Combination skin means you have a mix of dry areas and oily areas on your skin, particularly on your face. Your T-zone (chin, nose, and forehead) is usually oily while the other areas of your face are drier.
There are many products advertised as a sunscreen for oily face or a sunscreen for dry skin, and that’s great. But what about combination skin? If you have combination skin, the task of finding products that work well with your skin can be a difficult one.
According the Skin Cancer Foundation, everyone, no matter what type of skin they have, needs to be vigilant about sun protection! To make sure your skin is sufficiently protected against the sun’s harmful UV rays, you need more than just protective UV clothing, hats, sunglasses, and shade. You must always protect yourself with a broad spectrum sunscreen!
So what should you do to protect your combination skin?
You could use two different products for the different areas of your face. But that requires too much work and is unnecessary. It may be harder to find good products for combination skin, but it is possible!
After thorough research into the sun protection needs of combination skin, SimplySunSafe recommends EltaMD UV Pure Sunscreen SPF 47 as the best sunscreen for combination skin. Continue reading for a detailed buyer’s guide, comparison table, and in-depth reviews of the top 5 sunscreens for combination skin.
To make sure that your combination skin is sufficiently protected against the sun’s harmful UV radiation, there are a few must-have sunscreen features you should search for:
Broad spectrum protection
One of the most, if not the most, important features that you need to look for anytime you are buying a sunscreen is broad spectrum protection. This means that the sunscreen provides sufficiently balanced protection against both UVA and UVB radiation.
Why is this important? Because each type of radiation works differently and has different effects on your skin. UVB rays leave your skin burned or tanned by damaging its outer layer. UVA rays cause premature aging by penetrating the deepest layer of your skin (the dermis).
Something really important to remember other than the visible effects of the sun’s rays on your skin is that exposure to both types of rays increases your risk of skin cancer. This is why it is essential that you protect your combination skin with a broad spectrum sunscreen.
Is it difficult to know which sunscreens provide broad spectrum protection?
Luckily, the answer is no. There are two simple ways which will help you figure out if a sunscreen is broad spectrum. You need to check the label and the ingredients list. Search the sunscreen’s label for the words ‘broad spectrum’ or ‘UVA/B,’ and if you see them you know the sunscreen is broad spectrum.
If you don’t notice those words, or you just want to feel extra secure, you can check the ingredients list for zinc oxide. Sunscreens with zinc oxide protect against the full range of UVA/B rays so they are always a good choice!
Best SPF for combination skin
If your friend asked you to explain what SPF means, could you do it?
Don’t worry, the Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is one of those things that everyone seems to be aware of, but not many people really know the details. But since SPF is one aspect that plays a role in your choice of sunscreen, it’s a good idea to understand what it means!
The SPF rating indicates what fraction of the sun’s UVB radiation will reach your skin when you have properly applied the sunscreen. So for instance, if you are wearing a sunscreen with an SPF rating of 50, then 1/50th of the sun’s rays will reach your skin, as long as you have proper coverage. This explains why you can stay in the sun longer when you wear sunscreen.
However, wearing an SPF 50 sunscreen doesn’t mean that you can spend 50 times longer in the sun than you would if you were not wearing any sunscreen. This is because there are a lot of factors that dictate the effectiveness of SPF, including the time of day, thickness of your applied sunscreen, and even reflections from surfaces such as water or sand.
To better understand how much protection different SPF ratings give you, take a look at this table:
|SPF Rating||UVB Protection|
Do you find it surprising? As you can see, there isn’t a big difference between an SPF 30 sunscreen and one with SPF 100. Because of this, SimplySunSafe recommends that you always wear a sunscreen with an SPF rating no lower than 30 and no higher than 50. This recommendation is in line with that of the FDA. And remember, no matter what SPF rating your sunscreen has, you still need to reapply at least every 2 hours when in the sun!
Physical is better than chemical
Sunscreens can be categorized in two main groups – chemical and physical. The difference between the two lies in the active ingredients and in the way the sunscreen works to protect your skin.
