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The rumors are true. You really do need to wear sunscreen on the daily. But this can be tricky for folks with sensitive skin. The wrong sunscreen can lead to rashes, redness, and breakouts. But don’t worry. We have the top picks for keeping your skin covered.
The 15 best sunscreens for sensitive skin
- EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum – SPF 46
- La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light Mineral Sunscreen – SPF 50
- Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Face Liquid Sunscreen Broad Spectrum – SPF 50
- COOLA Full Spectrum 360° Mineral Sun Silk Crème – SPF 30
- Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defense – SPF 30
- SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense – SPF 50
- Badger Active Unscented Sunscreen Cream – SPF 30
- Vanicream Sport Sunscreen – SPF 35
- Alba Botanica Fragrance Free Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen – SPF 30
- Bare Republic Mineral Sport Sunscreen Spray – SPF 30
- Supergoop! Mattescreen – SPF 40
- Colorescience Sunforgettable Brush-on Sunscreen – SPF 30
- Australian Gold Botanical Sunscreen Mineral Lotion – SPF 30
- MDSolarSciences Mineral Moisture Defense – SPF 50
- CoTz Sensitive Broad Spectrum UVA-UVB – SPF 40
SPF 101 🌞
- SPF = sun protection factor
- Consider SPF 30 the minimum. Higher SPFs offer more protection.
- Ultraviolet A (UVA) is linked with skin aging. Ultraviolet B (UVB) is tied to skin burning.
- You’ll need about 1 ounce of sunscreen. Helpful hint: Think of a shot glass.
- Apply 15 minutes before sun exposure.
- Reapply every 2 hours or after you get sweaty or wet.
- Don’t miss the spots clothes can’t cover.
- Don’t forget the back of your neck, eyelids, lips, hands, ears, and tops of your feet.
Sensitive skin getting you down? You’re not alone. Research suggests around 50 percent of women and 40 percent of men are in the same boat.
But you can totes have your sunscreen and wear it too. Here are 15 sunscreens that won’t freak your skin the SP-F out.
Prices are cost of product per ounce:
$ = under $7
$$ = $8–$14
$$$ = $15–$20
$$$$ = over $20
This derm fave is designed for sensitive skin types — especially those with acne and rosacea. Its 5 percent concentration of niacinamide (aka B3) helps reduce the appearance of zits and discoloration. It’s oil-free, fragrance-free, and provides broad-spectrum sun protection.
Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide team up to give you broad-spectrum SPF 50 protection. It also boasts a blend of antioxidants that fight environmental damage. More good news: the lightweight formula is fab under makeup.
This lotion offers excellent broad-spectrum protection at a drugstore price. It rocks a hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, oil-free, and non-comedogenic formula.
Beware: Reviewers said it can leave you looking a little, um, ghostly. 👻
This silky smooth sunscreen helps reduce the effects of blue light — the kind of light screens emit. It also offers broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection. But wait! There’s more. COOLA Full Spectrum has an extra boost of antioxidants that fight free radicals.
This fragrance-free SPF is a 100 percent mineral sunscreen. Unlike some other chem-free sunscreens, it won’t turn you into Casper. Its potent amount of antioxidants and moisturizing oils will give your skin a deep dose of hydration.
Bonus: It’s free of oxybenzone and octinoxate, two chemicals that can damage coral reefs and marine life.
This universally tinted SPF sinks right into the skin. It shouldn’t clog pores thanks to extra-tiny zinc oxide molecules that blend in quickly. It’s formulated with plankton extract which can boost your skin’s natural defenses against heat and sun stress.
We love a certified organic moment. This super simple sunscreen throws major shade (but the good kind). Even more impressive, it’s only made with five ingredients: zinc oxide, beeswax, sunflower oil, vitamin E, and sea buckthorn oil.
This blend helps support your gorgeous glow by hydrating skin and reducing inflammation.
This fragrance-free sunscreen won’t give up on you. It lasts for 80 whole minutes even in the wettest, sweatiest conditions. Because after a day of sunny sports, the only burn you should feel is in your muscles.
Want to give your skin a ‘lil TLC? This fast-absorbing sunscreen is a safe bet. Natural skin boosters — like chamomile, aloe vera, and green tea — will leave your face feeling fresh. It’s a reef-friendly formula that’s made with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
Finally! A sensitive skin sunscreen that smells delicious without the help of artificial fragrance. This seriously hydrating formula (thanks raspberry, grape, and carrot seed oils!) protects your whole body from UVA/UVB rays.
FYI: This mineral sunscreen is a stay-put sport spray. So it goes on thicker than some other spray options.
Shine control? Yes please! This daily SPF keeps oil at bay and minimizes the look of pores. The matte formula offers the power of a broad-spectrum SPF 40.
We also love the addition of butterfly bush extract, which can help protect your skin from aging. 🦋
Sick of cream-screens? Try a powder. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide work just as well in powder form. The extra mattifying effect is def a bonus.
This ultra lightweight powder comes in five tinted shades. You can use it on top your usual foundation, but it also leaves a light finish on its own.
This broad-spectrum is made with an Australian Gold trifecta — kakadu plum, eucalyptus, and red algae. The formula fuels the skin with vitamins and antioxidants as it protects you from the rays.
Give it a whiff: This full-body mineral lotion is free from artificial fragrance, but it still smells like the beach day of your dreams 🏖️.
Bring a little luxury to your sunscreen routine. Powerful mineral sun protection is paired with hella hydrating ingredients for a 10/10 #SelfCare vibe. The ceramides and humectants can help your skin maintain moisture.
Another perk: It doesn’t have any pore-clogging oils or artificial perfumes.
Oh haaay 20 percent zinc oxide! You won’t find any preservatives or fragrances here. Just soothing UVA/UVB protection.
This sunscreen is gentle enough to use even if you’re dealing with photosensitivity due to medication or recent medical procedures. Plus this giant tube will last, like, forever.
Here’s what we considered when picking out the best creams of the sensitive skin crop.
SPF counts: The American Academy of Dermatology says SPF 30 is the minimum.
Physical sun protection from minerals: Chemical sunscreens are known to irritate sensitive skin. That’s why focused on mineral options.
Broad-spectrum protection: We opted for sunscreens that offer UVA and UVB protection.
No irritating ingredients: Fake fragrances, parabens, and pore-clogging oils can’t sit with us.
Protection for all: We included top-notch options for every price point.
Not sure how to pick your potion? According to a 2019 study, you should look out for the:
- highest SPF
- lowest possible cost
- fewest allergenic ingredients
These three factors will help you find the perfect balance between protection and price.
What to avoid
All sensitive skin warriors should avoid ingredients like:
- added fragrances
- preservatives like parabens
- benzophenones (especially benzeophenone-3 or oxybenzone)
You shouldn’t have to miss out on fun in the sun just because you have sensitive skin. This list will totes help you find the best sunscreen for your unique needs. It might take some trial and error. But keep at it — your skin deserves it!