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The Best Sunscreens for Sensitive Skin This Summer

Carey Schaal
Written by Carey Schaal
Mother applying sunburnt relief spray to her child at a beach

Sunscreen is essential to everyone’s morning skincare routine, but not all sunscreens are made equal. Sunscreen that’s not formulated specifically for sensitive skin can cause irritation, redness, and even breakouts, which is why we’ve reviewed the best sunscreens for sensitive skin in 2024 to protect your skin from the glare of the sun. After reviewing top products, the lightweight EltaMD sunscreen is our favorite because of its gentle formula and ease of use. To get started, dive right into our reviews and read through our buying guide to find out how to select the best option for your sensitive skin.

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Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin: A Buyer’s Guide

If you take your skincare routine seriously, then you know that sunscreen is a non-negotiable part of your regimen. The sun is your skin's biggest enemy, and sunscreen is the only way to protect yourself from wrinkles, fine lines, and discoloration caused by the sun. Let's not forget the most important benefit of sunscreen: minimizing the risk of skin cancer. However, if you're plagued with sensitive skin like me, then you know the struggle of finding a facial sunscreen that won't cause breakouts, irritation, or worse, allergic reactions. The answer to our problem is finding a sunscreen specifically formulated for sensitive skin. Not only will it protect you from harmful UV rays, but it will also soothe and nourish your skin, keeping it healthy and radiant. Our comprehensive buying guide will help you make an informed decision and ensure you get the perfect protection for your delicate skin.

How to Pick the Right Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin

UVA and UVB protection

Make sure that the sunscreen you choose has high UVA and UVB protection. UVA rays are responsible for photoaging, and UVB rays are responsible for sunburns. Look for a sunscreen that has broad spectrum coverage, meaning it protects against both UVA and UVB rays.

Water resistance

Sunscreen must be reapplied every two hours, or more often if you are swimming or sweating. Look for a sunscreen that offers water-resistant protection so you don’t have to worry about it coming off even when you’re active or exposed to water. This might not be an important criteria if you live in a cold climate where you're less likely to sweat or get wet, but if you plan on going to the beach or working out at the gym, prioritizing water resistance will be better for the long run.

Oil-free or non-comedogenic

If you have sensitive skin, it's essential to choose the right sunscreen to avoid any adverse reactions. It's advisable to opt for oil-free and non-comedogenic sunscreens that won't clog your pores or cause breakouts. Oil-free sunscreens contain ingredients that don't add any extra oil to your skin, making them an excellent choice for those with oily or acne-prone skin. Non-comedogenic sunscreens, on the other hand, are specifically formulated not to block pores or cause blackheads, whiteheads, or pimples. Most non-comedogenic sunscreens are also considered great sunscreens for acne-prone skin.

SPF rating

The SPF rating tells you how well the sunscreen will protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays. The higher the SPF rating, the longer you can stay in the sun without getting sunburned. In order to ensure maximum protection from the sun, it's recommended to use sunscreen with an SPF rating of at least 30. This level of SPF provides adequate protection against both UVA and UVB rays. But if you plan to be out and about under the sun all day long, try to opt for a higher SPF rating.

Key ingredients

Natural and organic ingredients are best when choosing sunscreens for sensitive skin because they won’t cause irritation or allergic reactions. Look for sunscreens that contain natural ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which provide broad-spectrum protection while also being gentle on the skin.


Fragrance-free products are key when it comes to sensitive skin, as fragrances can cause irritation and redness in some people. While fragrances in sunscreens might be soothing, the rule of thumb for people with sensitive skin is to avoid any skincare products with a fragrance. As such, make sure the sunscreen you choose doesn’t contain any added fragrances or dyes.

Natural minerals or zinc oxide

Natural minerals, such as zinc oxide, provide broad-spectrum protection while being gentle on your skin. These ingredients act as a physical barrier between your skin and the sun’s damaging UV rays and won’t cause any irritation.

Non-irritating or hypoallergenic

Sunscreens with hypoallergenic or non-irritating formulas are best when it comes to sensitive skin, as they are formulated without any harsh chemicals or fragrances that could cause irritation or allergic reactions.

