11 Best Sunscreens For African American Skin – 2020

by Sakshi Bahal
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What is the one thing without which all beach vacays are incomplete? Sunscreen! In this article, we are referring to the best sunscreens for dark complexions, especially African American skin. If you are wondering whether there is a need for a different sunscreen for people of color or not, here’s your answer. There is, and for a good reason. Conventional sunscreens usually tend to leave a whitish cast on the skin, which looks nothing short of ghostly on those with darker skin tones. That’s where sheer or tinted sunscreens come in. Scroll down for the best sunscreens for African American skin tones.

Products
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EltaMD UV Sport Full Body Sunscreen
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La Roche-Posay Anthelios SX Daily Sunscreen
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Thrive Natural Daily Defence Sunscreen Balm
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Supergoop! Sun-Defying Sunscreen Oil
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Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion
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Ultrasun Face with SPF 50 Plus
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Coppertone Glow Hydrating Sunscreen Lotion
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La Prairie Cellular Swiss UV Protection Veil
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SPAfrica Broad Spectrum SPF 29 Sunscreen Spray
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Glossier Invisible Shield Daily Sunscreen
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Top 11 Sunscreens For African American Skin

1. EltaMD UV Sport Full Body Sunscreen

The EltaMD UV Sport Full Body Sunscreen is the perfect sunscreen for those with an active lifestyle and people who love spending time outdoors. It is a mineral-based and water-resistant sunscreen. You don’t have to worry about it washing off in the water or burning your eyes when you sweat.

The antioxidants in this sunscreen protect against free radical damage caused by UV and IR radiation. You get broad-spectrum sun protection against both UVA and UVB rays. This sunscreen is formulated with zinc oxide and is suitable for use on the face and body. It does not leave a whitish cast on the skin.

Pros

  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Oil-free
  • Water-resistant
  • Broad-spectrum SPF 50
  • Travel-friendly packaging
  • Dermatologist-recommended
  • Fragrance-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Non-drying 

Cons

None

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2. La Roche-Posay Anthelios SX Daily Sunscreen

The La Roche-Posay Anthelios SX Daily Sunscreen is a perfect choice if you have sensitive skin. It is a moisturizing sunscreen and is free of oxybenzone and octinoxate. You get broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection, which helps prevent sun damage and premature aging. It is particularly effective against short UVA rays due to the presence of Mexoryl SX (ecamsule) in the formula.

The moisturizing effects of this sunscreen keep the skin hydrated for up to 24 hours. The non-greasy, lightweight formula is suitable for use under makeup. With so many promising benefits, it is hardly surprising that this sunscreen has won multiple beauty awards since the time it was launched.

Pros

  • Suitable for use under makeup
  • Broad-spectrum SPF 15
  • Provides 24-hour hydration
  • Allergy tested
  • Octinoxate free
  • Oil-free
  • Fragrance-free
  • PABA-free
  • Oxybenzone-free
  • Dermatologist-recommended 

Cons

  • Contains parabens 

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3. Thrive Natural Daily Defence Sunscreen Balm

The Thrive Natural Daily Defence Sunscreen Balm is a skin repairing face moisturizer that also provides sun protection. The broad-spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen lotion nourishes, hydrates, and rejuvenates your skin while treating any damage caused by the sun and environmental stressors.

The sunblock formula is infused with antioxidants to protect against free radicals. It is a lightweight composition formulated with a zinc oxide mineral base, making it a healthier and safer alternative to chemical sunscreens. It is perfect for dark complexions as it is non-tinted and leaves no white residue on the skin when applied.

Pros

  • Reef-safe
  • Broad-spectrum SPF 30
  • No chemical sunscreen filters
  • Paraben-free
  • Fragrance-free
  • GMO-free
  • Non-greasy
  • Vegan
  • Made in the USA 

Cons

  • Not moisturizing enough 

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4. Supergoop! Sun-Defying Sunscreen Oil

The Supergoop! Sun-Defying Sunscreen Oil is ideal when you want lightweight moisturization along with your sun protection. It has a non-greasy formula that leaves your skin with a dewy, radiant glow without feeling heavy. The nourishing ingredients in this sunscreen oil include meadowfoam seed oil, marigold extract, and grape seed oil.

This sunscreen provides fantastic UV protection and prevents the signs of UV damage. The spray oil is rich in antioxidants, giving the skin superior sun protection. It also helps that the formula is water-resistant, so you can have your fun-filled day at the beach without worrying about getting burned.

Pros

  • No greasy residue
  • Provides intense hydration
  • Adds a dewy glow to your skin
  • Broad-spectrum SPF 50
  • Water-resistant
  • Rich in antioxidants
  • Lightweight formula
  • Clinically tested
  • Paraben-free 

Cons

  • May cause breakouts. 

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5. Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion

The Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion is an excellent sunscreen for African American skin tones. It is an intensely moisturizing lotion, enriched with the goodness of shea butter and coconut oil. The sunscreen is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, so it serves you well for a day at the beach. Remember to reapply at regular intervals.

The formula also contains vitamin E and offers broad-spectrum SPF 30 sun protection. It is specially formulated to leave a sheer radiance on the skin without any white, pasty residue.

Pros

  • Suitable for all skin tones
  • Broad-spectrum SPF 30
  • Provides intense hydration
  • No white residue
  • PABA-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Phthalate-free
  • Cruelty-free 

Cons

  • May irritate sensitive skin. 

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6. Ultrasun Face with SPF 50 Plus

The Ultrasun Face with SPF 50 Plus offers moisturizing, anti-aging, sun protection. It is an advanced blend of lamellar broad-spectrum SPF50+ protection with GSP-T for Infrared protection and Ectoin. Regular use of this sunscreen helps restore moisture levels to dehydrated skin.

