Summer is coming, and so are those endless sunny days. We are often told how important sunscreen is to protect against skin cancer and premature aging, but finding the right facial sunscreen can be a difficult task. The search for the best face sunscreen is especially challenging if you have sensitive skin that will react to standard products. Luckily, many brands have designed lightweight sunscreen formulas that nourish your skin while also protecting you against harmful UV rays. Whether you’re a sunscreen veteran or getting ready to dip your toe in the pool, we’ll help you discover the best sunscreen for faces. Say goodbye to the days of greasy hands, white residue, and oily formulas!
Features to consider when choosing the best sunscreen for face use
Sun safety is not just cosmetic: It’s about your health. With the best face sunscreen you can lower the risk of sun damage and skin cancer. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that everyone use a broad-spectrum protection sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. Sunscreen isn’t just for beach days, either. Even on cloudy days, the sun’s UV rays can damage your skin, and you really should be using daily sunscreen as a part of your routine.
With that in mind, you need to choose a sunscreen that works with your unique skin type. Thanks to the rise in facial sunscreen popularity, there are a variety of products available to work with your skin, not against it. If you have typically dry skin, your dream sunscreen will likely incorporate a boost of hydration. If you’re on the other end of the spectrum and facing high oil production, you will likely enjoy a sunscreen with a matte finish.
The best sunscreen for face use complements your skin and keeps you safe in the sun. We know that building a skincare routine with the best products can be confusing and overwhelming, so we’ve done the research to match you up with the right sun protection.
What exactly is a mineral sunscreen?
The majority of mineral sunscreens contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which deflect UV rays. While mineral sunscreens create a physical barrier that prevents UV light from penetrating your skin, chemical sunscreens allow UV rays to absorb into your skin before they dissipate. Both sunscreens are effective at shielding you from sun damage, but they do have their differences in application. A con to mineral sunscreens is that they are thicker and don’t immediately absorb into your skin in the way chemical formulas do. Fortunately, sunscreen technology has come a long way in the past decade, and many brands have designed sheer mineral sunscreens that leave little to no white cast. Here’s our pick for the best mineral sunscreen that works with every skin tone.
Best mineral sunscreen for face use: Biossance Squalane + Zinc Sheer Mineral Sunscreen
This mineral sunscreen is a sheer and moisturizing defense against the sun. Biossance
Formulated like a lightweight lotion, this sunscreen utilizes zinc oxide as a protective outer barrier with broad-spectrum SPF 30. The Biossance mineral sunscreen also contains water lily to calm the skin and squalane—a moisturizing element derived from sugarcane—to ensure a fluid and effortless application, plus it balances oil production and keeps you looking dewy.
What is the best sunscreen for sensitive skin?
If your skin is quick to react to new products, you might be concerned about adding sunscreen to the list, especially one with a chemical formula. Mineral sunscreens are a good option for those with sensitive skin who are prone to allergic reactions, redness, and irritation. There are, however, a few factors to keep in mind when shopping for sensitive skin. We know scented skincare is all the rage, but when choosing a sunscreen you will want to ensure that yours is fragrance free, as synthetic fragrances can irritate sensitive skin types. You will also want to select a product that has minimal ingredients and is designed to be gentle.
Best sunscreen for sensitive skin: Pipette Mineral Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50
Pipette sells nontoxic skincare products for babies, but their mineral sunscreen is perfect for sensitive adults too. Walmart
This 100-percent mineral sunscreen contains non-nano zinc oxide, provides broad-spectrum SPF 50 protection, and is the best sunscreen for sensitive skin. The Pipette mineral sunscreen is fragrance free, glides on easily, and won’t leave a white cast. It’s safe enough for babies, so you can be sure that your skin will love it too.
What is the best sunscreen for oily skin like mine?
If your skin is on the oily side, you know that finding the right sun protection can be a nightmare. Sunscreens are notoriously oily products, and you don’t want to accidentally choose one that increases your oil production. Thankfully, there is sunscreen for oily skin that guards your skin without weighing it down. Chemical sunscreens with a clear gel texture are wonderful for people with oily skin that want to avoid the weight of mineral sunscreens. Instead of physically blocking the sun, chemical sunscreens soak into your skin, transform UV rays into heat, and then release them. The best facial sunscreen for oily skin is going to be transparent, anti-shine, and oil-free.
