Your head is particularly exposed and therefore vulnerable to UV radiation. That vulnerability goes way up if you don’t have hair providing you with at least limited shielding from the sun. Think about what that means for bald heads!
You have to work especially hard to ensure your scalp is sufficiently protected from UV radiation. This is particularly important as, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, the deadliest type of skin cancer, melanoma, is especially deadly on the head.
This means you’ll have to pull out all the stops to provide your bald head with the protection it needs. These safety precautions include wearing a UV protective hat and always seeking shade when you’re outside.
But you can’t rely on a hat alone to sufficiently protect the vulnerable skin on your bald head because it’s not always practical. Activities in the water or vigorous exercise mean a hat isn’t always a comfortable option. This is where a generous layer of broad spectrum sunscreen will come in handy. That way you can go about your day knowing your bald head is safe from harmful UV rays.
After thorough research about what means are necessary to best protect bald heads from the sun, SimplySunSafe recommends thinksport Sunscreen SPF 50+ as the best sunscreen for a bald head. Keep reading for a detailed buyer’s guide, comparison table, and in-depth reviews of the top 5 sunscreens for bald heads.
In order to be sure that you are sufficiently protecting your bald head, there are a few must-have features to look for in your sunscreen:
Broad spectrum protection
One of the most important features to find any time you are buying sunscreen is broad spectrum protection. This means the sunscreen provides protection against both UVA and UVB rays, which work in different ways. UVB rays cause you to tan or burn by damaging the outer layer of your skin. UVA rays, on the other hand, penetrate the deepest layer of your skin (the dermis) and cause premature aging.
Exposure to both types of UV rays increases your risk of getting skin cancer. Since the skin on your bald head is so openly exposed to the sun, it is extremely susceptible to damage from harmful UV rays. This is why you want your sunscreen to protect you against both types.
So how can you be sure that your sunscreen is broad spectrum? There are two ways to be sure – check the ingredients and the sunscreen’s label. Look for the words ‘broad spectrum’ or ‘UVA/B’ on the label.
To be extra sure you can check the ingredients. Sunscreens with the ingredient zinc oxide protect against the full range of UVA/B so they are always a safe and effective choice. The FDA has made broad spectrum protection a requirement, but it never hurts to double check!
Best SPF for Bald Heads
When you’re looking for the best sunscreen for bald spots, you want to make sure that you will get enough coverage. You can determine this based on the Sun Protection Factor (SPF). Like most people, you likely base your decision to buy sunscreen on the SPF rating. But do you truly understand what the SPF rating actually means?
The SPF indicates what fraction of the sun’s UVB radiation will reach your skin after proper application of the sunscreen. So if you buy a sunscreen with SPF 50, then 1/50th of the sun’s UV rays will reach your skin when you’re wearing it. This explains why you’re able to spend more time in the sun if you’re wearing sunscreen. Make sure not to oversimplify the meaning or get confused, though!
Just because you are wearing sunscreen with SPF 50 does not mean that you can spend 50 times more time in the sun. SPF effectiveness depends on a lot of different factors including time of day, amount of sunscreen applied (and if it’s applied properly), and also reflections from surrounding surfaces such as sand or water.
To gain a better understanding of how much UVB protection different SPF ratings provide, take a look at the table below:
|SPF Rating||UVB Protection|
So it may be surprising, but as you can see there is little difference between a sunscreen with SPF 30 and one with SPF 100. It’d be better if they just used the second column percentages on sunscreen labels, but I’ll make it this simple: Always choose a sunscreen with an SPF rating no lower than 30 and no higher than 50. This suggestion is in line with FDA recommendations.
Make sure that you remember to reapply your sunscreen to your exposed scalp regularly, no matter what SPF rating you choose!
Physical is better than chemical
There are two main groups of sunscreen – physical and chemical. What’s the difference between the two types? It’s the active ingredients of the sunscreens and the way they work to protect you from the sun’s UV radiation. Physical sunscreens reflect UV rays before they reach your skin whereas chemical sunscreens absorb UV rays as they reach your skin.
