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When it comes to enjoying the great outdoors, there are a few things you need to have at all times: your favorite pair of sunglasses, a hat if you’re looking for coverage, or at the very least, a reliable sunscreen. But if you’re bald or balding, not any sunscreen will do. The vulnerable skin on your dome needs protection that’s easy to apply, doesn’t leave an oily sheen, and won’t run into your eyes when you’re playing pickleball with the kids. Fatherly asked board-certified dermatologist Dr. Susan Massick for advice in choosing the best sunscreen for bald heads.
Dr. Susan Massick is a board-certified dermatologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. She received her undergraduate degree from Princeton University and her medical degree from the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. She completed a medical internship at Stanford University before completing training in internal medicine at Ohio State University (OSU). Dr. Massick completed dermatology residency training at OSU and was rated in the top 10% of physicians in the nation for patient satisfaction in 2017 and 2019.
What To Look For When Shopping For The Best Sunscreen For Bald Heads
Dr. Massick said it’s key to choose a sunscreen “with an SPF adequate for the activity level.” That's why all of our choices are at least SPF 30, as recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD).
Regardless of the SPF, you’ll want to keep an eye on your watch. A high SPF sunscreen lasts the same amount of time as a low one, according to the AAD. That’s why Dr. Massick says it’s key to “reapply after two hours and with perspiration, rain, swimming, [and more].”
Dr. Massick suggests looking for the same qualities in a sunscreen for your scalp as you do for your face and body, including “broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection, [and] water resistance for a minimum of 80 minutes.”
She says choosing the right application style can make a huge difference. “If you are completely bald, then either creams or aerosols will work well. If you have thinning but still have some hair on your noggin, creams may be harder to rub in and apply to the full scalp,” says Dr. Massick. She also adds that sticks work great for completely bald men.
What To Look For If You Have Sensitive Skin
While Dr. Massick says chemical sunscreens have taken heat for environmental concerns and potential skin irritation, she explains, “Not everyone is sensitive to these ingredients, but one you may want to avoid is oxybenzone.”
If your skin is extremely sensitive or allergy-prone, the AAD recommends also avoiding fragrance and parabens. Facial sunscreen is a good choice for acne-prone scalps, as they tend to be oil-free and designed to not clog pores.
Once you find the best sunscreen for your bald head, Dr. Massick says, “Don’t be shy about using product — here is a situation where more is better.”
Check out our picks for the best sunscreen for bald heads below, based on Dr. Massick’s advice and tons of Amazon reviews from self-professed “bald guys.”
1. The Overall Best Sunscreen For Bald Heads
Pros: Unscented, hydrating, and high SPF for a daily lotion
Cons: Requires some rubbing in
A moisturizing lotion and sunblock in one, Headlube has a high 50+ SPF and strong water resistance up to 80 minutes. While it “goes on white but soaks in quickly,” according to one reviewer, the matte formula is oil-free and won't clog pores. This greaseless sunscreen is reef-safe and free of parabens, oxybenzone, octinoxate, PABA, and retinyl palmitate. Made in the U.S., the lotion/sunscreen combo is the ultimate post-shave aftercare.
According To A Reviewer: “Keeps my head moisturized and protected from the sun. It's unscented which is nice. The matte finish is perfect for me because I hate the shiny head look. I sweat at work so that's enough shine for me.”
Sunscreen Type: Chemical | SPF: 50+ | Water-Resistance Duration: 80 minutes | Oil-Free: Yes | UVA/UVB Broad Spectrum: Yes
2. Another Moisturizing Sunscreen With A Cult Following
Pros: Absorbs quickly, moisturizes dry skin, light scent
Cons: Small bottle, not water resistant
Bee Bald products were created by a bald man who couldn’t find the products he wanted — something higher quality than drugstore brands but not as expensive as those in a department store. Enter: this daily moisturizer with SPF 30+. The silky formula tones and moisturizes the scalp while reducing shine and minimizing dryness. Backed by more than 4,900 positive reviews, it has fans touting it for everything from reducing flakiness to leaving their heads “buttery” smooth.
According To A Reviewer: “I will generally get sun burn several times a year on top of my bald head when outside for short periods of time. Bee Bald has prevented the burn and has kept my head from drying out.”
Sunscreen Type: Chemical | SPF: 30 | Water-Resistance Duration: 0 | Oil-Free: Yes | UVA/UVB Broad Spectrum: Yes
3. The Best Mineral Sunscreen For Bald Heads
Pros: Non-irritating for sensitive and allergy-prone skin, unscented, Leaping Bunny-certified cruelty-free, reef-safe
Cons: Leaves more of a white cast than other brands, not oil free
Dr. Massick says mineral sunscreens can be a great choice because “they are broad spectrum, less sensitizing/irritating than chemical sunscreen ingredients, are safer for the environment and [...] protect bald heads.” This reef-safe, vegan sunscreen is free of a long list of chemicals and allergens including PABA, benzene, parabens, petroleum, gluten, and dairy. Made in the U.S., it uses non-nano zinc oxide to shield your skin from the sun, and the environmentally friendly packaging does not contain BPA, vinyl, or phthalates. Reviewers did note if you have some hair, it clings to it and takes a little more rubbing to blend it in. That said, it offers 80 minutes of water-resistant sun protection and offers UVA/UVB coverage.
