When most people think of sunscreen, they think of sun protection. But when someone with sensitive skin thinks of sunscreen? Itchiness, redness, breakouts, and a whole lot of skin anxiety. It doesn’t have to be that way though (for real!). Not all sunscreens are made the same, so all it really takes is figuring out a formula that’s actually designed for your sensitive skin, and you’ll officially be free of irritation and sunscreen-related breakouts. Easier said than done, I know. Which is why I did you a favor and rounded up the 20 safest sunscreens for sensitive skin, below. But first, a little ~education~ so you can make better-informed skincare decisions in the future when I’m not here, starting with the difference between chemical and mineral (aka physical) sunscreens.
Are mineral or chemical sunscreens better?
If you have sensitive skin and don’t know the difference between chemical and mineral sunscreen, listen up: Mineral sunscreens are formulated with mineral-based sun blockers (e.g., zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide) that sit on top of your skin to physically block the sun’s rays for gentle, non-irritating protection. And chemical sunscreens—i.e., the most common, traditional type—use chemical-based sun blockers (e.g., oxybenzone and octinoxate) that sink into your skin to absorb UV rays—a process that can potentially cause redness and irritation on anyone with sensitive skin.
Basically, always reach for a mineral/physical-based sunscreen, like one of these 20.
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This Sunscreen Serum for Sensitive Skin
EleVen by Venus Williams Unrivaled Sun Serum SPF 35
If you hate the feeling of thick goopy sunscreen (hi same), you’ll def want to keep this SPF 35 at arm’s reach. The non-irritating serum formula is fast-absorbing and lightweight—plus it’s infused with safflower and prickly pear extract to hydrate your skin and protect it from free radical damage.
This Anti-Pollution Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin
Sunday Riley Light Hearted Broad Spectrum SPF 30
While exposure to pollution isn’t linked to skin cancer the way UV is, it’s definitely a precursor to premature aging. Luckily, this mineral sunscreen for sensitive skin shields you from both. The zinc and titanium offer up give SPF 30, while turmeric helps protect your face from pollution and inflammation.
This Everyday Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin
Cocokind Daily SPF 32
Behold: The perfect everyday sunscreen for sensitive skin types. This award-winning formula feels lightweight, is non-greasy (it layers perfectly under makeup), and is infused with soothing aloe vera and micro algae to protect skin from daily aggressors.
This Water-Resistant Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin
Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral SunscreenSPF 50
This sunscreen for sensitive skin is free from potentially irritating fragrances, dyes, harsh preservatives, and formaldehyde. But the best part? It’s water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, making it a great sunscreen option for days when you’re sweating and running around outside.
Best Moisturizing Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin
Saie Sunvisor Moisturizing Sunscreen SPF 35
This moisturizing sunscreen is perfect for sensitive skin that’s dry or dehydrated. The blend of grape-seed oil, argan oil, hyaluronic acid, and aloe vera hydrates hella-thirsty skin and softens rough patches. It’s the perfect daily moisturizer with SPF for anyone who wants baby-soft skin…with a major dose of sun protection.
Best Powder Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin
Brush On Block Mineral Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 30
Apply your regular cream-based facial sunscreen in the morning and then layer this powder sunscreen on top throughout the day as a touch-up. It’s non-irritating (thanks to mineral-based ingredients) and zero percent messy or annoying to use.
This Anti-Redness Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin
Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Camo Drops SPF 35
This sunscreen is actually ideal for anyone with rosacea or any type of inflammation. It uses tiny green pigments to neutralize redness on contact (just like a color corrector), plus SPF 35 to protect from harmful UVA and UVB rays.
This Brown Girl-Approved Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin
Unsun Mineral Tinted Sunscreen SPF 30
If you have dark skin, finding a sunscreen that doesn’t make you look ashy is hard AF. Good thing this brand (which was created by a Black woman) solves that problem. The lightweight cream has a subtle tint that blends into the deepest of skin tones. And if that’s not magical enough, its packed with shea butter, coconut oil and vitamin E for some major moisturization.