There are a few reasons why SimplySunSafe prefers physical or hybrid sunscreens over chemical ones. I think you should choose and use physical sunscreens because they:
- Work immediately upon application
- Last longer
- Are less likely to cause irritation
- Have a longer shelf life
There really are many reasons to choose physical sunscreens over chemical ones. But what about reasons not to choose chemical sunscreens?
The most important reason not to choose a chemical sunscreen is that they often contain ingredients which are classified as endocrine disruptors. These are chemicals that interfere with your hormones, something you want to avoid.
The worst of these endocrine disruptors is an ingredient called oxybenzone. It’s always a good idea to check the ingredients in sunscreens to be sure that this chemical is not listed.
To make sure you’re next sunscreen purchase is physical, there are a few keywords and ingredients you can search for when checking the labels. Look for the words ‘physical’ or ‘mineral’ to be sure that the sunscreen is not chemical.
Also keep a look out for the active ingredients zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. When you’re applying sunscreen to an area of skin as vulnerable as your bald scalp, it is essential that you are using a physical sunscreen with safe and gentle ingredients. That is why the best sunscreen for the head will always be a physical one.
If you’re planning to try one of SimplySunSafe’s recommended sunscreens, you can rest assured knowing they have all been checked against EWG’s database. They are all strongly recommended for UV protection and ingredient safety.
When you’re bald, your head is constantly exposed to the sun anytime you’re not wearing a hat. If the temperature is warm, then you’re likely to sweat, at least a little bit. This is why the best sunscreen for your scalp will be water resistant.
By using a water resistant sunscreen, you’ll know that your bald head is protected from harmful UV rays if you sweat or even if you’re swimming. If you’re wearing a sunscreen that is not water resistant on your bald head, it will dissolve when you sweat or swim, and your scalp will no longer be sufficiently protected. This is not something you want to risk on such a vulnerable part of your body!
You will notice that sunscreens are marketed as water resistant for either 40 or 80 minutes. ‘Waterproof’ or ‘sweatproof’ sunscreen does not exist so don’t let false claims confuse you. Even though your sunscreen is water resistant, be sure to reapply regularly to make sure you are properly protected!
Suitable for daily use
Wearing a hat is a great way to protect your bald head from the sun, but it is not necessarily the most convenient option for day-to-day living. There will be times when you want to go about your day without a hat. That’s why you need to find a sunscreen that is sensitive and effective enough for you to apply to your scalp every day.
Since you need to apply sunscreen to your bald head every day, you want to find one that will not cause you any irritation. This means that you want to search for a sunscreen that is designed for sensitive skin or is hypoallergenic and free from irritants like parabens.
The products I have recommended below have been carefully selected to ensure their formulations are gentle enough for everyday use on even the most sensitive scalp while still providing you sufficient protection from harmful UV rays.
Rub on lotion not spray
Spray sunscreens may sound like a good option to easily apply to your scalp, but I do not advise using one. The truth is that their safety and effectiveness are uncertain.
In terms of safety, you will always be much better off with a rub on lotion. Your skin may be able to handle the chemicals in sunscreens, but your internal lung tissue cannot. Using a spray sunscreen, especially on your scalp, it is very easy to inhale those potentially harmful chemicals.
On top of the safety issue, spray sunscreen is simply less effective. Think about it. If you’re spraying sunscreen on your bald head, how can you really be sure that you covered your whole scalp? This is something that is much easier to control with rub on lotions.
So even though it may seem logical to use a spray sunscreen for your scalp, it will serve you in the long run to stick to the safer option. Choose rub on lotions over sprays for better coverage and less potential harm!
If you’re going to be wearing a sunscreen on your bald, exposed head every day, you don’t want the sunscreen to show on your skin all day. You want to find a sunscreen that will rub into your skin without leaving a noticeable color or shine.
That’s why I have recommended products that have a matte finish. This means that when you apply them correctly, they will be completely (or mostly) unnoticeable on your scalp. These sunscreens will not leave your bald head with a greasy, reflective shine, either. Effective sun protection without sacrificing your appearance!
