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  • #Baby & Child Skin
  • #Sun Protection
  • #Suncare

Sunscreen For Sensitive Skin: The Complete Buying Guide

Updated on June 13, 2024
sunscreen_for_sensitive_skin_5_c392ee64-51e0-4143-9e60-60a211b15062 - Mustela USA - 1

With delicate, easily irritated skin, you’ve got to be extra careful about what you lather on. And that certainly includes sunscreen! Luckily, there is sunscreen for sensitive skin so you can keep enjoying the sun without irritating your skin.

In this article, we’d like to make the sunscreen scene easy to understand and navigate so you can find sun protection that jives with your skin. We’ll go over why you need sunscreen for sensitive skin as well as the specifics to look for when shopping.

Safe, gentle sun protection is closer than you might think.

Why You Need Sunscreen For Sensitive Skin

Dad holding kid on back while protecting him with sunscreen for sensitive skin

Sunscreen is an important topic for people with sensitive skin.

First of all, since you’ll be slathering it all over your body (or your little one’s body!) when you head to the pool or beach, you need to be certain that it won’t do a number on your skin.

Secondly, some sunscreen has the potential to be quite irritating. That’s largely due to the active ingredients in traditional sunscreen, also called chemical sunscreen.

This is why it’s so important to choose the right sunscreen for sensitive skin — not just any sunscreen will do. Let’s take a closer look.

Active ingredients are the ones that do the work of warding off the sun’s rays. And when it comes to chemical sunscreens, they have active ingredients like oxybenzone, avobenzone, octinoxate, and homosalate, just to name a few.

While the active ingredients in chemical sunscreens can help keep you protected from sunburn and sun damage, they aren’t necessarily easy on your skin — or your body.

Besides the fact that these ingredients could end up seeping into your bloodstream and disrupting your hormones (no good), they can be just plain irritating to sensitive skin. As you can see, the concern is two-fold.

But before those of you with sensitive skin start feeling down about your sunscreen options, we’ll let you in on something you might not know: Chemical sunscreen is not the only type of sunscreen.

Say “hello” to mineral sunscreen! This is one of the things you’ll need to look for when choosing a sunscreen for sensitive skin, which is exactly what we’ll go over now.

What To Look For When Choosing Sunscreen For Sensitive Skin

Mineral Active Ingredients

Mom holding son at the beach

As we mentioned, the active ingredients in chemical sunscreens can irritate sensitive skin. This is why mineral sunscreen is a good choice.

The active ingredients in mineral sunscreens are non-nano zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These ingredients provide superior sun protection while doing no harm to your or your child’s skin!

Not only does non-nano zinc oxide do no harm, but it is also good at protecting your skin from irritation. So good, in fact, that it is often used in baby diaper creams!

You can read more about the differences between mineral and chemical sunscreens here. For now, just know that mineral active ingredients are what you’ll want to turn to for sensitive skin.

For a sunscreen that’s just right for your family, try our non-nano 100% mineral sunscreen collection. These sunblocks use zinc oxide or a combination of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to provide safe, gentle sun protection for everyone — from your little one’s delicate skin to your sensitive skin.

Want to know another plus of mineral sunscreen? When you take a dip in the ocean, some of the sunscreen you apply to your skin will inevitably wash off. Chemical sunscreen ingredients can contaminate the water, while mineral sunscreen is good for both you and the ocean.

To learn more about mineral sunscreen, check out this video by Board Certified Pediatric Dermatologist, Dr. Latanya Benjamin.

Natural Ingredients

Mineral ingredients — like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide — are wonderful, natural ingredients that protect you from the sun. But the natural goodness doesn’t have to stop there!

Skip the synthetic ingredients (such as parabens, phenoxyethanol, and so many others) and opt for natural ingredients that work with your skin. This means using a sunscreen that’s filled with coconut oil, aloe vera, calendula, chamomile flower extract, sunflower oil, and the like.

