It’s a Catch-22. To prevent a flareup, you need to wear sunscreen. But some solar creams seem to make your condition worse.
They have ingredients that trigger more flushing. You might even end up with pimples on top of the redness.
And when your face is fire engine red you might feel uncomfortable in public.
That’s why we researched to find the best sunscreens for rosacea.
We want you to have what you need to care for your skin.
Not every sunblock for sensitive skin is mild enough to meet our criteria. Check out the reviews below to see our top picks for sunscreens that protect rosacea-prone skin.
- How Do You Know If You Have Rosacea?
- Myths about Rosacea
- What Can You Do to Reduce Rosacea?
- What Makes a Sunscreen Safe for Rosacea-prone Skin?
- Top Sunscreens for Rosacea
- EltaMD UV Pure Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 47
- EltaMD UV Sport Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 50
- EltaMD UV Physical Tinted Facial Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 41
- La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50
- TIZO 3 Tinted Face Mineral SPF40 Sunscreen
- TIZO 2 Non-Tinted Facial Mineral Sunscreen SPF 40
- TIZO Ultra Zinc Body & Face Sunscreen Non-Tinted SPF 40
- TIZO Tinted Lip Protection SPF 45
- Badger SPF 30 Unscented Tinted Sunscreen Cream
- Vanicream SPF 35 Sport Sunscreen
- Vanicream Lip Protectant/Sunscreen SPF 30
- Coola Suncare Mineral Face SPF 30 Sunscreen Matte Finish
- Coola Suncare Classic Sport Sunscreen
- Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen SPF 30+
- Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen – Face Sunscreen SPF 30+
- Neutrogena Face Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin Broad Spectrum SPF 50
- Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Oxide Dry-Touch Face Sunscreen
- Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Sunscreen Lotion with Broad Spectrum SPF 60+
- DRMTLGY Anti-Aging Clear Face Sunscreen and Facial Moisturizer with Broad Spectrum SPF 45
- Cotz SPF 40 UVB/UVA Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin
- CeraVe 100% Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50
How Do You Know If You Have Rosacea?
The best way to know if you have rosacea is to confirm it with your doctor.
But you can know if you’re at risk for (or if you have) rosacea if you meet these conditions:
- Either or both of your parents have it
- You tend to blush easily
- You have light-colored skin and Northern or Eastern European ancestry
- You’re over age 30
- You can see red patches on your cheeks, nose, forehead, or chin (they may not be present all the time)
- The same parts of your face that flush red are also prone to bumps and pimples (sometimes)
- The reddened skin may sting or burn or swell
- Blood vessels in your face may be more obvious
- In some people, eyes may be watery, irritated, and bloodshot
- Rosacea may also affect your scalp, neck, chest, and ears
Rosacea tends to come and go. At times it’s in remission. Then after too much sun, exercise, or exposure to irritants, you’ll see symptoms once again (1).
Myths about Rosacea
Rosacea is not caused by heavy drinking of alcohol.
It’s not the result of frostbite or a bad sunburn.
It’s not acne, and it doesn’t appear because you didn’t wash your face well enough.
Rosacea is a skin condition that isn’t your fault (2).
What Can You Do to Reduce Rosacea?
There are five things you can do to care for your skin when you have rosacea.
First, use a gentle face wash and rinse well with lukewarm water. Blot, don’t scrub.
Second, apply a moisturizer made for sensitive skin. You might also look into medication.
Third, wear sunscreen to keep ultraviolet radiation from causing a flare-up.
Fourth, avoid ingredients that trigger rosacea. For example, topical alcohol, menthol, artificial fragrances, salicylic acid, and astringents may cause problems.
Fifth, protect your skin on windy, cold days and try to stay cool in the summer. Furthermore, avoid other triggers like hot baths or too much stress (3).
What Makes a Sunscreen Safe for Rosacea-prone Skin?
When you shop for sunscreen, look for SPF 30 or higher.
Next, mineral sunblocks are less irritating than chemical ones. Check the ingredients for zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
After that, double-check the label to see if it lists a fragrance or perfume. There are plenty of products that don’t have fragrances, and you certainly don’t need one to have an effective sunscreen.
If you’re self-conscious about the redness and don’t like wearing makeup, look for a tinted sunscreen. Also, you’re likely to find tinted facial moisturizers for sensitive skin with mineral sunblock (4).
Top Sunscreens for Rosacea
Now let’s dive into the reviews of the top sunscreens for rosacea.
EltaMD UV Pure Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 47
EltaMD makes one of the more popular sunscreens preferred by persons with rosacea. It has a high sun protection factor that defends against both UVA and UVB radiation. It even prevents damage caused by infrared radiation.
One of the primary reasons we recommend this product is that it relies on mineral sunblocks. It has 10% zinc oxide and 5.5% titanium dioxide. These ingredients are much less likely to irritate sensitive skin.
