If you're here, you already know how important it is to wear sunscreen every day to protect your skin from harmful rays. But people with sensitive skin need one that also won't leave it looking and feeling as raw as the worst sunburn. Luckily, the best sunscreens for sensitive skin have all the UVA and UVB protection your skin is begging for, without the irritation.
One thing to always keep in mind when shopping around for sunscreens is that there are two major types of SPFs and they are as different as apples and oranges. Put simply, chemical sunscreen contains chemicals like Avobenzone and Octinoxate that absorb UV rays and come out as infrared rays. Sensitive skin types tend to react more to chemicals in products, so it's easy to see why these should be avoided at all costs.
Physical sunscreens, however, are made from Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide and work by creating a barrier on the skin that reflects UV rays. But, unless you find a great formula, less advanced physical sunscreens can leave your hands and skin with a wicked case of ghost-white pallor that'll take the blending skills of a MAC makeup pro to eliminate.
The good news is there are more amazing sunscreens for sensitive skin out there than ever before and they aren't all the same goopy, white cream formula. These nine are designed for sensitive skin that needs that little bit of extra TLC, and they won't leave a white cast.
1A Fragrance-Free Sunscreen Recommended By Dermatologists
From time to time and without warning, my skin will decide to react to every scent it encounters — and Vanicream is the one brand my dermatologist recommends I use in place of fancier moisturizers. Vanicream Sunscreen with Broad Spectrum SPF 30 protects with zinc oxide and titanium oxide, has very few to no chemicals, dyes, and fragrances that irritate skin, and is recommended for people with eczema and rosacea. It is slightly greasy and can leave a shiny finish, so if you have normal to oily skin you might want to have a skin primer or oil-blotting papers on hand to use after your application.
As someone whose sensitive skin can err on the side of normal/oily, I've got to say: this product is worth an extra blotting paper or two.
2A Vitamin-Rich SPF That Won't Leave White Residue On Your Skin
For those times when you want your sunscreen to come with a side of vitamins and antioxidants, Supergoop! Everyday Sunscreen delivers the goods with a formula that's free of oils, parabens, fragrances, and harsh chemicals like Oxybenzone. This SPF 50 can be used on the face and body (hurray for a multitasking sunscreen) and, according to many happy customers, it's lightweight, absorbs in seconds, and — best of all — won't leave a filmy, white residue behind. Reviewers with sensitive skin weighed in to rave about how Supergoop! doesn't irritate skin and can actually provide a smooth canvas for foundation and BB cream.
3A Mess-Free Brush-On Tinted Mineral Sunscreen
Imagine a sunscreen application experience that eliminates the gooey mess left on your hands, body, and everything else you touch. Colorescience Sunforgettable Mineral SPF 50 Sunscreen Brush is a mess-free powder that has broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection and is the most portable sunscreen you'll find. This tinted powder comes in four shades (tan, medium, fair, and deep), is simple to apply and reapply throughout the day, and is a one-step product — both the sunscreen and brush come in one convenient applicator. Because it's made with a mineral formula, it's also safe for sensitive skin.
Be aware that since this is a powder formula, it may not provide enough moisture for dry skin types.
4A Totally Oil-Free SPF With Thermal Spring Water For Sensitive, Acne Prone Skin
If you have oily, acne-prone skin, you might dread using sunscreen. On the one hand, you know sun protection can reduce breakouts — on the other, why must so many sunscreens leave skin feeling and looking even oilier? La Roche-Posay Anthelios Clear Skin Face Sunscreen for Oily Skin will put your mind at ease: not only does it contain broad-spectrum SPF 60 (which means it protects against UVA and UVB rays), but it's also formulated with advanced technology and perlite plus silica that absorb up to 250 percent of its weight in sweat and oil for a dry, matte finish.
This sunscreen contains zero parabens, oils, or fragrances and is made with thermal spring water. It has also been tested on sensitive skin — so feel confident about giving it a try.
5A Cooling Sunscreen Gel With Alaskan Glacier Water
Live in a hot, humid climate that feels like torture on your sensitive skin? MISSHA All Around Safe Block Sun Gel is formulated with Alaskan glacier water to hydrate parched skin and provide a refreshingly cool feeling. The SPF 50+ gel is also chock-full of other good-for-sensitive-skin ingredients like aloe vera leaf extract, thanaka, and antozone-rose — all of which hydrate and protect skin from the elements.
This Korean sunscreen does contain oil, so be careful if you're prone to breakouts, but reviewers say it's the most lightweight, absorbent, and perfect product to use alone or under foundation.
6A Tinted Sunscreen With Hyaluronic Acid
If you prefer to stick to skincare brands that are most likely to be sold at your dermatologist's office, EltaMD is the one for you — and this tinted sunscreen with SPF 40 protection is a favorite among those of us with sensitive skin. It's fragrance-free, non-comedogenic, has been tested on sensitive skin, and contains no parabens. It also contains hyaluronic acid to hydrate dry skin and prevents wrinkles and fine lines. And, if that's not enough, it provides the slightest hint of color to make you look as if you're glowing (you can also snag the untinted formula).
7A Non-Greasy, Organic Mineral Sunscreen For All Skin Types
The Beauty by Earth Facial Sunscreen is made with organic ingredients and contains no GMOs, gluten, or soy. It's a combination mineral sunscreen and moisturizer, so unless you have very dry skin, most skin types can get away with using this to serve both purposes. Reviews say this lotion never leaves them feeling or looking greasy, gives skin a "matte" finish, and that it may feel "thick," but doesn't make sensitive skin types break out.
Depending on your skin needs, you may find you need a higher SPF than this product offers — adding a BB or CC cream for higher sun protection is one way to achieve that.
8A Non-Whitening Mineral Sunscreen With Antioxidants
A light, 100 percent mineral sunscreen, Eau Thermale Avéne SPF 50 is a non-whitening formula enriched with antioxidants and spring water that soothes sensitive skin while protecting it from the sun's harsh UVA and UVB rays.
One reviewer who said she used to get sun allergies says this is "truly a great product," particularly if you have sensitive skin that reacts to chemical or even some physical sunblocks. The application is described as "smooth" and reviewers say this has no trace of fragrance and won't leave a white film on your skin.
9A Super Moisturizing Sunscreen With A Slight Tint For Dry Skin
If you have dry, sensitive skin, you may find some physical sunscreens mattify your skin so much that they leave you looking a little flaky. Clinique Super City Block with SPF 40 is a lightly tinted moisturizing formula that will give your skin a fresh, dewy look and won't clog pores or irritate sensitive skin.
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