Zinc oxide is one of most popular forms of sunscreens for protecting your face!
Zinc oxide provides reliable, time-testing, and safe protection against the sun. Unlike chemical sunscreens, physical mineral sunscreens like zinc oxide formulas don’t absorb into your skin, where they can cause irritation or even allergic reactions. Instead, zinc oxide provides a physical barrier on top of your skin for protection, making it much less likely to upset sensitive skin.
And guess what? That annoying dreaded white cast that’s historically been a major drawback to zinc oxide has been fixed by many brands, now offering zinc oxide protection that’s sheer and clear – hurrah!
The bottom line? If you want a great facial sunscreen that won’t break out your skin or leave you unprotected, look for a sunscreen with zinc oxide.
Why Are Zinc Oxide Sunscreens Recommended for Your Face?
There are many reasons why these types of zinc oxide face sunscreens might make sense for you:
- Zinc oxide face sunscreens are less likely to irritate sensitive skin
- Facial zinc oxide sunscreens may have moisturizing properties that help keep your skin looking younger and healthier
- Zinc oxide sunscreens often boast a high SPF rating along with broad spectrum protection, which means that you are more protected from UVA and UVB rays.
- Some zinc face sunscreens even offer additional protection against blue light emitted by digital screens.
What Are the Best Facial Sunscreens with Zinc Oxide?
Let’s dive in and review some of the best zinc oxide sunscreen that are great for protecting your face.
Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Face Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 50
This is an excellent mineral facial sunscreen with zinc oxide because it’s lightweight, sheer, and doesn’t leave a white film on your skin.
The formula also includes “Dry-Touch” technology that allows the sunscreen to dry quickly with a non-greasy finish. It can even be worn easily under makeup and layers well!
It’s a great pick for sensitive faces, as this formula is free of fragrance, parabens, phthalates, dyes, and irritating chemicals. Plus, since this formula is oil-free, it’s also a great sunscreen for oily skin as well!
CeraVe 100% Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50
CeraVe is known for great and affordable skincare items, and their mineral facial zinc oxide sunscreen is no exception!
This facial sunscreen has SPF 50 protection, relying primarily on zinc oxide.
Allergey-tested and noncomedogenic, it’s ideal for sensitive skin and is safe for kiddos and adults alike. It also has three essential ceramides that add moisture and maintain your skin’s natural barrier.
Free of oxybenzone, oil, parabens, fragrances, and chemical filters, this sunscreen doesn’t really have anything that could irritate your face or cause a breakout.
Oh and since it’s oxybenzone-free, it’s safe to use in Hawaii and won’t damage coral reefs!
THRIVE Natural Moisturizing Mineral Face Sunscreen
Thrive Natural sunscreen is an excellent facial sunscreen for sensitive skin. The 20% zinc oxide offers you the protection that you need with a formula that won’t irritate your super-sensitive facial skin too much.
It goes on nice and smooth, and is designed to be fast absorbing with a matte finish that isn’t greasy or sticky at all. Sheer and white cast-free, it also is made to work well layering on your skin so you can use it in partnership with other skin care routine items.
Plus, the ingredients are all plant based with an emphasis on natural ingredients. It even includes anti-oxidants and bonus ingredients like arabica coffee oil, wakame seaweed, & tazman pepper.
This is a solid pick of you have a dry or sensitive face, or simply want to avoid harsh chemical reactions from traditional sunscreens with ingredients like oxybenzone and parabens.
This sunscreens feature no chemical sunscreen filters, and is benzene, paraben, PABA, and GMO-free. It’s also vegan and cruelty-free (which is always a plus for our furry friends).
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Tinted Mineral Ultra-Light Fluid Broad Spectrum SPF 50
Our favorite tinted face mineral sunscreen, this La Roche-Posay formula is very light weight and has a lovely matte finish.
We have to level with you though – this sunscreen does NOT use zinc oxide. Instead, it relies on titanium dioxide (which is another mineral ingredient that’s somewhat similar to zinc oxide).
Using titanium dioxide as its active mineral sunscreen filter, it offers SPF50 broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection with no white cast and no greasy after-feel.
The tint on this sunscreen is gentle and discreet, providing just enough universal tint for those days when you’d rather go without makeup but still want just a bit of cover.
EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 Face Sunscreen
Another fan favorite for sensitive skin, EltaMD’s Clear Facial Sunscreen is a non-comedogenic 46 SPF face sunscreen with zinc oxide that’s ultra-gentle on skin. It’s even gentle enough for pregnant women and nursing mothers!
It has a light weight fluid consistency, which absorbs easily into your skin leaving it soft and moisturized rather than greasy or tacky.
It’s ingredients are designed to be anti-inflammatory and help control dermatitis flare-ups in addition to blocking sun damage, making it a recommended sunscreen for those with rosacea, dark spots, acne, or other skin issues.
