How it works:

  • Share your skin goals and snap selfies

  • Your dermatology provider prescribes your formula

  • Apply nightly for happy, healthy skin

How it works:

  • Share your skin goals and snap selfies

  • Your dermatology provider prescribes your formula

  • Apply nightly for happy, healthy skin

Face sunscreen for normal skin

If your skin isn’t prone to dry flakes or shiny oil, here’s how to find the right SPF for your skin type.

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We’re here to tell you what we know, but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider about your specific health concerns.
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Dermatologists agree that if there’s one step you never want to skip in your morning routine, it’s sunscreen application. Just think of all the potential benefits of sunscreen:  

  • It can help to protect you from skin cancer

  • It can slow down signs of aging

  • It can reduce the chances of developing hyperpigmentation

  • It can help prevent dreaded sunburns (which, yes, can still happen on a cloudy day)

It may feel like a drag to slow down to apply (or reapply) sunscreen when you’re ready to go, but think of it this way: Your future self will be so glad you did! It doesn’t matter whether you have dry skin, oily skin, combination, or normal skin—make sunscreen your new BFF.

Think of sunscreen as your skin’s bodyguard. It not only protects your skin from sun damage and signs of aging, but it also reduces your risk of skin cancer—as long as you apply and reapply as directed.* And whatever the weather, season, or temperature, the sun's UV rays can still damage your skin!

In this guide, we’ll introduce you to some of the best face sunscreens for every skin type, so you can find which is right for you.

Woman in white sunglasses with hands by forehead against an outdoor beach

How to choose the right sunscreen for your skin type

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the best sunscreen is the sunscreen you’ll actually wear—every day.¹ A good option for facial sunscreen is physical sunscreen (mineral sunscreen), but that’s not to say that chemical sunscreens aren’t also effective. While physical sunscreens generally work for any skin type, chemical sunscreens have ingredients that may irritate sensitive skin. But we’ll talk more about the differences between the two in a sec. 

As always, look for products labeled “non-comedogenic” (translation: it doesn’t contain ingredients that clog pores) and are free of superfluous additives your skin doesn’t need, like denatured alcohol. If you have dry or sensitive skin, look for sunscreens with ingredients like ceramides that provide an extra boost of hydration. So, let’s dive in with our favs!

Some of the best face sunscreen for normal skin

What exactly is normal skin? Basically, it’s a term that’s used to describe a skin type that’s a little bit of everything. "Skin type tends to vary depending on the location on your face, and skin type often changes throughout one's lifetime,” explains Dr. Julie Akiko Gladsjo, a board-certified dermatologist at Curology. “That said, normal skin is often described as having no signs of dry flakes or shiny oil. Skin tends to feel smooth and is not overly reactive.” People with normal skin can still experience breakouts just like people with any other skin type, but breakouts may not be an issue for them.

Just because your skin type is “normal” doesn’t mean you don’t care about the products you use on your skin, obviously! So here’s our list of products we recommend based on ingredients that stand up against our dermatology providers’ standards: non-comedogenic, non-irritating, and generally effective. (Just in case you have a different skin type or melanin-rich skin, we’ve also got you covered!

MD SolarSciences Mineral Crème SPF 50

  • Lightweight with a matte finish

  • Blurs pores, fine lines, and wrinkles

  • Water-resistant

  • Physical sunscreen made with Ecocert zinc oxide

Murad City Skin Age Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 50 PA++++

  • Lightweight, 100% mineral sunscreen with no white cast

  • Suitable for all skin types

  • Gives skin tone a more even appearance

Paula’s Choice Extra Care Non-Greasy Sunscreen SPF 50

  • Water-resistant, antioxidant-rich sunscreen for both body and face

  • Lightweight texture with a smooth, matte, non-greasy finish

  • Chemical sunscreen suitable for sports and outdoor activities

Sunscreen SPF 30 by Curology

  • 100% mineral SPF 30 sunscreen with no white cast or greasy feeling

  • Non-comedogenic, fragrance-free, paraben-free (only the good stuff!)

  • Curated for acne-prone skin but works with all skin types

Woman with short black hair in white sunglasses with hand shading forehead against a blue sky background

Some of the best tinted sunscreen for normal skin

Care for a side of coverage with your sun protection? A tinted sunscreen or tinted moisturizer lotion SPF is a great two-in-one product: It doubles as a lightweight foundation. Tinted sunscreens give you that effortless daytime look—with sun protection—that can even out your skin tone and makes things like redness, acne, and pores a little less visible. 

