Whether you have sensitive skin or just prefer to avoid strong smells, a fragrance-free sunscreen is a great addition to your skincare routine! Before you buy one, however, it's helpful to understand what this term means. Fragrance-free products aren't necessarily 100% free from ingredients that contain scents. Rather, fragrance-free products have no added perfume or scent-masking ingredients.
We've also provided some tips and suggestions on how to choose a fragrance-free sunscreen that matches your skin type and needs. We picked the Unscented SPF 30 Clear Zinc Sunscreen Cream from Badger as our number one product! It's biodegradable, contains minimal ingredients, and offers broad-spectrum protection. Don't forget to check other suggested products in our top 9 list, too!
Dr. Levy is a board certified dermatologist practicing in NYC and Westport, Connecticut. She has expertise in treating inflammatory skin conditions like acne, rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis. She has an interest in skincare and takes a personalized approach to all of her patients.
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In this section, you'll find a lot of useful information on how to choose a fragrance-free sunscreen that perfectly matches your needs. Make sure you don't miss out on any details!
Before you look for a sunscreen, you must first know your skin type to find the right consistency and ingredients for your skin.
If you have oily or acne-prone skin, we suggest you avoid most oils. Keep in mind that your skin is already shiny and greasy enough, adding more oil your skin is the last thing you'll want.
Some oils are also pore-clogging and can lead to breakouts, so we suggest that you stick with an oil-free, sheer, and lightweight formula like a gel or spray. If you have acne-prone skin, a non-comedogenic sunscreen is a good choice - this phrase means it doesn't contain any pore-clogging ingredients!
Acne medications make you sun-sensitive, so wearing daily sunscreen is a must. Just be sure to look for an oil-free sunscreen. My favorite sunscreen is the one I wear myself and recommend to all my acne and rosacea patients: EltaMD UV Clear.
This sunscreen is very lightweight and hydrating. It also has niacinamide in it, which is an anti-inflammatory ingredient and therefore excellent for acne-prone skin.
The tinted version of this sunscreen can be worn in the place of foundation, but it's is still very lightweight and won't clog your pores.
Dry skin can cause redness, itching, cracking, inflammation, and can even lead to eczema. So, you’ll need to add moisture to your dry skin.
We suggest looking for a sunscreen with extra-moisturizing ingredients like ceramides, hyaluronic acid, glycerin, sunflower oil, beeswax, coconut oil, or shea butter. In general, most sunscreens that contain moisturizing ingredients usually come in lotion, cream, or stick formulas.
Creams are more hydrating than lotions, so if you have dry skin, look for cream. I recommend facial sunscreens with ceramides or hyaluronic acid, which will counteract the drying effects of a mineral-based sunscreen.
You can always use your moisturizer of choice underneath your sunscreen for extra hydration. CeraVe's Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen is a great choice if you have dry skin or eczema.
If you have sensitive skin, it's better to avoid any harsh ingredients that may irritate your skin, like alcohol and parabens.
If you’re unsure of which ingredients aren't safe for your skin, do a patch test! Before applying the product to your face or body, put a small amount of product on your wrist and cover it with a bandage. Wait for a day to see how your skin reacts. If there's no redness or irritation, you're good to go!
You can also look for sunscreens that have been dermatologist-approved, or you can ask your own dermatologist for advice.
Studies have found that combining sunscreen and vitamin C provides better UVA protection. Vitamin C helps prevent premature aging by promoting collagen production, as well. Thus, this vitamin can help to slow down the signs of aging and offer better defense against the sun!
If you're a minimalist, then a sunscreen with vitamin C is for you. Vitamin C serums or creams should be applied daily in the morning under your sunscreen. This will fight skin aging and help lighten hyperpigmentation.
Adding vitamin C to your sunscreen is very beneficial if you only want to use one product in the morning, as wearing sunscreen daily is a must to help prevent skin damage from UV rays.
Pick a consistency that suits the season! Skin tends to become dry in the winter and oily in the summer. So, you may consider using a sunscreen that has a thick consistency, like creams and lotions, in winter. On the other hand, a lightweight sunscreen, like gels and sprays, are the perfect option for summer.
