Paula Holloway
by Paula Holloway

Are you looking for sunscreen that won’t irritate your sensitive skin? Specifically, sunscreen for your face? Well, you’re in luck, because today I’m sharing my picks for the best sunscreen for sensitive skin.

Okay, next question: Raise your hand if you wish you had made sun protection a priority when you were younger? ME! And if you’re also like me, and have sensitive skin, you know the pain of finding skincare for your face that doesn’t irritate you or break you out.

Over the last 5 years, I’ve made skincare and sunscreen a priority and I’ve tried a bundle of them. So today, I’ve narrowed it down to my four favorite facial sunscreens for sensitive skin.


Whether it was a tanning bed, laying in the sun with inadequate sunscreen, or an all-day outside outing, I’ve had my fair share of sunburns and ill-gotten suntans. Oh, at the time, I looked AWESOME, but it’s now that I’m realizing that if I had protected myself more and embraced a fairer skin tone, perhaps the skin on my chest wouldn’t be starting to look like a piece of salami. 😉 Not kidding!

Well, my friend, it’s never too late to start.

But, what if you have really sensitive skin? Again, ME!

I’m not just talking about causing breakouts but causing the red, itchy skin kind of sensitivities.

Although everyone’s sensitive skin is different, I’ve worn each of these sunscreens I’m sharing with today multiple if not dozens of times with no breakouts or allergic-type of reaction.


We are currently snow-covered here in the Midwest and you might be thinking this is a crazy time to talk about sunscreen but I’m still applying it almost every day unless I’m not going out at all.

The sun might be further from the earth but those rays can still cause sun damage. And if there’s snow on the ground, it creates some mighty harsh reflection (just come look at my “clean” house on a sunny day with snow on the ground) much like the sun enhanced effects when it reflects off the water.

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OBAGI Smoothing Complex SPF 25

This slightly tinted sunscreen was developed for medical spa use to soothe delicate, post-procedure skin and provide a lightweight, hydrating, irritant-free formula. I was introduced to it after my laser treatment for rosacea and I liked it so much I’ve used it ever since.

However, it’s a bit pricey and only has an SPF of 25 (nothing to sneeze at though) which is why I’ve found some alternatives.

  • No sunscreen smell
  • No white cast
  • Specifically for sensitive skin
  • Pricey

SUPERGOOP Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40

The Unseen Sunscreen by Supergoop! is totally worth experimenting with. It’s an invisible, weightless, and scentless sunscreen with an SPF 40 that leaves a velvety finish much like a makeup primer. This can be a little “slippery” to wear in the summer, but I’ve been wearing it under my makeup some this winter when my skin feels extra dry and it’s been lovely.

  • No white cast
  • No sunscreen smell
  • Can be “slippery

DRMTLGY Universal Tinted Moisturizer SPF 46

This tinted moisturizer all-in-one sunscreen and foundation formula blends to a universal natural shade to match “all skin tones”, according to Drmtlgy’s website. It’s essentially a skin treatment with a high concentration of Hyaluronic Acid, Niacinamide, and Vitamin E.

If you don’t need a ton of coverage, this can be used alone as well.

I love the motto of Drtlgy’s medical-grade skin care line: “We follow two simple rules: 1) It can’t be bad for you and 2) It has to work.

  • No white cast
  • No sunscreen odor
  • Most affordable

PETER THOMAS ROTH Instant Mineral Sunscreen Powder SPF 45

I have used this sunscreen powder from Peter Thomas Roth for years because it’s a great way to not only layer on extra sun protection when used as a setting powder but to reapply sunscreen to your face without messing up your makeup.

Unfortunately, I can’t find this product available at the time of this posting. However, brands like Jane Iredale, Colorscience, and even Supergoop! have mineral powder sunscreens too.

But, I’ll likely give THIS ONE from Mineral Fusion a try when I need to replace mine because the price is excellent and the reviews are great!

  • No sunscreen odor
  • Lightweight
  • No color matching required
  • Brush is a little stiff but not a deal-breaker to me


One of my FAVORITE foundations has an SPF 50 so you might think I don’t need any more than that. However, I’d have to cake it on pretty heavy to actually get the full sun protection factor. That’s why I like to layer my sun protection.

I start by prepping my skin with either the Obagi Soothing Complex 25, Drmtlgy tinted moisturizer, or the Unseen Sunscreen. (It really just depends on what I feel like.)

Then I apply foundation (with or without sunscreen).

Once my makeup is complete I’ll follow with the Peter Thomas Roth sunscreen powder with SPF 45. I only do this in the summer or if I choose a foundation that doesn’t contain SPF.


Do you already have a sunscreen that works for the sensitive skin on your face or will you pick up one of these?

I always love a product that multitasks so even if you don’t have or want sunscreen for your face, try a foundation with SPF followed by one of the mineral powder sunscreens.


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Paula Holloway
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