Supergoop! CC Cream Daily Correct Broad Spectrum SPF 35 Sunscreen

  • 100% mineral-based SPF 35

  • Corrects uneven pigmentation and softens the look of fine lines and pores

  • Contains hyaluronic acid to maintain long-lasting hydration

  • Includes vitamins and minerals to protect skin from free radical damage

  • Provides lightweight color coverage and correction while protecting against UVA and UVB rays

IT Cosmetics Anti-Aging Armour Tinted Sunscreen SPF 50+

  • Its hydrating and anti-aging formulation includes peptides, niacinamide, hydrolyzed collagen, and hyaluronic acid

  • Ideal for every skin type with “universal color-correcting pigments”

  • Protects skin from the sun’s harmful rays with broad-spectrum SPF 50+

IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream Oil-Free Matte with SPF 40

  • Color-correcting cream with a matte finish

  • Infused with charcoal, colloidal clay, and tea tree extract to help reduce the appearance of oiliness

  • Clinically tested to reduce shine and control oil for up to 12 hours

  • Free of parabens, phthalates, and mineral oil

IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream SPF 50+

  • Color-correcting formula visibly evens skin tone

  • SPF 50+ physical sunscreen

  • Anti-aging benefits with collagen, peptides, hyaluronic acid, antioxidants, and vitamins

  • Diffuses the look of wrinkles and minimizes the appearance of pores

  • Luminous, flawless finish

MyChelle Dermaceuticals Sun Shield Liquid SPF 50

  • Sheer tinted, weightless liquid formula blends easily

  • 100% mineral sunscreen

  • Mattifies skin with bentonite to absorb excess oil from pores

  • Works as a primer under foundation to create a smooth, matte finish

  • Oil-free and recommended for all skin types

Paula’s Choice Resist Super-Light Wrinkle Defense SPF 30

  • Lightly tinted mineral-based formula

  • Contains antioxidants

  • Silky texture leaves a soft matte finish

Revision Skincare Intellishade® Original SPF 45

  • Anti-aging SPF protection that moisturizes and blends easily for a natural finish

  • Sheer coverage

SkinCeuticals Physical Eye Uv Defense SPF 50

  • 100% mineral base, broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection

  • “Non-migrating formula” to help prevent eye irritation

  • Sheer, universal tint suitable for all skin types

  • Use from the brow bone to the cheek bone, even on the eyelid

Tarte BB Tinted Treatment 12-Hour Primer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen

  • Five-in-one long-wear, vegan primer that can be used under (or instead of) foundation

  • Hydrates skin, visibly smoothes fine lines, blurs pores, and gives skin a brightened appearance

  • Lightweight, sheer coverage

  • “Triple-B complex” to help brighten, smooth, and soften skin

Looking for the best foundations with sunscreen for normal skin? Check out our makeup guides and no-breakout makeup series on the blog for our list of products we’ve reviewed to make sure they don’t contain pore-clogging ingredients.

Woman at the beach in front of golden gate bridge

Sunscreen for sports, swimming, and sweating

Not-so-fun fact: There’s no such thing as waterproof sunscreen! In 2011, the FDA released a new set of rules regulating sunscreen in the U.S., which did away with “waterproof” and “sweatproof” labeling.² (Thank you, FDA, for getting real about beauty claims!) Instead, sunscreens can be labeled “water-resistant” for 40 or 80 minutes, depending on test results.

So, swimmers, surfers, athletes, and weekend warriors, choose your sunscreen wisely. Use a water-resistant sunscreen, and reapply according to the instructions on the label – either after 40 or 80 minutes of swimming or sweating, immediately after towel drying, and at least every two hours.

Skincare pro tip: Reapply your sunscreen routinely

You and your skin deserve better than to be stingy with sunscreen lotions. Most of us don’t use enough sunscreen—and the sun’s rays don’t really get boundaries—so slather liberally and when in doubt, apply more! Use the two-finger rule when applying sunscreen, and always remember to reapply! (Okay, we know we sound like a broken record, but seriously, reapplying throughout the day is essential!)

Use about half a teaspoon for the face and neck. Use about 1 oz. (the size of a shot glass) for the body.³

No sunscreen, regardless of strength, stays effective longer than two hours. That said, how often you reapply sunscreen depends on your activities. If you're inside all day, there's no need to reapply unless you're near a window or occasionally head outside for a bit. But if you're the active type or just love a long sunbath, it's important to reapply at least every two hours and after swimming, sweating, or toweling off.

Image of woman sun tanning on beach

How to layer sunscreen under makeup

Ever try to layer makeup on top of sunscreen, only to have it a pill or flake off in annoying little white bits? Ugh! Apply moisturizer or lotion first, then sunscreen. Give it a few minutes to dry before putting on your makeup. This should give it enough grip so it won’t flake on you.

How to reapply sunscreen over makeup

Powder sunscreens like Supergoop! (Re)setting 100% Mineral Powder SPF 35 are a great, easy way to re-up your sun protection throughout the day without messing up your makeup. Bonus: A little powder will also help eliminate any oiliness on your skin, making your makeup look refreshed while you're at it.

What is SPF?

