What’s worse: greasy, oily, broken out skin - or burnt skin?
Dermatologists will likely tell you the latter but if you’re someone who struggles with sensitive skin, there’s a chance you’d say the former.
We all know the importance of wearing sunscreen on the daily and, if you’re over the age of 25, it’s probably something you’ve been warned of multiple times. But for those with sensitive skin who may struggle with inflammation or breakouts from ‘standard’ SPF, it’s not quite so easy to force yourself to apply a layer each morning.
Enter: the world of sensitive sunscreens. These products come bursting at the seams with all of the skin-loving ingredients to keep your skin protected without any irritation in sight. However, there are a lot of them around and not all of them are quite as impressive (or sensitive) as their branding may suggest.
We spoke to the experts about what to look for and what to avoid when it comes to choosing your next sunscreen.
Jennifer Rock, Dermal Facialist and founder of Skingredients, says: “If you have sensitive or reactive skin, rest assured that sunscreen has come a long way since the thick, chalky formulations of the past. If you have oily or blemish-prone skin, make sure you use oil-free formulas, and look for an SPF that’s non-comedogenic, which means that it shouldn’t clog pores.
Some people find that chemical sunscreens (those containing ingredients such as avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate) cause irritation and allergic reactions – although this tends to be more the case with older formulations. Some prefer to use mineral formulas containing zinc oxide, titanium oxide or calamine as these are less likely to upset your skin barrier.
You can even opt for an SPF designed for children, because these formulas are less likely to contain ingredients that can irritate the skin, such as fragrances.”
Dr Adam Friedmann, consultant dermatologist at Stratum Clinics, adds: “Mineral and chemical sunblocks fundamentally work differently - chemical sunscreens are absorbed by the skin and are effective by dispersing the UV rays and mineral sunscreens lay on top of the skin’s surface and reflect the UV rays away from the body.
I would usually recommend a factor 30 as a minimum but it does depend on skin type. At least SPF 30 for pale skin, preferably SPF 50.”
While Dr Ophelia Veraitch, leading Harley Street consultant dermatologist, says: “For those with poorly controlled inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema, it’s important to treat the eczema first; otherwise putting SPF on inflamed skin could exacerbate the problem. Clothing and behaviour are also very important aspects of sun protection. Don’t forget your sunglasses, sunhats and sensible clothes and don’t spend too much time lying out in the sun!”
We’ve rounded up all of the best sunscreen for sensitive skin.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Sun Protection SPF50+ Milk
Ideal for those prone to sensitivity, sun intolerance or prickly heat rash, La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios Sun Protection SPF50+ Milk is something of a hero in the skincare world. This ever-popular brand is a name you’ll hear often by those who love to point out they already apply SPF daily - even on cloudy days.
But there’s a good reason why La Roche-Posay is quite so popular: its formula truly is one of a kind. The brand’s patented filtering system, Mexoplex, offers extremely high protection against UVA, UVB and infrared light while its Thermal Spring Water, an exclusive La Roche-Posay complex, helps to keep skin hydrated and supple. It’s also water-resistant, if you weren’t already convinced.
Buy now £17.60, Lookfantastic
Dr David Jack All Day Long SPF
Not a fan of applying layer after layer in the morning when you’re on holiday? Dr David Jack’s All Day Long SPF is a two in one product of moisturiser and SPF.
This SPF is ideal for saving space in your suitcase by incorporating both moisturising and sun protection properties into one sleek bottle.
This sheer day cream features the very latest protective filters, including SPF50 and blue light protection and settles into the skin similarly to your favourite moisturiser. Unlike many sunscreens which leave a greasy, built up residue on the skin, this formula is almost weightless after application.
