It’s no secret that sunscreen is a must for people with fair skin, but what type of sunscreen should you be using if you’re fair skinned?
And are some sunscreens better than others for those of us with pale skin? In this article, we’ll dive into how to choose a good sunscreen for pale-skinned people as well as review our top picks for the best sunscreens for fair skin.
What to Consider When Choosing a Sunscreen
- SPF Factor. You’ll always want to choose a sunscreen with an SPF rating of at least 30. We consider between 30-50 the sweet spot. While you can choose a higher SPF like SPF 70 or 100, they don’t provide all that much more protection (SPF 30 blocks 97% of UV rays, while SPF 100 blocks 99%). Truthfully, it’s not so important to focus on SPF once you have achieved at least SPF 30 protection. Consistent reapplication is much more important!
- Broad Spectrum Protection. You’ll also want to choose a sunscreen that is broad spectrum, meaning it’s effective against both UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays are more responsible for sunburn and skin cancer, while UVA rays are responsible for aging. By choosing a sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays, you can reduce your risk of sunburn as well as long term damage from sun exposure!
- Ease of Application. When choosing sunscreen, do you swipe and go, or apply lotion liberally? Application preference depends on the individual – some like the grab-and-go nature of a sunscreen spray, while other like the full, consistent, and reliable coverage provided by lotions.
- Mineral vs Chemical Ingredients. Mineral sunscreen ingredients (like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide) sit on top of the skin to reflect rays, while chemical sunscreen ingredients absorb into the skin and then soak up and absorb UV rays. Both sunscreen types work well, but it’s important to choose one that works with your personal preference as well as skin sensitivities (mineral sunscreens tend to be gentler on the skin than chemical sunscreens).
- Skin Sensitivity. Fair-skinned folks with sensitive skin will want to opt for hypoallergenic sunscreen options that are gentle, non-irritating, and unlikely to cause rashes or other reactions on the skin.
- Compatibility with Makeup. Some sunscreen products are designed to be layered under makeup, while others are incompatible with most or all cosmetic products. This can be an important consideration for those who love to wear a full face of makeup each day!
- White Cast. Mineral sunscreen ingredients sometimes leave a white cast on the skin, which can look quite unnatural or ghostly. This is especially common with sunscreen lotions, but thankfully newer formulas have managed to eliminate or at least greatly lessen the white cast issue (even with zinc oxide based sunscreen). Luckily, when you’re already pale, subtle white casts don’t tend to show up so much on your skin!
- Tinted Formula. For those who want sunscreen that blends in to the skin tone, a tinted sunscreen is a great option. Some people will even use tinted sunscreen formulas as a makeup primer, or use it in substitution for foundation.
- Sweat-proof and/or Water-proof. For those who plan to work out or spend time swimming, sweat-proof and water-proof sunscreen is a must for protecting your fair skin from sunburn in and out of the water.
1. Australian Gold Botanical Sunscreen Tinted Face BB Cream
Australian Gold Botanical Tinted Face BB Sunscreen is a favorite sunscreen for fair-skinned people, boasting an SPF50 rating and broad spectrum protection. The tinted lotion has a BB cream consistency, resulting in a matte effect that’s perfect for those who want to avoid the shine of traditional sunscreens.
This sunscreen relies primarily on titanium dioxide and zinc oxide mineral ingredients to protect your skin against the sun’s harmful rays.
Not only is the light tint perfect for adding a bit of color to a pale face, it’s also smoothing and reportedly minimizes fine lines, wrinkles, and uneven face coloring that may result from rosacea or hyperpigmentation.
Australian Gold Botanical Sunscreen also included bonus ingredients like vitamin C and eucalyptus along with red algae for an antioxidant boost. To top it off, this suncreen has no oxybenzone, alcohols, dyes, oils, or PABAs! It’s dermotologist-tested and hypolallergenic too!
2. EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 46
The EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum is another much beloved sunscreen of those with fair skin. Gentle and unscented, it has a light, smooth texture that goes on easily. It provides broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection while boasting an SPF 46 rating.
This non-cosmogenic sunscreen is recommended by many dermatologists and has no mineral oil or parabens, which makes it safe even for pale people with sensitive skin. The lotion’s tint also means that this is a great sunscreen for dark spots too!
While the active ingredient is zinc oxide, it does also contain octinoxate, which some may be looking to avoid.
3. Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen
Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen is a weightless, fragrance-free, antioxidant-rich, broad-spectrum sunscreen that provides sun protection alongside impressive shine control. So lightweight that its sometimes referred to as invisible, this gentle, oil-free formula includes bonuses like hydrating medowfoam seed.
Fans note that this fair-skin-friendly sunscreen is great for gripping makeup and can be used as a base for more elaborate layering, with a soft matte finish.
4. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Tinted Mineral Ultra-Light Fluid
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Tinted Mineral sunscreen is a sunscreen that provides broad spectrum protection as well as a tint for some coverage for pale people.
This sunscreen features titanium dioxide as its active ingredient for a mineral formula that won’t irritate your skin – it’s even been allergy tested by dermatologists!
This lightweight sunscreen absorbs quickly into your skin without oil, fragrances, or any other irritating chemicals to cause reactions on sensitive skin types. Users also rave about the matte finish of this product, allowing it to be used effectively with makeup.
Some have even used this tinted formula in lieu of foundation, and the tint also makes this a great sunscreen for melasma.
5. CeraVe Tinted Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30
The CeraVe Tinted Mineral Sunscreen provides lightweight and non-greasy protection for your skin with the added bonus of a gentle tint to add some color to pale faces!
This sunscreen goes beyond just UVB and UVA coverage, as it also includes ceramides to help retain moisture in the skin without clogging pores, as well as hyaluronic acid to provide extra hydration.
With some other mineral formulas relying on zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, white cast is left behind. But, since this sunscreen is tinted, it doesn’t leave a white residue on the skin (which is perfect if you wear make up or if want a moisturizing base layer to add makeup on top of).
Even if you have easily-irritated skin, you don’t need to worry. CeraVe is oxybenzone-free, paraben-free, fragrance-free, and chemical filter free too! This makes it an excellent sunscreen for sensitive skin.
It’s important to choose sunscreen that will protect your pale skin from sunburn, but it can be difficult to choose between so many brands and options!
Hopefully we’ve been able to help narrow down options for you in selecting sunscreen protection for those of your with fair skin. Let us know if we missed any key considerations or if you have recommendations based your own experience!