Best sunscreen for oily skin: Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen
This scent-free, beard-friendly sunscreen is the stealthiest sun protection on the market. supergoop
With a gel texture and oil-free formula, the Unseen Sunscreen provides broad-spectrum SPF 40 protection without leaving a trace, making it our pick for the best sunscreen for oily skin. Guaranteed to blend with every skin tone, this transparent sunscreen glides on seamlessly and creates a velvety finish. Supergoop! sunscreen is also oxybenzone-free, avoiding an ingredient found in many chemical sunscreens that is toxic to coral reefs.
What about the best sunscreen for faces with acne-prone skin?
We know that those with acne-prone skin might shy away from sunscreen, but there are plenty of acne-friendly sunscreens for you to choose from. Not only is it essential that you include sunscreen in your regimen, but sunscreen will also help prevent scarring and hyperpigmentation caused by sun exposure. The best sunscreen for acne-prone skin will be noncomedogenic and some can even contain acne-fighting additives. Yes, some sunscreen can protect you from UV rays while soothing and maybe even treating acne at the same time, so do more for your pore.
Best sunscreen for acne-prone skin: EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen
This dermatologist-recommended, mineral-based formula is oil-free and helps calm sensitive skin. EltaMD
This EltaMD sunscreen combines both zinc oxide and niacinamide for broad-spectrum SPF 46 coverage, protecting from harmful UVA and UVB rays while reducing inflammation and improving discoloration. The sunscreen is non-greasy, fragrance-free, oil-free, paraben-free, sensitivity-free, and noncomedogenic, and its key ingredients work together to boost your skin’s health. Available in tinted and untinted, this is the holy grail of acne-friendly sunscreen.
What can I pick up at the drugstore for under $15?
Facial sunscreens can get wildly expensive, especially for a product that requires everyday use. You might be looking for an affordable face sunscreen, or maybe you prefer to grab UV protection on your way to the water. While many drugstore sunscreens are too oily and thick, there are a few options that will provide lightweight protection without breaking the bank. Keep in mind that some drugstore sunscreens are not as advanced and might leave a white cast.
Best drugstore sunscreen for face use: Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Face Mineral Sunscreen
Our favorite drugstore sunscreen is sheer, non-greasy, and least likely to leave behind that dreaded white residue. Neutrogena
The Neutrogena Sheer sunscreen provides UV protection with 100-percent mineral zinc oxide and broad-spectrum SPF 50, making it the best drugstore sunscreens on the market. This sheer, dry-touch sunscreen is free of fragrances, parabens, and oil, and leaves a breathable and lightweight matte finish. Lounging in the pool all day? This facial sunscreen is also sweat- and water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.
Best sunscreen for face FAQ: people also ask
Is it good to put sunscreen on your face every day?
Absolutely, and you should be doing that. UV rays can still harm you on overcast days, and sunscreen is most effective when applied daily, even if you’re spending all your time indoors.
Is SPF 30 or 50 better for the face?
The best SPF for faces is hard to put an exact number on. However, sunscreen with SPF 30 or SPF 50 are both adequate defenses against UV rays. SPF 30 blocks 97 percent of the sun’s UVB rays, while SPF 50 blocks slightly more. It is more important that you apply your sunscreen exactly as directed by the product description. This includes applying the proper amount and reapplying it throughout the day, especially if you are sweating or swimming. No sunscreen can completely block UVB rays, and sunscreen should not be your only defense against the sun. On bright sunny days, make sure you take frequent breaks in the shade, and wear clothes and sunglasses that prevent exposure.
Can you use sunscreen as a daily moisturizer?
You can definitely use sunscreen as a daily moisturizer. There are moisturizers that contain UV protection, but you can also just purchase a facial sunscreen that has moisturizing elements. This works especially well for people with oily skin that don’t want an extra layer of hydration. Both the Biossance and Pipette sunscreens we recommended contain squalane, which is a lovely emollient that mimics your skin’s natural oils.
The final word on the best sunscreen for face use
We hope that you will never spend another second in the sun without sunscreen by your side. Sun protection is important, and so is choosing products that accommodate sensitive, oily, or acne-prone skin. The best face sunscreen works with your skin type and keeps it safe, all day and every day.