Also on the plus side, the sunscreen lasts up to eighty minutes in the water but feels very lightweight and non-greasy. You can apply it to either dry or wet skin anywhere on your body.
Finally, it’s free of irritants like fragrances, oils, dyes, and parabens.
EltaMD UV Sport Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 50
EltaMD also makes a sport version of their popular sunscreen. The advantage of this formula is that it won’t drip into your eyes when you’re sweaty.
Of course, it has no artificial fragrance, parabens, or oil in it. It relies on 9% transparent zinc oxide.
EltaMD UV Physical Tinted Facial Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 41
This tinted facial sunscreen enhances your natural appearance while it protects you from sunburn. It stands up to sweat, humidity, and swimming. But it’s only water-resistant for forty minutes in the pool.
The UV protection is provided by 7% titanium dioxide and 9% transparent zinc oxide. Again, there are no perfumes, oils, or parabens in the bottle.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50
We’ll be straight with you: this is not a cheap sunscreen. But it’s worth it if you have sensitive skin.
It’s also available in a tinted version. Both are fragrance-free.
The Cell-Ox Shield Technology combines titanium dioxide and zinc oxide with antioxidants for superior protection. It defends against sunburn, aging, and harsh physical environments. Moreover, there are no chemical sunscreens or common allergens in it.
Once you apply it, it absorbs quickly and dries to a velvet finish. It stays on in the water for up to forty minutes.
You might be tempted to settle for a cheap sunscreen. We completely understand this as we’ve all been on a tight budget before.
We strive to select the best products to meet specific needs. Spending a little more at the outset may save you from tossing out an inferior cream and having to buy something else.
Before you make a purchase, factor in how long the sunscreen will last. You may find that the daily cost of using it is low enough to make it acceptable.
–The Team’s take
TIZO 3 Tinted Face Mineral SPF40 Sunscreen
The TIZO 3 facial sunscreen sets to a matte finish so that you can wear it underneath makeup. The lightly tinted coverage helps disguise redness.
It has zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, and iron to protect your skin from photodamage and sunburn.
The formula lacks dyes, fragrances, preservatives, and oils. It lasts up to eighty minutes in the water.
TIZO 2 Non-Tinted Facial Mineral Sunscreen SPF 40
The TIZO 2 face sunscreen may not be pigmented, but it works well as a primer. The lightweight texture sets to a velvety finish.
It’s based on titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to reflect UV radiation away from your skin.
If you wear it on the beach, it lasts up to eighty minutes in water before you need to reapply.
TIZO Ultra Zinc Body & Face Sunscreen Non-Tinted SPF 40
TIZO also makes a zinc-based sunscreen for your body. Because it contains multiple particle sizes of this essential mineral, it won’t make you look pasty pale. Once you rub it in, it disappears.
Like the face sunscreens from the same company, this one is free of preservatives, fragrances, and dyes. The 20% zinc oxide formula is safe to use after cosmetic procedures.
TIZO Tinted Lip Protection SPF 45
Don’t forget to protect your lips from sunburn. This tube of lip protection has 20% zinc oxide and no fragrances, dyes, parabens, or lanolin.
In a pinch, you can use this product on your ears and nose, too.
Badger SPF 30 Unscented Tinted Sunscreen Cream
Fans of Badger’s sunscreen point out that it’s made with non-GMO organic ingredients, it’s biodegradable, and it’s reef-safe.
In other words, not only does it protect your skin, but it’s also kind to the environment.
The zinc oxide-based cream stands up to forty minutes in the water. It provides broad-spectrum protection with non-nano mineral particles. The slight scent comes from natural beeswax. Plus, the packaging is BPA-free and recyclable.
Vanicream SPF 35 Sport Sunscreen
Vanicream has created a non-greasy sunscreen that’s free of common allergens. To illustrate, it lacks gluten as well as dyes, perfumes, masking fragrances, lanolin, preservatives, parabens, and oils.
Even though it’s based on zinc oxide, the cream is easy to spread, and it sinks in fast. Since it contains Vitamin E, it neutralizes free radicals that cause premature aging. It shouldn’t turn your skin white, either.
On the downside, it also contains 2.8% octinoxate, a chemical sunblock. This ingredient may mimic hormones and disrupt the endocrine system according to the Environmental Working Group.
Vanicream Lip Protectant/Sunscreen SPF 30
Vanicream’s lip sunscreen is a convenient alternative for people with sensitive skin. Although it doesn’t have any flavoring, it defends against dryness and sunburn.
Besides titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, it has dimethicone to seal in moisture. But it’s free of artificial dyes and fragrances, parabens, lanolin, and preservatives.
Coola Suncare Mineral Face SPF 30 Sunscreen Matte Finish
Coola won the award of Best Natural Sunscreen from New Beauty Magazine two years in a row. It’s rich in natural moisturizers like shea butter, plankton extract, and rosehip oil.
