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Sunscreen protects the skin from harmful UV rays. Many sunscreen formulas are not suitable for sensitive skin types and may clog pores and cause breakouts.
The Skin Cancer Foundation state that skin cancer is the most common cancer in the world. According to an older article in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, people with sensitive skin are more likely to develop sunburns.
Wearing sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher daily can reduce a person’s risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by 40%. People who wear sunscreen daily show fewer visible signs of aging on the skin than those who do not.
People with sensitive skin should opt for mineral-based sunscreen products. Other labeling to look out for includes:
- non-comedogenic (does not clog pores)
- for dry skin
- for oily skin
- for acne-prone skin
Keep reading to learn more about what makes a good sunscreen, and 9 top sunscreens for sensitive skin.
Please note that the statements below are research-based. No one at Medical News Today, including the writer, has tried these products.
This skin-friendly sunscreen is free from ingredients that damage coral reefs, such as octinoxate and oxybenzone. It is a mineral formula that blocks the sun’s rays physically instead of absorbing them like a chemical product. The SPF 50+ sunscreen is also free of parabens and fragrances and is long lasting.
This sun protection product is suitable for acne-prone skin types. It comes as an SPF 30 or 55 formula that does not contain pore-clogging oil or skin-irritating fragrances. It offers broad-spectrum protection and is water-resistant for a little over an hour. It does not contain oxybenzone.
The SPF 50 formula from Aveeno comes in a travel-friendly, Transportation Security Administration (TSA)-approved tube. The mineral formula is suitable for those with sensitive skin but is also lightweight and quick-absorbing. It is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.
This ocean-friendly SPF 50 sunscreen comes in a recycled plastic bottle. While it is not a mineral sunscreen, it does contain a variety of skin-soothing ingredients, such as aloe vera, mango butter, and vitamin E. It is water-resistant (up to 80 minutes) and is non-comedogenic. It is also cruelty-free and does not contain parabens.
This broad-spectrum SPF 50 sunscreen features a hypoallergenic mineral formula that does not contain dyes, alcohol, or oils. Coppertone claims that the product will not sting the eyes or clog pores. It is also water-resistant and budget-friendly.
The dry-touch sunscreen has a higher price tag than other options but has consistently high ratings. The SPF 60 formula is oil-free and goes on without a greasy residue and offers broad-spectrum protection. Recommended by dermatologists, it has won multiple beauty awards and features Cell-Ox Shield technology.
Another Coppertone-brand option, this SPF 50 formula is safe for babies and is recommended by pediatricians. The gentle sunscreen delivers UVB and UVA protection and is water-resistant.
Cerave’s mineral formula contains both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to block the sun’s rays. The sensitive skin sunscreen provides broad-spectrum SPF 50 protection and contains anti-aging ingredients to keep skin looking youthful. The product is non-comedogenic and is free of parabens, oxybenzone, and fragrances.
The American Academy of Dermatology recommend that people wear sunscreen that offer the following properties:
- SPF 30 or higher
- broad-spectrum (e.g., UVA and UVB protection)
A generous application is essential to provide maximum protection. People with oily skin should avoid creamy formulas. These are best for people with dry skin.
There are two types of sunscreen: chemical and physical.
Chemical formulas soak up the sun’s rays and contain active ingredients, such as octinoxate and oxybenzone.
Physical sunscreens create a physical barrier to deflect the sun’s rays. Active ingredients in physical sunscreens include titanium dioxide (TiO2) and zinc oxide (ZnO).
Physical formulas often leave a white residue, but they are the superior option for people with sensitive skin.
The National Eczema Association (NEA) recommend that people with eczema use physical sunscreens containing mineral-based ingredients. They also suggest that people opt for alcohol-free products.
People with sensitive skin may have trouble finding sunscreen formulas appropriate for their skin type.
Chemical sunscreens and products with oils and fragrances may cause skin irritation.
However, various physical barrier sunscreens on the market are non-comedogenic and made, especially for sensitive skin types.