As a kid, one was often struck with this weird dichotomy when it comes to being out in the sun.

When nothing more was wanted than to sit inside the house and play video games or watch tv, one was, often, told the need to go outside and get some Vitamin D on the skin to be healthy. On the other hand, if this was the case, why was it a requirement to get an application of suntan lotion so liberally that it turned the skin three shades paler, wear a huge floppy hat, or get under an umbrella every time one went to the beach?

As an adult many of us come to understand the reason; both interpretations of the sun are correct. It is very good for the body to absorb sunlight but the sun can come with horrendous consequences if certain precautions aren’t taken.

These consequences are easily with avoided with proper skin treatment through quality suntan lotion. This is why we did all the hard work and we found some of the best sunscreens for men from popular brands for you and we narrowed it down to three great sunscreens that worth your attention.

More specifically, we found the Clinique For Men UV Defense to be the top men’s sunscreen for face and body with Sun Bum Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 being a great alternative. A more affordable often in stores version, you can give Banana Boat Sunscreen for Men Triple Defense Broad Spectrum Sun Care Lotion – SPF 50 a try.

Best Sunscreens For Men

 Banana Boat Sunscreen for MenNeutrogena Ultimate Sport Face LotionJack Black Sun Guard SunscreenNIVEA Men Energy Lotion SunscreenNeutrogena Beach Defense Spray SunscreenGeneva Naturals Face MoisturizerSun Bum Sunscreen LotionMaple Holistics SunscreenBullfrog Sport Instacool SpraySun Bum Face Sunscreen LotionHoneydew Sunscreen lotionMary Kay Men Facial SunscreenClinique For Men UV SunscreenThinksport Sunscreen for MenBadger Balm Lavender SunscreenBlue Lizard Australian Sunscreen
CountryUSAUSAUSAGermanyUSAUSAUSAUSAUSAUSAUSAUSAUSAUSAUSAUSA
Size6 fl oz2.5 fl oz4 fl oz1.7 fl oz6.5 fl oz1 fl oz8 fl oz4 fl oz6 fl oz1 fl oz4 fl oz3 fl oz1 fl oz3 fl oz2.9 fl oz3 fl oz
Price$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
Application TypeFace & BodyFaceFace & BodyFaceFace & BodyFaceFace & BodyFace & BodyFace & BodyFace Face & BodyFace Face & BodyFace & BodyFace & BodyFace & Body
Sun ProtectionSPF 50SPF 70SPF 45SPF 15SPF 70SPF 20SPF 30SPF 30SPF 50SPF 50SPF 30SPF 30SPF 50SPF 50SPF 30SPF 30
Ease of Application5/55/55/55/55/55/55/55/54.5/55/55/55/55/55/55/55/5
Value for Money4.5/54.5/54.5/53.5/54/54/54.5/54.5/54/54/54/54/54/54.5/54.5/54/5

This guide’s contents

  • Best men’s sunscreens reviewed
  • Why would you wear a sunscreen
  • How often to wear a sunscreen
  • Criteria to selecting the ideal product for your skin and needs
  • How to apply sunscreen step by step
  • Why would you wear a sunscreen?

Reviews of the best sunscreens for men’s face and body

When providing an overall score, hypoallergenic is not factored in. The hypoallergenic score is merely given as a resource to those with skin issues or sensitive skin.

Banana Boat Sunscreen for Men

Banana Boat Sunscreen for Men

Pros:

  • Combats odor, even while sweating
  • Protects against UVA and UVB with broad spectrum ingredients (Avobenzone and Oxybenzone)
  • Moisturizes the skin with aloe vera and vitamin E
  • Light, yet most find it to have a really appealing scent (coconut notes)
  • Absorbs quickly (non-oily) and doesn’t leave with a greasy, sticky feeling
  • Fairly Affordable

Cons:

  • Could cause break outs to those with sensitve skin
  • Scent is a bit debatable
  • No added features (no anti-aging)
  • It seems that its effectiveness doesn’t last as other reviewed sunscreen for men

