From makeup-friendly sunscreens to the safest picks for sensitive skin, we’ve rounded up the best dermatologist-recommended travel-size sunscreens to keep in your purse or carry-on.
It’s not secret that applying sunscreen is one of the most important steps in your daily skincare routine—and you certainly don’t want to be caught without proper sun protection on your next outdoor excursion or beach vacation. But finding the right SPF for your skin type (and one you’ll actually like enough to keep using)—let alone one that’s portable and small enough to fit in your carry-on—can be a challenge. With so many great options out there, where do you even start?
To help you figure it out, we’ve rounded up ten travel-size sunscreens—from lotions to sprays to sticks—that dermatologists love and recommend. Here, you’ll find options for oily and sensitive skin, budget- and makeup-friendly sunscreens, and picks that are safe for babies and our oceans (hello, biodegradable!). Luckily, these holy-grail sunscreens come in super convenient travel sizes, so you can pop them in your purse or carry-on and be protected from the sun wherever you go.
Best for Oily Skin: EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 46
This lightweight, fragrance-free pick is perfect for people with oily skin, Debra Jaliman, MD, a dermatologist based in New York City, previously told Health. The formula delivers both hyaluronic acid to moisturize and lactic acid to reduce shine and clear pores. Plus, the travel-friendly size makes it easy to toss in your carry-on for all of your summer getaways.
Best Budget-Friendly Option: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen SPF 55
Not only is this under-$10 sunscreen totally affordable, but it can also double as your moisturizer, Jessica Krant, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of NY, shared in an interview. “I use it instead of moisturizer rather than double layering. I like it because it provides a somewhat matte finish and makes me look like I actually am wearing a light foundation without making me look chalky or pale at all. It doesn't crumble or pill like some other sunscreens, and has never made me break out,” said Dr. Krant.
Best Tinted Option for Sensitive Skin: La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Tinted Mineral Ultra Fluid Sunscreen
Mineral sunscreens—like this lightweight option from La Roche-Posay—are best for sensitive skin types, Ava Shamban, MD, a dermatologist based in Beverly Hills, previously told Health. She likes this fragrance-free, subtly-tinted sunscreen, which uses titanium dioxide to protect you from harmful rays and will stay put in the ocean and pool. Bonus: Since it’s tinted, you can wear this sunscreen in place of makeup for a hint of color and a natural, glowy look.
Best to Wear Under Makeup: Colorescience Sunforgettable Brush-On Loose Sunscreen SPF 30
Elizabeth Tanzi, MD, founder and director of Capital Laser & Skin Care, raved to Health that she just couldn’t live without this multi-tasking product from Colorescience, because it kept her face polished and zapped shine no matter how long she spent outside with her kids. “I use it multiple times a day like a pressed powder because it sets makeup and is an amazing SPF, too,” Dr. Tanzi explained.
Best Spray Option: Supergoop! Antioxidant-Infused Sunscreen Mist with Vitamin C Broad Spectrum SPF 50
Because the application of sprays can be iffy (you never know how much of the product actually sticks to your skin), it’s always a good idea to choose one with a high SPF, Rachel Nazarian, MD, a New York-based dermatologist and fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, says. She recommends this one from Supergoop because it has a double punch of SPF protection and antioxidant vitamin C, which neutralizes free radical damage that can happen during sun exposure, she adds.
Best Sport Stick: Avene Hydrating Sunscreen Balm SPF 50+
Made with moisturizing shea butter and hyaluronic acid, this antioxidant-packed sport sunscreen stick is water-resistant and offers mega-protection against the sun with SPF 50. Dr. Jaliman and Dr. Nazarian have both praised it for being quick and easy to apply to your face and hard-to-reach places like your ears, scalp, and hairline.
Best All-Natural Sunscreen: Badger Active Mineral Sunscreen Cream SPF 30
This all-natural sunscreen is unscented, hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic (meaning it won’t clog pores), free of harmful chemicals, and almost completely organic, Dr. Jaliman previously told Health. Also great? It holds onto SPF through swimming and sweating—so you’ll always stay protected—and is packed with moisturizing vitamin E and beeswax, Dr. Nazarian added.
Best Reef-Friendly, Biodegradable Option: All Good Sport Sunscreen Lotion
Manhattan-based dermatologist Dendy Engelman, MD, previously noted that she loves the All Good sunscreens because they’re kid-friendly and contain soothing, calming ingredients like chamomile. This lotion offers reef-friendly, biodegradable sun protection in a convenient, non-sticky application, and contains organic green tea, rose hips, and buriti oil to help repair damaged skin. The best news? It's vegan and oxybenzone-free, so it’s safe for the ocean, too.
Best for Babies and Kids: Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen Baby SPF 30
Dr. Engelman is also a fan of this Australian sunblock for little ones, "because it contains zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, providing broad spectrum UV protection and is markedly water-resistant." Also cool: The tube cap doubles as an indicator, turning a pink color in harmful UV light.
Best Affordable Option for Babies: Hello Bello Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50
Created by beloved Hollywood couple (and parents) Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard, this baby sunscreen is packed with soothing ingredients like shea butter, organic coconut oil, green tea and avocado extracts, and more, which makes it safe for even the most sensitive skin, Joshua Zeichner, MD, previously told Health. Plus, the reef-friendly, mineral sunscreen reflects ultraviolet radiation and won’t irritate delicate baby skin, Dr. Nazarian added.