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The 15 Best Natural Sunscreens for Sensitive Skin, According to Dermatologists

Protect delicate skin and the environment.

best natural sunscreens
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We updated this article in April 2022 to add more information about each featured product, based on extensive research done by our team (and that of our sister team at the Good Housekeeping Institute).


Whether you’re concerned with your own health or the well-being of the planet at large, the best natural sunscreens are a safe bet for both your skin and the earth. Because they’re designed to be free of certain chemicals and friendly to sensitive skin, these mineral-based SPFs are worth taking on your next beach trip or hike.

That’s not to say that chemical sunscreens are automatically bad, though: The American Academy of Dermatology and the Skin Cancer Foundation agree that the benefits of chemical sunscreens “far outweigh any potential downsides,” says Joel Schlessinger, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon.

“However, many natural sunscreens work without chemicals to provide great sun protection and coverage,” he continues. Anyone with a history of a sunscreen allergy or conditions like rosacea and eczema might want to stick with natural sunscreens, which could bother skin less than their chemical counterparts.

Natural SPFs are also generally known as reef-safe sunscreens since they don’t contain potentially toxic ingredients like oxybenzone, a UV-blocking chemical associated with dire consequences for marine life. Still, the term “natural” is a bit hard to define, as it’s not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration—so you’ll have to read the label to ensure you’re avoiding chemical filters or potential skin irritants.

How we chose the best natural sunscreen

Even with all of this in mind, shopping for the right sunscreen can feel completely overwhelming—so we did the work for you! We consulted Dr. Schlessinger, Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, Julia Tzu, M.D., founder and medical director of Wall Street Dermatology in New York, Lauren Ploch, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, the Good Housekeeping Institute (GHI) who tests countless products to ensure a fair and accurate representation of each item, poured through online reviews, and researched the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) ratings for sunscreens (on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the safest and the top possible score of EWG-verified) to create this list.

Our top natural sunscreens

    Whether you want to avoid dangerous chemicals or simply want to know exactly what you’re putting on your skin, here are the best natural and organic sunscreens that will help protect you from the sun’s harmful rays.

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    Best Overall
    Sensitive Sunscreen
    Blue Lizard
    Blue Lizard
    Now 17% off

    • Great for Sensitive Skin
    • UV Exposure Indicator on Bottle
    • Fragrance-Free

    • May Leave a Cast on Dark Skin Tones

    Named one of our best sunscreens of 2022, Blue Lizard’s formula is ideal. “My patients with the most sensitive skin are able to tolerate this,” says Lauren Ploch, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology. “Plus, the bottle turns blue when there is UV exposure, so it’s a great reminder to reapply.” You’ll find no chemicals, parabens, or fragrances in this sunscreen.

    EWG rating: 2

    Best Value
    Positively Mineral Sunscreen
    Aveeno
    Aveeno

    • SPF 50
    • Great for Face and Body

    • Thick Formula

    “This sunscreen is free of chemical blockers, and uses mineral technology to protect the skin,” says Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. The natural, fragrance-free formula feels non-greasy, doesn’t clog pores, and can be applied to both face and body. It also contains oat extract, an especially soothing ingredient for easily irritated skin.

    EWG rating: 5

    Most Loved by Dermatologists
    UV Physical Sunscreen
    EltaMD
    EltaMD

    • Water-Resistant for up to 40 Minutes
    • Oil-Free
    • UV Physical Protection

    • May Leave a Cast on Dark Skin Tones

    This oil-free SPF combines zinc oxide and titanium dioxide—and zero fragrances or parabens (a win for sensitive skin). It’s also water-resistant for 40 minutes, so you can get your swim in. “This provides a nice tinted and matted coverage for the face,” says Julia Tzu, M.D., founder and medical director of Wall Street Dermatology in New York. “You can mix it with an un-tinted sunscreen to achieve your skin tone.”