Neutrogena Ultimate Sport Face Oil-Free Lotion

Neutrogena Face Lotion Sunscreen for men

Pros:

  • Broad spectrum, UVA/UVA protection (ingredients include Avobenzone, Octocrylene, Oxybenzone
  • Helioplex Technology is said to be superior in preventing sun damage and preventing skin cancer through photostable (won’t break down when exposed to strong UV rays and are long lasting)
  • Resists water
  • Non-comedogenic (doesn’t clog pores or cause breakouts)
  • Oil-free (non-greasy)

Cons:

  • Non-hypoallergenic
  • Separates easily and too thick to shake
  • Contains ingredients that other lotions producers have removed from theiringredients list
  • Can not be used on open sores
  • Small bottle that uses up quickly

Jack Black Sun Guard Sunscreen

Jack Black Sun Guard Sunscreen for men

Pros:

  • Broad spectrum, UVB/UVA protection (ingredients include Zinc Oxide)
  • Very Water Resistant (stays on for up to 80 minutes while in water)
  • Does not streak due to sweat or normal wear like many lotions
  • Usually works well for those with sensitive skin
  • Oil-Free, Paraben-Free
  • Vitamin enriched
  • Dermatologist recommended

Cons:

  • Thicker than most lotions
  • Because of the thickness, your skin pore might clog up
  • Although it’s fragrance free, yet still has a mild sunscreen scent

NIVEA Men Energy Lotion

NIVEA Men Energy Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 15 Sunscreen

Pros:

  • Broad Spectrum UVB/UVA protection (ingredients include Avobenzone)
  • Revitalizes and moisturizes skin
  • Replenishes Coenzyme Q10 which helps maintain skin’s vitality and elasticity
  • Lightly fragranced (some still don’t like the odor)
  • Pump distribution of lotion aids in proper amount for face application

Cons:

  • Below the recommended SPF 30 for facial sunscreen
  • Recently switched formula which is oily and thick to the touch
  • Really burns eyes if it makes contact with them
  • Not easily absorbed by some skin types
  • Does not moisturize like other moisturizing sunscreens
  • Could cause reaction in those with sensitive skin

Neutrogena Beach Defense Spray Sunscreen Broad SpectrumNeutrogena Beach Defense Spray Sunscreen for men

Pros:

  • Broad Spectrum UVB/UVA protection (ingredients include Avobenzone and Oxybenzone)
  • Helioplex Technology which won’t break down when exposed to strong UV rays and long lasting
  • Very water resistant (80 minutes of protection in water)
  • Oil free
  • PABA free

Cons:

  • Could cause reaction in some skin types that don’t react to other lotions
  • Does not prevent burning as described (those with pale skin have should be more careful when using it)
  • Strong fragrance
  • Feels a bit greasy

Geneva Naturals Face Moisturizer

Geneva Naturals sunblock for men

Pros:

  • Broad Spectrum UVB/UVA protection (ingredients include Avobenzone)
  • Called the most advanced anti-wrinkle and anti-aging skin care product out there
  • Contains powerful antioxidants
  • Stimulates cell regeneration
  • Dermatologist approved

Cons:

  • Feels “sticky” once applied on the skin
  • Could cause breakouts to some men
  • Below the recommended SPF 30 for facial use

Sun Bum Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion

SunBum sunblock for men

Pros:

  • Broad spectrum UVB/UVA protection (ingredients include Avobenzone and oxybenzone)
  • Injects skin with Vitamin E which serves as an antioxidant to neutralize free radicals
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Very water and sweat resistant (80 minutes of protection in water)
  • Paraben Free
  • PABA Free
  • Gluten and Vegan Free
  • Oil Free
  • Photostable
  • Great for most with sensitive skin

Cons:

  • Can cause breakouts in few who are acne prone
  • Burns eyes if makes contact
  • Stains clothing if touched

Bullfrog Water Armour Sport Instacool Spray

Bullfrog Sunscreen for men

Pros:

  • Broad Spectrum UVB/UVA protection (ingredients include Avobenzone and Oxybenzone)
  • Great at preventing burns
  • Goes on clear
  • Very water resistant (80 minutes)
  • Moisturizes with Vitamin E and aloe
  • Cools the skin when applied

Cons:

  • Stains
  • Dries very quickly leaving some to have unprotected areas due to not quickly rubbing in.

