The Best Sunscreens For People With Rosacea

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Best Sunscreens For Rosacea

Whether rosacea sneaked up on you after 30 or it’s been with you for longer, it’s no secret that sun exposure is a major trigger for rosacea. When I say trigger, I mean any element that worsens facial redness, causes red, itchy spots, and makes the skin sensitive. Before diving into the best sunscreens for rosacea, let me tell you something you probably don’t know.

If your condition is not too severe, you’re probably guilty of ignoring your triggers. Because based on anecdotal evidence, you’re under the assumption that the worst outcome of not avoiding your triggers is a bit of sensitivity and more redness, which can be tolerated by most people most of the time.

Here’s the thing, the worst outcome of ignoring rosacea triggers is not sensitivity. It’s skin thickening and texture irregularities (1). It’s an extreme case but still, keep that in mind!

Even though triggers vary from person to person, UV exposure is the universal trigger for people with rosacea. You can avoid other common triggers like spicy foods. But sun exposure is basically unavoidable. So sun protection requires more effort and dedication on your part.

I’ve been dealing with rosacea for years. And let me tell you this, incorporating a nice-feeling sunscreen into my daily routine was the best thing I’ve ever done for my rosacea. I always knew SPF is important for your skin. But my redness and rosacea were the driving force behind my dedication to using sunscreen rain or shine.

If you haven’t found something that worked for your skin, things might get a bit frustrating. No worries, I’ve got a great round-up below. But let me first tell you more about what the big deal is with rosacea and sunscreen.

Sun Exposure and Rosacea

To help you better understand the importance of sun protection, here’s what happens to your skin when it’s exposed to sun rays.

Both UVA and UVB rays cause inflammation on the skin. The former is known to cause aging whereas the latter is known to cause burning on the skin (2).

Regardless, both of these rays induce inflammation and set off a chain reaction that leads to anything from mild hyperpigmentation to skin aging. Let’s put a pin on this.

Rosacea is an inflammatory skin condition. It’s triggered by inflammation and results in inflammation. So your skin is already way more susceptible to UV irradiation compared to people with normal skin.

In light of what I’ve said about UV-induced inflammation, this means that you’re more prone to premature aging, hyperpigmentation, and sunburn.

So facial redness becomes the least of your problems. That’s why it’s incredibly important for us to protect our skin against UV rays.

How to Choose a Sunscreen For Rosacea?

Type of SPF

National Rosacea Society suggests choosing a mineral/physical sunscreen (3). So avoid chemical sunscreens, which are usually made with oxybenzone or avobenzone. And go for mineral/physical sunscreens that contain either/both zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.

Mineral sunscreens usually don’t irritate the skin or cause rosacea flare-ups. The only downside associated with mineral sunscreens is the potential for a “white cast”. This is becoming less of a problem as recently, almost all mineral sunscreens have a sheer tint that prevents this effect.

The white cast makes it difficult for people with darker skin tones to use mineral sunscreens. However, for our purposes, this is not an issue as rosacea is more common among people with fair skin tones. Even if you have dark skin, sheer tinted sunscreens will leave no white residue.

That being said, I can say from my personal experience that not all chemical sunscreens are bad. As long as the overall formulation is gentle, there’s no reason for you to avoid chemical sunscreens, which tend to be more aesthetically pleasing and apply well under makeup.

Formulation

Your skincare rules apply. So avoid sunscreens that contain alcohol, fragrance, or common skincare irritants. Try to make sure your product is minimal to reduce any potential irritation.

Other Ingredients

Sunscreens that contain antioxidants, as long as they’re fragrance-free, can provide extra protection as well. In fact, a recent study published in 2021 suggests that the addition of anti-inflammatory ingredients like licorice extract and emollient ingredients (moisturizing) into the SPF formula can actually help with rosacea flares too (4).

The Best Sunscreens For Rosacea

Below are the best sunscreens for people with rosacea.

1. La Roche Posay Anthelios Mineral Zinc Oxide Sunscreen SPF 50

La Roche Posay Anthelios Mineral Zinc Oxide Sunscreen SPF 50

Ask any dermatologist and this is the first sunscreen they recommend. Loved by dermatologists, formulated for sensitive skin, this is overall an amazing sunscreen for people with rosacea. It’s water-resistant. It offers a satisfying level of protection and comes with an antioxidant-rich botanical extract to amplify your protection against oxidative stress. It’s also free of alcohol, fragrance, and oil and is among dermatologists’ top recommendations for rosacea sufferers. No uncomfortable feel on the skin, no white residue whatsoever! And it’s perfect under makeup too.

Type: Mineral SPF: 50 Other Ingredients: Vitamin E, candle tree extract
Formula: Fragrance-free, oil-free Size: 1.7 oz

2. CeraVe Hydrating Sunscreen Face Sheer Tint SPF 30

This is a very moisturizing mineral sunscreen formulated with the signature blend of hydration boosters. Hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and niacinamide support the skin barrier while SPF 30 provides protection against UV rays. It’s light, non-comedogenic, and blends easily. The formula is free of fragrance and alcohol and incredibly sensitive-skin-friendly. It has a sheer tint to it to prevent white residue and has a nice, subtle, glowy finish. Plus, it’s super budget-friendly!

Type: Mineral SPF: 30 Other Ingredients: Niacinamide, ceramides, hyaluronic acid
Formula: Fragrance-free, oil-free Size: 1.7 oz

3. Supergoop! Mattescreen SPF 40

Supergoop! Mattescreen SPF 40

This mineral sunscreen is perfect for people with rosacea who happen to also deal with oily and acne-prone skin. Because of the matte finish of the product, you don’t need to worry about greasy-looking or sticky-feeling skin. The mineral formula is easy to blend and leaves no white cast on the skin. It’s not drying for the skin and works great as a primer too by blurring out pores. It’s non-comedogenic and free of alcohol and fragrance.