No matter what type of skin you have, it’s important to always notice your skin issues. You should be ready to change your sunscreen based on the skin problems you have at that time, whether it's dryness, acne, or sensitivity.
Water-resistant sunscreen is a good choice for summer, swimming, and outdoor activities. You don't want to sweat or rinse your sunscreen off, after all! All water-resistant sunscreens only protect your skin for 40 to 80 minutes after your skin is wet.
Since each brand offers a different level of protection, we suggest you always check the label for the protection period. Keep in mind that there is no waterproof sunscreen, so you'll need to reapply the sunscreen as needed.
It's very important to read all the labels and ingredients to know what you're putting on your skin. Additionally, it also prevents you from falling into marketing traps!
A lot of sunscreens contain synthetic fragrances that are derived from petroleum. These chemicals include phthalates, benzene derivatives, endocrine disruptors, carcinogens, and aldehydes if consumed in large amounts.
Many studies have found that synthetic fragrances can be absorbed into the bloodstream, so they can potentially cause allergies, hormone imbalances, or chronic illnesses. Carcinogens can cause cell damage, whereas aldehydes can increase the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
If you're pregnant, you should pay more attention to phthalates, benzene derivatives, and endocrine disruptors. Many studies have found that these chemicals can cause birth defects in humans.
Although it says "fragrance-free" or "unscented" on the label, it may still contain naturally fragrant ingredients like essential oils. Some sneaky products contain fragrances that don't aim to create a scent - instead, they cover up the smell of other ingredients.
One way to find out if a sunscreen contains any fragrance is to read all of the ingredients. If you run across an unknown ingredient, try searching it on Google. There are also lists available online of chemical fragrance ingredients.
Another way is to check the reviews on Amazon and other e-commerce websites. If it mentions a sweet or delicious smell that isn't from a natural fragrance, you can usually assume that fragrances are added to the product.
The SPF number indicates the amount of protection a product provides from the sun. Many people prefer a sunscreen with high numbers, like 50, 70, or 100 for better protection. However, a low or high number of SPF doesn’t make a huge difference in the amount of protection.
Many studies have found that SPF 30 can block 97% of UVB rays, while SPF 50 can block 98% of UVB rays. SPF 100 can block up to 99% of UVB rays.
As you can see, that there is not much of a difference in the percentage of UVB protection among SPFs 30, 50, and 100. It's also worth noting that there is no sunscreen that can block 100% of UVB rays.
SPF 30 is the best for everyday use because it’s usually lightweight and provides enough sun protection. However, SPF 50 is ideal for days that you have outdoor activities.
One thing to keep in mind about SPF 50 or higher is that they usually have a thicker formula. This means can make your skin feel uncomfortable, especially in summer. Additionally, a thick formula can congest your pores, too! On the other hand, anything below SPF 30 may not provide enough protection.
Most patients I see in the office have had skin cancer or have other skin concerns that can be worsened by the sun. I tend to recommend SPF 50+ broad spectrum with reapplication every 80 minutes when sweating or in the water. This will give you the most benefit from using it.
There are two types of UV rays: UVA and UVB. It’s important to make sure that the sunscreen you choose can protect your skin from both UV types.
Broad-spectrum describes a sunscreen that can protect against UVA and UVB. In other words, it can protect your skin from tanning, sunburns, dark spots, wrinkles, as well as other signs of prematurely aging skin.
Mineral sunscreens, also known as physical sunscreens, protect your skin from the sunlight by stopping the UV rays from reaching your skin. The active ingredients are titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, which are considered safe to use on skin.
Most mineral sunscreens are free from common allergens like alcohol, parabens, mineral oils, and other chemical agents, which make them a perfect option for people with sensitive skin as well as babies' skin.
One main concern about mineral sunscreens is they usually leave a white cast or chalky residue on the skin. People with darker skin tend to see this problem more than those with lighter skin. To avoid this problem, we suggest reading the reviews to know what others say about the product before making a decision.