Sun Bum Clear Zinc Oxide Face Sunscreen Lotion

Sun Bum Clear Zinc Oxide Sunscreen Lotion for men

Pros:

  • Broad spectrum UVB/UVA protection (ingredients include Zinc Oxide)
  • Injects skin with Aloe and Vitamin E
  • Paraben Free
  • PABA Free
  • Gluten and Vegan Free
  • Oil Free
  • Pleasant scent

Cons:

  • Comes off easily
  • Irritates skin in some people
  • Contains chemicals that some people prefer to avoid such as oxybenzone but hides that information within the branding
  • Small container

Honeydew Sunscreen lotion

Honeydew sunscreen for men

Pros:

  • Broad spectrum UVB/UVA protection (ingredients include Avobenzone)
  • All natural
  • Not greasy
  • Oxybenzone and Alcohol Paraben free
  • BPA free container
  • Protects premature aging and wrinkles
  • Contains Aloe and Cocoa Butter for smooth application
  • Great for sensitive skin

Cons:

  • Thicker than most lotions

Mary Kay Men Advanced Facial Sunscreen

Mary Kay MK Men Advanced Facial Sunscreen

Pros:

  • Broad Spectrum UVB/UVA protection (ingredients include avobenzone and oxybenzone)
  • Lightweight feel that leaves skin feeling refreshed
  • Hydrates skin for 10 hours
  • Includes beneficial antioxidants
  • Suitable for sensitive skin
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Non-comedogenic

Cons:

  • Often not easily obtainable
  • Deemed less effective than prior version
  • Some don’t like the greasy texture

Clinique For Men UV Defense Broad Spectrum

Clinique For Men sunscreen

Pros:

  • High level Broad Spectrum UVB/UVA protection (ingredients include Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide)
  • Oil-free
  • Invisible Screen technology protects with no residue on all skin types after a few minutes
  • Good for sensitive skin
  • Mineral based formula
  • One of the best sunscreen’s for men’s face in terms of texture and performance

Cons:

  • Void of antioxidants
  • Not a great moisturizer
  • Odd container

Thinksport Sunscreenthinksport SPF 50 Plus Sunscreen for men

Pros:

  • Broad Spectrum UVB/UVA Protection (ingredients include zinc oxide)
  • Free of chemicals many avoid
  • Paraben free
  • PABA free
  • Very water resistant (80 minutes)
  • Applies easily
  • Smells better than most organic sunscreens

Cons:

  • Hard to wash off
  • Leaves a white film
  • Some may experience less than satisfactory protection
  • Not great on really fair skin

Badger Balm Lavender Sunscreen

Badger Balm Lavender Sunscreen Cream for men

Pros:

  • Broad spectrum UVB/UVA protection (ingredients include zinc oxide)
  • No chemicals that some avoid reaction with
  • Water resistant (40 minutes)
  • Organic moisturizer through EVOO, Shea butter, Cocoa Butter & Jojoba Oil
  • BPA free tube

Cons:

  • Feels slimy to some
  • Causes breakouts in some
  • Hard to spread
  • Not great results with fair skin

Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen

Blue Lizard Men's Sunscreen Face Daily Moisturizer

Pros:

  • Broad Spectrum UVB/UVA protection (ingredients include zinc oxide)
  • Enriched with antioxidants such as vitamin E and green tea (reducing aging)
  • UV sensitive bottle top that changes color based on UV rays
  • Paraben free
  • Oil-free
  • One of the most recommended brand by pediatricians, dermatologists, and pharmacist

Cons:

