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How to Choose the Right Sunscreen for Your Skin Type

How to Choose the Right Sunscreen for Your Skin Type
Writer and expert1 year ago
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As recommended by dermatologists, doctors and skin care experts alike, sunscreen is the single most important product to incorporate into any skin care routine. Choosing an SPF may seem easy enough. However, the vast array of options on the market can be overwhelming. From mineral and chemical formulas to tinted and non-tinted, allow Dermstore to guide you in choosing the correct formulation to suit your skin type.


Mineral vs Chemical

Commonly referred to as ‘physical sunscreen’, mineral sunscreen utilizes a mineral-based formula to help protect against harmful UV rays. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are two of the most common ingredients in mineral sunscreen, creating a barrier over the skin that blocks and reflects UV rays from the sun.

In comparison, chemical sunscreen defends against UV rays through a chemical reaction, permitting light into the skin rather than physically blocking it. The chemicals in the sunscreen help absorb UV rays before converting them into heat, which is then released from the skin.

Our picks:

Mineral Sunscreen:EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46

Why We Love It: This best-selling formula shields your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays. It features skin-smoothing lactic acid and niacinamide to help refine and reduce the appearance of pores and oiliness.

Discover our full collection of mineral sunscreens.

Chemical Sunscreen:Supergoop! UNSEEN SUNSCREEN™ SPF 40

Why We Love It: A weightless, scentless and oil-free formula for the face that leaves behind a velvety-soft finish. It also layers well under makeup as a gripping primer that is perfect for all skin tones.

Shop our range of chemical sunscreens from brands such as Colorescience, and Supergoop!.


Non-Tinted vs Tinted

Designed to be invisible on the skin, non-tinted sunscreen offers an expansive range of options for all skin types, including unique formulations and varying factors of SPF protection. Non-tinted sunscreen layers seamlessly beneath makeup or can be worn alone, making it ideal for sensitive and blemish-prone skin types.

Unlike non-tinted SPF, tinted sunscreen offers both UV and blue light protection. Tinted sunscreen contains mineral particles such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to help block UV light and blue light emitted from electrical devices. They are infused with color pigments to add light coverage to your complexion, promoting a more-even-looking skin tone.

Our Picks:

Non-Tinted SPF:SkinCeuticals Sheer Physical UV Defense SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen

Why We Love It: Formulated with only physical sun filters, this transparent formula melts into the skin without leaving a white cast or any oily residue. The lightweight sunscreen applies evenly and dries to a matte, shine-free finish, making it ideal for normal, oily, combination and sensitive skin types.

Tinted SPF:EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 - Tinted

Why We Love It: This universally flattering skin tint blends to match your skin tone, working to mask discoloration and imperfections for a smooth, flawless-looking complexion. Niacinamide helps to soothe the look of inflammation to help calm blemish-prone skin types.


Face vs Body

Sunscreen products for your face tend to be formulated differently to body moisturizers as your facial skin is more exposed to the elements every day. Facial skin is also the most delicate part of the body, namely the area under the eyes.

Modern facial sunscreen is composed using the same high standards as skin care products. Most high-performance face SPFs are light in texture, developed for all skin types and tones, easily absorbed with no white residue and non-comedogenic.

Body sunscreens often contain ingredients like coconut oil, silicones or shea butter to give the formula a richer, more heavy-duty texture to cover the entire body. However, this is not always suitable for delicate facial skin. It is more suitable to invest in an individual face and body sunscreen. Shop our recommendations below:

Our Picks

Face Sunscreen:Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Face Shield Flex SPF 50

Why We Love It: This daily sunscreen delivers powerful environmental protection and effectively evens the skin tone for a healthy appearance. This unique formula features innovative tone-adapting pigments that offer medium, buildable color coverage with a natural finish to blur imperfections.

Shop an array of facial sunscreen here.

Body Sunscreen:COOLA Classic Body Organic Sunscreen Spray SPF 50

Why We Love It: Formulated with Plant Protection®, a blend of red raspberry seed oil and prickly pear extract, this high-performance body mist keeps free radical damage, sun damage and dryness at bay.

Browse the full selection here.


How to Pick the Right Sunscreen for Your Skin?


It is important to find a product that works for your lifestyle, budget and your skin type, especially if you experience skin concerns such as sensitivity, dryness, blemishes or excess oil.


Best Sunscreen for Oily and Blemish-Prone Skin

Oily skin types can be prone to clogged pores, unwanted shine and blemishes. Therefore, an oil-free or mattifying moisturizer may be the best choice.

Our Pick: Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Face Shield Matte SPF 50

Why We Love It: Designed for oily and blemish-prone skin, this mattifying sunscreen helps to minimize the appearance of pores, while leaving skin feeling refreshed and touchably smooth. Designed with EnviroScreen™ Technology, it provides all-mineral protection from environmental aggressors such as UVA/UVB, pollution, blue light and infrared radiation.

Shop oily-skin formulas at Dermstore here.


Best Sunscreen for Dry Skin

Dry skin can indicate a weakened skin barrier. It is extra important to wear sunscreen for those working to maintain moisture levels as the skin becomes more vulnerable to UV rays. Choose a moisturizing sunscreen with ingredients such as ceramides, glycerin or hyaluronic acid to help combat dryness.

Our Pick:Supergoop! Daily Dose Hydra-Ceramide Boost SPF 40

Why We Love It: This potent SPF utilizes the power of ceramides, fatty acids and microbiome-friendly prebiotics with broad spectrum UV protection in a nourishing, lightweight oil. This highly moisturizing formula is designed to replenish the skin barrier, while working to soothe, soften and support long-lasting hydration.

Check out more here.


Best Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin

For those with sensitive skin, it is better to choose a more minimalist formulation such as a mineral sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, as this will be less likely to irritate the skin.

Our Pick: Paula's Choice RESIST Super-Light Daily Wrinkle Defense SPF 30

Why We Love It: The soothing sunscreen offers broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection, while being gentle enough for sensitive skin. Rich in antioxidants, the lightly tinted, pure mineral zinc oxide formula evens tone and creates a soft, matte finish. Infused with a blend of willow bark and bisabolol, it helps to visibly calm and alleviate redness.

Shop the full collection here.

Writer and expert
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