Ask pretty much any dermatologist for their number-one skin-care tip, and most likely, you’ll always get the same answer: Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen.
We know that diligent SPF application (every! single! day!) is the best way to prevent skin cancer — not to mention signs of aging, like dark spots and wrinkles. But the key to actually following through on wearing it is to find a formula you like. Easier said than done, particularly when so many options can leave chalky, white casts on skin. But sunscreen technology has come a long way over the years, and there are now plenty of effective formulas that keep skin protected without turning it the dull, paper-y color of White-Out.
Dr. Adeline Kikam, a board certified dermatologist based in Texas who specializes in skin health for people of color, often posts about sunscreen formulas on Instagram under the handle @brownskinderm, rating them with a “Brown Skin Friendly Report Card” based on efficacy, delivery on product claims and whether or not they leave a white cast on her skin when the necessary amount of product is applied.
“Like your non-tinted ones, tinted sunscreens combine broad-spectrum mineral UVR filters, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, with pigmentary iron and titanium dioxide for tint that affords more skin tone coverage,” she explains. “Iron oxide also has the added benefit of protecting against visible light which early studies have linked to persistent hyperpigmentation, especially in darker skin tones.”
Dr. Kikam’s favorite tinted sunscreen picks include Tizo Photoceutical AM Replenish Lightly Tinted SPF 40, which she notes “does not leave a whitish cast on darker skin types.” (She also likes that it contains vitamins C and E, as well as ceramides, hyaluronic acid and iron oxide, a blue/visible light blocker.) She also recommends EltaMD UV Elements Broad-Spectrum SPF 44, which she says doesn’t leave a white cast on dark skin tones and is “so moisturizing to skin,” on top of being fragrance-, oil- and dye-free — “ideal for those who find these ingredients irritating, especially folks with sensitive skin.”
Dr. Hadley King, a board certified dermatologist in New York City, highlights Unsun’s Mineral Tinted Face Sunscreen in Medium/Dark for darker skin tones, in particular: “[It’s] all mineral, but formulated to cover a range of skin tones without leaving a white residue,” adding that the formula also “contains zinc oxide, titanium dioxide and iron oxides. And it’s moisturizing with shea butter, coconut oil, olive oil and safflower seed oil.” She also favors Brush on Block Touch of Tan Mineral Powder Sunscreen SPF 30 for touch-ups throughout the day over makeup, as well as Revision Skincare Intellishade TruPhysical Anti-Aging Tinted Moisturizer SPF 45 and Skinmedica Essential Defense Mineral Shield Broad Spectrum SPF 32 (both mineral sunscreens). See? Lots of options to choose from!
In the gallery below, find (and shop!) even more tinted sunscreens we love.
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