Mineral sunscreens are safe for all skin types and are not absorbed, making them very popular. I only recommend mineral sunscreen for children, with Blue Lizard Sensitive or Baby being my sunscreens of choice.
In addition, mineral sunscreens are safe to use on skin with eczema or dermatitis. Facial mineral sunscreens should be used for anyone suffering from hyperpigmentation like melasma. They're gentler on the skin and less likely to cause flare-ups from conditions like eczema, acne, or rosacea.
If you have melasma or hyperpigmentation, a tinted sunscreen containing Ferric, or iron oxide, can help your condition. Iron oxide helps protect your skin by blocking out blue light, which has been shown to worsen skin pigmentation.
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Unscented SPF 30 Clear Zinc Sunscreen Cream
A Reef-Safe Sunscreen With Only Five Ingredients
Sheer Zinc Sunscreen
A Non-Nano Zinc Oxide Spray-On Sunscreen
Baby Bum Mineral Sunscreen Face Stick
A Plant-Based, Travel Size Sunscreen
Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen
A Reef-Friendly Sunscreen in a Unique "Smart" Bottle
A Moisturizing, Dermatologist-Approved Sunscreen
100% Mineral Sunscreen With Moisturizing Ingredients
UV Clear Facial Sunscreen
An Oil-Free, Non-Comedogenic Sunscreen
Anthelios 50 Mineral
A Dual-Protection Sunscreen With a Matte Finish
Sensitive Skin Face Mineral Suncreen
An Anti-Shine Sunscreen Great for Everyday Use
This sunscreen has earned the highest rating for safety and efficacy by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). It's free from harmful chemicals and contains only five natural ingredients. Plus, 98% of the ingredients are organic! This sunscreen is suitable for babies, pregnant women, and people with sensitive skin.
Additionally, it's reef-friendly, biodegradable, and water-resistant for up to 40 minutes. It also offers broad-spectrum protection, which can protect your skin from both UVA and UVB.
Some reviewers claimed that it has a thick texture, which left their skin feeling greasy. Thick texture aside, reviewers also said that it applies smoothly. They also noted that it still stays on their skin even after swimming.
It's a perfect sunscreen for everyone, especially for kids and people with sensitive or dry skin. Many people also said that it provides great protection. Although they stayed outside all day, they didn't get a sunburn! Last but not least, it didn't leave any white residue on the skin.
If you're looking for a gentle sunscreen that has a non-sticky consistency, you have to try this spray-on sunscreen! It has a light feel and is water-resistant for 80 minutes. The active ingredient is a non-nano zinc oxide, which means it has a bigger particle size than nano zinc oxide. In other words, non-nano particles won't enter your bloodstream.
That means it's considered safe for your body and the environment! But some reviewers noted that it leaves a white cast on their skin, which may not suit people with a darker skin tone. Although the spray-on bottle is convenient, it runs out faster than normal packaging as well.
However, other reviewers liked that it's lightweight, quick-absorbing, and safe to use. They also noted that it's easy to apply, goes on evenly, and has no scent. Last but not least, it's very effective at preventing sunburn!
This sunscreen stick is made with 19.2% of zinc oxide and moisturizing planted-based ingredients, like coconut oil, shea butter, and cocoa butter. This sunscreen is also free from harmful chemicals, so it's a good option for babies and those with sensitive skin.
It comes in a convenient travel-sized stick that is easy to apply and spread on the skin. Additionally, it's water-resistant for 80 minutes and has SPF 50 broad-spectrum protection. Last, but not least, this sunscreen is made in the USA! However, some reviewers noted that it leaves a thick white cast that's difficult to wash off.
Others liked that it's free from scents and harmful chemicals. Buyers said that the stick is very handy to use and perfect for on-the-go situations. It offers excellent sun protection that prevents sunburn. Additionally, it has received the highest rating for safety from EWG, too! Overall, it's a perfect sunscreen for both kids and adults.
This liquid lotion comes in a smart bottle that reminds you to put on more sunscreen when you're exposed to the sunlight. If the bottle turns from white to blue, it means there are harmful UV rays!
