Woman lying on a blanket in the sun shading her eyes with her hand

Editors' Pick: Top Mineral Sunscreens for Sensitive Skin

These SPFs will help to protect your complexion year-round.

Now that summer is over, you might think it's time to put your sunscreen away. But even though the days are shorter and you're exposed to less sun as you huddle indoors to escape cooler temps, it is still essential to wear sunscreen when you head outside. Sunscreen remains one of the best ways to protect yourself from damaging UV (associated with skin aging) and UVB rays (which causes sunburn). "I believe that no matter your age or ethnicity, sunscreen is very important," says board-certified dermatologist Marie Jhin, MD, author of K-Beauty Secrets.

In addition to reducing your risk of skin cancer, sunscreen can protect you from premature fine lines, hyperpigmentation (some areas of the skin are darker than others), and in some cases, melasma—dark patches on the skin. "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. However, for extended outdoor activities, the Skin Cancer Foundation suggests that you use a water-resistant broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 and reapply every two hours.

Another important factor for picking an SPF is understanding the two types available. "Mineral sunscreens reflect sunlight, physically blocking it from damaging your skin, and contain either zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, or both," says Saurabh Singh, MD, FAAD, board-certified dermatologist and co-founder of Skintap. If ingredients other than zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are listed, it is considered a chemical sunscreen, which will absorb ultraviolet light, says Singh.

However, both types of sunscreen work well. "Some people prefer mineral sunscreen, especially if they have sensitive skin," says Jhin. "I encourage mineral sunscreens, but I want my patients to find a product they feel comfortable applying to their skin regularly and don't mind reapplying every few hours," says Singh.

Here are our editors' picks for year-round sunscreen protection for sensitive skin.

Elta MD Skin Care UV Glow SPF 36

Elta Sunscreen on Yellow Background

You may choose a sunscreen formula for many reasons, and that it's moisturizing may be one of them. In addition to providing sun protection, this one contains coconut fruit extract and hyaluronic acid—a vital molecule for skin moisture.

Tatcha The Silk Sunscreen SPF 50

Tatcha Sunscreen on yellow background

One of the most common complaints about mineral sunscreens is that they leave behind a chalky appearance. No need to fret, as this lightweight formula melts into your skin. It comes lightly tinted, goes on matte, and helps even out skin tone.

SuperGoop! Mattescreen SPF 40

Supergoop Sunscreen against yellow background with editor's pick 2022 badge

If your skin tends to have a shiny appearance after using SPF, SuperGoop! Mattescreen might be just what you are looking for. This 100% mattifying mineral sunscreen is also reef-friendly, and its neutral tint helps to mask the white cast.

Bare Republic Mineral Sport Sunscreen Stick SPF 50

Bare Republic Sunscreen against yellow background with Editor's pick 2022 badge

Plan on heading out for a run or hike? Then SPF is a must, and one that won't melt away from a bit of sweat is essential. Enter Bare Republic Mineral Sunscreen, which provides broad spectrum UVA/UVB coverage with up to 80 minutes of water resistance. Although it is lightly scented with coconut and vanilla, it doesn't contain synthetic fragrances or parabens.

Cotz Face Prime & Protect Tinted SPF 40

Cotz sunscreen against yellow background with editors' pick 2022 badge

Some makeup contains SPF, but since not all do, a sunscreen such as this can really be valuable as it functions as a primer as well. This broad spectrum formula is oil-, paraben-, and fragrance-free—important for those with sensitive skin.

Neutrogena Mineral Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Face and Body Stick SPF 50

Neutrogena scunscreen against yellow background with editor's pick 2022 badge

When you first add this product to your face or body, it may look a little thick, but no worries—it melts away within a couple of minutes. It's a small price to pay for 21.6% zinc oxide glide on easy protection for your sensitive skin.

Eleven Unrivaled Sun Serum SPF 35

Eleven Sunscreen against yellow background with editors' pick 2022 badge

Tennis great Venus Williams founded this brand, but that isn't why we chose this SPF serum. The reef-safe product contains 25% zinc oxide to stave off sun damage and has moisturizing shea butter, yet it's light enough to wear under makeup if you choose. Plus, it's designed for those with darker skin tones, so there's no streaky white cast.

Pacifica Mineral Sunscreen Coconut Probiotic SPF 30

Pacifica sunscreen against yellow background with editors' pick 2022 badge

When applying SPF all over your body, using a non-aerosol spray can make it a little easier—just don't spray it directly onto your face; rub it on your hands first, then your face. Make sure to hit all the spots, including your back and behind your knees, and reapply after 80 minutes of swimming or sweating.

Versed Guards Up Daily Mineral Sunscreen SPF 35

Versed sunscreen against yellow background with editors' pick 2022 badge

Don't let the creamy texture of this SPF fool you; it won't leave a chalky appearance behind thanks to its neutralizing peachy hue. Plus, the brand boasts that its antioxidant ingredients—moringa seed extract and sea fennel—provide protection from pollution and blue light from electronics.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios SPF 50

La Roche Posay sunscreen against yellow background with editors' pick 2022 badge

While this lightweight SPF can provide protection from UVA/UVB rays, it is also formulated with Cell-Ox Shield, which can help to minimize the appearance of previous sun damage. Plus, it's paraben- and fragrance-free as well as non-comedogenic, so it's an excellent option for sensitive skin.

This article was fact-checked by Morgan Mullings on September 28, 2022.

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