Physical sunscreen works by reflecting the UV rays before they reach your skin, whereas chemical sunscreen works by absorbing the UV rays as they reach your skin.
There are a few important reasons why SimplySunSafe recommends using physical sunscreens over chemical ones. To start, in general physical sunscreens stop more light reaching the skin and work across more of the UV spectrum. On top of this they:
- Work immediately upon application
- Last longer
- Are less likely to cause irritation
- Have a longer shelf life
There is also an important reason not to choose chemical sunscreens. They contain ingredients called endocrine disruptors. Not sure what that means? Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that mess with your hormones. No explanation necessary to know that you don’t want that happening to you. The worst of these chemicals is called oxybenzone. So be vigilant, check all sunscreens for this ingredient, and avoid it like the plague!
Choosing a sunscreen recommended by SimplySunSafe guarantees you’ll be safe. All of our product recommendations are checked against EWG’s sunscreen database to ensure the highest levels of safety and effectiveness!
Suitable for daily use
Having combination skin means that it can be difficult to find products that work well with all areas of your skin. You may discover products that work well with the oily areas of your skin, but then after a few days cause extra dryness. Instead of having to switch products every few days, you need to find a sunscreen that offers effective protection while being gentle and enough and appropriate to wear on your combination skin every day.
To find sunscreens suitable for daily use for combination skin, you need to search for formulas that are made for all skin types or sensitive skin types, and that do not contain irritating ingredients.
With your combination skin, a product may seem like it is working really well, but may irritate your skin after a few consecutive days of use. Give yourself a few days or a week to run a test of any new sunscreen you are trying. This will help you to identify the best sunscreen for your combination skin!
One of the difficult things about managing your combination skin can be finding balanced products that work well for all areas of your skin. While dry skin may call for heavier formulas in order to provide the most hydration, oily skin can be overwhelmed by heavy products. So where does that leave you and your combination skin?
Here’s the thing: moisture can be provided without a heavy formula, it depends on the ingredients. So it is not necessary for you to find a heavy sunscreen in order to properly protect the dry areas of your skin. Actually, for your combination skin, you want to find a lightweight formula that won’t leave your skin feeling clammy or greasy.
The best sunscreen for combination skin types will be a lightweight formula ensuring that the oily areas of your combination skin are not weighed down by the cream. It will also contain non-oily moisturizing ingredients in order to cater to the dry areas of your skin without affecting your T-zone!
When you have combination skin, it can be a chore to find products that leave your face looking the way you want. Some products may not provide enough moisture, leaving your skin dry and flaky, while others may be too heavy, leaving a greasy shine on your face all day.
When searching for sunscreens for your combination skin, you should look for products that provide an invisible finish. Sunscreens with an invisible finish will protect you without any additional cosmetic effect. This helps your new sunscreen seamlessly enter your established cosmetic routine. You won’t have to change a thing but you’ll be protected from the sun’s damaging radiation!
Ultimately you need a product that won’t leave your combination skin looking greasy or chalky all day. Because let’s be honest, if it makes your skin look funny, you are not likely to wear it every day. And you want to be sure your combination skin is sufficiently protected from the sun’s UV rays!
Even if you are not planning on participating in rigorous activities, a sunscreen for your combination skin will be most effective if it is water resistant. This is because the natural oils of your combination skin may cause your sunscreen to melt away, especially if you are sweating.
Wearing a water resistant sunscreen will provide you will longer periods of sufficient sun protection. You will be able to go through your daily activities without the burden of constantly running to a bathroom mirror to reapply your sunscreen because the oily areas of your skin have caused it to melt away.