The anti-aging properties of this facial sunscreen help reduce the appearance of signs of aging caused by the sun, such as fine lines, wrinkles, and large pores. The composition is impressively lightweight and non-greasy. It gets absorbed quite easily, making for a quick and hassle-free application.

Pros

  • Gentle on sensitive skin
  • Rich in antioxidants
  • Water-resistant
  • Broad-spectrum SPF 50
  • No added perfume
  • Mineral oil-free
  • No emulsifiers
  • Preservative-free 

Cons

  • Expensive 

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7. Coppertone Glow Hydrating Sunscreen Lotion

The Coppertone Glow Hydrating Sunscreen Lotion gives you a shimmery glow while keeping your skin protected against sun damage. The lotion contains illuminating shimmer particles that sparkle in the sun and look particularly gorgeous on dark skin tones.

The lotion is also intensely hydrating and makes your skin feel silky soft and smooth. The formula is safe for daily use and especially useful for the time at the beach or pool, as it is water-resistant for up to 40 minutes. The lightweight lotion dries quickly and gets absorbed easily.

Pros

  • Suitable for daily use
  • Broad-spectrum SPF 30
  • Water-resistant
  • Paraben-free
  • PABA-free
  • Phthalate-free
  • Oxybenzone-free 

Cons

  • Contains added fragrance.
  • Packaging may be half-empty. 

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8. La Prairie Cellular Swiss UV Protection Veil

The La Prairie Cellular Swiss UV Protection Veil is a luxury sunscreen lotion with a lightweight yet intensely hydrating formula. It is naturally enriched with trace elements and minerals that keep your skin moisturized for a long time. The composition also includes a licorice-based brightening complex that controls melanin production and improves skin tone.

The SPF 50 serves as a powerful sun barrier, especially against UVA rays that can cause premature skin aging. The lotion is sheer enough to be layered over a moisturizer in case of dehydrated skin. It also doubles up as a primer for the final step in a skincare ritual.

Pros

  • SPF 50 UVA protection
  • Travel-friendly packaging
  • Lightweight formula
  • Provides long-lasting hydration
  • No white residue
  • Gets absorbed easily
  • Non-drying 

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Availability may be an issue 

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9. SPAfrica Broad Spectrum SPF 29 Sunscreen Spray

The SPAfrica Broad Spectrum SPF 29 Sunscreen Spray provides daily sun protection, keeping your skin safe from UV damage that causes premature aging in the form of fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation. The nourishing spray formula is lightweight and gets absorbed quickly into your skin.

The moisturizing sunscreen is also free of synthetic fragrances that can irritate your skin. The absence of other harsh chemicals also helps, making this sunscreen sensitive-skin-friendly. It leaves no whitish cast when applied and is particularly well-suited to darker complexions, including African American skin tones.

Pros

  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Broad-spectrum SPF 29
  • No artificial fragrances
  • Paraben-free
  • Hypo-allergenic
  • Cruelty-free
  • Made in the USA 

Cons

  • Availability may be an issue.
  • Contains octinoxate

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10. Glossier Invisible Shield Daily Sunscreen

The Glossier Invisible Shield Daily Sunscreen has a lightweight, transparent, water-gel formula. It does not leave any greasy residue or whitish cast after application. While it is perfect for everyday use, the fact that this sunscreen is not water-resistant makes it unsuitable for a beach or pool day.

It is a sunscreen that feels like a serum and is filled with active microcapsules that are instantly absorbed into the skin. You can layer it with makeup and not worry about the product sitting heavy on your face. It prevents sun damage, neutralizes free radicals, and protects your skin from sunburn.

Pros

  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Broad-spectrum SPF 35
  • Paraben-free
  • Dermatologist-tested
  • Vegan
  • Cruelty-free 

Cons

  • Expensive
  • May irritate sensitive skin
  • Not water-resistant 

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11. Unsun Mineral Tinted Face Sunscreen

The Unsun Mineral Tinted Face Sunscreen simultaneously works as a sunscreen, primer, and color corrector! Impressive, right? That’s not all. It is available in several different shades to cater to a wide range of skin tones, ranging from olive to dark chocolate, and does not leave behind that annoying white residue.

The hydrating facial sunscreen helps minimize pores and is formulated with all-natural, reef-safe ingredients to make it safe for your skin and the ocean. The powerful sun protection also comes with the goodness of vitamin E, shea butter, coconut oil, and multiple fruit extracts.

Pros

  • Suitable for all skin tones
  • Reef-safe
  • Cruelty-free
  • No white residue
  • Available in different shades
  • Mineral-based sunscreen 

Cons

  • Thick consistency
  • May cause breakouts
  • Availability issues 

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That was our round-up of the 11 best sunscreens for African American skin tones. Sunscreen must be an essential part of all skincare routines, irrespective of whether you are at the beach or in the city. Sun damage exposes your skin to the risk of premature ageing, sunburns, and skin cancer. Pick a sunscreen from the list above and enjoy the outdoors without any worries. Which tinted sunscreen do you prefer for the dark complexion? Let us know your favorites in the comments section below.

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Sakshi Bahal

Sakshi Bahal has a Masters degree in English Literature from Calcutta University. She was a part of the editorial team of her school magazine. Her love for writing inspired her to take up literature and follow that up with creative writing after completing her education. She has been writing on beauty and skin care for the past 4 years.Sakshi has also authored a compilation of high school essays. A self-declared bookworm, she enjoys traveling, music, movies, and lots of coffee.
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