Which Sunscreen Should I Use for My Skin Type?

We all know that wearing sunscreen every day is the best way to protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun.[1] When it comes to looking after your skin, however, it can be hard to find a sunscreen that suits your skin type. Using the wrong one may leave your skin oily, dry, irritated or prone to breakouts, making you more reluctant to use it every day. That’s why we’ve put together this guide, which helps you choose the right sunscreen for your skin type, to help keep it looking and feeling its best whilst also protecting it.

Dry Skin

If you struggle with dry skin, choosing a sunscreen with a moisturising base will help keep your face feeling supple and hydrated. Avoid alcohol-based sprays and gels, which can sap moisture from the skin, leaving it feeling dry and tight. Choosing a sunscreen with vitamin B3, which restores essential moisture to the skin, is a great way to protect yourself against UVA and UVB damage, whilst keeping your skin hydrated.

Oily Skin

People who have oily skin may be put off using a daily sunscreen, thinking that it will make their skin greasy and cause breakouts. Choosing an oil-free sunscreen that is specifically designed for the face should eliminate this problem, allowing those with oily skin to protect it without having to worry. Sunscreens that have an oil-free base do not have the greasy finish of more moisturising sunscreens, making them perfect for layering under makeup for a matte finish. Makeup that has an SPF rating is not sufficient for protecting your skin from sun damage, so beginning your daily routine with a broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection sunscreen is essential.[2] Pick a sunscreen like SunSense’s Daily Face, which offers an oil-free base over which you easily layer your usual makeup, without having to worry about the quality of your sun protection.

Sensitive Skin 

Sensitive skin is another skin concern that can put people off using sunscreen on a daily basis. Sunscreens that contain harsh chemicals or have strong fragrances are among the worst offenders for irritating sensitive skin. To avoid this problem, choose a sunscreen that has been specially designed for young children or people with sensitive skin. Look for sunscreens that are fragrance free and do not use chemical absorbers, instead opt for products with soothing ingredients such as zinc oxide. Sunscreens such as SunSense Sensitive, or sensitive matte if you struggle with shiny skin, offer strong protection without the strong chemicals that can cause your sensitive skin to flare up.

Which Sunscreen - Sensitive Skin

Fair vs Dark Skin

Whilst people with fair skin may be considered more susceptible to the effects of the sun, you shouldn’t assume that just because your skin is darker the sun isn’t damaging it. People of all skin tones should protect themselves with sunscreen whenever they’re out and about.[3] Wearing a high factor sunscreen (we would recommend no less than SPF 50) every day helps to protect people of all skin tones from the sun’s potentially harmful rays. Sunburn, pigmentation, premature ageing, wrinkles, and skin cancer are just some of the potential side effects of exposure to harmful UVA and UVB rays that can be protected against with daily sunscreen use. Choose a sunscreen with a high SPF, no matter what your skin type. Getting even coverage is important for all skin types, to avoid patches of damage on areas that have been missed, so invest in a sunscreen such as SunSense Ultra that provides improved coverage and reliable protection.

Anti-Ageing

Sun exposure can cause the skin to age prematurely, making anti-ageing protection a key concern for many when choosing a daily sunscreen.[4] Sunscreens that combine broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection with anti-ageing ingredients are ideal for people with these skin concerns. Look for sun protection that contains alpha hydroxyl acid (AHA) which helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Everyday use will both reduce visible signs of ageing, and prevent further damage to the skin. SunSense’s Anti-Ageing Face range, which comes in a variety of finishes, is the perfect example of a sunscreen that provides high quality protection while giving you all the benefits of an anti-ageing treatment.

Junior Skin

When it comes to protecting your children’s skin from the sun, it is important to choose a sunscreen that is specially designed for their sensitive skin. Junior sunscreens should never have an SPF lower than 50 and should be specially formulated for children’s skin. Look for a fragrance-free sunscreen that won’t irritate the skin. For younger children, it is wise to choose a sunscreen that has an easy-to-apply formula to make daily application as quick and easy as possible. It might also be worth choosing a water-resistant formula, so your children can play freely without you having to worry. Sunscreen that has been formulated with children in mind, like SunSense Kids, is the best option for protecting your children in the sun, as they are specially designed with delicate skin in mind whilst providing protection that will stand up to kids’ active lifestyles.

Which Sunscreen - Junior Skin

Hard Working Skin

If you work outside or do a lot of outdoor sports, it is important to choose a sunscreen that is designed for your lifestyle. Choose a sunscreen that has been specially formulated to resist sweat – and sand if you do a lot of beach sports. Water resistance is also an important feature if you are likely to be exposed to water. Ensure that you are regularly reapplying your sunscreen if you are spending a lot of time outdoors (we recommend every four hours as a minimum). One application first thing isn’t enough to keep you protected all day. SunSense Sport range is an example of the type of sunscreen you should invest in if you work or exercise outdoors. It has been formulated specifically to meet the requirements of people who work hard in the sun, providing you with reliable protection that is easy to apply wherever you are.



[1] Cancer Research UK. When do I need to protect myself? [Internet] [updated 2014 Feb 17; cited 2017 March 17]. Available from: http://sunsmart.org.uk/UV-the-sun-and-skincancer/when-do-i-need-to-protect-myself/

[2] The Telegraph. Is the SPF in makeup enough sun protection? [internet] [updated 2016 May 11; cited 2017 March 17]. Available from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/beauty/face/is-the-spf-in-makeup-enough-sun-protection/.

[3] Cancer Research UK. When do I need to protect myself? [Internet] [updated 2014 Feb 17; cited 2015 Apr 20]. Available from: http://sunsmart.org.uk/UV-the-sun-and-skincancer/when-do-i-need-to-protect-myself/

[4] Flament F, Bazin R, Laquieze, Rubert V, Simonpietri E, Piot. B. Effect of the sun on visible clinical signs of aging in Caucasian skin. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol 2013;6: 221-232.