
  • Adorable Baby Sunscreen Stick, SPF 30+
  • Badger Baby Active Sunscreen Cream, Chamomile & Calendula, SPF 30 & 40
  • California Baby Everyday/Year-Round Sunscreen Stick, SPF 30+
  • California Baby Super Sensitive Sunscreen Stick, SPF 30+
  • Earth Mama Baby Baby Face Mineral Sunscreen Face Stick, SPF 40
  • Earth Mama Baby Mineral Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 40
  • Erbaviva Organic Skincare Baby Sun Stick, Lavender Chamomile, SPF 30

Most Toxic Sunscreens to Avoid

This is a major takeaway that will simplify things. The EWG advises against spray sunscreens. Aside from the fact that they’re difficult to apply efficiently and evenly, they may cause irreparable lung damage. As many other chemicals are used every day, these ingredients are not evaluated in the capacity of aerosols to determine their long-term effects on human health.

In the case of sunscreens, here’s a list of the most harmful overall offenders who scored within the Red Zone (10) for serious safety issues. These sunscreens performed poorly in an EWG study and are not deemed the best choice for sun protection. Please be aware that this list is not exhaustive.

  • Walgreens Dry Touch Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 100
  • Panama Jack Sunscreen Continuous Spray, SPF 100
  • Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 85+
  • Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 100+
  • Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sunscreen Spray, SPF 100+
  • Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Mineral Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 60+
  • Neutrogena Age Shield Face Oil-Free Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 110
  • Equate Beauty Ultra Light Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 100
  • CVS Health Ultra Sheer Lotion, SPF 100

This is not an exhaustive list. Make sure you check your specific product’s safety report at


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