The 10 Best Gentle Sunscreens for Sensitive Skin

Because SPF should save your skin, not irritate it.

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Getty Images

If you have hypersensitive skin, you know the hell that is finding a sunscreen that doesn't turn your face into an itchy, stinging rash. And though it can be tempting to skip the SPF and only venture outside in the safety of night for the rest of your life, I have a better solution: Using a gentle sunscreen specifically formulated for sensitive skin. WOW! So simple! So brilliant! I know—I try.

And to make the whole process even simpler, I handpicked the very best calming, gentle, non-threatening formulas your face needs right now. Find your new favorite, ahead, and please, for the love of all scary skin-cancer statistics, get slathering.

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1
Best for Doubling as Primer
Physical Matte UV Defense
Courtesy
SkinCeuticals dermstore.com
$34.00

This gel-like formula is a cross between a mattifying makeup primer and a lightweight sunscreen, so you can smooth it over your skin before applying your foundation for all-day, slip-proof coverage. It's also a physical formula—i.e. not filled with chemical-based sun protection—so it won't irritate your delicate face.

2
Best for the Environment
Australian Gold Botanical Sunscreen
Courtesy
Australian Gold amazon.com
$13.99
$11.78 (16% off)

A sunscreen free of harmful chemicals that won't harm the ocean is a sunscreen we all need to get behind. This feather-light, powdery-clean lotion leaves behind a subtle tint versatile enough to work on all skin tones. What's even better is that the fragrance-free, antixodant and vitamin-filled formulation is designed to cater to suit even the most sensitive skin.

3
Best Formula for Damage Prevention
Natural Mineral Sunscreen For Body
Courtesy
Suntegrity amazon.com
$24.00

Okay, yes, technically all sunscreen will shield your skin from damage, but not all sunscreen will protect you from the inflammation, redness, dark spots, and fine lines that come from pollution. Suntegrity's products, however, consistently earn perfect scores on the EWG's ranking system against environmental nasties, making this fragrance-free sunscreen a warrior at keeping easily irritated skin calm and clear.

4
Best Sunscreen Powder
Sunforgettable Brush-On Sunscreen
Courtesy
Colorescience amazon.com
$65.00

In an ideal world, you'd reapply your sunscreen every two hours as demanded by the skin gods. But this is real life, and nobody's got time for that. Instead, try dusting your face with a layer of this velvet-y, sunscreen-laced mineral powder, which comes in tints ranging from nearly sheer to bronze, throughout the day. Your dermatologist (and mom) will be proud.

5
Best Lightweight Option
Everyday Sunscreen
Courtesy
Supergoop! dermstore.com
$19.00

If the thought of added fragrance makes your skin crawl into a ball and cry, try this lightweight, scent-free sunscreen, which uses fruit oils to lightly hydrate skin, without leaving it irritated or greasy.

6
Best for Easily Irritated Skin
Vanicream Sensitive Skin Sport Suncreen
Courtesy
Vanicream amazon.com
$15.01

No, this isn't the sexiest bottle of sunscreen you've ever seen, but when it comes to your sensitive skin, do you really care? Vanicream's formula comes is a favorite of allergists and dermatologists for skin that's prone to breakouts and hives, since its creamy formula is free of all common irritants (like fragrance, dye, and preservatives).

7
Best for Leaving Your Skin Silky-Smooth
Mineral Ultra-Light Hydrating Sunscreen
Courtesy
Eau Thermale Avène amazon.com

Ask a dozen derms what their favorite brand is for sensitive skin, and you'll get a dozen love letters to Avene. This sheer, lightweight lotion is no exception—it's formulated with soothing vitamin E and fatty acids to keep sensitive skin happy, while also protecting against damage with a high dose of SPF 50.

8
Best for a Feather-Light Finish
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral Sunscreen
Courtesy
La Roche-Posay amazon.com
$33.50
$28.47 (15% off)

It's pricey, but this cult-favorite French mineral sunscreen is worth the splurge for its feather-light finish. The fact that it was made with sensitive skin in mind is a bonus, but the real draw is the fact that the moisturizing lotion dries down to an almost-matte finish, so you'll never look shiny.

9
Best for Acne Fighting
Oil Free Matte SPF 30
Courtesy
dermalogica.com
$54.00

Nothing beats a shield against sun rays and acne. This sunscreen is a part of the brand's Active Clearing line, which contains concentrated ingredients that fight breakouts, hyperpigmentation, and more. Your oily, breakout-prone skin will feel soothed from this satiny slip that stops shine in its track thanks its matte finish, but lightweight enough to make you forget it's there. 

10
Best Anti-Aging Formula
Sun Bum Original Moisturizing Sunscreen
Courtesy
Sun Bum amazon.com
$15.99
$12.79 (20% off)

Dealing with dryness? Fine lines? Wrinkles? It happens, don't stress. Simply employ this product to work its magic on your skin. The hypoallergenic, vegan ingredients will provide you with SPF 50, ample moisture, and prevention from premature signs of aging. 

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