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The 7 Best Sunscreens For Rosacea

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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 mineral SPF. If you find that a mix of physical and chemical sunscreens don’t burn your eyes, 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 hydrating 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 seven 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.

Helpful Amazon review: “I first tried this sunscreen when it was gifted to me by my neighbor who is a dermatologist. I originally only used it on the backs of my hands and any exposed body parts because I have rosacea/highly reactive facial skin that has reacted poorly to other sunscreens. I was very hesitant to try this on my face, but [...] I knew I needed the extra protection. I am thrilled with the feel of this product. It doesn’t make my skin burn or turn red in the slightest, or break me out. It doesn’t impact any makeup that I wear over it, either.”

2

The Best Redness-Relieving Sunscreen For Rosacea

To calm redness from your rosacea while also preventing it from getting worse, Paula’s Choice created its SPF 30 CALM mineral moisturizer. The cream, which is free from parabens and fragrances, is a physical sunscreen that uses titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to protect the skin from UVA and UVB rays. It contains ingredients like oat and cucumber extracts, dimethicone, and allantoin to soothe red, irritated skin, plus glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and apricot oil to keep skin hydrated. The brand specifically notes that it’s gentle enough for rosacea-prone skin, and Amazon reviewers back this up, writing, “I have spent hundreds of dollars on failed sunscreen over the years. This is the first sunscreen I have ever used that does NOT burn my face, cause breakouts, and rosacea flares.”

Helpful Amazon review: “This is the best product I have found for redness. I have rosacea and saw positive results in a week. The cream blends in quickly and makeup goes on smoothly over it. I have used this product for several months and I haven’t had a rosacea flare up since. It’s very calming to skin.”

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 over 22,000 five-star reviews on Amazon for this product, with many noting that it won't aggravate rosacea or cause breakouts.

Helpful Amazon review: “I've been using this sunscreen for about 3 years. I've tried other sunscreens during that time, some of them very pricey, but I always come back to this- I've gone through about 5 or 6 bottles. I have extremely sensitive skin that stings if I use chemical sunscreens. I'm also prone to acne, rosacea, and hyper-pigmentation so to find a sunscreen that's specifically designed to not aggravate those issues is amazing. It has no white cast, no scent, and works beautifully under makeup. It's not matte but it's not greasy- it feels and looks like a very lightweight lotion but it totally works at protecting my skin. Truly the best sunscreen I've ever used.”

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.

Helpful Amazon review: “I love it. I was looking for an everyday sunscreen, that doesn’t bother my sensitive, acne prone and rosacea prone skin. I found chemical sunscreens would make me turn red immediately, and physical ones would make me break out. This one does neither.”

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 EltaMD’s sport sunscreen. The SPF 50 sunscreen gets its broad spectrum protection from zinc oxide, octinoxate, and octisalate and it's also water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. Formulated with dimethicone to keep skin hydrated and smooth, this sunscreen also contains antioxidant protection with vitamin E. Like most of the other formulas on this list, EltaMD Sport is noncomedogenic, oil-free, and fragrance-free. In addition, it's free of parabens.

Helpful Amazon review: “Needed good sun screen to use while jogging. I sweat a lot from my forehead and needed something that would come off and sting my eyes. This product has been awesome. Dosnt come off. It dosnt have that gross sun screen smell. I have rosacea which makes my face very sensitive to most products. This sunscreen is the only brand I’d use.”

6

The Cult-Favorite Sunscreen That Makes Your Skin Glow

This cult-favorite sunscreen is made with an oil- and fragrance-free formula that’s gentle yet moisturizing, and fans love how it gives their skin a natural glow. It has broad-spectrum SPF 40+ protection, goes on clear and doesn’t pill under makeup. The formula is a chemical SPF that uses octisalate and a few other chemical filters, but if your skin can handle it, you’ll surely love that it contains soothing frankincense and hydrating ingredients like dimethicone, shea butter, jojoba, and a meadowfoam seed complex.

Helpful Amazon review: “It never stings around the eyes even on my sensitive face. I also love the transparent color and moisturizing character.”

7

The Best Budget Sunscreen

This sunscreen for sensitive skin has SPF 50+ protection, and is formulated without fragrances, parabens, or phthalates. Zinc oxide offers protection from both UVA and UVB rays, and the gentle lotion goes on smooth and has a lightweight feel that absorbs easily and works well alone or under makeup. The non-greasy formula is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes before needing to be reapplied. The best part? It’s under $10.

Helpful Amazon review: “I use this everyday on my face. It’s so creamy and my makeup goes on nicely over it. [...] I have sensitive skin and this doesn’t irritate me at all. I work in skin care and why pay for more!”

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