The Best Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin Is Tough on UV Rays but Gentle on Your Face

It’s easy to overlook the best sunscreen for sensitive skin, which is funny, since people with easily irritated skin are often the most ingredient-conscious shoppers. They know that including a little bit of an irritating ingredient can lead to a rash, itching, pain, or breakouts. They know how to exfoliate, avoid perfume, and find the right cleanser for their skin. But too often, when a beach day comes, it flies out the window and they use whatever sunscreen is available at the drug store. This is only good for preventing sunburn – but can lead to a week of bad skin. If that’s what you’ve heard, our condolences – and here’s our guide to sunscreens for guys with sensitive skin.

How to choose the best sunscreen for sensitive skin

1. Choose mineral sunscreen

If you’re using a chemical-based sunscreen, it’s possible any of its active ingredients can cause irritation. The safest thing to do is to blanket all chemical sunscreens and buy mineral-based shields instead (those that use zinc oxide and titanium dioxide). Mineral sunscreens sit on top of your skin rather than absorbing them (like chemical sunscreens) where they will deflect UV rays instead of absorbing them. These two important mineral ingredients are also gentler on the skin. Usually, in terms of sun protection, it’s safer to prefer zinc oxide, but a ZO-balanced formula with titanium dioxide can be good for sensitive skin. (The latter is particularly gentle on the skin.)

However, it should also be added that mineral sunscreens tend to be “heavy” on the skin than chemical sunscreens. Second, some of them leave a white cast on their skin (and the darker the person’s skin tone, the more pronounced this contrast is). So when buying one, keep an eye on reviews for a real, legitimate one that is “free” (as they will all claim to be).

Finally, in terms of chemical options – as some can wear nice and others can cause irritation – it is especially wise to avoid oxybenzone and benzophenone-3. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), these two chemicals are most likely to cause an allergic reaction. So if you prefer a chemical, mild product, just avoid those two ingredients.

2. Change to face-friendly option

For the same reason, you shouldn’t use shower gel as a cleanser, you should avoid using a full body sunscreen on your face. That’s because the face is much more sensitive than the body, and it needs formulas that honor its fragile nature. With all that in mind, however, you can tackle the opposite: Why not use a face-specific sunscreen on your entire body? That way, you’re only using the most sensitive choices on your entire outer shell.

Many products are designated as safe for the face and body; if a brand says this on a product label, then continue using it from head to toe.

3. Avoid any scented options

Any shopper with sensitive skin knows that two of the most common ingredients to avoid in skincare are artificial fragrances and dyes. And since sunscreens don’t tend to stain, it’s best to stick to any sunscreens with artificial fragrances — and avoid using them. While we love sunscreens that smell like coconut and pineapple, it’s not for the easily irritated. You can always hug the bottle if you want the essence of the island paradise!

4. Check for preservatives

Today, the FDA is pretty good about limiting the use of preservatives that cause allergic reactions. However, it is possible that one of the preservatives in your SPF bottle is working. The most common breach is Quaternium 15, although it is still commonly used in small amounts without problems. This should be the lowest priority in terms of protection for sensitive skin (at least when it comes to sunscreen), but it’s still worthy of note and attention.

5 best sunscreens for sensitive skin

Here are our five favorite sunscreens for sensitive skin Candlestick agree with. Note that all of them don’t follow each of the above rules, but at least they should three of the above rules, if not all four. We’ll let you know for each product, if it goes against any of the design rules.

Image may contain: Cosmetic, bottle and sunscreen

Cetaphil Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50

Formulated for sensitive skin, Cetaphil products pass all of our filters, as does its matching SPF lotion. (Which is safe for the face by itself.)

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Black Girl Mineral-Chemical Sunscreen SPF 50

A selection of mineral-chemical blends, fragrance-free and free of two major chemicals (oxybenzone and benzophenone-3). Also, formulated for face and body, and known for its powder-free finish.


Sun Bum Baby Bum Face and Body Sunscreen SPF 50

Here’s a little secret: Any infant sunscreen formula is one of the safest sunscreens for everyone, especially if you have sensitive skin (that’s exactly what I’m talking about). is what babies have!). And Sun Bum’s is the best.

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Ginger Armor Mineral Face Sunscreen SPF 50+ + moisturizer

It’s smart to target mineral sunscreens for fair-skinned people: They’re less concerned about powdery whites, since it can match skin tone. And here’s a moisturizer/sunscreen blend packed with nourishing ingredients, all of which are safe for sensitive, flushed skin.

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Supergoop Mineral SPF 50 face sunscreen

An all-mineral, fragrance-free and sweat-proof option that’s easy to move around. The Best Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin Is Tough on UV Rays but Gentle on Your Face

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