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How to Pick the Right EltaMD Sunscreen for You

How to Pick the Right EltaMD Sunscreen for You

With so many sunscreens to choose from, finding the one you’ll want to apply (and reapply) daily can feel like a daunting task. How are you supposed to know if a sunscreen will hydrate your dry skin, or prevent your acne-prone skin from breaking out? Different skin types have different needs, but everyone needs a good SPF in their routine. Enter EltaMD, the skin care brand beloved by dermatologists and known for its high-performing sunscreens that work for a wide range of skin types, tones and concerns.

What sets EltaMD’s sunscreens apart from others is the formulations, which are easy to apply, feel good on skin and offer powerful protection. “They all have a basis in zinc as the primary UV protectant,” says Larry MacPhee, EltaMD’s general manager. “We believe very strongly in the use of zinc because it’s a physical sunscreen blocker, so not being a chemical, the product won’t erode due to exposure to UV light.” Zinc oxide sits on top of the skin to create a physical shield against the sun. Zinc also has anti-inflammatory benefits and is often used as a treatment for damaged or sensitive skin.

How to Choose the Right EltaMD Sunscreen

Everyone’s skin has different needs, and yours should help guide your choice of sunscreen. Consider the following factors:

Skin type: Is your skin oily, dry or combination? If your skin breaks out regularly, you may benefit from an oil-free formula that helps calm inflammation. If you have dry, flaky skin, you may want to look for hydrating ingredients that provide added moisture in addition to sun protection.

Lifestyle: Do you work outside all day? You may want a formula that’s easy to reapply every two hours. Do you plan on swimming or sweating? You’ll need a sunscreen that’s water-resistant. Do you wear your sunscreen under makeup? A sheer SPF may be your best bet.

Ready to find your EltaMD sunscreen match? Here’s the lowdown on our favorite formulas.

  1. EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 (1.7 oz.)
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    EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 (1.7 oz.)

    Why we love it: This is Dermstore’s number-one best-selling sunscreen for good reason: It’s lightweight, non-greasy and loved by dermatologists. Plus, it fights acne while it protects your skin from damaging UV rays, thanks to anti-inflammatory, redness-reducing niacinamide.

    Key ingredients: Niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, zinc oxide, octinoxate

    SPF: 46

    Tinted?: Untinted and tinted versions available

    Oil-free?: Yes

    Water resistant?: No

    Great for skin type/concern: Acne-prone, hyperpigmentation, rosacea

    What shoppers say: “Sunscreen is light and blends easy! Feels like putting on an extra layer of moisturizer and love the way it makes my skin feel. No white residue and [it’s] great for everyday wear to protect your skin and great to use while in the sun!”

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  2. EltaMD Dermstore Exclusive UV Glow Broad-Spectrum SPF 36 1.7 oz. - Untinted
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    EltaMD Dermstore Exclusive UV Glow Broad-Spectrum SPF 36 1.7 oz. - Untinted

    Why we love it: Forget the physical sunscreens you’ve used in the past that leave skin chalky and dull. This all-physical sunscreen brightens, hydrates and enhances skin’s luminosity—and it’s available exclusively at Dermstore. Zinc oxide provides broad-spectrum UV protection, while heavy-hitter antioxidants like niacinamide and ergothioneine boost skin health and combat aging free radicals.

    Key ingredients: Antioxidants (niacinamide, vitamin E, ergothioneine), mica, zinc oxide

    SPF: 36

    Tinted?: Untinted and tinted versions available

    Oil-free?: Yes

    Water resistant?: No

    Great for skin type/concern: All skin types

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  3. EltaMD UV Sheer Broad-Spectrum SPF 50 (1.7 fl. oz.)
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    EltaMD UV Sheer Broad-Spectrum SPF 50 (1.7 fl. oz.)

    Why we love it: Look no further than this sunscreen for powerful protection that can hold up through a workout or swim and absorbs quickly with no white cast. Natural squalane and sodium hyaluronate (a form of hyaluronic acid) boost moisture without leaving skin shiny.

    Key ingredients: Sodium hyaluronate, squalane, vitamin C, zinc oxide, octocrylene

    SPF: 50+

    Tinted?: No

    Oil-free?: Yes

    Water resistant?: Yes

    Great for skin type/concern: All skin types

    What shoppers say: “I love the EltaMD Sheer sunscreen! What I like best is that it glides on my skin and I can’t even tell that I have it on.”

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  4. EltaMD UV Daily Broad-Spectrum SPF 40 (1.7 oz.)
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    EltaMD UV Daily Broad-Spectrum SPF 40 (1.7 oz.)

    Why we love it: One of this facial sunscreen’s star ingredients is hydrating, skin-smoothing sodium hyaluronate, making it a great pick for dry skin. It’s also gentle, so it can be used by sensitive skin types and those who’ve just had procedures.