Buy now £95.00, Dr David Jack
Hawaiian Tropic Mineral Sun Milk SPF30 Face
Not only does Hawaiian Tropic’s Mineral Sun Milk SPF smell absolutely delicious but it’s also one of the best budget friendly sensitive sunscreens, too. A little lighter than the brand’s usual offering, this mineral-based cream features filters for both UVA and UVB protection as well as skin-loving ingredients enriched with Hawaiian inspired botanicals including kukui nut and coconut. Better yet, it’s vegan, cruelty free and reef friendly too: everything you need to get into holiday mode next time you’re jetting off.
Buy now £8.33, Boots
Grüum SPF50 Face Sunscreen
Grüum’s sunscreen packs a powerful punch with a SPF50 rating and dermatologist approval. This small but mighty bottle goes a long way with a rich yet silky smooth formula that’s perfect for carrying around in even the smallest of beach bags.
With UVA and UVB SPF50 protection, its water resistant formula is hypoallergenic and easily absorbed, making it ideal for applying in a rush without spending too long rubbing it in. Its lightweight nature also means it works well under makeup without leaving any greasy residue.
Buy now £6.00, Beauty Bay
Skingredients Skin Shield SPF 50 PA+++
Enter: that gorgeous, dewy, “just back from Santorini” kind of look with not a scrap of makeup in sight.
Skingredients’ colourful branding will get you into a summertime mood before you’ve even taken off the lid. Created by dermal facialist Jennifer Rock, this vegan sunscreen features both niacinamide (also known as vitamin B3) and vitamin E for antioxidant protection.
One of the best things about Skingredients’ SPF? It’s not totally clear, offering a subtle, concealer-like hue that’s perfect for evening your skin tone without wearing makeup on top.
It’s worth pointing out that Skingredients’ SPF isn’t suitable for darker skin tones but that’s something they’re working on changing.
Buy now £46.00, Cult Beauty
UpCircle SPF25 with Raspberry Seed Oil
UpCircle makes perhaps some of the most premium feeling suncream around. This luxe-looking tub is one of the most delicious sensitive sunscreens available and feels more like you’re applying a serum or face cream rather than a traditional layer of sun protection.
Lightweight and silky, it comes enriched with Raspberry Seed Oil to give it a little extra moisturising edge. Its naturally-derived non-nano zinc oxide protects the skin whilst that subtly scented antioxidant raspberry seed oil defends against free radical damage while you’re enjoying the sunshine.
Buy now £24.99, Feel Unique
Jurlique UV Defence Lotion
Jurlique’s UV Defence Lotion is maybe a little pricier than your standard sunscreen but it’s one of the best options for sensitive skin and smells delicious at the same time. If you’re someone who often can’t be bothered to reapply sunscreen throughout the day, prepare to change perspective when you’ve felt this cream’s fragrant, light formulation on the skin.
The perfect primer for use under makeup, this lotion is non-sticky, has an oil-free texture and promises fast absorption. It’s also infused with soothing botanicals like Calendula, Chamomile, Marshmallow and Echinacea extracts.
Buy now £38.00, Feel Unique
Nivea Sun Luminous 630 Anti-Pigment Fluid Spf50
Nivea’s a staple name for anyone with sensitive skin and the brand’s SPF is no exception. A great choice for not only protecting skin against the sun’s rays but also reducing any signs of ageing simultaneously, this hard-working formula ticks all the boxes.
The light and non-greasy sun fluid prevents and visibly reduces sun-induced spots thanks to Nivea’s “Luminous630” patented ingredient. Enriched with Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin E, it works to protect your delicate facial skin against UVA and UVB induced skin damage and is free from harmful ingredients like Octinoxate, Oxybenzone and Octocrylene.
Buy now £10.00, Boots
Pai Skincare British Summer Time SPF
As a long-term fan of Pai’s skincare it wasn’t too surprising to discover its sunscreen is one of the best around if you tend to react or break out when applying suncream lotion too often.
This non-nano Zinc Oxide sunscreen boasts blue-light and infra-red protection as well as all the usuals (UVA + UVB) and sits smoothly on the skin. Designed with sensitive skin in mind, this vegan formula took seven years to complete but was well worth the wait: a small amount goes a long way and takes no time at all to settle down.
