How to Find the Best Sunscreen For Sensitive Skin

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While sunscreen is a necessary part of summer, certain formulas can wreak havoc on those with sensitive skin. Although a chemical sunscreen may not bother most, those who are sensitive “may experience stinging, burning or redness,” explains New York City-based dermatologist Shari Marchbein, M.D. Finding effective formulas that don’t cause redness or irritation is often tricky, especially when it comes to sun protection. Fortunately, there are more than a few options that provide relief.

Marchbein recommends looking for products that are formulated with physical blockers, like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. “Physical blockers sit on top of the skin, forming a protective shield that reflects UV rays,” she explains, “as opposed to absorbing them like chemical blockers.”

Most of these ingredients are found in baby sunscreens, since the formulas are intended to be gentler on skin. One of Marchbein’s top picks is Vanicream with SPF 50 since “it is free of fragrances, Parabens, dyes and preservatives,” making it a top choice for anyone with sensitivities in addition to rosacea, eczema, or allergies. Also topping her list is Colorscience’s brush-on powder, which glides on perfectly over makeup for afternoon touch-ups. From Cerave’s hydrating cream that’s made with calming niacinimide to Elta MD’s antioxidant packed SPF, here are eight formulas to hoard for the rest of the season—and all year long.

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