Best Sunscreen for Bald Heads Comparison
|thinksport Sunscreen||BADGER Sport Sunscreen||EltaMD UV Pure||California Baby Super Sensitive||Vanicream Sunscreen|
|Active ingredients||Zinc Oxide (20%)||Zinc Oxide (22.5%)||Zinc Oxide (10%) & Titanium Dioxide (5.5%)||Titanium Dioxide (12%)||Zinc Oxide (6%) & Titanium Dioxide (3.4%)|
|Water resistance||80 minutes||80 minutes||80 minutes||80 minutes||80 minutes|
|Matte finish||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes (when applied properly)||Yes (when applied properly)|
5 Best Sunscreens for Bald Heads
After thorough research into how to protect bald heads from the sun which included discussing issues with customers, reviewing customer feedback, examining manufacturer specifications, and participating in skincare forums, SimplySunSafe has chosen the 5 best sunscreens for your bald head. Each product provides broad spectrum, physical protection of SPF 30 or greater. They are all free of oxybenzone, are suitable for daily use, and water resistant.
Thinksport Sunscreen is a strong protectant that will provide you with the assurance of sufficient coverage throughout your day. It gives you the highest recommended amount of UVB ray protection so that you don’t need to be constantly worried about your bald head getting burned. It also has a high concentration (20%) of zinc oxide for great, balanced UV protection.
Thinksport’s formula is free of parabens, phthalates, and PABA, which makes it sensitive enough for daily use. It is of excellent quality and was actually the first sunscreen to pass the Whole Foods premium care requirements. In terms of safety, thinksport is very dependable, adhering strictly to FDA guidelines.
The formula of this sunscreen applies and absorbs very easily, and will not leave your scalp feeling oily! The formula is a thick cream so be sure to rub it in adequately so that no white cast is left on your bald head.
Daily use of thinksport Sunscreen will leave you very satisfied because it does not have an obtrusive smell and is moisturizing for the scalps. It is water resistant (80 minutes), and doesn’t move even when used in conditions that induce heavy sweating. It’s good to know you won’t have to stress about sweating with this product protecting your bald head!
The above version of thinksport Sunscreen comes as a 3 ounce tube. At this price it’s already great value for money, but if you use this sunscreen on your head everyday, feel free to check out the 6 ounce tube that is even more cost effective.
This reasonably priced sunscreen will provide you with sensitive but effective protection against harmful UV rays for your scalp. All of the positive features of thinksport’s SPF 50+ formula make it the best sunscreen for bald heads.
- High SPF
- Great value
- Reliable water resistance
- Thick formula
BADGER Sport Sunscreen is another excellent option for protecting your bald head from the sun. It’s a physical sunscreen which provides broad spectrum protection with a high concentration (22.5%) of its active ingredient, zinc oxide. It’s an ideal option for bald heads because it has a simple formula that is both incredibly effective and gentle on sensitive skin.
BADGER Sport Sunscreen is chemical and fragrance free. It has only 5 total ingredients, zinc oxide, organic sunflower oil, organic beeswax, organic jojoba oil, and sunflower Vitamin E. The short list of ingredients means that you will not experience any irritation even using the product daily on the most sensitive scalp.
This sunscreen provides you with the highest amount of water resistance (80 minutes) which is one of the most important features you want in a sunscreen for your bald head. You really don’t want to use a sunscreen that will start running at any sign of sweat or exposure to water!
For the effective and gentle coverage this sunscreen provides, it is more than worth its price. It is a great option for your scalp, right in line with my number 1 recommendation, thinksport. BADGER Sport Sunscreen was edged out of the number one spot only because thinksport has slightly more customer support and recommendations on skincare forums.
This doesn’t mean it couldn’t be your number 1 though. If it sounds better for you, definitely test it out. You could find that for you it is the best sunscreen for your scalp.
- High concentration of active ingredient
- Simple formula
- 80-minute water resistance
- Thick formula
- Likely white cast
EltaMD Pure Broad Spectrum Sunscreen is a good option for everyday use on your bald head. It’s a physical sunscreen which gives you broad spectrum protection through the main ingredients zinc oxide (10%) and titanium dioxide (5.5%).
This product is gentle and safe for sensitive and vulnerable areas like bald spots because it is non-comedogenic and free of parabens, fragrances, oils, dyes, hormones, and gluten. This product will not cause any irritation to your exposed scalp.
