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Tinted Sunscreens Ward Off Sun Damage, Cover Skin Flaws and More — Learn Why Dermatologists Love Them!

Top MDs share the formulas that will work for you

While the sun may give your skin a little color, ultraviolet (UV) rays can wreak havoc on it, accelerating signs of aging and increasing the risk of skin cancer. Thankfully, sunscreen is your ultimate defense, and it’s easily accessible. But for many women, especially those of us over 50, daily sun protection can feel like a multi-step process. The solution? Tinted sunscreens. These multitaskers offer a convenient and effective way to shield your skin while also subtly evening out your complexion. We chatted with two dermatologists to learn more about the benefits of these tinted versions, how to pick the best tinted sunscreen for your skin type and their top product recommendations.

Why it’s important to wear sunscreen every day

We know you’re heard it before, but wearing sunscreen every single day is essential. “SPFs protect against UVA rays (responsible for the signs of premature aging) and UVB rays (the ones that cause sunburn and skin cancer),” says dermatologist Deanne Mraz, MD. The majority of UV radiation comes from the sun. However our lifestyles often have us spending more time in front of visible light, primarily blue light, which comes from the sun as well as the screens (from computers and out phones), she says. “Visible light penetrates the skin more deeply than UV rays, and is the cause of hyperpigmentation and the pesky condition, melasma,” says Dr. Mraz. “In order to block visible light, the SPF you’ve applied must be visible on the skin — aka a tinted sunscreen!”

Related: “I’m a Dermatologist and *This* Is Why It’s So Important to Wear Sunscreen Year Round — Especially in Winter!”

The benefits of using tinted sunscreen

Tinted sunscreens provide cosmetic coverage, as well as protection against visible light, says Joshua Zeichner, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. “The iron oxide pigments included in tinted sunscreens are responsible for the additional protection, blocking blue light from penetrating into the skin.” We know the blue light is a major contributor to the development of hyperpigmentation and especially as women get older, they have experienced development of hyperpigmentation, he adds. “Tinted sunscreen offers one-stop shopping, providing sheer cosmetic coverage, without the need for foundation.” Dr. Zeichner typically recommends using a tinted sunscreen as the last step in your skin care routine; however, you certainly can layer some additional makeup on top of it, if desired.

Why tinted sunscreens are great for women over 50

tinted sunscreen tube and swatch

“Tinted SPFs tend to be more hydrating than non-tinted ones,” says Dr. Mraz. “This improves how they apply aesthetically and makes them more favorable to more mature skin, which tends to be drier.” She adds that “its a great way to continue protecting your skin from UV and visible light while blurring any age-related imperfections like hyperpigmentation, dull complexion, fine lines and wrinkles.”

How to pick the best tinted sunscreen for you

Dr. Mraz says she almost always recommends mineral SPF formulas. “They’re wonderful for protecting the skin and the easiest to reapply on the go since they work at the skin’s surface to physically shield the skin from UV rays,” she says. As opposed to “chemical SPFs, which must be applied directly to clean skin to be absorbed into the skin to function.” Plus, she adds that “mineral SPFs are also less likely to cause irritation or allergic reaction since they aren’t absorbed into the skin to function.”

As far as how much SPF protection to look for, Dr. Zeichner advises choosing one that’s at least SPF 30. Tinted sunscreens also come in a variety of different textures and levels of coverage so you can choose one to suit your needs and preferences. Most of the tinted SPFs on the market provide mineral protection, and the tint prevents any potential white cast from the UV blockers, says Dr. Zeichner. It’s much less common to find a tinted chemical sunscreen, he notes. “Look for one that provides added benefits that addresses your skin’s needs, whether it is to brighten, hydrate, reduce shine or mattify the skin. Many of these products bridge the line between skincare and makeup.”

When to apply tinted sunscreen in your routine

mature woman applying tinted sunscreen in mirror

Mineral tinted sunscreen should be the last thing applied in your skincare and makeup routine, says Dr. Mraz. That’s because it must sit at the skin’s surface to do its job. “If you are choosing a chemical tinted SPF, you would need to apply that early on in your skincare routine, directly to the skin so it can be absorbed,” she explains. “Mineral SPFs sit at the skin’s surface and act as a physical shield, while chemical ones must be absorbed into the skin where they convert UV rays into heat and release them off the skin.” 