This sunscreen is also free from oxybenzone and octinoxate. These two chemicals are toxic to reefs, marine life, and ecosystems, and they are the main causes of coral bleaching and reef degradation. However, some reviewers said they had an allergic reaction to this sunscreen, while others noted that it didn't absorb quickly into their skin.
But, many others said it contains good ingredients and provides enough protection to help control skin pigmentation. This is a perfect sunscreen for both your face and body, and it can also be used by kids and pregnant women! Additionally, it safe for the ocean and doesn't have a detectable scent!
This dermatologist-approved sunscreen is ideal for people with sensitive skin since it contains no harmful chemicals or ingredients known to trigger sensitivities. It's also transparent, easy to spread, and water-resistant. Additionally, it offers broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection.
Most reviewers liked that it's unscented, non-sticky, and allergen-free. It helped moisturize their skin and didn't leave a white or a chalky residue. Most importantly, it didn't cause allergic reactions or sting eyes. Many people use it because their dermatologists highly recommended it!
The two active ingredients in this product are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. It's also packed with moisturizing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and ceramides. This makes a perfect non-toxic sunscreen for people with dry skin. It also comes in a serum-like texture that will feel comfortable on your skin!
Some reviewers said it leaves a white cast no matter how much they rub it into their skin. On the other hand, other reviewers noted that it applies smoothly and absorbs quickly. It feels light on their skin and doesn't cause breakouts! And although it contains moisturizing ingredients, it doesn't leave a greasy film.
This oil-free, non-comedogenic sunscreen is highly recommended by many dermatologists. Along with zinc oxide and octinoxate, it contains niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and lactic acid to provide numerous benefits, including reducing redness, minimizing pores, restoring moisture, and preventing dark spots and fine lines.
It's great for oily skin, acne-prone skin, uneven skin tones, and rosacea. However, some reviewers claimed that it causes rashes, itching, and peeling. So, it may not be suitable for dry or sensitive skin. They also noted that it's not a sunscreen to wear under makeup. It causes liquid foundation to separate, which can create an unnatural look.
On the other hand, many people said it applies smoothly and feels comfortable on their skin. They also liked that it's moisturizing and contains good ingredients that nourish their skin. Plus, the small bottle lasted for months for quite a few reviewers!
This liquid sunscreen offers a matte finish. It also includes two types of protection. First, it offers broad-spectrum protection. Second, it contains Senna Alata, an antioxidant that prevents skin damage caused by sunlight.
Some reviewers noted that it has a gritty texture, while others said liquid leaks from the bottle. Additionally, it requires a good shake before applying it to the skin.
However, other reviewers said it can be used for most skin types and provides effective sun protection. They liked that it has no fragrance and doesn't feel heavy on the skin. Additionally, reviewers noted that it also wears well under makeup and is perfect for everyday use.
This oil-free, non-comedogenic sunscreen is made without irritating chemical ingredients. Thus, it's designed specifically for people with sensitive, oily, or acne-prone skin. It comes in a liquid formula that is easy to apply, and it can be worn alone or under makeup. It's the perfect option for everyday wear!
Some reviewers claimed that it leaves an extremely white residue on their skin, and others said it takes time to fully absorb. On the other hand, some reviewers said it's the best facial sunscreen for people with rosacea and sensitive skin.
Reviewers also liked that it's light, smooth, fragrance-free, and leaves a matte finish. It offers great SPF coverage that helps to prevent dark spots and wrinkles. Additionally, they noted that it spreads easily and provides a good makeup base.
Fortunately, there are many skincare products made without fragrances. We've selected the most highly-rated fragrance-free skincare products that can be used for your face, hands, and body. Take a look at these articles to get some ideas on how to choose a good one!
No. 1: Badger｜Unscented SPF 30 Clear Zinc Sunscreen Cream
No. 2: Babo Botanicals｜Sheer Zinc Sunscreen
No. 3: Sun Bum｜Baby Bum Mineral Sunscreen Face Stick
No. 4: Blue Lizard｜Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen
No. 5: Vanicream｜Sunscreen Sport
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