    EWG rating: 3

    Best for Sensitive Skin
    Anthelios 50
    La Roche-Posay
    La Roche-Posay

    • Non-Greasy
    • Fragrance-Free

    • May Leave a Cast on Dark Skin Tones

    A favorite of Dr. Zeichner, this zinc oxide- and titanium dioxide-based face sunscreen offers serious sun protection. Better yet, it’s noncomedogenic and formulated without skin-irritating fragrances—and it dries matte. “It's not greasy at all and absorbs into the skin immediately,” one reviewer writes. Just be warned: its white cast is tough to rub in for melanin-rich skin tones, according to reviewers.

    EWG rating: 3

    Best for Acne-Prone Skin
    Mineral Mattescreen Sunscreen SPF 40
    Supergoop!
    Supergoop!

    • Acts as a Primer
    • Good for Oily Skin

    • Some Users Report Dry Skin After Use

    This shine-free formula has a whipped texture that sinks in quickly while blurring pores—and it won’t exacerbate acne. “This mineral sunscreen is gentle, protects the skin, and acts like a primer,” Dr. Zeichner says. “It absorbs oil, giving a matte appearance.” It’s also completely free of chemical filters and fragrances, and reviewers say it’s one of the brand’s best products.

    Not EWG rated

    Best for Darker Skin Tones
    Mineral Tinted Face Sunscreen
    Nordstrom
    Unsun

    • Nourishing Ingredients
    • Creamy Formula

    • Only Available in Two Shades

    Reef-safe, cruelty-free, and packed with nourishing shea butter, vitamin E, and coconut oil, this sunscreen from Black-owned brand Unsun is already worth adding to your cart. But thanks to its soft tint and creamy formula, it’s especially great at blending into darker skin tones—a much-needed improvement over other formulas that leave a white cast on skin. It “feels great on skin, leaves a beautiful radiant finish, and wears well throughout the day,” one reviewer reports.

    EWG rating: 4

    Best for Eczema
    Baby Hydrating Sunscreen
    Amazon
    CeraVe
    Now 16% off

    • Also Great for Babies
    • Physical Sunscreen

    • May Leave a Cast on Dark Skin Tones

    CeraVe’s kid-friendly mineral sunscreen, which blocks UV rays with a combination of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, is accepted by the National Eczema Organization for use by those with eczema and other skin conditions. The drugstore brand is beloved by skincare aficionados because of its accessible price point and high-quality ingredients—and this SPF is no exception.

    EWG rating: 2

    Best for Body
    Mineral Lotion
    Nordstrom
    Vacation

    • Water-Resistant for Up to 80 Minutes
    • Moisturizing Formula

    • Lightly Scented

    Body sunscreens should be cost-effective and easy to bring with you wherever you go—and Vacation’s mineral formulation fits the bill perfectly. Full of moisturizers like glycerin and vitamin E (and free from skin-irritating fragrances), this retro sunscreen is begging to be brought along to the beach. Plus, it’s water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. “With a light touch, you get a nice dry finish. Great for sensitive skin,” one reviewer says.

    Not rated by EWG

    Best Fast-Absorbing
    Eryfotona Actinica Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50+ Zinc Oxide 3.4 Fl. Oz.
    ISDIN
    ISDIN

    • Quick-Absorbing
    • Water-Resistant for 40 Minutes

    • Pricey

    Formulated with natural zinc oxide, this lightweight, completely mineral sunscreen was developed to be quick-absorbing and invisible on the skin. It’s also made with ingredients like DNA repairsomes and vitamin E, which add extra moisture and protection to your skin. And it’ll hold up in the water for up to 40 minutes, meaning you can fit in plenty of laps in the pool before reapplying.

    EWG rating: 8

    Best High-SPF
    Mineral Crème Sunscreen
    Amazon
    MDSolar Sciences
    Now 20% off

    • SPF 50
    • Water-Resistant for up to 80 Minutes

    • May Leave Cast on Darker Skin Tones
    • Users Report Oily Feeling

    Gentle enough for the whole family, this SPF packs free radical-fighting antioxidants, like vitamin C, green tea, and pomegranate extract, to fight premature signs of aging. Because it’s noncomedogenic, water-resistant for 80 minutes, and free of oils, fragrances, parabens, sulfates, and phthalates, this is a great pick for all skin types. “It is the first facial sunscreen that has not broken me out or made my eyes burn,” one Amazon reviewer raves.

