The Best Sunscreen For Each Skin Type

Written by WD Staff, Skin Care Specialists on January 10, 2017 One Comment

sunscreen per skin type

Sun protection is essential throughout the year, even in the wintertime. Protecting your skin from excessive exposure is the only way to prevent photo-aging, sun burns, and skin cancer development. The cornerstone of any sun protection regimen is the proper (and continual) use of a high quality sunscreen.

Here is the ideal sunscreen for each individual skin type:

Sensitive Skin

Using sunscreens that contain chemicals like PABA or oxybenzone on sensitive skin can cause skin rashes and irritation. A better choice would be physical sunscreens that contain titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. Those ingredients provide excellent protection but are milder on the skin.

Acne Prone Skin

Individuals who have acne-prone skin should shy away from harsh ingredients (PABA or oxybenzone) and also opt for a sunscreen that does not contain any added preservatives or fragrance. They should also avoid greasy sunscreens as they will often exacerbate breakouts.

There are many great sunscreens specifically formulated for acne skin types. These formulations tend to contain alcohol; giving them a drying effect and less likely to aggravate acne. Most formulations are also lightweight and non-greasy so they do not clog pores and contribute to acne development.

Dry Skin

People with dry skin should opt for a moisturizing sunscreen. These are specialized sunscreen formulations that contain ingredients that add hydration to the skin. Moisturizing sunscreens are usually creams, lotions, or ointments, so look for these terms on the label.

Fair Skin Tones

Fair skinned individuals (or people who have had skin cancer in the past) should use a broad spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF. While an SPF of 30 is recommended as the minimal level of protection, shoot for an SPF of 50+. Also make sure to apply frequently (after two hours out of doors or immediately after swimming or sweating heavily).

Dark Skin Tones

Even people with darker skin (who do not tan easily or experience sun burns) should use sunscreen daily to protect their skin. One concern people with darker skin have regarding sunscreen use is the potential for chalky or white residue to be left behind on their skin. This can be solved by using a high quality chemical sunscreen. Newer formulations are made to fully absorb and disappear in to the skin.

Mature Skin

Protecting your skin from the sun is important at all stages of life. People with mature skin should regularly use a high SPF broad spectrum sunscreen. If application is an issue due to mobility, give spray-on sunscreens a try. Spray sunscreens are now available in either chemical or physical formulations and make applying sunscreen too hard to reach places like the back or legs a breeze.


WD Staff

A united group of skin care specialists from Westlake Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery, Austin's leader in Dermatology and Plastic Surgery. Articles posted under WD staff are authored through combined contributions from our entire team, including Plastic Surgeons, Dermatologists, Aestheticians, Physician Assistants, Aesthetic Nurses, and Patient Coordinators.

One Response to “The Best Sunscreen For Each Skin Type”

  1. Avatar Caden says:

    I have pretty dry skin so I know that I’ll have to get a specific type of sunscreen for it. As you said, it would be good to find one that has a moisturizure in it so that my skin doesn’t dry out. I’ll see about finding one with that the next time I am out in the sun.

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