By now we all know that sunscreen isn’t just for spring vacations and summer beach days, but rather an everyday step in nurturing and protecting our skin. The problem is, SPF products aren't one size fits all kind of things. If you'd characterize your skin as sensitive with a capital S, you might deal with annoying side effects like watery eyes, redness, and breakouts when you slather on just any ole sun lotion. And in today’s robust beauty market, it’s hard to know where to begin when it comes to finding sunscreen for sensitive skin.
It’s a major bummer knowing that something so vital as sunscreen might irritate your face. However, that certainly doesn't mean you should risk going without protection — especially when sensitive skin is prone to irreversible sun damage; it just means you need to find a non-irritating formula.
“You do not want to use a combination face moisturizer sunscreen if you have sensitive skin,” says Dr. Heather D. Rogers, a dermatologist, dermatologic surgeon, and CEO of Doctor Rogers Skin Care. “This is because sensitive skin types need hydration, and they need to shield their skin from some of the ingredients in sunscreen that can be irritating.”
Probably your best bet? A zinc-based sunscreen. “Zinc is less likely to irritate the skin than the common chemical sunscreen ingredients found in products like combination face moisturizer sunscreens,” Dr. Rogers says. “No fragrance and lots of zinc!” She also recommends applying a well-formulated, skin-supportive, hypoallergenic moisturizer first.
Whether you have acne-prone skin, rosacea, or just generally sensitive skin, there are plenty of top-rated tubes that glide on so featherlight and gentle, you'll forget you're wearing SPF at all. Ahead, check out our 17 non-irritating favorites.
At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.