Non-greasy texture

Non-greasy formulas will absorb into the skin quickly without leaving behind any residue or buildup on the surface of your skin, which can lead to clogged pores and breakouts in those with sensitive skin types. In contrast, greasy textures will likely clog pores and cause breakouts.

No white cast

Many sunscreens with natural mineral ingredients can leave behind a white cast on the skin, which can be difficult to hide with makeup. Look for non-whitening formulas that offer sheer coverage if having a white cast makes you uncomfortable.

Reapplication time

Most of the time, sunscreen needs to be reapplied every two hours, or more often if you are swimming or sweating a lot. Being diligent about reapplication is key when it comes to ensuring maximum protection from the sun’s damaging UV rays. As such, look for products that are easy to use and will make reapplication a breeze.

The Best Sunscreens for Sensitive Skin in 2024


EltaMD Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin


  • Spreadable and easy to apply
  • Does not irritate or break out skin
  • Lightweight and fast drying


  • May leave a film on the skin

The EltaMD sunscreen for sensitive skin is the perfect solution for those looking for a lightweight, oil-free option. This SPF 46 lotion contains zinc oxide, niacinamide, and an antioxidant to promote healthy skin and help protect against UVA and UVB rays. It can also soothe and calm sensitive skin that's prone to acne, rosacea, and hyperpigmentation. It offers broad-spectrum protection and is an essential sunscreen for those with acne-prone skin care concerns.

This zinc oxide sunscreen is recommended by dermatologists as it is fragrance-free, paraben-free, sensitivity-free, and noncomedogenic. It’s the ideal choice if you’re looking for a lightweight yet powerful product to protect your sensitive skin from sun damage. It certainly lives up to its promises of being a facial sunscreen that offers both protection and comfort in a single application. The ease of use, gentle formulation, and UVA and UVB ray protection make this product the best on our list.


Blue Lizard Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin


  • Mineral-rich protection
  • Safe for everyday use
  • Comfortable and effective


  • Some may find it greasy

The Blue Lizard sunscreen for sensitive skin is a great choice for those looking for long-term protection from the sun that is friendly to both delicate skin and coral reefs alike. It’s an ideal choice for sensitive skin and provides optimal protection from UVA and UVB rays. It contains no oxybenzone or octinoxate, making it gentle on delicate coral reefs. Mineral sunscreen is used instead of chemical active ingredients to protect your skin by acting like thousands of tiny mirrors that reflect UV rays away before entering your body.

This sunscreen is paraben-free and fragrance-free, making it gentle enough to use even on the most sensitive skin. In addition, it comes with a sweat and water-resistant formula, meaning protection lasts twice as long as other products. With its paraben-free and fragrance-free formula, this sunscreen is ideal for those seeking optimal sun protection without the harsh effects of chemical active ingredients.


CeraVe Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin


  • Mixes well with skin tint or makeup
  • Doesn’t burn eyes
  • Hydrating and effective on the face


  • Some find it thick and heavy

The CeraVe sunscreen for sensitive skin provides a convenient way to protect your face from harmful UV rays, preventing skin cancer and premature wrinkles. It utilizes a mineral-based sunscreen, reflecting the rays and working to protect the skin. This formulation is Hawaii compliant, as it doesn't contain oxybenzone and features avobenzone and benzene-free physical filters of zinc oxide and titanium. This can offer assurance that users have an effective broad-spectrum sunscreen.

Additionally, the formula is oil-free, fragrance-free, non-comedogenic, suitable for sensitive skin, and can be used under foundation and face makeup without leaving a white cast. Both the National Eczema Association and the Skin Cancer Foundation recommend it, proving its effectiveness. Plus, it contains three essential ceramides that can restore and maintain the skin's natural barrier.


