It’s Summer again, and that means sunshine! However, it also means a higher risk of sun damage and sun burn. We should all be wearing sunscreen year round, but now that Summer is here, it’s time to do a round-up of some of the best sunscreen for sensitive skin!
Do you struggle to find the perfect sunscreen for daily wear? You’re not alone. Everyone has trouble finding their ideal SPF, but sensitive skin can be extra difficult to protect from the sun (but you still have to do it!!!). Finding the best sunscreen for sensitive skin can be a long and arduous process, but if I have 5 favourites, surely you too can find one that you love.
So many SPF products are heavy, greasy, fragranced, loaded with alcohol, and just generally crappy-feeling. So I’ve compiled a list of my favourite sunscreens that I have tested extensively. For some context, my skin breaks out like a mofo when I cover it with synthetic fragrances, rose oil, citrus oils, urea, alcohol, and talc. I also try to keep silicones to a minimum, but it’s not a dealbreaker if I keep it to one or two products at a time. My skin is also combo-oily with an oily t-zone and dry cheeks, plus I’m acne-prone. Finding sunscreen that isn’t super heavy and greasy, doesn’t clog my pores, and doesn’t contain those ingredients listed above is a tall order (sometimes it feels like citrus and rose oils are in eeeevvverrrrythiiiinggg…). But if I can find multiple sunscreens that I love, then I’m sure you can too.
I’ve included both mineral and chemical sunscreen based options, because I am able to tolerate both types. However, really sensitive skin can often only handle mineral-based sunscreens (those where protection is provided by zinc oxide and titanium dioxide). So I’ve made sure to clearly indicate which are mineral-based and which are not.
Here are my top 5 picks for the best sunscreen for sensitive skin (in no particular order):
This is a really lovely mineral-based sunscreen (zinc oxide only) that has a thick texture to begin with but with some careful blending it leaves a lovely matte finish with no white cast. It doesn’t have an official SPF rating (but has 12% zinc oxide, so about SPF 20-25). Combo and oily skin will like that it has a lovely matte finish and it isn’t greasy. It also makes a really nice base for makeup. It’s free of silicones, alcohol, and all fragrance, making it an excellent option for sensitive skin. See my full review HERE. It’s $35-40USD for a 1.7oz airless pump bottle. Find it on Amazon.
One of my absolute favourite sunscreens ever (probably the best sunscreen for sensitive skin ever in my opinion…as long as your skin is ok with chemical sunscreens) is this super lightweight option from Cane & Austin. It is a chemical sunscreen that uses avobenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, and oxybenzone for SPF 50 protection. It is the lightest alcohol-free sunscreen I have ever come across. The dispenser is actually a needle-nosed squeeze bottle, since it’s so watery. It is also free of all silicones, all types of fragrance, and provides slight hydration along with antioxidant benefits. It’s not cheap, but it’s really awesome. The light texture is great for all skin types. It has a slightly shiny finish, but it sits well under makeup and provides excellent skin protection. Read my full review HERE. A 2oz bottle is $40USD. Find it at Sephora (US Only), Macy’s, SpaceNK or on Amazon
This is one of the more well known mineral-based sunscreen options that contains zinc oxide as well as titanium dioxide. It is what I would categorize as a heavy lotion. This sunscreen provides a good amount of hydration and so would be a great choice for normal to combo or dry skin. The texture starts out thick but spreads well, soaks in nicely, and leaves no white cast. I found the finish to be natural looking, not matte but not shiny. The only (minor) drawback is a small amount of fragrance (of natural origin), plus some silicone. See my full review HERE. A 2oz bottle is $32USD. If you’re in the US, you can also get a 4oz bottle if you prefer to purchase your sunscreen in bulk. Find it at Sephora or QVC.
This is the lightest textured mineral-based sunscreen I’ve come across. It definitely isn’t natural and it is loaded with silicones, but it is designed for hyper-intolerant skin (so it’s fragrance- and alcohol-free). It’s a great option if you have oily skin, don’t require much hydration, and want something matte. I’ve recently started using it again and it’s a new favourite. My full review is located HERE. A 1.7oz bottle goes for $28USD. Find it at Amazon, DERMSTORE and Net-A-Porter. It’s also pretty widely available at drugstores around the world.
Another good mineral-based sunscreen option. It is a fairly thick lotion and requires a bit of careful blending to apply, but there is minimal white cast (it fades away quickly), and it is non-irritating for sensitive skin. The finish is also fairly matte, so combo to oily skin will like this option. However, I think it is hydrating enough for normal to dry skin as well, just layer any additional hydrating products you require underneath. This is one of the more reasonably priced sunscreen options available if you want something more natural. A 2oz squeeze tube is around $20USD at Walgreens or on Amazon. You can also get it from some Whole Foods stores in person.
So based on my experience, these are what I consider some of the best sunscreen for sensitive skin. There are, of course, many options I haven’t tested and I fully plan to keep trying new things. But these are my go-tos. I always seem to come back to these when I need something familiar. What do you use? Have any suggestions on sunscreen products I should try?
Here I go, on the lookout for more new sunscreen products that aren’t loaded with irritants, don’t break me out, and don’t feel gross on my skin. If only Canada had the same sunscreen selections other countries do… I’ll update you when I find some 🙂