Because sunscreen has so many factors dependent on individual user needs, it can be difficult to really rank effectiveness. Some people, for instance, are more sensitive to the feel of sunscreen on their skin. Others might care more about the SPF level or how long the sunscreen is effective when they get sweaty. Special sunscreens aimed for use on your face, tinted sunscreens, mineral sunscreens, reef-friendly sunscreens — it’s rare to find one product that covers all of these bases.

With that in mind, we’ve scoured reviews across the internet to try to determine the best sunscreens for people with different types of mature skin. If you already have one that you love, don’t fret: No hard and fast rules exist, beyond the fact that you should use a minimum of 30 SPF. (Fun fact about sun protection factors: the higher the SPF, the smaller the difference becomes. For example, SPF 30 blocks 97% of the sun’s harmful rays, while SPF 50 blocks 98%.) Ultimately, the best sunscreen is the one that you will happily use. 

First: Determine Your Skin Type

Wearing sunscreen every day can help protect your skin from sunburns, prevent premature skin aging, and reduce the risk of skin cancer. Facial sunscreens come in a variety of formulations and have different ingredients suited to every skin type. So, one of the first steps to finding the perfect sunscreen is to determine your skin type. You can ask a dermatologist, or you could follow some basic guidelines to figure it out at home. 

As we age we naturally lose skin elasticity and moisture, which can lead to dryness and itching. Older people also tend to have more sensitive skin and may be more prone to eczema or reactions to fragrances or other active ingredients. Additionally, some women experience acne during perimenopause. So it’s not always as easy as finding one categorical skin type. 

With that in mind, here are some recommendations for facial sunscreens based on common specific skin types:

  • Oily or Acne-prone Skin: Look for noncomedogenic products that won’t clog your pores. (Noncomedogenic merely means “non-pore-blocking.” Blocked pores are also known as comedones.)
    • Many experts recommend Eucerin’s Sun Face Oil Control Tinted SPF 50+. It uses oil control technology, such as L-carnitine and lipid-absorbing pigments, to offer a dry finish without leaving the skin feeling greasy. 
    • Glo Skin Beauty Oil Free SPF 40+ is a 100% mineral sunscreen with an invisible finish. It’s especially good for acne-prone skin because its formulation is weightless, noncomedogenic and oil-free. It’s also infused with hyaluronic acid, which hydrates and replenishes the skin while reducing irritation. 
    • Proactiv Clear Skin SPF 30 isn’t just for teens. It’s dermatologist developed and tested, and it’s designed for people with acne-prone skin. It provides broad-spectrum coverage without clogging pores or causing breakouts. It’s also nongreasy and lightweight, so it can be used alone or under makeup. 
  • Sensitive Skin: Look for fragrance-free formulas, preferably with mineral filters.
    • Evereden SPF 50 Premium Mineral Sunscreen. Don’t let the “kids” in the title scare you away; Glamour Magazine voted this the best mineral sunscreen after almost a year of research by their expert editorial staff. It’s nontoxic, water-resistant and 100% mineral-based. In addition, it has the proprietary ingredient complex Safflower Oleotech to deliver all-day hydration that infuses skin with vitamin E over time. (As an added perk, the bottle’s lid is a little clip, making it easy to keep it on the strap of your purse or beach bag.)
    • Isdin Eryfotona Actinica SPF 50+ is a cult favorite, right up there with SuperGoop (see below). Suitable for all skin types, it’s a lightweight emulsion that delivers moisture, mineral zinc oxide and DNA repair enzymes to reduce past sun damage. 
  • Mature Skin: Look for sunscreens that also include hyaluronic acid, ceramides and niacinamide.
    • Charlotte Tilbury Invisible UV Flawless Primer with SPF 50 is perfect alone or as a primer because it provides broad-spectrum coverage and delivers a smooth base that makes makeup easier to apply evenly. It contains hyaluronic acid, aloe vera and “smoothing blurring polymers” that help reduce the appearance of fine lines and pores. 
    • La Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral Tinted Sunscreen for Face SPF 50. This is a great everyday sunscreen because it’s easy to apply and ultralightweight. It is also 100% mineral-based, free of oxybenzone, fragrance-free and water-resistant for up to 40 minutes. (Oxybenzone is a chemical that absorbs UV rays when applied to the skin, which seems like a good thing. But research shows that oxybenzone can end up in the bloodstream once it’s absorbed by the skin, and scientists are still trying to figure out if that has any overall health consequences. It’s also one of the main culprits behind the damage done to coral reefs via sunscreen residue.)
    • La Roche-Posay Anthelios Dry Touch Gel Cream SPF 50+. La Roche-Posay’s second entry in our guide is great for combination (oily and dry) and oily skin, with a nongreasy dry-touch texture, no white residue and double anti-shine action without the tint in the formulation above. It’s still fragrance-free and paraben-free, and it has great reviews. 
    • Dr. Loretta Universal Glow SPF 40 is ideal for anyone who wants a mineral sunscreen with the sort of lightweight, silky smooth finish that usually comes only from chemical SPFs. Zinc, antioxidants and botanical extracts provide protection from sun damage while also helping to improve the look of fine lines, dark spots and other signs of aging. According to reviews, it layers beautifully under makeup, and it doesn’t feel oily. 
  • Suitable for all Skin Types:
    • Andalou Naturals Deep Hydration Daily Shade + Blue Light Defense Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 is ultralightweight, with apple stem cells, bio-designed collagen, hyaluronic acid and zinc oxide to protect skin while also nourishing and hydrating. It also contains ectoin, which some studies suggest provides protection against environmental stressors such as blue light and pollution. 
    • EltaMD UV Sport Broad-Spectrum SPF 50 is specifically designed for active adults who love the outdoors. It’s water-resistant for up to 80 minutes and claims that it won’t drip into your eyes and sting, or run when you are sweating. It’s also fragrance-free and noncomedogenic, so it’s great for all skin types, including sensitive skin.
    • Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40. This is an internet favorite, by far. Recommended by dermatologists and designed to eliminate any reason you might have to not wear daily SPF, it absorbs quickly, and leaves a clear, natural finish on the skin. It’s weightless, scentless, noncomedogenic and oil-free. It also doubles as a makeup primer. 

Top image by Rido, via

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