Type: Mineral SPF: 40 Other Ingredients: Bamboo extract, ginger extract
Formula: Oil-free, fragrance-free Size: 1.5 oz

Suggested: The Best Makeup Removers For Rosacea

4. Versed Guards Up Daily Mineral Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 35

Versed Guards Up Daily Mineral Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 35 - Best Sunscreens For Rosacea

This is one of the most affordable sunscreens you can safely use when you have rosacea. It’s formulated with zinc oxide and without fragrance, alcohol, or oils. It’s non-comedogenic and has a natural finish with a moisturizing formula. It hydrates with hyaluronic acid and soothes with aloe too.

Type: Mineral SPF: 35 Other Ingredients: Moringa extract, hyaluronic acid
Formula: Fragrance-free, oil-free Size: 1.7 oz

5. Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment SPF 30

Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment SPF 30

This is the sunscreen that should be on your radar this summer, especially if you have oily skin. The green tinted base doesn’t just provide skincare benefits but also cosmetic benefits. It’ll replace your matte foundation. The tint cancels out any facial redness on the skin. This is quite thick and can be difficult to spread. But work it into the skin and you’ll see that the result is totally worth it. Plus, it’s formulated with Centella Asiatica, which is super soothing for rosacea skin.

Type: Mineral SPF: 30 Other Ingredients: Centella Asiatica, niacinamide, vitamin B5
Formula: Scented Size: 1.7 oz

6. Biossance Squalane + Zinc Sheer Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 PA +++

Biossance Squalane + Zinc Sheer Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 PA +++ - Best Sunscreens For Rosacea

This one has a very hydrating base -almost like a moisturizer all thanks to squalane. The vegan mineral sunscreen gives broad-spectrum protection, leaves no white residue, and makes it incredibly easy to wear sunscreen. It’s free of common irritants, incredibly gentle on rosacea skin, and of course, cruelty-free. It moisturizes the skin, which is always a plus for people with dry, dehydrated skin.

Type: Mineral SPF: 30 Other Ingredients: Squalane
Formula: Fragrance-free, oil-free Size: 1.7 oz

7. EltaMD UV Pure Broad-Spectrum SPF 47

EltaMD UV Pure Broad-Spectrum SPF 47

If you prefer something you can use both on the face and the body, this one is perfect. It’s formulated with both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide and it’s water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. Its minimal, non-irritating formula contains vitamin C to enhance your sun protection. It’s the perfect sun protection to manage rosacea flares as well as to prevent premature aging.

Type: Mineral SPF: 47 Other Ingredients: Vitamin C
Formula: Fragrance-free, oil-free Size: 4 oz

8. Supergoop! Bright-Eyed 100% Mineral Eye Cream SPF 40

Supergoop! Bright-Eyed 100% Mineral Eye Cream SPF 40 - Best Sunscreens For Rosacea

If you have ocular rosacea or generally sensitive eyes, you might want to consider something exclusive for the eye area. This is an SPF eye cream you can safely use without worrying about watery eyes or rosacea flares. The mineral formula is clean, gentle, and non-irritating. Its lightweight texture applies easily and doesn’t leave the eye area dry or flaky. Plus, it’s enriched with antioxidants as well as caffeine to reduce discolorations.

Type: Mineral SPF: 40 Other Ingredients: Caffeine, green tea, probiotics
Formula: Fragrance-free Size: 0.5 oz

9. Lancome UV Expert Aquagel Defense 50 Sunscreen

Lancome UV Expert Aquagel Defense 50 Sunscreen

Lastly, and this is the only chemical sunscreen I can swear by, is this one. Sure, Lancome isn’t a brand dermatologists rave about when rosacea is concerned. But there’s no denying that we all love a good multi-tasker. This one protects, deeply moisturizes, disappears into the skin, has a dewy finish, and works well with makeup too. I have ocular rosacea and I can even use this around my eyes. I’ve not experienced any flares or irritation, whatsoever!

Type: Chemical SPF: 50 Other Ingredients: Vitamin E, moringa extract
Formula: Contains fragrance, oil-free Size: 1 oz

This completes our list of the best sunscreens for people with rosacea. Remember that sun damage is a gradual thing. The more you’re exposed to UVAs and UVBs without protection, the more you reinforce their damaging effects like hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, and sensitivity. So wear sunscreen regularly. You can also try tinted SPF moisturizers to get some coverage and neutralize redness as well. Also, remember to reapply your sunscreen every 2 hours.

References:

  1. Farshchian M, Daveluy S. Rosacea. [Updated 2021 Dec 30]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557574/
  2. D’Orazio, J., Jarrett, S., Amaro-Ortiz, A., & Scott, T. (2013). UV radiation and the skin. International journal of molecular sciences14(6), 12222–12248. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms140612222
  3. Sunscreen for Rosacea | Rosacea.org. (n.d.). National Rosacea Society. Retrieved June 8, 2022, from https://www.rosacea.org/patients/skin-care/sunscreen-for-rosacea
  4. Morgado-Carrasco, D., Granger, C., Trullas, C. and Piquero-Casals, J. (2021), Impact of ultraviolet radiation and exposome on rosacea: Key role of photoprotection in optimizing treatment. J Cosmet Dermatol, 20: 3415-3421. https://doi.org/10.1111/jocd.14020

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