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For many people, putting on SPF isn’t very fun. There’s the goop, the grease, the stickiness that won’t go away. But what if applying isn’t SPF isn’t just uncomfy — it’s also downright painful? Yep. To some, SPF causes burning eyes or stinging, irritated skin. What causes this anyway? And what is the best sunscreen for sensitive skin that can protect you without discomfort? 

Why does sunscreen sting my face or eyes?

First, let’s back-track to SPF 101. There are two kinds of sunscreens: mineral and chemical. Mineral SPF contains natural minerals like Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide, which sit on the skin to deflect harmful UV rays from every angle. Meanwhile, chemical sunscreen uses chemical compounds, which are absorbed into the skin to form a protective filter that absorbs and dissipates UV rays.

Now, let’s answer the question ‘why does sunscreen sting my face?’. Whether you use mineral sunscreen or chemical sunscreen, both use powerful, active ingredients to protect your skin from sun damage. If not applied properly or applied too close to the eyes, then yes, it may sting. For those with extra sensitive skin, mineral SPF is usually best since the ingredients are naturally occurring and do not get absorbed by skin. 

However, simply being mineral-based doesn’t make a product the best sunscreen for sensitive skin. For one, it could still contain fragrance, additives, and alcohol that can be irritating, especially when applied near the eyes. 

On the other hand, it’s a common misconception that chemical SPF is inherently bad. You may have heard the controversial news about chemical sunscreen potentially causing cancer, or harming marine life. But not all chemical SPF is like this! What matters is that it is derm-tested, certified safe, and does not contain questionable ingredients like oxybenzone and octinoxate.

Finding the best sunscreen for sensitive skin

Like we said, mineral sunscreen is usually the go-to for those with sensitive skin. The downside, however, is that it can be hard to find a mineral sunscreen without white cast (because minerals are white!). Your best bet is to go with a tinted mineral SPF, just like our own Rose From Above SPF35 Mineral Sunscreen Base. Aside from being super gentle, it’s also packed with soothing and skin-strengthening ingredients like rose oil and ceramides. 

If you’re looking for a formula that’s lightweight with zero chances of white cast, then chemical sunscreen is for you. Our chemical sunscreens are powered by active ingredients like avobenzone and homosalate, which have been found to be harmless and effective in sun protection. These easy-to-use, fast-absorbing formulas have been further enriched with ultra-hydrating hyaluronic acid, antioxidants, and more plant-powered goodness to moisturize, nourish, and further support skin health too. This makes them the best sunscreen for dry skin too. Find them in our best-selling Resting Beach Face SPF30 Sunscreen Serum and Oh My Bod! SPF50 Sunscreen Lotion.

According to Good Housekeeping’s Beauty Lab tests, Oh My Bod! even garnered the highest score for not stinging or irritating skin. What’s more is that an impressive 100% of testers who also used it on their face reported zero irritation to the eyes or surrounding skin. Not just for your body, it’s also the best face sunscreen for sensitive skin!

Yes, sunscreen stinging your eyes or skin is pretty common — but it doesn’t mean you have to put up with it in the name of sun protection. The key is to find a daily sunscreen that’s comfy, gentle and works well for your skin type and needs, whether that’s a mineral SPF or chemical SPF. We’ve got you covered! You’ll never have to ask yourself ‘what is the best sunscreen for sensitive skin?’ ever again.

Shop the best everyday sunscreen now on Everyday Humans.

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