Buy now £39.00, Pai Skincare
Boots Soltan Sensitive Lotion SPF50+
It’s hard to beat Boots’ Soltan range if you’re looking for budget-friendly sunscreen, particularly if you’re the type of person to keep one in your hand luggage, one in your suitcase, one in your beach bag and maybe even one in your handbag for good measure.
The brand’s Sensitive Lotion features all of the benefits of the original launch but comes slightly more tailored for those who react to ‘standard’ formulas. With an SPF50+ rating it’s perfect for pale skin and is water resistant, colour free and fragrance free.
Buy now £6.50, Boots
Lisa Franklin Sol-Protect Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF30
Lisa Franklin's award winning Sol-Protect Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF30 comes in two varieties: clear or tinted. A broad-spectrum SPF that promises to keep your skin safe from not just UVA/UVB rays but also pollution and light from phones and other electronic devices, it's one you'll swear by after trialling it out.
It's made from transparent zinc oxide, a few powerful anti-oxidants and one surprise key ingredient that you may not have anticipated in suncream: diamond particles. Next time someone says you've got a summer glow, you know what's responsible.
Buy now £38.00, Lisa Franklin
Be prepared to become one of those people who whips out their miniature bottles of suncream at the first sign of sunshine: our favourite sunscreen for sensitive skin has to be La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios Sun Protection SPF50+ Milk. With its impressive formula, high SPF rating and water-resistant finish, it’s perfect for daily wear as well as summer holidays.
- Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Zinc Oxide Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50 lotion. ...
- Monat Sun Veil Daily Mineral Protection SPF 30. ...
- Dermatone's No-Touch Sunscreen Stick SPF 50. ...
- Get Mr. ...
- Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Brush-On SPF 50. ...
- Isdinceutics Mineral Brush. ...
- EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46. ...
- EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46. ...
- Cetaphil Daily Oil Free Facial Moisturizer with SPF 35. ...
- Black Girl Sunscreen SPF 30. ...
- Urban Skin Rx SheerGlow Even Tone Daily Defense Mineral Moisturizer. ...
- Tizo 2 Non-Tinted Facial Mineral Sunscreen SPF 40. ...
- La Roche-Posay Anthelios Clear Skin Dry Touch Sunscreen SPF 60.
- Unsun Hydrating Full Coverage Body Lotion SPF 30. ...
- Grown Alchemist Natural Hydrating Sunscreen SPF 30. ...
- Unsun Mineral Tinted Face Sunscreen. ...
- Saie Sunvisor. ...
- The Organic Pharmacy Cellular Protection Sun Cream SPF 50. ...
- MARA Algae + Zinc Sea Kale Sunscreen Serum. ...
- Supergoop Zincscreen 100% Mineral Lotion SPF 40.
Mineral-based sunscreens considered safest
For now, if you are concerned about health effects, the safest choice is a so-called “mineral” or “physical” sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, dermatologists say.
Yes, you can use the same sunscreen on your face that you use on your body, but it's generally recommended to use separate types. Face sunscreen is often formulated with different ingredients that are more gentle on the skin and thus, better for delicate areas like your under eyes and sensitive skin.
- Gel sunscreens for year-round protection. Jul 19, 2020. ...
- Editor's pick. RE' EQUIL Ultra Matte Dry Touch Sunscreen Gel SPF 50 PA++++, Water resistant with Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide 50g. ...
- Value buy. Lakme Sun Expert SPF 50 Gel, 50 g. ...
- Best formula. ...
- Most versatile. ...
- Best overall.
The general rule is that it's best to stick to one type of sunscreen at any one time. The latest research has shown that mixing both chemical and mineral sunscreens (including those in make-up) may cause them to be less effective against harmful UV rays.