  • Triggers reaction in some sensitive faces
  • Leaves white paste on skin
  • Thickness forces a good deal of rubbing in

Maple Holistics Natural Sunscreen

Maple Holistics sunscreen for men

Pros:

  • Broad Spectrum UVB/UVA Protection (ingredients include Avobenzone)
  • Very sweat and water resistant (80 minutes)
  • Safe for sensitive skin
  • Formula designed for antioxidant purposes
  • Contains aloe and cocoa butter
  • Prevents early aging, wrinkles and hyperpigmentation
  • Non-greasy
  • No questionable ingredients
  • Light floral scent

Cons:

  • Feel on the skin isn’t the best

Sun exposure and its negative effects

Why use a sunscreen or sunblock

Image courtesy: dimid_86/BigStock.com

For many of people, they refuse to limit their exposure to sunlight and refuse to use any preventative measures on their skin.

Overexposure to the sun is currently a larger threat than ever before as the ozone layer depletes decreasing the natural protection once had from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays.

A list of a few of the negative health effects illuminates why all must adapt to consistently protect the skin from overexposure as it has been linked directly to the following:

Skin Cancer

As every year passes, more new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in most countries than breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer combined.

In America alone, 1 in 5 people will develop skin cancer within their lifetime and the number continues to rise. At its current rate, in America, one person dies every hour due to skin cancer.

Overexposure to UV rays is usually the culprit which is devastating as it is the most preventable.

Melanoma

Has long been the most serious form of skin cancer. It is now one of the leading causes of cancer in adolescents and young adults aged 15-29.

While it only accounts for around 3% of skin cancer cases, it causes over 75% of skin cancer deaths. UV exposure and sunburns, especially as a child, are major risk factors for this disease.

Non-melanoma Skin Cancers

While they aren’t as deadly as melanomas, they often spread when untreated and cause disfigurement or more serious health issues.

Premature Skin Aging

Constant exposure to the sun causes skin to become thicker than it should be, wrinkled, and leathery looking. While this occurs slowly, often taking years, it is avoidable and not a sign of “old age.”

Up to 90% of the visible skin changes linked to aging are attributed to sun exposure.

Immune Suppression

The skin serves as a natural defence against external bacteria such as infections and cancer. When overexposure breaks down the skin’s function, it weakens the immune system and reduces the skin’s ability to protect against harmful invaders.

Before one asks themselves, wouldn’t it be easier board up the windows to avoid those consequences. Remember, there are numerous great benefits of sunlight. Below are a few:

Sunlight and Mental State

Sunlight and darkness cause the brain to function in very specific ways. Darkness causes the brain to produce melatonin which makes you sleepy. Sunlight causes the brain to release a hormone called serotonin.

Increased serotonin increases the mood and gives the desired feeling of calmness and focus. When a person doesn’t get enough sunlight exposure, their serotonin levels dip low and symptoms like depression and anxiety often appear.

Sunlight and Bone Health

As stated earlier, sun contributes to a one’s vitamin D. When a person is exposed to UVB rays from the sun it causes a chain reaction in the skin that creates vitamin D.

A study from the National Institute of Environmental Health Science showed that in a 30-minute period, while in a swimsuit, people produce as much as 50,000 IUs in vitamin D levels in fair skinned caucasian people, 30,000 in tanned people and 10,000 in dark skin people.

Vitamin D is essential to bone health because it helps the body absorb the minerals calcium and phosphorus from food we eat. These minerals are extremely important for bone health.

Cancer Prevention

What does sunscreen do why use one

Image courtesy: Axente Vlad/BigStock.com 

As many know and as discussed earlier in this article, skin cancer has been often directly linked to an excess of sunlight. Still, moderate amounts of sunlight actually serves as a cancer preventative.

People who live in areas with less daylight hours, more frequently have a number of cancers than those with more sun filled days. Cancers due to lack of sunlight include colon cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer.

So the facts prove that there must be a balance when it comes to the sun. All need exposure for its health benefits, yet overexposure is a killer, literally. For this reason, sunscreen/sun lotion was developed.