This sunscreen’s formula is lightweight and lightly scented which is part of the reason it has such positive reviews from users with bald heads. You’ll also be very pleased because as long as you rub in the sunscreen properly, it will not leave a white cast or shiny look on your scalp.
EltaMD Pure Broad Spectrum will also provide you with 80 minutes of water resistant protection. So this is another product with which you will not have to worry about sweat causing it to run down your face and into your eyes.
This reasonably priced sunscreen is another good option to try when searching for a product for your scalp. It will give you reliable every day protection.
- High SPF
- 80-minute water resistance
- Lightweight formula
- Lower levels of active ingredients
Although this may not be the first sunscreen that comes to mind when thinking about protecting your bald head, it is a solid option. This physical sunscreen provides broad spectrum protection with the use of active ingredient titanium dioxide (12%). It is specially formulated for even the most sensitive of skin so your vulnerable scalp will be well protected with this product.
California Baby Super Sensitive is hypoallergenic, unfragranced, and PABA-free. It is so gentle that it will not irritate your eyes even if a little gets rubbed in by accident. This sunscreen is water resistant (80 minutes) so your need for sweat protection will be taken care of.
California Baby Super Sensitive has quite a thick formula that will require you to rub it in thoroughly. This helps to avoid leaving a white cast showing on your scalp. You’ll be very pleased with this sunscreen’s daily suitability, gentle formula, water resistance, effectiveness, and value your money.
The reason it sits lower on this list is because it’s only active ingredient is titanium dioxide. This ingredient doesn’t stop as much of the UV spectrum as zinc oxide so it pays a price for this, especially when being recommended for use on the especially exposed scalp.
This product is a little on the expensive side, especially if you’re an everyday user. However, similar to thinksport Sunscreen, this product is available in both 2.9 ounce and 6 ounce tubes. If you love California Baby Super Sensitive, pick up the larger version so you get more bang for your buck.
- Designed for sensitive skin
- 80-minute water resistance
- No zinc oxide
- Less durable water resistance
Vanicream Sunscreen is a physical sunscreen which provides broad spectrum protection through its active ingredients, zinc oxide (6%) and titanium dioxide (3.4%). It is dermatologist recommended and formulated for sensitive skin, making it a safe option for your bald head.
Vanicream Sunscreen is non-comedogenic and free from parabens, PABA, oil, gluten, and fragrance. No irritation will be caused to your tender scalp even with everyday use. It’s water resistance (80 minutes) so, just like the other sunscreens on this list, provides you with perhaps one of the important assurance that the sunscreen will not run if you sweat or come into contact with water.
The reason that Vanicream Sunscreen has fallen into the 5th spot on SimplySunSafe’s list is because of its slightly heavy formula and low concentration of active ingredients. Some feedback on the sunscreen (and it was my experience also) says that it may leave a white cast or a greasy feeling on your scalp if it does not absorb fully.
It is recommended that you apply the sunscreen a little while before going outside to allow it absorb fully into your scalp to counter the possible greasiness or white cast.
Vanicream Sunscreen is gentle and effective enough for daily use and users with bald heads are satisfied with the protection they receive using this product. If this product’s features sound like they’d suit you best, it is worth testing to see if it’s right for you!
- 80-minute water resistance
- Formula is a little heavy
- Slight white finish
This guide was written to help those who are looking to find the best sunscreen for bald scalps. Hopefully, by reading this you have gained more insight into what you need to search for and have discovered a sunscreen that fits your needs!
SimplySunSafe recommends thinksport Sunscreen SPF 50+ as the number 1 choice for bald men, but be sure that all 5 sunscreens recommended will provide you with sufficient and reliable protection for your head.
It’s a good idea to test a few products in order to find one that works well for your skin. When you have tested a few different sunscreens, you will be able to choose one that best fits your daily lifestyle. Then the effective and convenient protection of your vulnerable scalp will no longer be something you need to worry about!
I am always itching to learn new things and hear about different products from others. So if you use or know of another good sunscreen for bald heads, please let me know in the comments. I’ll check it out and may add it to this list!