Can I use tinted sunscreen instead of foundation?

This is a personal preference, says Dr. Mraz, but she says yes. “You can still use a concealer underneath to address any specific areas that need more coverage.”

The 9 best tinted sunscreens

Keeping scrolling for the nine best tinted sunscreen picks that will work wonders for you.

Best drugstore tinted sunscreens

Eucerin Sensitive Mineral Face Sunscreen

Eucerin Sensitive Mineral Face Sunscreen

Dr. Zeichner says this all-mineral sunscreen is ultra gentle on the skin, even if you are sensitive. “It uses a proprietary blend of five different iron oxide pigments to provide natural, universal coverage that adjust to all skin tones.”

CeraVe Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 Face Sheer Tint

CeraVe Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 Face Sheer Tint

This skin-nourishing formula is a favorite of Dr. Mraz’s. “The mineral formula delivers UV coverage as well as deep skin hydration thanks to hyaluronic acid, niacinamide and ceramides,” she says. “It is non-comedogenic and suitable for acne-prone skin.”

Related: Celebrities Share Their Favorite Drugstore Beauty Products to Look Gorgeous for Less

Best splurge tinted sunscreens

Cle De Peau Beaute UV Protective Cream SPF 50+, one best tinted sunscreen

Cle de Peau UV Protective Cream SPF 50+

This is a splurge for sure, but Dr. Zeichner likes this full coverage sunscreen that comes in three different shades. “[It] not only protects the skin against UV light, but also provides brightening reflective pigments for a glowing complexion.”

Alastin HydraTint Mineral SPF 36

Alastin HydraTint Pro Mineral Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 36

Another option that is worth the splurge is this one from Alastin that Dr. Mraz loves. It protects skin from UVA and UVB rays and is formulated with antioxidants to protect skin from pollution, infrared rays and blue light. “The formulation is super hydrating, water-resistant for 40 minutes and fragrance-free.”

Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Face Shield

ColoreScience Sunforgettable Total Protection Face Shield

This pricier tinted sunscreen has a cult following and for good reason. The luxe formula provides medium-to-full coverage, offers a high SPF of 50 and boasts a liquid texture that blends in well with different skin tones.

Best luminous tinted sunscreens

Shaklee Youth Activating BB Cream

Shaklee YOUTH Activating BB Cream

For an all-in-one tinted sunscreen that provides cosmetic benefits, improving hydration, brightening the skin and evening skin tone, reach for this one from Shaklee. It comes in four different shades that work for most skin tones, says Dr. Zeichner.

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Radiant Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30

To give skin a youthful glow, Dr. Mraz is a fan of this Neutrogena tinted moisturizer made with SPF. “It is deeply hydrating and contains skin favorites vitamin C for radiance and vitamin E for a glowing, hydrated skin barrier.”

Related: 8 Best Highlighters for Mature Skin That Will Get You Glowing, According to MUAs

Best matte tinted sunscreens

Garnier 5-in-1 Mineral Protector BB Cream

Garnier 5-in-1 Mineral Protector BB Cream

If your skin is on the oilier side, look to this BB cream from Garnier. “This sunscreen not only protects you from the sun, but also blurs imperfections and minimizes the appearance of shine,” says Dr. Zeichner. 

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral Tinted SPF 50

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral Tinted For Face SPF 50

This is Dr. Mraz’s pick for protecting skin and mattifying. It gets high marks for having SPF 50 protection, containing nourishing antioxidants and boasting a matte finish that doesn’t make skin look dry.

For more of our favorite beauty products to shop, click through these stories:

The 7 Best Cuticle Oils for Healthy, Strong and Youthful Nails, According to Experts

8 Setting Powders for Mature Skin That Are the Perfect Final Step in Your Makeup Routine

9 Best Heat Protectants for Fine Hair + More to Keep Strands Strong and Healthy

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