    EWG rating: 2

    Best for All Skin Tones
    Unrivaled Sun Serum
    Nordstrom
    EleVen by Venus Williams

    • Hydrating Formula
    • Semi-Matte

    • Some Users Report Frustration With Applicator

    Approved by Venus Williams herself, this SPF can hold up on the court while also seamlessly blending into the skin. The reef-safe serum delivers much-needed moisture and sun protection from zinc oxide. “A few of my friends and I have been using this product, and only those of us with truly dry skin have loved it,” one Credo reviewer says. “It leaves my skin hydrated and semi-matte, and it’s a great primer for makeup.”

    EWG rating: 1

    Best for Mature Skin
    Sheer Zinc Oxide Dry-Touch Face Sunscreen
    Neutrogena
    Neutrogena

    • Hydrating
    • Works Well With Makeup

    • May Leave Cast on Dark Skin Tones

    Neutrogena’s great value zinc oxide face sunscreen was easy to apply and effective at preventing sunburn, the Good Housekeeping Institute notes. The smooth, softening formula is ideal for mature skin types, and it works well under foundation. In fact, the GHI says testers found it didn't interfere with their makeup application. Several users remarked that they liked how it "moisturized skin". Like many physical sunscreens, it might leave a bit of a white cast at first while it soaks in so it may be better suited for fairer skin tones.

    EWG Rating: 5

    Best Water-Resistant
    Thinksport Mineral Sunscreen
    Amazon
    Now 15% off

    • Water-Resistant for up to 80 Minutes
    • Anti-Aging Formula

    • May Leave a Cast on Dark Skin Tones

    This chemical-free, organic sunscreen packs aloe vera, jojoba oil, and hyaluronic acid to keep skin feeling hydrated, smooth, and soft. It also contains vitamin C, a powerful anti-aging antioxidant that offers extra protection against sun damage. The water-resistant formula lasts up to 80 minutes and absorbs quickly, meaning you won’t have to worry about that greasy feeling as you lounge by the water.

    EWG rating: 2

    Best Gel
    Mineral Sunscreen
    Walmart
    Bare Republic

    • Affordable
    • Great for Oily Skin

    • Pilling
    • May Leave a Cast on Dark Skin Tones

    “I’m impressed with how nice the slight green-tinted gel color-corrects the red areas on the face as well [as it does], as it’s pretty sheer going on without that terrible white cast,” one Walmart reviewer says of this zinc oxide-based SPF. “Oh, and it’s at an affordable price point, too. So it’s a win-win for me, and possibly you, too.”

    EWG rating: 1

    Best for Athletes
    Coola Mineral Body Sunscreen
    Ulta

    • Water-Resistant for up to 80 Minutes
    • Nourishing Ingredients

    • May Leave a Cast on Dark Skin Tones

    Coola’s vegan, organic sunscreen made with zinc oxide is not only sun-protective, but also keeps skin feeling super soft, thanks to nourishing ingredients like shea butter, hyaluronic acid, and coconut oil. Water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, it’s a great option for beach days or outdoor workouts.

    EWG rating: 5

    How to pick the best natural sunscreen for you

    Find the active ingredient. Natural sunscreens are formulated with mineral or physical sunscreen ingredients, like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which physically block the sun’s rays from UV damage, as opposed to chemical sunscreens that absorb radiation once it reaches your skin, Dr. Schlessinger explains. As a bonus, these ingredients are considered reef-safe, as they have not yet been found to harm corals.

    Look for extras. In addition to sun protection, your SPF of choice can include ingredients like hyaluronic acid, ceramides, shea butter, aloe vera, and glycerin for a boost of skin-soothing moisture. Products without oils, fragrances, or para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) will also help minimize irritation, says Meghan Feely, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in New Jersey and New York and a clinical instructor in Mount Sinai’s Department of Dermatology.

    Kick up the SPF. To ensure optimal sun protection, Dr. Schlessinger recommends sticking with SPF 30 or higher. Going lower might not offer enough protection against the sun’s radiation, which can cause skin cancer, especially if you’ll be spending a lot of time outside. Thankfully, oxides offer protection from both UVA and UVB rays.

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