Aveeno Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin


  • Provides excellent sun protection
  • Gentle on sensitive skin
  • No irritating fragrances or dyes


  • Consistency may be too thin for some

The Aveeno sunscreen for sensitive skin is an ideal sunscreen lotion for children's sensitive skin. With its broad spectrum SPF 50 and UVA and UVB protection, kids will be shielded from the sun's intense rays. It comes in a convenient size, perfect for on-the-go use. This non-greasy formula also features naturally sourced zinc oxide active with skin-soothing oats to provide effective and long-lasting protection. It's both sweat and water-resistant so kids can enjoy outdoor activities with their families without getting sunburned.

This lotion is hypoallergenic with a tear-free formula free of parabens, phthalates, and fragrances. It's easy to apply and has been specially formulated for delicate skin. The sunscreen goes on without any stinging or discomfort, locks in moisture, and doesn't leave any sticky residue. Kids can play continuously in the sun with up to 80 minutes of protection before needing to reapply.


Alba Botanica Sunscreens for Sensitive Skin


  • Cruelty-free and reef-safe
  • Dries clear and feels light
  • Provides effective sunscreen protection


  • Spray container may be difficult to use

The Alba Botanica sunscreen for sensitive skin is an excellent choice for those looking for a sunscreen that is both effective and gentle on the skin. The broad spectrum SPF 50 provides reliable sun protection, allowing users to stay safe for longer periods in the sun. This sunscreen is also water-resistant, making it great for a day at the beach or other aquatic activities.

It comes with only natural, vegetarian ingredients and botanicals like aloe vera, chamomile, and avocado oil. This combination of ingredients makes the formula lightweight and quick-drying while remaining gentle on sensitive skin. In addition, this sunscreen is completely fragrance-free, which can be beneficial if you have allergies or sensitivities to scents. For those looking to take their sun protection further, this brand offers a complete line of sun care products, including mineral-based sunscreens and after-sun products.

People Also Ask

  • Q: What SPF should I use for my sensitive skin?

    A:It's recommended to use sunscreen with at least SPF 30 on sensitive skin. This will provide adequate protection against harmful UV rays without causing irritation or inflammation. But if you're prone to sunburn or spend a lot of time outdoors, you should consider using a higher SPF.

  • Q: How often should I reapply sunscreen to my sensitive skin?

    A:You should reapply sunscreen to your sensitive skin every two hours, or more frequently if you are swimming or sweating. This will ensure that you are getting adequate protection throughout the day and minimize the risk of sun damage.

  • Q: Which ingredients in sunscreen should people with sensitive skin avoid?

    A:If you have sensitive skin, it's ideal to avoid sunscreens that contain alcohol, chemical UV filters, fragrance, and preservatives. These ingredients can cause irritation or allergic reactions, leading to redness, itching, and inflammation.

  • Q: Can I wear makeup over my sunscreen for sensitive skin?

    A:Yes, you can wear makeup over your sunscreen for sensitive skin. But it's important to let the sunscreen absorb into your skin before applying makeup. Wait at least 10 to 15 minutes after applying sunscreen before applying makeup.

  • Q: Can I use sunscreen on my baby's sensitive skin?

    A:Yes, you can use sunscreen on your baby's sensitive skin. But it's important to choose a sunscreen that is specifically formulated for babies and doesn't contain ingredients that can irritate their delicate skin. Look for sunscreens that are labeled "baby-friendly" or "pediatrician-tested," and avoid those with alcohol or chemical UV filters.

Why trust Us

At Us Weekly, we aim to inform readers to make smart purchasing decisions, saving you both time and money. Our editors are obsessed with finding products in a variety of categories from fashion and beauty, to home and fitness.

We try various products, so we can recommend our favorites, and we also summarize feedback and data from other customers. Data, like product reviews and ratings, helps us recommend the best product choices for individual price points and needs.

On top of that, we highlight unique product features for special use cases, ingredients preferences, and more. We strive to make sure you are discovering new products that can make your life easier, while keeping you up to date with the best product choices for types of items you already know and love.

Carey Schaal

By Carey Schaal

With a background in interior design and business and a passion for beauty, Carey combines her education and experience to reach a diverse readership. She enjoys curating content that helps consumers discover life-enriching products, whether essential serums or a variety of unique home accents. When she isn’t writing, she’s likely preparing a meal with her family or perfecting her skincare routine.


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