Non-irritating and hypoallergenic, the ingredients in this sunscreen are designed to minimize the risk of allergic reactions.
This is another good choice if you’re looking for a mineral formula that has little to no white cast or greasy after feel.
Australian Gold Botanical Sunscreen Tinted Face BB Cream
The Australian Gold Botanical Tinted Face BB Cream Sunscreen is a tinted, moisturizing sunscreen lotion for your face.
With SPF 30+ broad spectrum protection, it shields against UVA and UVB rays with a natural mineral blend of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. It’s also loaded with antioxidant-rich botanicals that fight free radicals, such as eucalyptus and red algae.
The formula is oil-free and has a matte finish that minimizes the appearance of pores, fine lines, and wrinkles. It feels and looks more like a BB cream, providing a fantastic layer of foundation and protection to cut down on your makeup routine.
We love how well this formula blends into the skin, and how it offers a great BB cream layer that’s light and weightless to feel great on your face!
It contains no parabens, sulfates, dyes, alcohols, and no oxybenzone, on top of being vegan and cruelty-free.
Blue Lizard Sensitive FACE Mineral Sunscreen with Zinc Oxide
Blue Lizard Sensitive Face Sunscreen is another best sunscreen for the face with zinc-oxide, as it’s zinc oxide-based with no chemical active ingredients.
This sunscreen is specifically made for sensitive skin and provides added moisture with hyaluronic acid and antioxidants like green tea and caffeine. It offers UVA and UVB protection, offering 30 SPF broad spectrum coverage, all with a nice light texture that spreads easily over the skin.
This facial mineral sunscreen is paraben-free, fragrance- free, oil-free, noncomedogenic, non-irritating and dermatologist tested!
This all means that this Blue Lizard sunscreen will not irritate sensitive skin on your face. This is especially important if you have rosacea, eczema, seborrheic dermatitis or other forms of facial irritation to avoid.
MDSolarSciences Mineral Tinted Crème SPF 30 Sunscreen
Another tinted mineral sunscreen, the MDSolarSciences formula uses mineral-only titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to offer 30 SPF UVA and UVB protection, with a subtle tint that doesn’t leave your face looking colored or cakey.
This lightweight, satin-finish, hydrating sunscreen is the perfect option for sensitive skin types who want a dash of added color. It’ll protect you from sun damage while leaving your skin feeling soft and hydrated
Is it safe to use zinc oxide sunscreen on my face?
Yes, zinc oxide is safe for people with sensitive skin due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Zinc oxide is a physical UV filter that does not absorb directly into the skin as chemical sunscreens do (read more about mineral vs chemical sunscreens for more info). It is a broad-spectrum sun filter that protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
Zinc oxide has been used for a long time because it is safe and very effective in preventing sun damage.
I’ve heard that sunscreen can cause breakouts. Are there any special instructions for using sunscreens with zinc oxide on my face?
If you are prone to acne, you might want to avoid sunscreens with high amounts of chemical filters, especially if they contain oxybenzone or octinoxate. However, zinc oxide is a physical UV filter which means it does not absorb into the skin. Compared to chemical sunscreens, facial sunscreen with zinc oxide is less likely to cause breakouts and irritation on your face.
Is there a downside of using zinc oxide sunscreen on my face?
Zinc oxide sunscreen can leave a white residue on your skin if not rubbed in well. However, this problem can be easily avoided by using a sheer or clear formula (which, increasingly, makes up most of the zinc oxide face sunscreen formulas). Look for one which contains nourishing ingredients and won’t clog pores or irritate sensitive skin.
Where do I find the best zinc oxide sunscreen for face?
Everyone’s skin is different, so there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. It really depends on your needs and preferences! However, if you have sensitive skin, all the options listed above are great mineral sunscreens for your face to start with. The best zinc oxide sunscreen for your face is one that meets your needs. It might be a cream, gel, spray or even powder!
Why do people use zinc oxide sunscreen for sensitive skin?
For people with sensitive skin, including rosacea sufferers or those who suffer from redness or itching, facial sunscreen with zinc oxide offers the best protection.
Not only does it typically leave a non-irritating, clear finish on your skin, but it’s also a mineral that sits on top of the skin for protection rather than being absorbed into the epidermis.
As you can see, facial sunscreen with zinc oxide offers a number of advantages for your face. It is less likely to irritate sensitive skin due to its anti-inflammatory properties and provides broad spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays.
If you are prone to acne or breakouts, avoid sunscreens with high amounts of chemical filters like oxybenzone or octinoxate as they may not be the best option for sensitive facial skin. However, if you have rosacea , redness/itching on your face, or simply have sensitive skin, it’s worth trying out one of these best face zinc oxide sunscreens that offer non-irritating protection without being absorbed into the epidermis.
We hope this article helped shed some light on choosing the right sunscreen for your face with zinc oxide! Have any other face sunscreen suggestions? Add them in the comments!