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Finding the best sunscreen stick for easy application

Every day, thousands of Americans receive a skin cancer diagnosis. With this stat in mind, now is a good time to make sure you’re taking good care of your body's largest organ, your skin. Fortunately, there are easy ways to protect against sun damage with products such as sunscreen. To find the best sunscreen stick or lotion for your lifestyle needs, consider the tips in this guide.

Best sunscreen stick vs. lotion

If you spend a lot of time in the sun, finding ways to protect yourself is essential to maintaining good health. The thing is, there are many products to choose from, including sunscreen sticks, sprays, and lotions. How do you choose the products that will work well for your individual needs?

Sunscreen packaging

Whether you are trying to find the best sunscreen stick or lotion, or you are simply trying to understand the differences between these products, packaging can have a major impact on the sunscreen purchasing process.

Sunscreen sticks

If you have an active or busy lifestyle, you may find that you prefer a sunscreen stick that you can throw in your bag or put in your pocket. Like many lip balms, sunscreen sticks offer extra convenience that allows you to take them with you wherever you go. We find they work best for small surface areas like the face, since it can be difficult to cover a large surface area with a stick sunscreen, and it can be easy to miss spots and end up with unexpected sunburns or tan lines. Some people also note that they dislike the feeling of stick sunscreen dragging across their skin.

Sunscreen lotions

You could also choose a traditional sunscreen lotion. Although it can take longer to apply and dry, sunscreen lotion can last longer, and it’s easier to apply all over without having to worry that you missed a spot.

Sunscreen types

Presentation matters, but even more important are the ingredients inside your sunscreen. When it comes to sunscreens, there are generally two types: mineral sunscreens and chemical sunscreens.

Mineral sunscreens

When looking for the best sunscreen stick or other sun protection product, always start by reading the label. If a product is a mineral sunscreen, it will deflect and absorb ultraviolet (UV) rays. They’re able to protect against both UVA and UVB rays. 

On the other hand, there are also some downsides to consider. These products can potentially leave a white cast on your skin, and some people don’t like the thick, pasty feel of many mineral sunscreens.

Chemical sunscreens

Chemical sunscreens absorb UV rays and then release the rays as heat from your skin. Depending on which specific chemical ingredients are included, the product may or may not be broad-spectrum; you should check the package label to ensure it’s a broad spectrum product, meaning it protects against UVA and UVB rays. Chemical sunscreen may not be a good choice for people who have sensitive skin or certain skin conditions, but many people like that they tend to spread more easily and don’t leave a white cast on the skin.

To choose the best sunscreen stick or other sun protection product, you need to think about all of these factors and how they apply to you.

Choosing the right sunscreen

When you are trying to find the right product to protect you from the sun, there are numerous things to keep in mind. Ultimately, sunscreen is about skin protection. When choosing a sunscreen, it's important that the product meets the necessary requirements to provide that protection.

High-enough SPF

SPF, or sun protection factor, refers to how well a sunscreen will protect against UVB rays. It is best to find products that have at least SPF 30 (though we prefer SPF 40 or higher). In general, the higher the SPF, the better protection a product will offer against UVB radiation.

Broad-spectrum protection

Something else to look for is broad-spectrum protection. This indicates that a product provides coverage against both UVA and UVB rays, which can both contribute to skin aging and skin cancer.

Water resilience 

Whether you spend a lot of time in the water or you work up a sweat frequently, finding sun protection that can stand against water and moisture is a win. Typically, most water resistant sunscreens offer 40 to 80 minutes of water resistance. Take a look at the front of the packaging to see what your sunscreen’s water resistance is.

Skin sensitivity

How sensitive is your skin? The answer to this question can have a major influence on which products will be best for you. For example, if you have dry to normal skin, sun protection products with hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid or glycerin can be helpful. If you have oily or combination skin, oil-free or non-comedogenic products are preferable.


Although protection against the sun is usually the top reason for seeking sun protection, convenience can make a big impact on buying choices, too. This is especially true for individuals who are on the go a lot or spend significant time working outside in the sun.

Best sunscreen stick for easy application

With convenience in mind, sunscreen sticks are a great option. Just be sure to cover your skin thoroughly, and consider supplementing with a sunscreen lotion when covering large areas.

When looking for the best sunscreen stick or lotion, the options can be overwhelming. Use this guide to help you better understand your choices and select the best products for your unique needs.