This Lightweight Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50
This beloved French brand is famous for its milky melt-into-your-skin sunscreen formulation. And because of its barely-there matte finish, the SPF is ideal for wearing under makeup. Worried about breaking out? Don’t be. This pick is non-comedogenic, which is a fancy way of saying it won’t clog your pores.
This Stick Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin
Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Mineral Sunscreen Stick SPF 50+
This Glow-Boosting Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin
Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Face Shield Glow SPF 50
In addition to its mineral UV blockers and soothing niacinamide, this sunscreen for sensitive skin is infused with bronzy, light-reflecting pigments to give skin a subtle glow. It’s also sweat and water resistant for up to 40 minutes, which makes it a great option for days when it’s hot and humid.
This Sheer Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin
Dermalogica Invisible Physical Defense SPF 30
Fact: Zinc sunscreen is ideal for sensitive skin. Also fact: zinc sunscreens can leave a less-than-ideal white, ghostly-looking cast on skin. But not this one. The sheer, gentle formula is pretty much invisible (provided you rub it in for a few seconds) and protects skin with SPF 30 and antioxidants.
This Drugstore Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin
Aveeno Positively Mineral Sensitive Skin Sunscreen for Face Broad Spectrum SPF 50
PSA: You don’t need to drop all your dollars to get your hands on a sunscreen for sensitive skin that actually works. This top-rated (and derm loved) sunscreen lotion from Aveeno protects skin with SPF 50 and is available at the drugstore for less than $10. A dream!
This Sunscreen for Sensitive and Acne-Prone Skin
EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 46
You really can’t go wrong with any of the sunscreens in EltaMD’s line (derms love them, and derms love skin, so), but this one in particular is the best if you’re dealing with acne. The lightweight, oil-free lotion contains niacinamide (aka vitamin b3), which reduces excess oil and inflammation to help prevent breakouts. Niacinamide also has brightening properties that can help fade dark marks from old breakouts, so you’ll be covered both ways.
This Oil-Free Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin
Skinmedica Essential Defense Everyday Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 47
This Mattifying Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin
Supergoop Smooth and Poreless 100% Mineral Matte Screen SPF 40
This sensitive-skin sunscreen with SPF 40 doubles as a lightweight, skin-smoothing primer. The all-zinc formula has a sheer tint and a mattifying, mousse-like texture that minimizes pores and helps any makeup look better and last longer after you apply it.
This Anti-Aging Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin
MDSolarSciences Mineral Crème Broad Spectrum SPF 50
This super-silky, mineral-based sunscreen for sensitive skin has a silicone base that instantly “blurs” fine lines and mattifies skin, leaving you with a soft, smooth finish. And it’s infused with three different antioxidants—green tea, pomegranate, and cranberry fruit extracts—to help defend skin from free radical damage and premature aging down the road.
This Natural Sunscreen Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin
Suntegrity Skincare Natural Moisturizing Sunscreen and Primer SPF 30
Love natural beauty products? Then this gentle SPF 30 sunscreen lotion for sensitive skin is for you. It contains a moisturizing blend of organic aloe vera, jojoba oil, and sunflower extract and non-nano zinc oxide (i.e., it won’t penetrate your skin at all) to protect your face from UV damage and redness.
This Calming Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin
Is Clinical Extreme Protect SPF 30
Sensitive skin is prone to redness, and this sunscreen helps keep it in check. The super-gentle formula has SPF 30 to prevent UV-induced redness, along with calming Centella asiatica (an antioxidant-rich herb) and olive leaf extract to help minimize redness and blotchiness that’s caused by rosacea, sensitive skin, or irritation.
This Anti-Pollution Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin
Murad City Skin Age Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 50
If you want to dodge the nasty effects of UV rays while also looking like a a glowy goddess, then this is the SPF 50 for you. The lightweight liquid formula is laced with vitamin C, which does wonders for clearing up hyperpigmentation (aka dark spots).
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