Your sunscreen search needs a few filters. First, try using only broad-spectrum options since they block both types of cancerous, cell-mutating ultraviolet (UV) rays. Then, consider your lifestyle and preferred outdoor activities—because dads and climbers have different needs than beach bums and outdoorsmen. To help narrow the field, here are six sunscreens that cover these spectrums.

What’s the SPF sweet spot?

Anywhere between 30 and 50. Above 30, the level of SPF doesn’t increase exponentially. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. SPF 15 blocks 93 percent of rays, SPF 30 blocks 97 percent, SPF 50 blocks 98 percent, and SPF 100 blocks 99 percent.

Chris Wellhausen

Coola SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen

The summer sun can incite dread in some people—namely those whose fair skin burns instantly. A mineral SPF 50 sunscreen is the solution, since it blocks 98 percent of UV rays, while a pasty SPF 100 only ups the ante to 99-percent protection. COOLA’s formula is water resistant for 80 minutes, reef friendly, engineered for sensitive skin, and uses a mineral mix of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to block UV rays.


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Chris Wellhausen

Salt + Stone SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen

For guys who tan easily or who have mid-tone skin, SPF 30 is the bare minimum. Even though it offers slightly less defense against the sun’s rays (97 percent blocked versus 98 percent for SPF 50), this level of protection will still allow for effective tanning at a safe rate. Salt & Stone’s SPF 30 lotion delivers a chemical- and residue-free application that also nourishes skin with aloe, jojoba oil, Vitamin E, and more.


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