You likely know that you should be using sunscreen on a daily basis. However, many people neglect this step, as it is difficult to find the right option for their skin type.
Continue reading to learn more about the best sunscreens for combination skin, as well as some tips for application and finding the right product for your skin’s needs.
What is Combination Skin, and Why You Need Sunscreen
The combination skin type is characterized by some areas that are oily and some areas that are dry.
The oily areas tend to exist around the T-zone (the nose, forehead, and chin), whereas the dry areas tend to exist around the cheeks.
Why Sunscreen is Critical
For all skin types, sunscreen is an important step in a skincare routine. Here's why:
- By wearing sunscreen daily, you are protecting yourself from harmful UVA and UVB rays from the sun.
- These rays damage skin cells and speed up the visible signs of aging, and can also negatively affect the appearance of hyperpigmentation.
How to Choose the Right Sunscreen
When looking for a sunscreen for combination skin, there are a few things you should keep in mind:
- Look for lightweight, non-greasy formulas that don’t exacerbate oily skin issues.
- Avoid sunscreens that are heavily fragranced, as this can irritate more sensitive areas of the skin.
- Opt for an SPF of at least 30 for a day outdoors, and an SPF of at least 15 during your day-to-day life.
Types of Sunscreen
There are two types of sunscreens you’ll come across when researching the best sunscreens for combination skin: chemical and physical.
- Chemical sunscreen penetrates the top layer of the skin, absorbing UV rays before they are able to do any damage.
- Active ingredients in chemical sunscreens may include avobenzone, oxybenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate.
- Physical sunscreen (also known as mineral sunscreen) forms a physical barrier on the skin.
- This helps reflect UV rays away before they can penetrate the skin.
- The active ingredients in this type of sunscreen are zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide.
Both of these types of sunscreens have been tested to be safe and effective.
However, physical sunscreens may be less irritating to the skin than chemical sunscreens.
Best Sunscreens for Combination Skin
If you’re looking for a protective sunscreen to add to your skincare routine, these are the best sunscreens for combination skin:
1. Best Overall: Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence Sunscreen SPF 50
This Biore sunscreen is a favorite among many. It has a lightweight and watery texture that absorbs quickly into the skin without leaving a greasy finish. Additionally, it contains hydrating ingredients, including hyaluronic acid and royal jelly extract. The fact that it is hydrating but also non-greasy makes it one of the best sunscreens for combination skin. It is non-comedogenic, and lasts up to 80 minutes in water for beach or pool days.
2. Best Drugstore: Australian Gold Botanical Sunscreen SPF 50
If you’re looking for a drugstore option, this mineral sunscreen is a great choice. It uses both titanium dioxide and zinc oxide for sun protection, and is water resistant for up to 80 minutes. The formula is lightly tinted, providing a blurring effect that minimizes imperfections. It also creates a smooth, matte base. In addition to its sun protection abilities, it contains antioxidant-rich ingredients that nourish the skin, including kakadu plum, eucalyptus, and red algae. It is free of parabens, fragrances, phthalates, oils, and dyes, and is also hypoallergenic.
3. Best Mineral: La Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral Zinc Oxide Sunscreen SPF 50
This oil-free sunscreen is fast-absorbing and leaves a non-greasy matte finish, making it one of the best sunscreens for combination skin – especially if you’re looking for a mineral sunscreen. It contains an 11% concentration of titanium dioxide. Additionally, the formula has an antioxidant complex that further protects the skin from free radicals. It is water resistant for up to 40 minutes, and is free of parabens and fragrances. There is both a tinted and untinted version available.
4. Best Korean: Missha All Around Safe Block Essence SPF 45
This chemical sunscreen from Missha has a double layer UV blocking system that provides long lasting sun protection from both UVA and UVB rays, even in hot weather. The active sun-protecting ingredients include octinoxate, octisalate, and ensulizole. The formula also nourishes and protects the skin with a 6 essence complex. This complex includes a blend of plant extracts that work to reveal softer and brighter skin.
5. Best with Moisturizer: Paula’s Choice Broad Spectrum SPF 30
If you’re looking for a chemical sunscreen and moisturizer in one, this is a great option. The lightweight moisturizer keeps excess shine at bay and gives off a matte finish, making it one of the best sunscreens for combination skin. While it keeps oilier areas matte, it also provides much needed moisture to dryer areas of the skin with antioxidants and other skin restoring ingredients.
6. Best for Body: Banana Boat Sport Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50
It is just as important to protect the body from the sun, and this sunscreen from Banana Boat will do the trick. The chemical sunscreen formula is lightweight, and won’t leave your skin feeling greasy. It is formulated to last in a variety of outdoor conditions, including in the sun, pool, ocean, wind, sweat, sand, and heat. The sunscreen is water resistant for up to 80 minutes.
How to Use Sunscreen in Your Routine
Sunscreen should be applied in the morning as the very last step of your skincare routine.
Here are things to keep in mind:
- On your face, use about a nickel-sized amount.
- On the rest of your body, apply about an ounce (one shot glass) of sunscreen all over.
- Be sure to also get the ears, back and front of your neck, chest, and lips, as well as any exposed scalp areas.
- For maximum protection, be sure to reapply every 2 hours.
Sunscreen takes around 15 minutes to absorb into the skin, so it is important to apply before being exposed to the sun, rather than once you’re already outside.
When swimming, ensure you are using a water-resistant sunscreen. Check the label to see how often you need to reapply when in water.
Other Recommended Products for Combination Skin
Looking to complete your skincare routine? Consider these favorites:
- Face Washes for Combination Skin
- Toners for Combination Skin
- Exfoliators for Combination Skin
- Serums for Combination Skin
- Moisturizers for Combination Skin
What step do you use sunscreen in your routine?
Sunscreen application should be the very last step in your morning skincare routine. Apply at least 15 minutes before sun exposure for the most effective protection.
How often should you apply sunscreen?
Sunscreen should be applied on a daily basis in the morning, and reapplied every 2 hours. When swimming, refer to the label of your water-resistant formula. Generally, you’ll need to reapply sunscreen every 60 to 80 minutes.
How much sunscreen do you need to apply to your face?
On the face, you should use about a nickel-sized amount of sunscreen.
How much sunscreen do you need to apply to your body?
On the body, you should use about a shot glass worth (one ounce) of sunscreen.
The Bottom Line
Regardless of your skin type, everyone should be using sunscreen on a daily basis to protect the skin, prevent early signs of aging, and minimize the appearance of hyperpigmentation.
The best sunscreens for combination skin will protect without leaving a greasy finish or irritating drier areas of the skin.