We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.

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.

A quick look at the best sunscreens for sensitive skin

The Skin Cancer Foundation states 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, which can lead to various forms of skin cancer.

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:

  • noncomedogenic (does not clog pores)
  • for dry skin
  • for oily skin
  • for acne-prone skin
  • oil-free
  • dermatologist-recommended

Keep reading to learn more about what makes a good sunscreen, and nine top sunscreens for sensitive skin.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

Best ocean-friendly sunscreen: Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen

Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen isolated against a green background.
  • List price: around $15
  • Skin type: sensitive
  • Vegan: yes
  • Key ingredients: titanium dioxide and zinc oxide
  • Pro: free from ingredients that damage coral reefs
  • Con: some reviewers state it is difficult to wash this sunscreen off

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.

Best for acne-prone skin: Neutrogena Clear Face Liquid Sunscreen for Acne-Prone Skin

Neutrogena Clear Face Liquid Sunscreen for Acne-Prone Skin isolated against a green background.
  • List price: around $28
  • Skin type: acne-prone skin
  • Vegan: no information available
  • Key ingredients: avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, and octocrylene
  • Pro: may reduce acne as it is noncomedogenic
  • Con: some reviewers state that it leaves a white film over the skin

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.

Best travel-friendly sunscreen: Aveeno Positively Mineral Sensitive Skin Daily Sunscreen

Aveeno Positively Mineral Sensitive Skin Daily Sunscreen isolated against a green background.
  • List price: around $10
  • Skin type: sensitive
  • Vegan: no information available
  • Key ingredients: zinc oxide
  • Pro: more affordable than some other options
  • Con: some reviewers state the sunscreen is thick and hard to rub into the skin

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.

Best for face sunscreen: Coppertone Oil Free Face Sunscreen

Coppertone Oil Free Face Sunscreen isolated against a green background.
  • List price: around $7
  • Skin type: sensitive and acne-prone skin
  • Vegan: no information available
  • Key ingredients: no information available
  • Pro: this product is hypoallergenic and noncomedogenic
  • Con: some reviewers state the sunscreen flakes when it dries

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.

Best for a higher SPF: La Roche-Posay Anthelios Clear Skin Dry Touch Sunscreen

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Clear Skin Dry Touch Sunscreen isolated against a green background.
  • List price: around $20
  • Skin type: sensitive
  • Vegan: no information available
  • Key ingredients: avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, and octocrylene
  • Pro: higher SPF than some other options
  • Con: some reviewers state this product flakes when on the skin

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.

Best for children: Coppertone Pure & Simple Baby Tear Free Mineral-Based Sunscreen

Coppertone Pure & Simple Baby Tear Free Mineral-Based Sunscreen isolated against a green background.
  • List price: around $21
  • Skin type: sensitive
  • Vegan: no information available
  • Key ingredients: zinc oxide
  • Pro: this product is suitable for children and infant’s delicate skin
  • Con: some reviewers state this product caused a rash

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.

Best anti-aging sunscreen: CeraVe 100% Mineral Sunscreen

CeraVe 100% Mineral Sunscreen isolated against a green background.
  • List price: around $16
  • Skin type: sensitive and dry
  • Vegan: no information available
  • Key ingredients: niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, zinc oxide, and titanium dioxide
  • Pro: has age-supporting ingredients and is noncomedogenic
  • Cons: some reviewers state it does not soak into the skin easily

The Cerave 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 (age-supporting) ingredients to keep skin looking youthful.

The product is noncomedogenic and is free of parabens, oxybenzone, and fragrances.

Best moisturizer with SPF: Murad Essential-C Day Moisture Broad Spectrum SPF 30

Murad Essential-C Day Moisture Broad Spectrum SPF 30 isolated against a green background.
  • List price: $68
  • Skin type: all skin types
  • Vegan: no information available
  • Key ingredients: vitamin C
  • Pro: moisturizes and protects skin against sun damage
  • Con: has a lower SPF than some other options

This moisturizer has 30 SPF and the company states it is suitable for those living in a city environment, as it contains antioxidants that help shield the skin from pollution.

It is suitable for all skin types including sensitive skin. Additionally, it is free from parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and gluten.

Best for all skin tones and types: Murad Correct & Protect Serum Broad Spectrum SPF 45

Murad Correct & protect Serum Broad Spectrum SPF 45 isolated against a green background.
  • List price: $69
  • Skin type: all skin types
  • Vegan: no information available
  • Key ingredients: mineral zinc oxide, UV responsive carotenoid technology, beetroot extract
  • Pro: suitable for all skin tones
  • Con: more expensive than some other options

This serum provides antioxidant defense through UV-responsive carotenoid technology, which absorbs and reflects UV light.