As it has evolved over the last hundred or so years, it still serves as one of the best tools for protecting from too much while not preventing the body from the sun’s benefits.

Sunscreen or sunblock

Suntan lotion is defined as a milky cream like liquid rubbed into skin to protect from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Feels like a men’s hand cream in terms of texture which gives you extra protection against the sun.

Here is what is known about the history of suntan lotion…

In 1918, an Australian named Norman Paul made the first association between skin overexposure and cancer. Shortly after this, more people began to use, Zinc Oxide, a physical sun blocker, more regularly for sun protection which had reportedly been used for centuries before this to prevent skin irritation from sun exposure.

In the early 1930s, as reference in the New York Times, a Swiss student majoring in chemistry, Franz Greiter, was severely sunburned while mountain climbing and decided to see if he could come up with a chemical solution to prevent this from happening again.

Shortly after, in 1935, Eugene Schueller, founder of L’Oreal, released a product claiming it would prevent sunburning while still allowing one to tan.

As 1940 comes along, sunscreen grows in popularity and new inventors enter the marketplace. Greiter, from above, releases Gletscher Creme (Glacier Cream), for a brand, which is still around today.

At roughly the same time, a pharmacist and military man, Benjamin Green, created a product that the military issued to all its life rafts, to protect against sunburn, called Red Vet Pet. It is believed that this ointment was given the addition of cocoa butter and coconut oil and eventually became the product most have probably used before, Coppertone (though the iconic little Coppertone girl wasn’t created until the next decade).

In the 1960s, tan the “in” trend. If you were tan it meant you had money, or so it was believed. During this era products were made to maximize the tan and protection became an afterthought.

Not until the 1980 did companies companies introduce more niche products, such as waterproof formulas. In this decade, scientist discovered the sun caused cellular damage to the skin which caused wrinkles and photo-damage. A chemical blocker, Avobenzone, was introduced, though it was initially thought to be unstable in the sun.

In the 1990s, products that gave ease to the application were formulated such as sprays and gels. These often felt more comfortable to the touch.

As 2000 rolled in, the FDA approved a new sunscreen addition for the first time in years, a UVA blocker called Mexoryl.

Coppertone introduced photostablized avobenzone for further UVA protection and they developed a system to eliminate streaking, that had been a downfall to many of these physical blockers, through micronized zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

Currently, there is further research to determine the most effective substances with the least amount of personal and environmental detriments taking place.

The products available today are as reliable and safe as ever in the history of suntan lotion and have many variations to customize to any specific need.

How often should the average man wear suntan lotion?

As much as most men don’t want to hear this, for true skin cancer prevention and other essential skin benefits, men should use a hydrating sunscreen on the face every day and other areas of skin that will knowingly get more than 10 minutes of exposed sunlight throughout the day.

Most men don’t apply sunscreen unless going to the beach or the pool. Recent studies show in addition to fending off skin cancer, using UVB and UVA lotion on a daily basis, keeps skin looking much younger, much longer.

A study took 900 adults between 25-55 and had half apply sunscreen on heads, necks, arms, and hands every morning (and reapply after showering, sweating heavily, and prolonged exposure to sun). The other half applied sunscreen when they felt they needed to. At the end of the study, participants who used sunscreen daily showed 24% less skin aging than those who applied at their own discretion.

What does one look for in an effective sunblock?

Sunscreens or sunblocks shields from the sun’s UV rays in two main ways.

Some scatter the light away from the body while others absorb the rays before they make contact with the skin. Up until recently, choosing the correct sunscreen meant to look for a high enough SPF (sun protection factor) for a particular skin’s “burnability.” This has since shifted, as SPF only refers to blockage of UVB rays.

UVA rays have, as of late, been proven to increase risk of skin cancer as well. The UVA rays don’t burn the skin, as UVB rays do, but they penetrate deeply into the skin and more directly cause wrinkles.