According To A Reviewer: “Applied as directed, liberally and BEFORE I went out into the sun. Honestly didn't even re-apply as soon as I was supposed to, and I didnt get burned at all. And I'm bald, and burn very easily. Stuff goes on smooth, doesn't smell or leave any residue, and doesn't make you feel all nasty once it's dried a bit.”
Sunscreen Type: Mineral | SPF: 50+ | Water-Resistance Duration: 80 minutes | Oil-Free: No | UVA/UVB Broad Spectrum: Yes
4. The Best Mineral Sunscreen Stick
Pros: Fits in your pocket, hypoallergenic, fragrance free, easy application
Cons: Small stick, slow to absorb, leaves slight white cast
This highly rated mineral sunscreen stick is formulated with zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, vitamin E, and probiotics, making it ideally suited for sensitive skin. Dr. Massick notes that “you may find that using a sunscreen stick is easier on a bald head.” This travel-friendly stick works on everything from the top of bald heads to earlobes to lips. It’s hypoallergenic, dermatologist-tested, and free of parabens, avobenzone, oxybenzone, octinoxate, and PABA.
According To A Reviewer: “[...] I was shocked how its not sticky, greasy, or tacky AT ALL. Didnt think anything like it existed. [...] Perfect for daily wear.”
Sunscreen Type: Mineral | SPF: 50+ | Water-Resistance Duration: 80 minutes | Oil-Free: Yes | UVA/UVB Broad Spectrum: Yes
5. The Best Sunscreen Spray For Bald Heads
Pros: Sprays at any angle, dries fast, biodegradable formula, Leaping Bunny-certified cruelty-free
Cons: Not oil-free, shouldn’t be sprayed directly on face
This lightweight spray is formulated with plant-based emollients like coconut extract, avocado oil, and shea butter that moisturize the skin. Plus, the fast-drying mist works at all angles, so you can get full coverage. The coconut-scented formula is made for hot, active days with 80 minutes of water-resistance. The 50+ SPF formula is free of parabens, phthalates, artificial colors, PABA, vitamin A, synthetic fragrances, and sulfates.
According To A Reviewer: “This has to be the best stuff I’ve ever used. I’m bald and don’t need to wear a hat with this stuff. It has worked well for me. A lot [of] other sunscreens give me a bad headache, but not this stuff. I would recommend [it] for sure!”
Sunscreen Type: Chemical | SPF: 50 | Water-Resistance Duration: 80 minutes | Oil-Free: No | UVA/UVB Broad Spectrum: Yes
6. The Best High-SPF Sunscreen
Pros: High SPF, doesn’t leave white cast on any skin tone, absorbs quickly, fragrance-free
Cons: Pricier than other options
Made by La Roche Posay, one of dermatologists’ favorite brands, this super-high 100 SPF sunscreen is specially designed to melt into the skin quickly without leaving a white cast, regardless of skin tone. Fragrance-free and allergy-tested for sensitive skin, the antioxidant-infused formula moisturizes and soothes skin while offering complete sun protection. Plus, the 3-ounce bottle is TSA-friendly for travel.
According To A Reviewer: “Because I'm bald, I cover my scalp everyday and I find most sunscreens cause my eyes to burn. [...] I like that La Roche-Posay blends quickly into my scalp and doesn't leave a white film. You're getting SPF 100 protection, excellent blending into scalp and skin, and relatively good gentleness. Recommended.”
Sunscreen Type: Chemical | SPF: 100 | Water-Resistance Duration: 80 minutes | Oil-Free: Yes | UVA/UVB Broad Spectrum: Yes
7. Another High-SPF Sunscreen That’s Sweat-Proof
Pros: High SPF, designed to be extremely sweat- and water-resistant, non-greasy
Cons: Ingredients not as clean as other choices
Helioplex, Neutrogena’s proprietary sunscreen technology, provides broad spectrum UVA and UVB sun protection in this high 70+ SPF formula that won’t clog pores. Whether you’re an athlete or just teaching the kids to play catch in the backyard, it’s designed to resist sweat. Several bald reviewers noted that this is the only scalp sun cream they trust to protect their scalp from sunburns and skin cancer. This PABA- and oxybenzone-free choice uses an electrolyte complex to maintain skin health. The smaller bottle size makes this easy to throw in a bag and is TSA-friendly, too.
According To A Reviewer: “I have sensitive skin and run A LOT in very humid, hot weather. I am also bald so I have plenty of acreage to cover. Apply about half an hour before runs and never have any sunburn issues. Great product.”
Sunscreen Type: Chemical | SPF: 70+ | Water-Resistance Duration: 80 minutes | Oil-Free: Yes | UVA/UVB Broad Spectrum: Yes
Dr. Susan Massick, board-certified dermatologist at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center