    Key ingredients: Sodium hyaluronate (hyaluronic acid), vitamin E, zinc oxide, octinoxate

    SPF: 40

    Tinted?: Untinted and tinted versions available

    Oil-free?: No

    Water resistant?: No

    Great for skin type/concern: Dry skin, sensitive skin, post-procedure

    What shoppers say: “I love this! It feels like a lightweight moisturizer, not a sunscreen. Absorbs quickly, no sunscreen smell, leaves no residue or white sunscreen look. I feel like it [even] leaves a nice glow on my face. Put it on after my moisturizer and before my makeup every day now.”

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  5. EltaMD UV Elements Tinted Broad-Spectrum SPF 44 (2 oz.)
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    EltaMD UV Elements Tinted Broad-Spectrum SPF 44 (2 oz.)

    Why we love it: This tinted facial sunscreen hides imperfections, making cover-up an unnecessary step and saving you time. It also does more than just offer physical broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays; antioxidants fight damaging free radical molecules while hyaluronic acid plumps skin so it feels smoother and wrinkles appear minimized.

    Key ingredients: Zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, hyaluronic acid, antioxidants

    SPF: 44

    Tinted?: Yes

    Oil-free?: Yes

    Water resistant?: Yes

    Great for skin type/concern: Dry skin, sensitive skin, mature skin

    What shoppers say: “I received a sample of this from my dermatologist and fell in love immediately. I wear it daily, especially on weekends when I typically don’t wear makeup and am outside much more. It feels smooth and doesn’t have the typical sunscreen smell, which I love.”

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  6. EltaMD UV Physical Broad-Spectrum SPF 41 Sunscreen - Tinted (3 oz.)
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    EltaMD UV Physical Broad-Spectrum SPF 41 Sunscreen - Tinted (3 oz.)

    Why we love it: If you have oily skin, you might worry that using sunscreen will lead to breakouts. But you don’t have to be concerned with this facial sunscreen, which has a non-comedogenic, lightweight mineral formula that won’t clog pores. Its light tint adds a boost of radiance and acts like a primer for the rest of your face-makeup routine.

    Key ingredients: Antioxidants, dimethicone, zinc oxide, titanium dioxide

    SPF: 41

    Tinted?: Yes

    Oil-free?: Yes

    Water resistant?: Yes

    Great for skin type/concern: Oily skin, sensitive skin

    What shoppers say: “Chemical sunscreens burn and break me out, and most mineral-based sunscreens are pasty and leave a white cast on my skin. This is cosmetically elegant and sinks into my skin. It has a light, mousse-like consistency. I layer it over moisturizer, then add mineral foundation on top.”

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  7. EltaMD UV Replenish Broad-Spectrum SPF 44 (2 oz.)
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    EltaMD UV Replenish Broad-Spectrum SPF 44 (2 oz.)

    Why we love it: This all-mineral sunscreen helps restore moisture to dry and stressed skin. Its gentle ingredients make it easy on sensitive types, while antioxidants provide protection against skin-aging free radicals.

    Key ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, antioxidants, zinc oxide, titanium dioxide

    SPF: 44

    Tinted?: No

    Oil-free?: Yes

    Water resistant?: Yes

    Great for skin type/concern: Dry skin, sensitive skin, aging skin, normal skin

    What shoppers say: “I have tried A LOT of mineral sunscreens […] This is the best formula I’ve tried. It has a true lotion consistency (not runny and not thick) and it goes on very smoothly. It does not irritate my skin or eyes and it does not break me out or dry out my skin.”

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  8. EltaMD UV Active Broad-Spectrum SPF 50 (8 oz.)
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    EltaMD UV Active Broad-Spectrum SPF 50 (8 oz.)

    Why we love it: If you prefer all-physical sunscreen ingredients and spend time in the water or exercising outdoors, this moisturizing, reef-safe formula is your best bet for your whole body. It’s great for kids, too.

    Key ingredients: Jojoba esters, antioxidants, zinc oxide, titanium dioxide

    SPF: 50

    Tinted?: No

    Oil-free?: Yes

    Water resistant?: Yes

    Great for skin type/concern: All skin types, great for body

    What shoppers say: “If you want serious water-resistant staying power with extreme SPF protection, this is for you. I love it for sweaty exercising or swimming.”

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  9. EltaMD UV Aero Broad-Spectrum SPF 45 (6 oz.)
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    EltaMD UV Aero Broad-Spectrum SPF 45 (6 oz.)

    Why we love it: It’s everything we like about EltaMD’s lightweight, zinc-based formulas in an easy-to-apply spray. This broad-spectrum SPF goes on white (so you can see where you’ve applied it—or missed a spot) and dries to a clear finish, plus it won’t leave skin feeling greasy.

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