Best Sunscreen for Combination Skin Comparison
|EltaMD UV Pure||Vanicream Sunscreen||Alba Botanica Sensitive Mineral||CeraVe Baby Sunscreen||thinkbaby Sunscreen|
|Active ingredients||Zinc Oxide (10%) & Titanium Dioxide (5.5%)||Zinc Oxide (6%) & Titanium Dioxide (3.4%)||Zinc Oxide (14.5%) & Titanium Dioxide (2%)||Zinc Oxide (11.4%) & Titanium Dioxide (7.4%)||Zinc Oxide (20%)|
|Finish||Invisible finish||Invisible finish||Invisible finish (under makeup)||Invisible finish (under makeup)||No. Will leave slight white cast (coverable with make-up)|
|Water resistance||80 Minutes||80 Minutes||80 Minutes||80 Minutes||80 Minutes|
5 Best Sunscreens for Combination Skin
After thorough research into the necessities for sun protection for combination skin which included discussing issues with customers, reviewing customer feedback, examining manufacturer specifications, and participating in skincare forums, SimplySunSafe has chosen the 5 best sunscreens for combination skin. All of the recommended products provide physical, broad spectrum protection at an SPF rating of 30 or greater. They are all free of oxybenzone, water resistant, suitable for daily use, and have an invisible finish.
EltaMD, a frequently recommended sunscreen here at SimplySunSafe, has proved itself an ideal choice yet again! This formula is an excellent choice for protecting your combination skin from the sun’s UV rays. It is SimplySunSafe’s recommendation for the best sunscreen for mixed skin! It provides broad spectrum protection through its active ingredients zinc oxide (10%) and titanium dioxide (5.5%).
EltaMD UV Pure is a lightweight lotion that is designed for use on all skin types. It is non-comedogenic, an important factor for the oily areas on your combination skin, and is free of parabens, oils, dyes, hormones, fragrances, and gluten (making irritation less likely).
It is a very gentle formula that will prove to be practical and effective during daily use. The product has a light scent when applied to your skin, which is actually quite pleasant and shouldn’t cause you any trouble.
EltaMD UV Pure provides you with the maximum 80 minutes of water resistance so it will stay put throughout the day. Just make sure to pay attention to your skin and reapply every two hours, especially if you’re sweating or engaging in water activities.
When applied properly and rubbed in sufficiently, this sunscreen will leave you with an invisible finish that allows sufficient and unnoticeable sun protection. If you do notice a white cast, simply keep massaging the lotion into your skin and it’ll fade away.
EltaMD UV Pure is a very affordable product considering its quality. Give it a try on your combination skin!
- Lightweight formula
- Invisible finish when properly applied
- Water resistant (80 minutes)
- Reasonably priced
- May melt away with excessive sweating or water activities
Vanicream Sunscreen is another great option for protecting your combination skin. This user favorite provides broad spectrum protection through its active ingredients zinc oxide (6%) and titanium dioxide (3.4%). It’s an excellent and reliable option for sufficient every day protection!
Vanicream will easily fit into your daily skincare routine without causing any irritation. Its lightness allows it to applied it under makeup without any change to the final cosmetic result of your beauty routine. This product is designed for sensitive skin, and is free from parabens, PABA, dyes, fragrances, gluten and oil. It is also non-comedogenic and non-greasy.
The formula is lightweight and will not leave your skin feeling heavily covered with chemicals. You may find that this sunscreen can leave a very slight white cast. However, as long as you rub the sunscreen into your skin well, it should fade to an invisible finish.
Vanicream Sunscreen will provide 80 minutes of water resistance, which like SimplySunSafe’s number one recommendation, EltaMD UV Pure, can melt away with excessive sweating or water activity. So this is just something to be aware of throughout your day.
This is another affordable sunscreen that provides you with all of the essential features needed to protect your combination skin against the sun’s UV rays. Add it to the lineup for your test trial!
- Lightweight, non-greasy formula
- Designed for sensitive skin and ideal for daily use
- Water resistant for 80 minutes
- May melt with excessive sweating or water activity
Alba Botanica Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen is a gentle sunscreen that makes a dependable option for sun protection for your combination skin. This physical sunscreen provides broad spectrum protection with its active ingredients zinc oxide (14.5%) and titanium dioxide (2%).
Alba Botanica is a gentle sunscreen that is a good option for daily use. It will not cause irritation to your skin, as it is free from parabens and unnecessary fragrances. Not only is it gentle on your combination skin, but it also has extra ingredients that will help the dry areas of your skin – shea butter, aloe leaf juice, and various plant oils. These ingredients are great for conditioning and repairing dry skin.
