Maybe you are fair-skinned and burn to a crisp the instant you get in the sun. Or maybe you just know how too much sun can be damaging to your skin, no matter your natural complexion.
No matter the reason, many people know it’s smart to put on sunscreen before they head out into the sun. And for lots of those folks, the stronger the sunscreen, the better. If you’re in this group, then you likely want to know the highest SPF sunscreen you can buy.
If you aren’t familiar with SPF factor in sunscreen, don’t worry. There’s much more than meets the eye. First things first, SPF stands for “sun protection factor.” The SPF is always expressed as a number.
So what does that number mean?
In theory, it’s meant to mean a comparison to being in the sun without any protection. So if you apply SPF 30 sunscreen, it should take 30 times longer to burn than if you were in the sun with no sunscreen.
The reality, however, is more complicated. First, many times people don’t apply the sunscreen as instructed, which should be applied well before going out in the sun. They also forget to reapply, usually within 60 to 90 minutes after the first application.
Second, according to SkinCancer.org, people can be lulled into a sense of security with high SPF sunscreens. This is where the numbers on SPF get a little confusing. You might think that an SPF 60 might protect skin twice as much as SPF 30. That’s not actually the case.
In fact, SPF 30 blocks about 97% of the sun’s rays, while SPF 60 blocks about 98%. So while people might think they are getting twice the amount of protection, they are actually getting nearly the same. If they stay out longer without reapplying sunscreen due to wearing a higher SPF, they could still get burned.
All of that is to say don’t be lulled by higher SPF numbers giving you way better protection against UV rays. You still need to apply — and reapply — according to the label’s instructions.
With that in mind, here are the highest SPF sunscreens you can buy on Amazon right now.
Note: The links to Amazon used below are affiliate links. Should you make a purchase, we receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you.
Neutrogena Ultra-Sheer Dry-Touch (SPF 100+)
This broad-spectrum sunscreen — which means is blocks both UVA and UVB rays — is meant for those who want protection without the greasy feeling that some lotions can leave. At 100+, the SPF is among the highest you’ll find. It also is water resistant for up to 80 minutes. You can get a bottle for about $9 on Amazon.
Banana Boat Kids MAX Protect & Play (SPF 100)
Being sure to sunscreen the kids is especially important as their young skin can be extremely sensitive to sunburn. This Banana Boat lotion has an SPF of 100 and is broad spectrum for maximum protection. It’s also water resistant (a must with kiddos) and only needs to be applied 15 minutes before sun exposure. A 4-ounce bottle runs about $8.50.
Neutrogena Age Shield Face Oil-Free Lotion (SPF 110)
The difference between an SPF 100 and SPF 110 is going to be small, but this is the absolute highest-grade sunscreen we found. At just about $8 for a 3-ounce bottle, it’s also reasonably priced. Of course, it is also water resistant and has broad spectrum blocking, so it will cover both UVA and UVB rays to keep you protected.
Banana Boat UltraMist Sport Sunscreen (SPF 100)
Do you prefer spray sunscreens? They can be much more convenient than lotions, especially when trying to cover wiggling kids. However, you should know that you still need to apply sunscreen liberally and rub it in for the most protection. This 6-ounce bottle is just $8, making it one of the best values for high SPF sunscreen. Just spray, rub, and get on with your fun in the sun.
Banana Boat Ultra Defense Sunscreen (SPF 100)
Like the product above, this Banana Boat sunscreen comes in a mist form. The major difference is that this can is “MAX Skin Protect” so it has Vitamin E and aloe vera. Otherwise, they both offer an SPF 100 rating and broad spectrum protection. A bottle runs about $8.50 on Amazon.
Sun Bum SPF 70
The top seller in sunscreens according to Amazon, the Sun Bum brand seems to be soaring in popularity. This type comes from SPF 15 all the way to SPF 70. It’s of course broad spectrum, taking care of those UVA and UVB rays. It’s also hypoallergenic and has Vitamin E. All told, you can get an 8-ounce bottle for about $15.