Best for Sensitive & Acne Prone Skin
If you have sensitive, reactive, or acne prone skin then opt for a physical sunscreen like La Roche-Posay Athelios 50.
This sunscreen is made without fragrance or alcohol. It goes on very light with a little bit of moisture and doesn't leave a white cast so it's good for darker skin too. It is on the expensive side so if you're looking for something more budget friendly CeraVe Sunscreen Lotion is also good for reactive skin (no alcohol or fragrance) but isn't great for darker skin because it does tend to leave a white cast.
Best for Darker Skin
Korean and Japanese sunscreens are a great option for darker skin tones because they're specially formulated to go on light and leave no white cast.
A great starter is Bioré Aqua Riche Watery Essence. It's highly rated by beauty bloggers and review sites alike and comes in at a really reasonable price. It does contain both alcohol and fragrance so if you have sensitive or reactive skin it may not be the best option for you.
The Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream takes the spot for best tinted sunscreen because it offers hydration, broad spectrum protection, and 9 shades to choose from.
Best No Fuss Drugstore Option
If you just want a good sunscreen formulated to work for most skin types and skin needs then Neutrogena Ultra Sheer is it. It goes on light and absorbs quickly. Comes in at a great low price and you can usually pick it up at your local drugstore or Target. It does contain alcohol and fragrance so be aware of that if you have sensitive or reactive skin.
Best Sunscreen Treatment
If you want your sunscreen to do more for your skin than just protect from the sun, then La Roche-Posay Athelios AOX Antioxidant Serum & Sunscreen is your best bet.
We know that just wearing sunscreen has powerful anti-aging effects, but this serum and broad spectrum sunscreen in one also reverses the effects of sun damage by improving fine lines, dark spots, and tone. It's fragrance-free, paraben-free, non-comedogenic and formulated with a potent antioxidant complex.
No matter your skin type, sunscreen should be an immutable part of your skin care routine. Even if you don’t mind a bit of a tan (or actively want one tsk tsk) it’s never too early to start protecting against the photo-aging effects of excessive sun exposure and, even more critically, protect against skin cancer.
We say “excessive sun exposure” because of course we want some level of sun exposure to help our bodies synthesize the all important vitamin D. The American Academy of Dermatology is of the opinion that no level of sun exposure that allows for vitamin D synthesis without increasing the risk of skin cancer. However, vitamin D deficiency is a chronic problem in the United States. Researchers have also recently found that vitamin D supplements are not an effective substitute for actual sun exposure so we’re left wondering: how much sun exposure should we be getting? To be honest we don’t have an exact answer for you. Some health professionals recommend anywhere between 20 minutes to 2 hours of exposure daily for optimal vitamin D synthesis (depending of course on your skin type and proximity to the equator). Our policy is to apply sunscreen to the face, neck, décolletté and hands (where the effects of photoaging are most visible) as well as spots that get extra exposure like the tops of shoulders and knees (depending how and where you experience the effects of the sun).
Now that we’ve convinced you of the merits of daily sunscreen wear we’d like to give you some pointers. Not all sunscreens are created equal. Gone are the days of sticky white sunscreens as an afterthought in your skin care routine. New formulations are being developed that offer something for every skin type and need. We are strong believers in investing in the right skin care for your skin type and needs so as with any beauty product you buy, you should make sure it’s one that meets your skin care needs and works with your skin type.