Take note that it’s labeled as “unscented.” That’s not always the same as fragrance-free.
On the upside, it has non-nano-sized mineral particles. Plus, the light tint brightens skin and evens tone.
Coola Suncare Classic Sport Sunscreen
Coola’s Sport Sunscreen has a high sun protection factor, and it stays on in the water for up to eighty minutes.
It contains vitamin-rich avocado butter, arnica, and agave leaf extract to soothe and nourish the skin. Arnica may be of benefit to rosacea suffers as it reduces redness.
On the downside, the unscented formula has a slightly fishy odor according to some users.
Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen SPF 30+
Blue Lizard left out artificial fragrances and parabens when they made this sunscreen for sensitive skin. It also lacks chemical sunblocks like oxybenzone and octinoxate so it won’t harm coral reefs.
Even though this solar cream is based on zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, it only lasts up to forty minutes in the water.
Here’s something you may not have known: the product’s bottle turns blue in bright sunlight as a reminder for you to apply sunscreen.
Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen – Face Sunscreen SPF 30+
Avoid acne by using this Blue Lizard face sunscreen. It’s designed for sensitive skin, and it won’t clog pores.
The mineral-based moisturizer is free of fragrances and parabens. It has hyaluronic acid to keep your skin soft and supple.
But be aware that it also contains green tea and caffeine, which are rich in antioxidants. These two components could trigger a flare-up for some people. That’s unfortunate as they also fight signs of aging.
Also note that the label lists octinoxate, a chemical sunscreen.
Neutrogena Face Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin Broad Spectrum SPF 50
Neutrogena got the Seal of Acceptance from the National Eczema Association for this sunscreen. That’s no guarantee that it’s ideal for rosacea-prone skin. But it’s bound to be less irritating than most drugstore sunscreens.
It features Neutrogena’s PureScreen Technology. That translates to a blend of naturally-sourced ingredients that reflect harmful rays.
In conclusion, the thin consistency spreads nicely and absorbs quickly. There are no artificial fragrances plus the formula’s been tested against common allergens. It lasts for up to eighty minutes of swimming.
Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Oxide Dry-Touch Face Sunscreen
Neutrogena’s Sheer Zinc facial sunscreen has SPF 50 protection. It’s made with 100% zinc oxide. The Dry Touch technology makes sure that it sets to a matte finish. It also won’t make your eyes sting.
This product is free of dyes, fragrances, parabens, and phthalates.
Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Sunscreen Lotion with Broad Spectrum SPF 60+
If you struggle with rosacea on your body, not just your face, try Neutrogena’s sunscreen for sensitive skin. It’s free of artificial fragrances and oils plus it stays on up to eighty minutes in the water.
The Purescreen Technology blends physical sunscreens to shield against UV radiation. Those ingredients include both titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.
This product is mild enough that the National Eczema Association awarded it a Seal of Acceptance for sensitive skin.
DRMTLGY Anti-Aging Clear Face Sunscreen and Facial Moisturizer with Broad Spectrum SPF 45
DRMTLGY includes both zinc oxide and octinoxate in their facial sunscreen. But it is fragrance-free and not greasy.
While it prevents damage from UV radiation, it also protects against infrared rays. The addition of niacinamide and hyaluronic acid ends up moisturizing and correcting uneven skin tone.
The company offers a 60-day money-back guarantee.
Cotz SPF 40 UVB/UVA Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin
Cotz made their broad-spectrum sunscreen safe enough to use after chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and laser surgery. In other words, if you can use it when your skin is ultra-sensitive, it’s good enough to use when you have rosacea.
It has 20% zinc oxide but no artificial fragrances, parabens, phthalates, or oils. It won’t even sting your eyes.
CeraVe 100% Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50
CeraVe’s mineral sunscreen features the three essential ceramides they put in their lotions. Those components help restore your skin’s natural barrier and retain moisture for longer.
With this solar cream, you won’t have to worry about parabens, artificial fragrances, or oils. It won’t clog pores, and it’s gentle enough to use on children. Furthermore, it’s reef-safe.
Start now – it only takes a few seconds every day. Protect your sensitive skin with the best sunscreens for rosacea.
The results are worth it as you could enjoy less redness and fewer flare-ups.
The small cost of a bottle of sunscreen is nothing compared to feeling better about your skin.
- https://www.rosacea.org/patients/all-about-rosacea accessed 01 May 2019
- https://dermatology.ca/public-patients/skin/rosacea/ accessed 01 May 2019
- https://www.rosacea.org/patients/frequently-asked-questions#commonlifestyle accessed 01 May 2019
- https://www.rosacea.org/patients/skin-care/sunscreen-for-rosacea accessed 01 May 2019