SPF stands for “sun protection factor.” The SPF number of every sunscreen is based on how quickly redness forms on sun-protected skin compared to unprotected skin. It’s a measure of sunscreen’s ability to prevent the sun’s UVB rays from damaging the skin. A broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher is the dermatologist-recommended minimum protection.⁴

UV radiation and the skin

Broad-spectrum protection means it protects you against both UVA rays and UVB rays. The sun’s UV (ultraviolet) rays are classified into UVA, which is a longer wavelength, and UVB, which is shorter. UVA and UVB rays can do different things to your skin.⁵

UVA Radiation

  • Main cause of photoaging (think dark spots and wrinkles)

  • Contributes to the development of skin cancer

  • Penetrates through clouds and glass, as in your favorite chair or nook by the window 

  • Penetrates deeper into the skin compared to UVB

  • Major contributor to tanning (skin darkening is a response to sun damage and injury to the skin’s DNA — there is no such thing as a healthy tan!) 

UVB Radiation

  • Main cause of redness and sunburn

  • Contributes to the development of skin cancer

  • Largely blocked by glass 

What’s the difference between physical and chemical sunscreen?

Sunscreens can be classified as physical, chemical, or both, depending on their ingredients.  No matter which type of sunscreen you use, always apply according to the label’s recommended time ahead of sun exposure—usually at least 15 minutes—so it can properly dry and form a protective barrier on your skin.

Mineral or physical sunscreen

  • Contains titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide

  • Physically reflects or “bounces” sunlight away from the skin

  • Certain kinds of physical sunscreen can leave a white cast on the skin (unless rubbed in well, micronized, or tinted)

Chemical sunscreen

  • Contains ingredients such as avobenzone and oxybenzone

  • Absorbs UV light so that it can’t penetrate the skin

  • Certain ingredients may irritate sensitive skin or cause an allergic reaction 

Give your skincare the personal touch it deserves

The sunscreen by Curology is a grease-free, 100% mineral-based sunscreen that won’t leave a white cast on your skin or clog your pores—just make sure to blend well. Our nourishing sunscreen uses zinc oxide as its active ingredient. It’s SPF 30 and curated specifically for acne-prone skin, but it works well on all skin types. 

Get your personalized skincare routine with Curology

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Whatever concerns you may have about your skin, we’re here for you! Sign up for a free trial of Curology today to create personalized skin care products designed for your specific skin concerns—and add sunscreen to your order for free. If Curology is right for you, we’ll send you a free 30-day supply of your Custom Formula—just pay $4.95 (plus tax) to cover shipping and handling.*

FAQs

How to choose the right sunscreen for your skin type?

A good option for facial sunscreen is physical sunscreen (mineral sunscreen), but that’s not to say that chemical sunscreens aren’t also effective. While physical sunscreens generally work for any skin type, chemical sunscreens have ingredients that may irritate sensitive skin.

As always, look for products labeled “non-comedogenic”.

How to layer sunscreen under makeup?

Apply moisturizer or lotion first, then sunscreen. Give it a few minutes to dry before putting on your makeup. This should give it enough grip so it won’t flake on you.

How to reapply sunscreen over makeup?

Powder sunscreens are a great, easy way to re-up your sun protection throughout the day without messing up your makeup.

What is SPF?

SPF stands for “sun protection factor.” The SPF number of every sunscreen is based on how quickly redness forms on sun-protected skin compared to unprotected skin. It’s a measure of sunscreen’s ability to prevent the sun’s UVB rays from damaging the skin.

What’s the difference between physical and chemical sunscreen?

Sunscreens can be classified as physical, chemical, or both, depending on their ingredients:

Mineral or physical sunscreen

  • Contains titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide

  • Physically reflects sunlight away from the skin

  • Can leave a white cast on the skin

Chemical sunscreen

  • Contains ingredients such as avobenzone and oxybenzone

  • Absorbs UV light so that it can’t penetrate the skin

  • Certain ingredients may irritate sensitive skin or cause an allergic reaction

• • •

P.S. We did the homework so you don’t have to:

  1. American Academy of Dermatology. Sunscreen FAQs. (n.d.).

  2. Food and Drug Administration. Questions and Answers: FDA Announces New Requirements for Over-the-Counter (OTC) Sunscreen Products Marketed in the U.S. (2011, June 23).

  3. Food and Drug Administration. Sunscreen: How to Help Protect Your Skin. (2021, November 8). 

  4. American Academy of Dermatology. How to Apply Sunscreen. (n.d.).

  5. Young, A.R., et al., Ultraviolet Radiation and the Skin: PHotobiology and Sunscreen Photoprotection. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. (2017, March1).

This article was originally published on June 22, 2022, and updated on July 13, 2022.

*Sunscreen cannot prevent all harm from UV rays.

* Subject to consultation. Subscription is required. Results may vary.

• • •
Our medical review process:We’re here to tell you what we know. That’s why our information is evidence-based and fact-checked by medical experts. Still, everyone’s skin is unique—the best way to get advice is to talk to your healthcare provider.
Our policy on product links:Empowering you with knowledge is our top priority. Our reviews of other brands’ products in this post are not paid endorsements—but they do meet our medically fact-checked standards for ingredients (at the time of publication).
Meredith Hartle, DO

Meredith Hartle, DO

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