The formula is thicker than the first two recommendations on this list, but customers say that as long as it is rubbed in properly and given a little time to dry, it works well under makeup and does not leave a noticeable white cast.
Alba Botanica will give you 80 minutes of water resistant protection so you don’t need to worry about normal daily sweating or any oiliness on your combination skin.
This very affordable sunscreen may be the one that works best for you. Test it to find out!
- Gentle enough for daily use
- Extra ingredients for conditioning dry areas of combination skin
- Water resistant for 80 minutes
- Very affordable
- Thicker formula requires drying
Another reliable option for sun protection of your combination skin is CeraVe Baby Sunscreen. Just from the name you can understand that this sunscreen will be gentle enough for daily use. It provides you with broad spectrum protection through its ingredients zinc oxide (11.4%) and titanium dioxide (7.4%).
CeraVe Baby Sunscreen was developed by dermatologists. You can be sure that you will not experience any irritation by incorporating this product into your daily skincare routine. It is designed to protect the fragile skin of babies, and is hypoallergenic. It is also free from parabens, sulfate, and fragrances. The formula also contains aloe which will provide refreshing moisture to the dry areas of your combination skin.
The cream itself is a bit thick when you push it out of the tube, however it absorbs well into the skin. According to customer reports, you will not be left with a white cast as long as you take the time to rub it in properly.
If you apply make-up over the sunscreen, it will not be noticeable at all! Its thickness will provide the dry areas of your combination skin with some needed moisture, but it will absorb well enough not to affect the oily areas of your skin.
With CeraVe Baby Sunscreen, you will have 80 minutes of water resistant protection for your combination skin. The water protection of this product is strong and oiliness and sweating does not seem to affect it.
This sunscreen is gentle enough for daily use though is the most expensive sunscreen featured here. Its price point may mean you use it exclusively as a face sunscreen!
- Gentle enough for daily use
- Extra moisturizing ingredients for dry areas of skin
- Water resistant for 80 minutes
- Thicker formula
- Slightly expensive
The final recommendation by SimplySunSafe for combination skin is thinkbaby Sunscreen. This is another sunscreen designed to protect babies, which means that it is certainly gentle enough for daily use on your combination skin. You will receive broad spectrum protection with its active ingredient zinc oxide (20%) at a high concentration.
Using thinkbaby Sunscreen daily will not cause any problems in terms of skin irritation. The formula is free of parabens, phthalates, PABA, and gluten. It is very safe for use on the skin and was the first product to pass the Whole Foods Premium Care Requirements.
The formula is not especially thick and absorbs very well into the skin. It will not leave your combination skin feeling oily or greasy. With this sunscreen, you get water resistance for 80 minutes, which is not affected by sweating.
The high concentration of zinc oxide means it is very likely that you will be left with a slight white cast on your skin. If you are worried about this, it can be covered with a light layer of makeup. It is simply something you must consider when deciding which sunscreen fits best into your daily life.
Thinkbaby Safe Sunscreen is affordable, practical, and effective. It has landed in the last spot on this list mainly due to the certain fact that you will be left with a white cast. However, this is a fixable problem, and thinkbaby Safe Sunscreen is definitely a product worth testing!
- Designed for daily use
- High concentration of zinc oxide
- No oily or greasy feeling
- Thick formula
- Will leave white cast on skin
This guide was written for those searching for the best sunscreen for combination skin. I hope that by reading this guide you were able to better understand the needs of your combination skin and that you found a product that fits your skin and routine!
SimplySunSafe recommends EltaMD UV Pure Sunscreen SPF 47, but all 5 of the sunscreens recommended will provide your combination skin with gentle yet sufficient protection.
Remember, with combination skin, you should always test any new product out for a few days to see how it will work for your skin. Once you have tested different products, you will be able to make better decisions about how sunscreen suit the needs of your skin. From there you will be able to identify the best sunscreen for your daily needs!
I enjoy learning new things and hearing about new products from other people. If you use or know of any other sunscreen for combination skin, please share it in the comments. I’ll take a look and maybe I’ll add it this list!