Dealing with sensitive skin is enough of a minefield already without throwing a heatwave into the mix, but whether you’re very fair, you suffer from eczema, or the sound of the ice cream van is enough to make you break out in prickly heat, there have been leaps and bounds in SPF-infused skincare, meaning there’s something out there for everyone these days. We’ve rounded up the best sun cream for sensitive skin currently on offer so you can find the soothing, protecting, and even skin-perfecting option for you.
- Don’t forget your lips this summer! Protect sensitive smoochers with an SPF option from our list of the best lip balms
- Looking for face specific sun protection? Read our round up of the best sunscreens for your face this season
- Get it all off at the end of the day with our best makeup removers, including gentle options for sensitive skin
As many of us know all too well, there can be seemingly endless variables to consider when our skin starts throwing a wobbly, so for more in-depth info on what to look for and what to avoid when buying sunscreen, check out this great guide from Get the Gloss. Where we can help is in narrowing down the dizzying array of options out there (hey, we’re not complaining!) to the products that consistently come out on top, based on feedback from sensitive-skinned lovelies and intrepid in-field testers.
1. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light Fluid
Immensely protective, but still light and comfortable
Best for: Protection | SPF: 50+ | Volume: 50ml | Skin area: Face
French skincare brand La Roche-Posay has long been a favourite of those who suffer with sensitive skin, but did you know they make a mean suncream? The Anthelios Ultra-Light Fluid has been extensively tested on fair and sensitive skin to ensure no adverse reactions and as well as having the joint-highest SPF on our list, it also helps to prevent the appearance of sun-induced dark spots, and is non-comedogenic and fragrance free. Reviewers loved its light, non-greasy feel and said it wears beautifully under makeup, even powder foundation, making it our best all round for everyday protection.
2. Clarins UV Plus Anti-Pollution Day Cream
A light and lovely formula that still sees off urban nasties
Best for: Urban areas | SPF: 50 | Volume: 30ml | Skin area: Face
Summer in the city can be amazing, but it can also wreak havoc on your skin. Clarins say this urban life-ready sun cream will see off free radicals and pollution as well as damaging UV rays with its factor 50 protection, thus eliminating two more factors in skin aging. Despite its high levels of SPF, it’s not heavy or greasy, and users say the oil-free formula feels lovely and light on the face, looks smooth under makeup, and doesn’t reflect in photos as some SPF-heavy products can.
3. Avene Mineral Fluid
A quick-absorbing, splash-resistant formula for fifty-plus protection
Best for: Water resistance | SPF: 50+ | Volume: 40ml | Skin area: Body
Another elegant offering from our friends across the Channel, this light-feeling sunscreen is infused with thermal water for a soothing, non-irritating feel, and offers broad spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays. So far, so good, but the thing that sets it apart from our other picks is its ability to stay put in water. Pop it on before you slide into the pool, and Avene say the feather-light mineral formula will sink quickly into the skin, leaving no greasy residue on the surface. That said, they still recommend you reapply after going in the water, and so do we. Better safe than sorry!
4. Ultrasun Family Ultra Sensitive Sun Cream
A real wonder product for sensitive skin of all ages
Best for: Prickly heat | SPF: 30 | Volume: 150ml | Skin area: Body
Reading the reams of five star reviews, it’s easy to see why this ultra sensitive sun cream is hailed as a bit of a little miracle: users said, variously, that they only had to apply once even on fair skin, that it didn’t irritate temperamental eczema-prone skin, that they were left without a trace of prickly heat after applying, and that it managed all this without being oily, greasy or tough to apply. It is on the pricey side for slathering onto all and sundry, but for its many talents, and its ability to be used on the whole family, we think it’s rather good.
5. Clinique City Block Sheer
Use under makeup or alone as a skin-prepping, protective powerhouse
Best for: Protective primer | SPF: 25 | Volume: 40ml | Skin area: Face
If you like the sound of the Clarins UV plus cream, but don’t need or want factor 50 protection in an everyday moisturiser, why not take this Clinique sun cream out for a spin? This Daily Face Protector has an oil-free formula that’s said to help wick away perspiration on hot days and even absorb excess oil, making it ideal for use as a makeup primer, or for wear all by itself – reviewers found its texture, subtle tint and non-greasy feel made it the perfect base for no-makeup days. Formulated to protect from all sorts of environmental damage, not just that from UV rays, it’s a great everyday option for city slickers.
6. Kiehl's Ultra Light Daily UV Defense
“Ultra light” is the name of the game with this absorbent protective cream
Best for: Finish | SPF: 50 | Volume: 60ml | Skin area: Face
This Kiehl’s sunscreen has its fair share of devotees, and they love it for the dewy appearance it aparts to both made-up and bare skin, as well as its protective properties. Sensitive-skinned reviewers also found that it didn’t cause breakouts as so many skincare products can, and that it was extremely moisturising without leaving a residue, making it great for those with both sensitive and dry skin, and for use in the winter when a lighter cream won’t cut it, but you still want to pack in some sun protection.
7. Childs Farm Sun Cream
Gentle on little bods and big people alike, this sensitive sun cream protects absolutely
Best for: Kids and eczema-prone skin | SPF: 50+ | Volume: 100ml | Skin area: Body
Our best sunscreen for kids comes, funnily enough, from multi award-winning brand Childs Farm. Like Avene’s Mineral Fluid, it’s water resistant; unlike it, it’s suitable for use all over the body and recommended for ages 6 months and up, so if you or your little ones are sensitive all over, they recommend you slather some of this on before hitting the beach or the pool. It’s also rated for eczema-sufferers, for whom hot weather can be especially irritating, which speaks volumes about its mild formula. Users did find it a bit thick compared to some of our other picks, but for all-over protection and soothing on sensitive skin, it’s worth the trade.
Check out the best sunblock to really protect you from those harmful rays