Due to this discovery, always look for a good sunscreen for men with broad-spectrum or multi-spectrum ingredients. These protect against both UVB and UVA rays.

There is, currently, no rating to relay how effective a sunscreen is at blocking UVA rays. This is why one must look for the ingredients proven to block UVA rays. Ingredients that fit this criteria include:

  • Benzophenones (oxybenzone)
  • Cinnamates (octyl methoxycinnamate and cinoxate)
  • Sulisobenzone
  • Salicylates
  • Titanium dioxide
  • Zinc Oxide
  • Avobenzone (Parsol 1789)
  • Ecamsule (Mexoryl SX)

Always use look an SPF 30 or higher and never use less than SPF 15

While one could use SPF 15 on the body, SPF 30 is always recommended as the best sunscreen for men’s face.

SPF serves as a guide to show how effective the sunscreen prevents burning associated with UVB rays.

In theory, if one would begin burn unprotected in 5 minutes, SPF multiples it by the number attached to the lotion so SPF 30 would provide 150 minutes of burn free protection.

SPF 30 is recommended because lotion is often not applied with the regularity required for proper protection.

The SPF number is, also, impacted by the rate which UVB light hits the skin while wearing the lotion. SPF 30 is proven to filter out 97% of UVB light and SPF 15 filters at 93%. For this reason, SPF ratings higher than 30 only provide marginally better results than 97% and have less impact than other added features.

If a men’s body lotion is at least SPF 30, ingredients and additional uses (water resistance, moisturizer, etc.) should influence the purchase more than a higher SPF rating.

Look for Sunscreen labelled water resistance

Even if not being around water, odds are sweat will occur during use of sunscreeen lotion. For this reason, it is recommended to get a lotion with water resistance to ensure effectiveness. No matter if this is a sunscreen, sunblock, tanning lotion or moisturizer, water resistance is something that tends to be one of the most important features, especially if you’re fairly active during your summer vacations.

Be sure to understand that the FDA grants a water resistant label to any sunscreen effective to the given SPF level after 40 minutes in the water. If in and out of water frequently, suntan lotion should always be reapplied within the hour.

Always check the expiration date

Over time, the active ingredients in sunscreen begin to breakdown and deteriorate, leaving their protection level less effective. If a bottle has been used for several years, it has likely been contaminated with germs which also compromise the ingredients integrity, as well.

If skin is sensitive, look for zinc oxide and titanium dioxide formulas. Those are defined as mineral sunscreens minimize the risk of allergies.

If skin is constantly dry, look for a moisturizing sunscreen.

Popular ingredients included in these moisturizers for men, proven effective with dry skin are: lanolin, oils, and silicones such as dimethicone. Avoid any lotions containing alcohol in the ingredient list.

If the skin is oily, formulation is the most important thing. Look for sunscreens more fluid-like in texture. These will leave the skin feeling less greasy to the touch (Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch).

How to properly apply suntan lotion

1. Thoroughly shake the bottle before use

The ingredients can separate within the bottle and shaking distributes them evenly for optimal results.

2. Try to apply sunscreen before going outside

This aides in complete application to the body and face and allows the lotion to react with the skin. Aim for 15 to 30 minutes for going out.

3. When applying sunscreen use a good amount.

In this case, less is not more. It should entirely cover the skin when being massaged in.

4. Reuse every TWO hours

This ensures the SPF level is working as designed to. Whenever used in correlation with swimming, apply every time after getting out of the water.

5. Apply to often neglected areas

These include the scalp for many men, toes, ears, etc. If sunscreen can’t be worn on scalp for any reason, try to wear a hat for protection

6. When using sunscreen spray for application, hold the nozzle closely to the skin.

Don’t spray in the wind or air and attempt to walking into it. After saturating the skin, it should be rubbed in. If not rubbed in, the spray loses much of its effectiveness.

Closing thoughts

While any adaptation to a daily routine can be hard to implement, please consider adding daily sunscreen to the regime, particularly to the face.

It will leave you looking and feeling younger and this simple act could end of saving your life.