5 Sunscreens That Will Leave You With Money to Burn


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Dermatologists recommend applying sunscreen year-round as part of an everyday routine, not only on hot sunny days or at the beach. And most people don't apply enough sunscreen -- a full ounce for an average adult in a bathing suit, applied every two hours. Even water- and sweat-resistant varieties should be reapplied after swimming or vigorous exercise.

Given how much sunscreen is required, stocking up on low-cost lotion can be a big money saver. Cheapism.com scoured online user reviews and researched expert recommendations to find inexpensive sunscreens that meet minimum SPF standards, are rated water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, and offer "broad spectrum" protection from two types of ultraviolet radiation: UVA, which is linked to skin aging and cancer, and UVB, which causes sunburn. Protect the family all summer with these wallet-friendly high-performers.

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No-Ad may not be as well-known as some other brands, but it's a veteran with more than 50 years on the market. As the name suggests, the company doesn't advertise. This policy helps keep costs low: a 16-ounce bottle of No-Ad Sport SPF 50 costs about $13 through Walmart (82 cents an ounce) and can often be found for much less. No-Ad sunscreen consistently hovers near the top of best-buy lists on consumer product review sites for solid sun protection that lives up to its SPF promise. The low-profile, low-cost brand is also a staple on consumers' shopping lists, with reviews praising its smooth absorption, long-lasting coverage, and inoffensive odor. One recent change worth noting: No-Ad Sun Care removed parabens and retinyl palmitate from all its products starting in 2016. Try this if: You need a sunscreen that works as hard as you do.

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After a 2013 skin cancer diagnosis, actor Hugh Jackman co-founded Pure Sun Defense and used his Hollywood pull to put Disney, Marvel, and Universal characters on the packaging. Pure Sun Defense SPF 50 (starting at $5.98 for an 8-ounce tube, or 75 cents an ounce) has caught the attention of kids with princesses and superheroes and the attention of experts and consumers with easy application, a mild scent, and effective protection against UVA and UVB rays. Parents who initially chose the sunscreen for their children end up using it themselves. Consumer product gurus rate it near flawless for sun protection, and many appreciate that it's PABA-free, fragrance-free, and hypoallergenic. Try this if: You want strong sun protection that will serve the entire family.

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Ocean Potion Protect & Nourish SPF 30 (starting at $7.99 for 8 ounces, or $1 an ounce) is praised in online reviews for being gentle on sensitive skin and light enough to use as a daily moisturizer. Some consumers like that the product doesn't contain oxybenzone, a somewhat controversial chemical, and eschews animal testing. Experts say Ocean Potion sunscreen reliably guards against ultraviolet rays, and it has claimed a Skin Cancer Foundation seal of approval. The lotion has a sweet smell likened to a creamsicle or bubble gum, which some users enjoy but others can't stand. This is a non-greasy formula with vitamins A, C, and E and plant extracts for moisturizing and anti-aging. It also contains vitamin D3, to counter the worry that sunscreen blocks vitamin D provided by the sun. Try this if: You want a moisturizing sunscreen and don't mind a sweet scent.

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Equate Ultra Protection SPF 50 (starting at $7.48 for 16 ounces, or 47 cents an ounce) is a store-brand sunscreen sold by Walmart in stores and online. This is another product dinged for a slightly off-putting odor, described in reviews as a little bit flowery yet somewhat like bug spray. Smell aside, this lotion has performed exceptionally well in expert testing, ranking far above brand-name competitors. Although there are some complaints of oily residue or tackiness, consumers appreciate that the sunscreen provides reliable, broad-spectrum protection at a startlingly cheap price. Try this if: You're pinching pennies and your sniffer isn't overly sensitive.

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In a sea of "natural" sunscreens that frequently fall flat, Babyganics Mineral-Based Sunscreen rises to the top for its efficacy, according to reviews. Designed primarily to protect the sensitive skin of babies and children, the thick lotion eschews chemicals, parabens, PABA, and fragrances, relying on the active ingredients zinc oxide and titanium oxide to ward off damaging rays. Some say the delicate formula is particularly good for faces. It does leave a white film on skin once applied, which keeps some parents from using it alongside their kids. Be sure to reapply after water exposure, as expert testing suggests the SPF can drop significantly. Perhaps the best thing about this mineral-based product is its relatively affordable price (starting at $12.99 for an 8-ounce tube, or $1.62 an ounce). Try this if: Chemical content and skin sensitivity are primary concerns.