Neutrogena. The brand: You don't need to spend tons of money for effective products that derms love; Neutrogena is touted as the number one dermatologist-recommend skincare product and you can find it at the drugstore.
If you have dry skin, look for sunscreen with a moisturiser or sunscreens that contain hydrating ingredients (ceramides or hyaluronic acid). If you have an oily skin type, creamy sunscreens can usually feel sticky and heavy.
- Broad spectrum: The words "broad spectrum” means that the sunscreen can protect your skin from both types of harmful UV rays — the UVA rays and the UVB rays.
- SPF 30 or higher: The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that you select a sunscreen with an SPF rating of 30 or higher.
Disaar World's No1 Sunscreen with max SPF 90 & PA+++ : Waterproof, Long Lasting (10hr) - SPF 90 PA+++ (40 g) The refreshing formula has a lightweight,thin and natural texture that can be rapidly absorbed by skin without pore blockage.
Avoid any skin or lip product whose label includes retinyl palmitate, retinol or vitamin A. Avoid oxybenzone, an ingredient that may behave like estrogen. Oxybenzone penetrates the skin readily and can disrupt the hormone system. Look for products with zinc oxide, 3 percent avobenzone or Mexoryl SX.
“Many natural ingredients have properties that protect you from sun. Sandalwood is one of them. There are others like sesame seed oil, sunflower oil, coconut oil, saffron, jojoba oil, shea butter and vitamin E oil,” informs beauty expert Shahnaz Husain. You can also add zinc oxide to the mix while making one at home.
You don't have to put on moisturizer before sunscreen, however, you really should if you care about the over health of your skin and keeping signs of aging at bay. If you are going to use both moisturizer and sunscreen in your skincare routine, putting it on before your mineral sunscreen is best.
While experts recommend using both a moisturizer and a separate sunscreen, the reasoning comes from more than just the products' ability to penetrate your skin. Instead, it's about the sunscreen's ability to fully live up to its SPF number, as mixing it with other ingredients may dilute the formula.
Experts say sunscreens with an SPF higher than 50 aren't worth buying. They only offer marginally better protection. They might also encourage you to stay out in the sun longer. Instead, choose an SPF between 15 and 50, apply liberally, and reapply often.
NIVEA Sun Lotion, SPF 50, with UVA & UVB Protection, Wate... Neutrogena Oil Free Face Moisturizer SPF 15 For Long Last... Sebamed Clear Face Care Gel, PH 5.5, Acne Prone Skin, Hya... Biotique Sun Shield Sandalwood Ultra Protective Lotion 50...
In most cases, sunblock is considered to be more effective because it has zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These are the ingredients that meet the FDA's requirements to be labeled as safe and effective. These ingredients, when comparing sunscreen vs.
For each body part (which is roughly 9% of your total body surface area), you need TWO strips of sunscreen squeezed out onto the index and middle fingers from the palmar crease to the fingertips.
Make sure you have two finger lengths of sunscreen. This entails squeezing two strips of sunscreen from the tip to the base of the index and middle fingers. It should be enough to cover your entire face and neck.
Our top pick for facial SPF is La Roche-Posay's Anthelios Melt-In Milk, the oil-free and non-irritating formula with SPF 60 protection. For a budget-friendly option, consider CeraVe's Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen which has ceramides and niacinamides to replenish the skin barrier.
(UVA rays prematurely age skin and UVB rays burn; both can cause skin cancer.) Our experts recommend choosing SPF 30 or higher.
- Step 1: Cleanser. Choosing a cleanser that's specifically formulated for the face (rather than the body) is the first essential step in a basic skincare routine. ...
- Step 2: Moisturizer. ...
- Step 3: Sunscreen. ...
- 3 (or 5) simple steps to beautiful skin.
- SkinCeuticals. SkinCeuticals has been a leader in skin care for over two decades thanks to its science-backed approach. ...
- Emma Lewisham. ...
- The Secret. ...
- CeraVe. ...
