The 15 Best Body Sunscreens for Every Need

Sayonara, sunburns.

women tanning their bodies
(Image credit: Ghislain & Marie David de Lossy/Getty)

Let’s kick things off with some myth busting, shall we? The best sunscreen products aren’t going to prevent you from getting tan and they’re not going to feel all kinds of greasy and goopy. Perhaps the most important myth to bust however is that sunscreen only exists to prevent sunburn. The best body sunscreens go a step further: They're your best defense against skin cancer, hyperpigmentation, and long term sun damage.

But in order to actually get the protection promised on the bottle, SPF application can’t be done haphazardly. “We typically tell people the appropriate amount of sunscreen is roughly what you would fill a shot glass with,” explains Dr. Robert Finney, board-certified dermatologist at Entiére Dermatology. “Many people are good about applying sunscreen at the outset of a beach day, but slack off on reapplying every two hours or sooner if you sweat or swim.” 

Sound like you? Keep reading for a list of the best body sunscreens that you’ll actually want to reapply all day long. From gels with a little shimmer and sprays with no white cast to mineral creams that feel weightless, these SPFs all deserve a spot in your beach bag. 

Do I Really Need Body Sunscreen?

We’ll shout it from the rooftops: YES. While applying sunscreen to your body certainly has long term cosmetic benefits, it’s also the best defense for preventing skin cancer, which most frequently pops up on the body. “Melanoma is most commonly diagnosed in women on the legs and the trunk in men,” explains Dr. Finney. “Other skin cancers are more commonly diagnosed in areas of chronic sun exposure, like the head, neck, tops of the hands, and forearms.” 

Body sunscreen is also helpful for people who are concerned about "hyperpigmentation, uneven pigment, or other signs of chronic sun damage, such as wrinkly or crepey skin," Dr Finney says.

Is a Spray Sunscreen or Cream Sunscreen Better?

The best sunscreen is the one you’re actually going to wear. That being said, it’s definitely easier to apply a consistent amount with cream. Dr. Finney explains that while spray sunscreens can be just as effective, getting an even, all-over application is a bit trickier. “Make sure you shake the bottle enough, keep it no more than six inches away from your body, and spray evenly,” he advises. “Make sure to let it dry a bit before sweating, swimming, or putting clothing on.”  

The Best Body Sunscreens

Samantha Holender
Samantha Holender

Samantha Holender is the Beauty Editor at Marie Claire, where she reports on the best new launches, dives into the science behind skincare, and keeps up with the latest trends in the beauty space. She has previously written for Us Weekly, Popsugar, Makeup.com, Skincare.com, and Philadelphia Wedding. Follow her on Instagram @samholender.