This sunscreen protects against UVA, UVB, blue light, and pollution. The manufacturers claim this product also helps with hyperpigmentation and prevents discoloration.

Murad also states that this sunscreen does not leave a white film on any skin tones, and it tests the product on all Fitzpatrick skin types.

Best vegan sunscreen: Thrive Natural Mineral Sunscreen

Thrive Natural Mineral Sunscreen isolated against a green background.
  • List price: around $27
  • Skin type: all skin types
  • Vegan: yes
  • Key ingredients: zinc oxide
  • Pro: vegan and made it in the USA
  • Con: has a lower SPF than some other options

This vegan SPF 30 sunscreen is cruelty-free, reef safe, and free of parabens, gluten, synthetic dyes, GMO, and unsafe preservatives.

Additionally, there are no essential oils or fragrances which makes it suitable for daily use on sensitive skin. The manufacturers say it absorbs quickly and that the antioxidants within the sunscreen help protect against pollutants and daily skin stressors.

Best sunscreen spray: KINeSYS Fragrance Free Clear Spray Sunscreen

KINeSYS Fragrance Free Clear Spray Sunscreen isolated against a green background.
  • List price: around $25
  • Skin type: sensitive
  • Vegan: yes
  • Key ingredients: avobenzone, homosalate, octinoxate, oxtisalate, octocrylene
  • Pro: hypoallergenic and noncomedogenic
  • Con: some reviewers state it stings if a person applies it around the eyes

This sunscreen spray is suitable for those looking for an alternative to cream-based sunscreen. It is SPF 50 and has UVA and UVB protection.

Additionally, this product is alcohol, gluten, preservative, oil, and paraben free. It contains antioxidants and is hypoallergenic and noncomedogenic, making it suitable for acne-prone skin.

The company states this sunscreen is water and sweat resistant for 80 minutes.

The following table compares the sunscreen in this article.

List priceSkin typeKey ingredients
Blue Lizardaround $15sensitivetitanium dioxide and zinc oxide
Neutrogenaaround $28acne-proneavobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene
Aveenoaround $10sensitivezinc oxide
Coppertone Oil Freearound $7acne-prone and sensitiveno information available
La Roche-Posayaround $20sensitiveavobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene
Coppertone Pure & Simple Babyaround $21sensitivezinc oxide
CeraVearound $16sensitive and dryniacinamide, hyaluronic acid, zinc oxide, titanium dioxide
Murad Essential-C$68all skin typesvitamin C
Murad Correct & Protect$69all skin typesmineral zinc oxide, UV responsive carotenoid technology, beetroot extract
Thrivearound $27all skin typeszinc oxide
KINeSYSaround $25sensitiveavobenzone, homosalate, octinoxate, oxtisalate, octocrylene

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that people wear sunscreen that offers the following properties:

  • SPF 30 or higher
  • water-resistance
  • 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) recommends that people with eczema use physical sunscreens containing mineral-based ingredients. They also suggest that people opt for alcohol-free products.

People should seek medical advice if they experience any symptoms of an allergic reaction to sunscreen. Symptoms may include:

  • redness and swelling
  • itching or stinging
  • raised bumps or hives
  • bleeding
  • rash or fluid-filled blisters

Learn more about sunscreen allergies here.

People should also seek medical attention if they have heatstroke or severe sunburn.

Here we answer some common questions about these products.

What SPF do dermatologists recommend?

Dermatologists recommend people use broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen that has at least SPF 30. Some people may prefer to use sunscreens with higher SPF.

However, it is important to note that sunscreen cannot offer protection against all of the sun’s rays. People should still wear sun-protective clothing and sunglasses, stay in the shade during the hottest parts of the day, and ensure they drink water and stay hydrated.

Do I have to wait 15 minutes after applying sunscreen?

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends applying sunscreen at least 15 minutes before going outdoors into the sun.

Can I skip moisturizer and use sunscreen?

Although some sunscreens have moisturizing properties, sunscreen is not an alternative to moisturizers.

People should apply moisturizers first, allow them to dry, and then apply sunscreen. While some moisturizers have SPF, it is often not as much as sunscreen.

Should you apply sunscreen on your neck?

A person should apply sunscreen on all areas of the body they expose to the sun.

This generally includes the neck, face, hands, legs, and arms.

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 noncomedogenic and made, especially for sensitive skin types.