Mature skin has challenges that younger skin just doesn’t have. By this age, most of our faces (and I’m going to include décolleté in this) have taken a significant beating from the sun. And even though most of the damage was inflicted in our youth, we need to remain vigilant about protecting it from the sun. Today I’m sharing a roundup of the best cruelty-free sunscreens for mature skin. I have an entire arsenal that I rely on so here are some of my favorites that are all cruelty-free.
Sunscreens are separated into chemical or physical. To be honest, they’re all chemicals. Some are just assumed to be safer and more effective.
What is the most effective sunscreen for mature skin? One that you will use consistently and use enough of. Most people use a thimbleful of sunscreen and spread it too thinly. Please check out How Much Sunscreen Do You Need?
Physical cruelty-free sunscreens for mature skin
Physical sunscreens provide the best protection and are the gentlest because they reflect the damaging rays. They’re called sunblock because they block the rays from absorbing into your skin. Zinc oxide is the gold standard for sun protection because it blocks more rays than even titanium dioxide.
They do tend to leave a white cast so many companies add tints to help them blend in better. For many years I used Elta MD UV Physical Broad-Spectrum SPF 41. I used it in place of foundation to give my face a smooth finish. Then I switched to Australian Gold Tinted Face SPF 50 to get that extra bit of coverage.
Josie Maran makes a lovely Broad Spectrum SPF 47 moisturizer that I’ve used for many years and love. I never rely on a moisturizer with SPF alone, but this one has a titanium dioxide 5.1% and zinc oxide 6.4, so it’s very protective.
I use this Australian Gold Untinted Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50 on my arms, back of my hands, and décolleté every day, rain or shine. It’s very affordable, gives good solid protection, and has no tint to rub off on collars or sleeves. I often have a hard time finding this so I order them 3 at a time to always have them on hand.
My current favorite sunscreen for my face is this ISDIN PHOTO Ultralight Emulsion. It has 11% zinc oxide but dries down invisibly. Because it has a watery consistency, it’s easy to spread further than you should, thereby not giving you enough coverage. Resist that urge and keep smoothing over your face until absorbed, then add more for your neck and chest.
I’ve been a big fan of Colorscience everything for years. They consistently make reliable, superior products with high SPF that are recommended by many dermatologists, including mine.
I’ve used this ColorScience Brightening Primer for years. It helps illuminate your complexion, smoothes its appearance with an SPF of 20 from titanium dioxide 5% and zinc oxide 4.5%. It’s not enough on its own for me so it’s just the beginning and I add stuff on top.
I just started using this Sunforgetable Total Protection Face Shield SPF 50 and love it! It comes in 3 “shades” which is a bit misleading because it rubs in to be totally invisible. I have the original which is a universal peach that disappears and leaves no film or shine.
I keep the Sunforgetable Brush-On Sunscreen Mineral powder in my purse for touch-ups during the day. It’s pricey and other brands do make similar products so you could shop this type of product around. It solves the dilemma of refreshing your sunscreen throughout the day without disturbing your makeup.
The Colorscience Total Eye 3 in 1 Renewal Therapy Broad Spectrum SPF 35 Concealer just arrived yesterday, and I’m excited to try it. Its ingredient list reads more like an eye cream, yet has a strong SPF you can use over your entire lid, from undereye to brow. I will keep you posted on this one.
The total SPF you wear is not calculated by the addition of one product with another, it’s only as high as the strongest single SPF product you wear. I think that layering helps ensure I haven’t missed any spots…but that’s not a scientific fact, just my opinion.
Chemical sunscreens for mature faces
There is some controversy over the safety of chemical sunscreens which I wrote about here. The FDA has decided that only titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are safe, but we all make our own decisions and for many, they just can’t tolerate the physical sunscreens.
This Elta MD UV Daily Broad-Spectrum SPF 40 is a best-seller everywhere. It absorbs into your skin with no residue so makeup goes on easily. It contains zinc oxide but I have it in this category because the other sunscreen ingredient is octinoxate. It is sheer, lightweight, and contains hyaluronic acid which helps hydrate skin.
This Elta MD UV AERO Broad Spectrum Spray SPF 45 is another combo of zinc oxide 9.3% and octinoxate 7.5. It is totally invisible on your skin and offers great protection. They recommend you apply this 15 minutes before sun exposure. It sprays on white so you can see where it is, then dries clear after you rub it in. Sprays are easy but I only use mine while outside to avoid breathing in the fumes. This is perfect for a beach bag.
I am neurotic about protecting my skin from any future sun damage. I do as much reading as possible and try new ones all the time. I have no problem relegating one to “not for me” if it’s streaky, greasy, or generally unpleasant. If I don’t love it, I won’t use it, which makes it worthless to me.
What are your favorite sunscreens?
The Over 50 Style team is chatting LIVE on Instagram today at 11 am PT/ 2 pm ET. This week we’re discussing body shapes and how we dress them.
Thanks for reading and remember to wear what makes you feel confident.