Dermatologists Recommend These 11 Sunscreens for People With Rosacea

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We all know how important it is to wear broad-spectrum sunscreen every single day, but what’s less often spoken about is sunscreen formulas for those with rosacea. Rosacea is a common condition where the skin flushes more easily, resulting in redness, sensitivity, and uneven texture.

Once triggers are identified, it can be managed pretty well, but sunscreen presents a tricky topic because they often contain sensitizing ingredients (such as fragrance and chemical filters). But as facialist and aesthetician Melanie Grant explains, those with rosacea are also highly susceptible to sun damage and UV radiation which will break down collagen and elastin, plus contribute to inflammation, so it’s extremely important to find an SPF formula that protects without irritating. 

And luckily, there are some effective, skin-soothing products on the market—you just have to know where to look. 

Keep scrolling for our edit of the best sunscreens for rosacea.

Our Top Picks
A drugstore favorite, this pick has a lightweight texture, non-whitening formula, and effective UV protection.
This zinc-based sunscreen features B3 and ceramides to help prevent irritation.
It offers SPF 30 UV protection and a whole host of potent botanical extracts that help care for the skin.
Feel protected wearing sunscreen without having to worry about clogging pores and exasperating acne.
Common irritants are not found here, and the addition of Marula oil protects the skin.
With no white cast and skin-nourishing ingredients (like sea buckthorn), you'll love this pick.
The formula, made with Centella, helps sooth, moisturize, and neutralize skin.
Squalane is used to soften, smooth, and moisturize even the driest skin.
This physical sunscreen uses ingredients to deflect the sun's rays from damaging skin.
Get a glowing finish without irritating skin or clogging pores.

Best Overall: La Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral Tinted Sunscreen For Face SPF 50

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral Tinted Sunscreen Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid SPF 50

Leave it to the French to create a gentle, milky, high-protection sunscreen that doesn’t aggravate the skin or cause flare-ups. Fragrance and paraben-free, it’s a great choice for all complexions given its natural finish and lightweight texture (which isn’t easy for a 50+ zinc-based product).

Best Drugstore: CeraVe Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50 Face Lotion

CeraVe Mineral Sunscreen Lotion for Face

Made using both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, this simple facial sunscreen is bolstered with niacinamide and ceramides in the formula that can help to firm up the skin barrier and prevent irritation. It’s quite thick but does sink in, leaving the skin soft and velvety once absorbed.

Best Moisturizer: InstaNatural Vitamin C Moisturizer

InstaNatural Vitamin C Moisturizer

According to Brand Development Director and Lead Esthetician at InstaNatural Heather Wilson, this moisturizer actually boasts a sun protection factor of 30, plus botanical extracts that will help nourish and care for the skin. It’s also rich in antioxidants.

Best for Acne: Elta MD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46

Elta MD Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 46

Derms and celebs alike are big fans of this SPF from Ulta MD, probably because it’s designed specifically for pigmented, oily and acne-prone skin types. It's formulated with zinc oxide and octinoxate, plus niacinamide, lactic acid, and hyaluronic acid meant to help refine the skin and prevent congestion.

Best for Sensitive Skin: Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defense SPF 30

Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defense SPF 30

This blend, rich in zinc oxide, antioxidants, and oils, promises to protect and nourish fragile skin. Light and creamy, it absorbs well and is free from potential ingredient triggers like fragrance, essential oils, and oxybenzone.

Best for Combination Skin: Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare All-Physical Lightweight Wrinkle Defense Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30

Dr. Dennis Gross All-Physical Lightweight Wrinkle Defense SPF 30 Sunscreen

This new launch from Dr. Dennis Gross is made using a clear form of zinc oxide, so it blends well with zero white cast. It’s also rich in nourishing sea buckthorn, so you’ll feel hydrated and soft while you're wearing it.

Best for Fair to Medium Skin Tones: Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment SPF30

Dr. Jart+ Cicapiar Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment

This stuff is magic when it comes to neutralizing the redness associated with rosacea. The secret lies in the green-ish undertone and the inclusion of soothing Centella in the formula–both of which are meant to reduce redness and even out tone. It’s quite rich, so it works great on drier complexions.

Best for Dry Skin: Biossance Squalane + Zinc Sheer Mineral Sunscreen

Biossance Squalane + Zinc Sheer Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 PA +++

Parched skin types will relish in this creamy SPF offering from Biossance. Rich in the brand’s signature squalane, this formula promises to help calm and moisturize stressed-out skin while protecting it from UV rays.

Best for Normal Skin: Skinceuticals Physical UV Defense SPF 30

Skinceuticals Physical UV Defense SPF 30

We’ve never met a Skinceuticals product we didn’t like! The Physical UV Defense is a great all-rounder, thanks to the fact it has a natural-feeling finish. It’s completely physical and specifically formulated for sensitive, post-procedure skin, making it suitable for those with rosacea.

Best for a Dewy Finish: Dermalogica Super Sensitive Shield SPF 30

Dermalogica Super Sensitive Shield SPF 30

If you don’t want to irritate the skin but still want a dewy finish, this Dermalogica pick is top-notch. Formulated with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, the fragrance-free cream applies beautifully, leaving the skin soft, hydrated, and most importantly, protected.

Final Verdict

Sunscreen is a personal skincare choice and really comes down to your complexion goals and desired finish. But with that being said, there are three standouts in the above list that we’ve crowned team Byrdie favorites. First of all, there’s La Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral Tinted Sunscreen For Face SPF 50 (view at Ulta) for its light, hydrating, skin-soothing formula that just so happens to be appropriately priced. Then there’s Elta MD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46—the best SPF for troublesome, sensitive skin. And finally, Skinceuticals Physical UV Defense SPF 30 because it’s a great all-rounder that sinks in fast, feels good, and won’t trigger redness.

What to Look for in a Sunscreen for Rosacea-Prone Skin

Chemical vs. Physical Filters 

While there are always exceptions to the rule, Grant suggests that those who have rosacea opt for physical or inorganic sunscreens as they are typically less irritating: “It’s important to avoid ingredients that will cause further irritation to the skin, including fragrance, drying alcohols, oxybenzone, and avobenzone. Reach for a mineral-based formula with calming, restorative zinc oxide or titanium dioxide,” Grant explains. “For those of us with sensitive skin or rosacea, always test a new product behind your ear or on the side of your neck before slathering it all over your face.”

Skin Soothers

On the flip side, calming ingredients are great to look out for when buying sunscreen. Grant suggests reaching for a formula that contains niacinamide, peptides, panthenol, ceramides, and fatty acids to help boost barrier function and soothe the complexion. 

Why Trust Byrdie?

Aside from having a few rosacea-prone team members, Emily Algar is dedicated to seeking out the best recommendations for all skin types and concerns, especially in a category such as sunscreen. And as always, Emily has called on an expert in the field (in this instance, facialist and aesthetician Melanie Grant) to explain exactly what we should and shouldn't be looking out for.

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Buddenkotte J, Steinhoff M. Recent advances in understanding and managing rosaceaF1000Res. 2018;7:F1000 Faculty Rev-1885. doi:10.12688/f1000research.16537.1

  2. Levin J, Momin SB. How much do we really know about our favorite cosmeceutical ingredients?J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2010;3(2):22-41.

  3. Zielińska A, Nowak I. Abundance of active ingredients in sea-buckthorn oilLipids Health Dis. 2017;16(1):95. doi:10.1186/s12944-017-0469-7

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