Sunscreen should be a part of everyone's morning beauty routines, but if you have rosacea-prone skin, it's even more crucial. Though there are many causes for rosacea flare-ups, sun exposure ranks high on that trigger list. Unfortunately, so can common ingredients found in skin-care products, which makes finding the best sunscreens for rosacea a more selective process than simply grabbing the first tube you see at the drugstore.
"Anyone will experience redness and burning if they aren't using proper sunblock, however, rosacea patients are more susceptible," confirms Jeanine Downie, M.D., of New Jersey-based Image Dermatology. While Dr. Downie notes that she recommends a sunscreen with a mix of physical and chemical filters for all of her patients, including those with rosacea, she also explains that it's important to test the formula first to make sure you don't experience irritation. "Test near and underneath your eye, and if it starts to itch or burn, chemical sunscreen is too strong for you."
If you find that only physical sunscreens work for you, Dr. Downie says that active ingredients like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are what you'll want to look for in your SPF. If you can handle a mix of physical and chemical sunscreens, active ingredients octinoxate and octisalate are the chemical filters Dr. Downie likes best.
Additionally, to keep rosacea flare-ups at bay, the inactive ingredients in your sunscreen are just as important. In addition to avoiding typical irritants like alcohol, fragrance, and parabens, Dr. Downie also recommends avoiding mineral oils, which can clog your pores and cause breakouts. "Some of my favorite inactive ingredients [for rosacea] are glycerin, niacinamide, and dimethicone," Dr. Downie says of what you do want in your sunscreen. "Rosacea patients tend to have dry, irritated skin, and more hydration leads to better results for rosacea," she says. You can also pair your sunscreen with another hydrator like your usual serum or a moisturizer for rosacea.
If you haven't found an SPF that works for your skin yet, here are five of the best sunscreens for rosacea-prone skin types.
1. The Derm’s Pick
This mineral sunscreen comes recommended by Dr. Downie for rosacea-prone skin types because it offers UVA and UVB protection while still being gentle enough for sensitive and even post-procedure skin. To ensure users don't experience any irritation, SkinMedica's Essential Defense Mineral Shield SPF 35 is a formula that's hypoallergenic, paraben-free, oil-free, and fragrance-free. Additionally, the sunscreen contains dimethicone, which helps it better absorb into skin, as well as green tea leaf extract, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
2. The Best Redness-Relieving Sunscreen For Rosacea
To camouflage redness from your rosacea while also preventing it from getting worse, Avène created its Antirougeurs Day Soothing Cream SPF 25. The cream, which is hypoallergenic, noncomedogenic, and oil-free, has a light green tint to it that neutralizes redness. It also contains ingredients like dextran sulfate to minimize the appearance of swelling, hesperidin methyl chalcone to reduce the appearance of vascular capillaries, and Avène's own thermal spring water to soothe, soften, and calm skin. To protect skin from UVA and UVB rays, Avène uses a mix of physical and chemical filters, and to keep skin hydrated, ingredients like glycerin and squalane are included in the formula.
Though it does contain a light dose of fragrance, a number of Amazon reviewers specifically recommend this Avène product for sensitive skin and rosacea. "I have tried countless laser treatments, prescriptions and topical creams to help with my rosacea," writes one reviewer, who says, "This product works. It calms and helps with redness, and it is perfect for putting foundation or tinted moisturizer over."
3. The Best Sunscreen For Rosacea & Acne
If you have acne in addition to rosacea, EltaMD Facial Sunscreen SPF 46 was developed with your skin type in mind. The blend of mineral and chemical filters protects skin from UVA and UVB rays in a formula that's fragrance-free, oil-free, paraben-free, and noncomedogenic. To keep skin moisturized and smooth, EltaMD included hyaluronic acid and vitamin E in the formula, and it even contains niacinamide to reduce dryness and redness. To help prevent breakouts, the sunscreen uses lactic acid to unclog pores and gently exfoliate skin.
EltaMD has nearly 2,500 five-star reviews on Amazon for this product, with many noting that it won't aggravate rosacea or cause breakouts. "As someone with super-sensitive, breakout-prone skin, sunblock was an absolute nightmare until I found this," raves one reviewer. "This doesn't irritate my skin and flare- [up] my rosacea or cause my skin to breakout. It's easy to spread and doesn't leave me greasy or dry."
4. The Best Water-Gel Sunscreen For Rosacea
For a super-lightweight sunscreen that won't trigger rosacea, try this gel formula from Blue Lizard. A combination of mineral and chemical filters with zinc oxide and octinoxate provide broad spectrum protection from the sun in a formula that's paraben-free and fragrance-free. Because this sunscreen was specifically designed for the face, it's also noncomedogenic so it won't clog your pores. Plus, the water-gel formula won't leave behind that white tint or greasy feeling that traditional sun creams are known for. Blue Lizard even added plenty of antioxidants and hydrating ingredients like green tea, caffeine, vitamin E, and hyaluronic acid.
5. The Best Water-Resistant Sunscreen For Rosacea
When you need a water-resistant formula that can stay put through sweating and swimming, turn to Vanicream's Sunscreen Sport SPF 35. The dermatologist-tested sunscreen gets its broad spectrum protection from zinc oxide and octinoxate, and it's also water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. Formulated with glycerin and dimethicone to keep skin hydrated and smooth, this sunscreen also contains antioxidant protection with coenzyme Q10. Like most of the other formulas on this list, Vanicream is noncomedogenic, oil-free, and fragrance-free. In addition, it's free of dyes, lanolin, parabens, formaldehyde, and preservatives.
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