These types of ingredients are inactive ingredients, and they’re the ones that give your sunscreen its scent (or lack thereof) and texture.


Mom protecting kid at the pool with sunscreen for sensitive skin


Another important part of finding a sunscreen for sensitive skin is to choose one that is hypoallergenic. Hypoallergenic products are less likely to cause your easily irritated skin to react.

Here at Mustela, all of our sunscreens are hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and certified by the National Eczema Association. Talk about gentle on your skin! This makes our sunscreens safe not only for run-of-the-mill sensitive skin but also for anyone with eczema-prone skin.

Just remember that everyone’s skin is unique, and a particular ingredient may bother you more than the next person. Looking for that “hypoallergenic” label is a good place to start, but you’ll also have to figure out what works for your skin.

With that in mind, we always recommend a patch test with any new skincare product.

Moisturizing Ingredients

The point of sunscreen is to protect you from the sun’s rays. But why not ask a little more from your sunblock?

For example, moisturization is key to keeping your sensitive skin in tip-top shape, and the right sunscreen can serve as a natural moisturizer, too!

Our Mineral Sunscreen Lotion is crafted with coconut oil and macadamia oil, along with other naturally derived and oh-so-moisturizing ingredients. The lightweight, sheer texture blends easily and doesn’t leave a white cast on your skin.

That’s not our only sunscreen that moisturizes while it protects. Our Mineral Sunscreen Spray contains aloe vera, calendula, chamomile flower extract, and sunflower oil for skin-soothing sun protection.

Easy Application

Woman applying sunscreen for sensitive skin

We believe that sunscreen should be easy to apply. When you’re out adventuring or the kids are busy playing, you want your sunscreen breaks to be quick and simple.

The good news is that there are several application options, even when you’re using sunscreen for sensitive skin. At Mustela, we offer a sun spray, a sun stick, and a sun lotion so you can choose whichever one works best for your family.

Our Mineral Sunscreen Lotion, Mineral Sunscreen Spray, and Mineral Sunscreen Stick all provide SPF 50 for convenient, effective sun protection all day long. That brings us to our next and last point.

Effective Protection

Sunscreen that’s gentle on your skin but doesn’t protect you from the sun’s rays would be no good at all. That’s why it’s essential to choose one that provides all that we mentioned above as well as broad-spectrum protection and appropriate SPF.

If “broad-spectrum” and SPF are two sunscreen terms that have always left you scratching your head, let us help demystify them.


The sun emits rays that can damage your skin and cause sunburn. These are called UVA and UVB rays.

Broad-spectrum protection simply means that a sunscreen wards off both UVA and UVB rays, rather than just one or the other. Broad-spectrum sunscreen is what you want.


SPF stands for “sun protection factor” and refers to how long it will take for the sun to redden your skin when you’re wearing the sunscreen as opposed to not wearing it.

For example, if you’re wearing an SPF 50 sunscreen, it takes 50 times longer for your skin to burn than if you were sans sunscreen.

Most sunscreen has an SPF of anywhere between 15 to 50, and you can find this information on the label. The important thing to remember is that a high SPF doesn’t in any way, shape, or form mean that you can reapply sunscreen less frequently!

No matter the SPF, you still need to reapply every two hours or right after getting wet or sweaty.

The Right Sunscreen For Sensitive Skin

Mustela sunscreen for sensitive skin

Choosing the right sunscreen for sensitive skin helps you avoid irritated skin and is better for your skin, body, and the ocean!

To find a sunscreen that’s gentle on your skin, look for one that’s made with mineral active ingredients, is hypoallergenic, and soothes your skin with natural, moisturizing ingredients.

Depending on how you prefer to apply sunscreen, choose from Mustela’s Mineral Sunscreen Lotion, Mineral Sunscreen Spray, or Mineral Sunscreen Stick.

Moisturizing, effective, and gentle sun protection is at your fingertips!

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