With so many sunscreen varieties on the market, finding the right one for your skin type has become both easier and, somehow, more difficult. And if dryness is your main concern, choosing from the best sunscreens for dry skin is particularly important for keeping your face nourished, flake-free, and protected from the sun's harmful rays. But, as you might've already encountered, some sunscreens have the exact opposite effect and cause major irritation.
To limit uncomfortable SPF experiences, you'll want to check your labels. Be on the lookout for ingredients that are hydrating and soothing for dry skin. Things like ceramides — which lock in moisture — and hyaluronic acid — which hydrates and plumps the skin — are awesome and much more common today than ever before. Likewise, antioxidants and healing plant extracts (think aloe vera, shea butter, and coffee seed) are highly effective for parched skin. You want to stay as close to all-natural as possible, as dry skin tends to get irritated by harsh alcohols, strong fragrances, and some preservatives.
To take the guess work out of finding a compatible formula, find six SPF-30-and-above options, below. Though they range in price and SPF, none of them will irritate your skin. Rejoice!
1. The Best Moisturizing Sunscreen That Improves Skin's Appearance Over Time
This best-selling sunscreen with SPF 50 is a mineral-based formula designed for extremely dry and sensitive skin. Boasting UVA and UVB protection, it's fragrance-free and full of calming antioxidants (hello, shea butter!) and vitamins — including powerhouse niacinamide (aka vitamin B3), which improves the appearance of large pores, adds moisture-loss protection, and evens out skin tone. With each application, Paula's Choice's formula will leave you with a dewy look that's anything but flaky. One Amazon reviewer raved, "This SPF cream is amazing. It does not leave a white cast and does not feel oily at all. I will definitely repurchase."
2. The Best Organic Sunscreen With Just Five Nourishing Ingredients
For a simple formula with minimal ingredients, go for an organic sunscreen with broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection like Badger's Unscented Sunscreen Cream. Made with just five super nourishing ingredients — zinc oxide, sunflower seed oil, beeswax, sunflower vitamin E, and omega-packed sea buckthorn extract — it contains SPF 30 and will leave your skin feeling silky soft. What's more, it's completely fragrance-free (aside from a natural beeswax scent) and sweat- and water-resistant for up to 40 minutes. An Amazon reviewer with dry skin confirmed this cause further irritation. They wrote, "This is the only sunscreen so far that has not made my skin dry out and blends in perfectly on my face without leaving a white residue." After a tinted version? Badger does make one, but sadly, it only comes in one shade.
3. The Best Sunscreen Milk With Mega Water Resistance
Cult-favorite French drugstore brand La Roche-Posay's SPF 60 sunscreen milk is a great choice for sports and activities during which you know you’ll sweat, because its silky finish is water resistant for up to 80 minutes. Even better, the fragrance-, paraben-, and oil-free formula is safe for sensitive skin and can be used for both face and body. As its name suggests, this "melt-in sunscreen milk" provides serious nourishment, and with the brand's broad spectrum Cell-Ox Shield antioxidant technology, it's ready to arm your skin against free radicals and sun damage. As one happy Amazon customer put it: "This is the best sunscreen I've ever purchased. It melts onto the face, not sticky and no residue like other brands. I can put it on as a moisturizer under my foundation, and it smooths nicely, even with my very dry skin."
4. The Best Sunscreen Oil Spray That Won't Clog Pores
This non-greasy sunscreen contains hydrating meadowfoam seed oil, nourishing argan oil, and substantial chemical UV protection (SPF 50) — all in a convenient spray oil form that's perfect for travel. The UV-fighting formula is ideal for dry skin, because those aforementioned oils add and lock in moisture but won't clog pores. The end result is supple skin that's protected from the sun. Many Amazon reviewers report that it's also great for anyone looking to avoid the dreaded white cast many zinc-based sunscreens create, especially on darker skin tones. One reviewer penned, "It's completely transparent, smells SO good and actually helps to moisturize my skin." As with any new beauty product, be sure to patch test it, as some people have experienced reactions.
5. The Best Sunscreen For Existing Sun Damage
There are a few reasons why this Dr. Dennis Gross sunscreen with SPF 50 is a winner for anyone with dry skin. First of all, it contains skin-feeding ingredients like ceramides, evening primrose oil, and hyaluronic acid to boost hydration and elasticity. It's also a physical sunscreen, meaning it blocks UV rays using zinc and titanium. And — thanks to a Mela-C Complex with melatonin, vitamin C, and vitamin E — it actually fades sunspots as it protects your skin from additional damage. Score! According to an Amazon reviewer, you don't even need to use lots of product: "[You] just need one small drop and it covers pretty much your face and neck."
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