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What’s the Best Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin?

There are certain things to look for when it comes to finding the best face sunscreen for sensitive skin. Here, we share some guidelines for finding an effective sunscreen for sensitive skin that you’ll want to use every single day.

If you have sensitive skin, then you know that shopping for any sort of skincare product – especially sunscreen – can be a bit of a touch-and-go process. To help you determine what the best sunscreens are for your sensitive skin, we reached out to a couple dermatologists who were happy to give us the scoop. Below, we’ve outlined 1) what formulations and ingredients are best, 2) when and how to apply them, and 3) some specific product recommendations along the way to make everything that much easier.

Mineral sunscreens are the way to go for sensitive skin

The skincare jury didn’t take too much time deliberating this one. Mineral, or “physical,” sunscreen formulations are the best choice for people who have sensitive skin.

An awesome option—especially if you’re keen on a blurred, mattifying effect—is our Smooth and Poreless 100% Mineral Matte Screen SPF 40. This SPF doubles as a primer, and it’s formulated with other clean ingredients like argan oil, which hydrates beautifully without being greasy. It also contains skin-brightening white mulberry root and blue-light-blocking butterfly bush.

Another stellar choice is our Zincscreen 100% Mineral Lotion SPF 40. This lotion works great for both sensitive and acne-prone skin, thanks to the fact that non-nano zinc oxide is used as its sunscreen active (non-nano means that the particles will sit on top of the skin instead of seep into it).

Sunscreen for sensitive skin application tips for happier skin:

As someone with sensitive skin, you probably know just how important it is to follow a strict cleansing regimen. For that reason, we want to reiterate how important it is to apply your sunscreen to a clean face, and with clean hands. Another good rule of thumb is to separate your facial sunscreens from your body sunscreens.

“These days, we have so many good choices for ‘face-only’ sunscreens that are oil-free, non-comedogenic, and highly innovative,” says Jenny Sobera MD, a board-certified dermatologist. “Sunscreens formulated specifically for the face will simply be more pleasing [to wear], especially for those with sensitive skin.”

A good rule of thumb is to separate your facial sunscreens from your body sunscreens.

Using different SPF for your face is even more important if your body sunscreen is what Sobera refers to as an “intentional sunscreen.” This is the kind of SPF that serve a specific purpose—such as sport or water-resistant SPF—and therefore may contain additional ingredients that could create a reaction from sensitive skin.

For body, we’re pretty partial to our 100% Mineral Sunscreen Mist, a non-aerosol, zinc-based formulation that goes on white and then blends into skin for a sheer finish. It’s also a water-resistant product for 80 minutes. This product is formulated with hydrating sunflower seed extract, and it’s also infused with soothing, antioxidant-rich marigold extract and skin-calming chamomile extract. Talk about a triple threat!

A quick primer on how to apply our 100% Mineral Sunscreen Mist: You’ll want to make sure you shake the bottle well to keep it fully stabilized, then spray it onto your skin (it should show up white) and blend it in.

Finally, just as you prep your skin before application, end-of-day care is also very important. Sobera recommends a gentle, non-abrasive cleanser that removes oil, dirt, debris, and sunscreen residue. You can even follow up with a bit of micellar water to ensure every last bit is removed. After cleansing, you can complete your regimen with your favorite moisturizer. Bonus points if it contains niacinamide, which reduces inflammation, or hyaluronic acid, which soothes and hydrates.

Final thoughts on SPF and sensitive skin

“When my patients with sensitive skin tell me that they ‘just can’t use sunscreen,’ I tell them that may have been true several years ago, but not today,” says Sobera.

It may be a challenging journey to find a formulation that vibes with you and your skin, but the truth is that there are so many options out there – including the ones we mentioned here – that boast super sophisticated formulations that are perfect for sensitive skin.

And at the end of the day, just remember that the best sunscreen for you is the one that you feel most confident and happy wearing.

+Want some more SPF tips for you sensitive skin? Drop a question in the comments and we’ll get back to you!