8 Best Sunscreens for Sensitive Skin in 2023, from Dermatologists and Estheticians
Shop wisely so your sunscreen doesn't irritate your sensitive skin. Skincare experts share their own favorites that are gentle yet protective.
If you have sensitive skin, it can feel tempting to stay away from SPF because the chemical burn can feel worse than a sunburn! Armed with a little product wisdom, there are plenty of great sunscreens for people with sensitive skin.
Mineral SPFs are the best sunscreens for sensitive skin, according to Deanne Mraz Robinson, MD, FAAD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine: “Since they sit at the skin’s surface to function and don’t penetrate, they are less likely to cause irritation,” Dr. Mraz Robinson says.
Whichever sunscreen for sensitive skin you choose, here’s another doctor’s recommendation to make sure it’s effective. “Apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before going outdoors and reapply every two hours, or more frequently if swimming or sweating,” says Saulis Baniones, MD, a physician board-certified by The American Academy of Anti-Aging.
Here are the best sunscreens for sensitive skin as recommended by dermatologists and estheticians—experts in both preventing and repairing sun damage.
1. ISDIN Mineral Brush
This easy-to-apply, brush-on mineral sunscreen is great for touching up SPF protection on the go, and helps with reapplying throughout the day. “This formulation is a silky, smooth, fine powder containing titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, mica and iron oxides that provides protection against free radical pollution damage, blue light and infrared radiation,” Dr. Mraz Robinson says.
2. Vanicream Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30
“I like this one because it’s free of the most common skin irritants and formulated with ceramides, which support the skin barrier, which is critical in managing sensitive skin,” Dr. Mraz Robinson says, adding: “The formula is non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores) and super lightweight, making it ideal for use on the face.”
3. Skinceuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense Sunscreen SPF 50
Rahi Sarbaziha, MD, a Los Angeles-based, board-certified integrative medicine doctor and aesthetics specialist, says this lightweight, tinted sunscreen is one of the best sunscreens for sensitive skin. “It offers UV protection while enhancing your natural skin tone,” she says. “It contains ingredients such as zinc oxide, titanium dioxide and artemia salina to protect sensitive skin from sun damage.”
4. Alastin Hydratint pro mineral sunscreen SPF 36
This lightweight SPF provides broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sun protection with a gentle, all-mineral formulation. “It’s fragrance-free, non-comedogenic, and hypoallergenic, making it safe for even the most sensitive skin types,” says Jeremy Brauer, MD, a New York-based, board-certified dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon.
5. CeraVe Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30
Dermatologists consistently recommend CeraVe’s line of products (not just the sunscreen) and consider it one of the most trusted skincare brands. Adarsh Vijay Mudgil, MD, who is dual board-certified in both dermatology and dermatopathology, recommends this hydrating mineral sunscreen because it’s both inexpensive and high quality.
Joyce Park, MD, FAAD, founder of Skin Refinery, a virtual dermatology clinic, also likes this product because in addition to mineral sunscreen ingredients zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, “It contains three ceramides to help lock in moisture.”
6. Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Mineral Sunscreen SPF 60
This fragrance-free and oil-free sunscreen is made of 100% naturally sourced physical sunscreen ingredients and is a favorite of Dr. Baniones. “It contains zinc oxide and titanium dioxide for broad-spectrum protection,” Dr. Baniones says, and provides water-resistant protection from sun damage for up to 80 minutes.
7. EltaMD UV Clear SPF 46
Like CeraVe, EltaMD is an all-around favorite among dermatologists and estheticians alike. Emma Smith, Licensed Esthetician and learning and development manager at Glowbar, likes this one because it contains part physical and part chemical SPFs to provide broad-spectrum protection against burning and aging rays. “The slight tint in the Elta also aids in shielding any redness if someone is prone to inflammation,” Smith says.
8. EltaMD UV Elements SPF 44 Tinted Moisturizer for Face
There’s no coincidence that Elta products show up multiple times in our recommendations for sensitive skin. “This tinted, oil-free sunscreen restores moisture to dry, stressed skin,” explains Douglas Henstrom, a dual board-certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon in Salt Lake City, UT. “This sunscreen includes ingredients like hyaluronic acid, vitamin-E and and iron oxides.”
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