- esmi Skin Minerals. ...
- La Roche Posay. ...
- Kiehl's. ...
- The Ordinary.
Camille Howard, a New York-based dermatologist who has tried all nine of Kardashian's products, expensive skin care isn't abnormal: A hyaluronic acid serum "can cost over $150," and brands like Dr. Barbara Sturm and La Mer have been praised for their even more expensive yet high-quality effects.
- Biossance Squalane + Zinc Sheer Mineral Sunscreen ($21) ...
- La Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral Zinc Oxide Sunscreen SPF 50 ($34.99) ...
- Lancôme UV Expert Aqua Gel Defense SPF 50+ ($40) ...
- EltaMD UV Daily Tinted Broad-Spectrum SPF 40 ($34.50) ...
- Neutrogena UltraSheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 70 ($8.99)
- Best Sunscreen Overall: CeraVe Hydrating Sunscreen Body Lotion SPF 50.
- Best Face Sunscreen: EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen SPF 46.
- Best Sunscreen For Sensitive Skin: Beautycounter Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30.
- Best Mineral Sunscreen: Pipette Mineral Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50.
"The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends SPF of at least 15, which blocks 93% of UVB," says Jhin. "While SPF higher than 30 blocks only 4% more UVB, they may be advisable for sun-sensitive individuals, skin cancer patients, and people at high risk of developing skin cancer," she says.
One of the best mineral sunscreens, according to dermatologists, is this CeraVe hydrating sunscreen. It contains three essential ceramides that assist in restoring your skin's natural barrier and locking in moisture, and has no trace amounts of oxybenzone, avobenzone, or benzene.
Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Moisturizing Sunscreen with SPF 70
“This sunscreen is a great option for people who have dry, sensitive or eczema prone skin,” Zeichner says.
Because titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are less irritating than the ingredients found in sunscreen, sunblock is usually the better choice for those with sensitive skin.
Irritant contact dermatitis is a reaction that can occur after applying sunscreen and is more common in people who have a history of eczema or sensitive skin. It causes an irritation in the area of the skin where the sunscreen was applied, and can appear as mild redness or as a stinging sensation (without any redness).
You are too sensitive to irritants
Simply put, most active ingredients in your daily products — like acids, retinoids, benzoyl peroxide — are irritants. Protect your sensitive skin from these harmful ingredients as they can weaken your skin's natural barrier.
Case in point, so many stars have recommended the EltaMD UV Sunscreen, including Khloe Kardashian, Emma Stone, Hailey Bieber, Kendall Jenner, Sydney Sweeney, Kourtney Kardashian, Addison Rae, Maddie Ziegler, Kyle Richards, Lisa Rinna, Rachael Kirkconnell, Hailee Steinfeld, Amelia Hamlin, Emma Chamberlain, Nicola Peltz, ...
Pick a sunscreen with broad-spectrum coverage and SPF 30 to 50. It helps protect your skin better from sunburn and sun damage. It also better helps prevent UVA radiation (6). You may want to avoid products with a very high SPF(over 50).
- take short 5 to 10 minute showers with warm — not hot — water.
- avoid harsh astringents and exfoliants.
- use a gentle, fragrance-free soap.
- use essential oils instead of perfumes.
- use a gentle, fragrance-free laundry detergent.
- try using organic cleaning supplies.
- burning, itching, or stinging of the skin.
- early appearance of redness or swelling of the skin.
- late appearance of rash with or without weeping blisters that become crusted, especially in sun-exposed areas, and may extend to unexposed areas of the skin.
- pain in hairy areas.
- pus in the hair follicles.
Comedogenic Oils, Butters, and Waxes
Acne-prone skin is especially sensitive to sunscreens containing breakout-inducing ingredients because sunscreen must be applied and reapplied thickly and throughout the day. Coconut oil, cocoa butter, mineral oil, beeswax, and silicones can trigger breakouts in acne-prone skin.