Serums, exfoliators, peels, moisturizers, these are all powerful players to keep in your anti-aging toolkit. But, one of the easiest ways to prevent aging before it starts is to wear sunscreen every day.
What isn’t so easy is finding the right sunscreen to suit your skin type. There is a dizzying array of options out there, and the wrong sunscreen choice can make oily skin feel greasier or make dry, sensitive skin feel even more irritated.
We’re here to take the guesswork out of the equation and share some of our go-to sunscreens for different skin types. But first, here’s a quick refresher on sunscreen formulations:
Physical sunscreens contain minerals that sit on top of the skin and deflect UV rays. Zinc and titanium dioxide are the most popular active ingredients in physical sunscreens.
Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, sink into the skin. They work by absorbing UV rays and turning them into heat. Common active ingredients in chemical sunscreens include octinoxate, avobenzone and oxybenzone.
Many sunscreens are a mix of the two, combining chemical and physical sunscreens in their formulas. With that said, here’s a look at the best sunscreens for dry skin, acne-prone skin and more, plus one final favorite that’s a winner across all skin types.
Best Sunscreen for Acne-Prone Skin
Sunscreen type: Chemical (avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene)
Strength: SPF 60
Why we love it: If you have oily skin, acne or large pores, this sunscreen should be your summer go-to. Once applied, it absorbs oil and other impurities that could otherwise clog your pores and lead to breakouts. Four chemical sunscreens work together to provide UV protection while Cell-OX Shield XL—La Roche-Posay’s own antioxidant blend—protects against aging.
Best Sunscreen for Dry Skin
Sunscreen type: Physical (zinc oxide, titanium dioxide)
Strength: SPF 30
Why we love it: SkinCeuticals created this sunscreen specifically with dry and sensitive skin types in mind. The moisturizing formula provides hydration that lasts throughout the day. It’s also a great option for post-procedure skin, as it contains plankton extract to encourage healing and jumpstart the skin’s own defense against environmental stressors.
Best Sunscreen for Eczema and Rosacea
Type: Physical (zinc oxide, titanium dioxide)
Strength: SPF 30
Why we love it: Those with rosacea or eczema may have learned the hard way that some sunscreens can further aggravate already irritated skin. Just release this gentle mineral powder from its self-dispensing brush by dusting it across your face and neck. It’s safe for children as well, so if you’re looking for a sunscreen for kids that’s easy and quick to apply, look no further. In addition to a transparent, colorless formula, it’s also available in four tinted shades from fair to deep.
Best Sunscreen for Avoiding White Cast
Strength: SPF 40
Type: Chemical (avobenzone, octinoxate, octisalate)
Why we love it: If you’re not a fan of the slight white cast that some physical sunscreens can leave behind, it’s time to give this entirely sheer formula a try. In addition to its sun-protection benefits, it also contains acetyl glucosamine, an amino acid sugar that helps improve texture and even out skin tone.
Best Overall Sunscreen
Type: Physical (zinc oxide) and chemical (octinoxate)
Strength: SPF 46
Why we love it: This formula has earned raves for its matte, residue-free finish (it’s fantastic under makeup) and powerful sun protection. It also boasts some bonus beauty benefits: hyaluronic acid draws in and retains moisture, niacinamide reduces inflammation and lactic acid smooths skin. Also available in a tinted version!
This sunscreen also happens to be a favorite of board-certified dermatologist and CEO of LovelySkin Dr. Joel Schlessinger. Hear why he thinks EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 Sunscreen earns the title of best sunscreen overall:
“EltaMD is one of the best sunscreen brands out there because there really is a sunscreen for everyone. Not only has this sunscreen earned the Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Approval, but it’s my go-to sun protection recommendation as well. Few formulas compete with its level of protection, comfort and additional skin care benefits.”
Which is the best sunscreen for your skin type? Let us know which products you swear by and what other sun protection questions you’d like Dr. Schlessinger to address next in the comments below!