• Top 9 Best Fragrance-Free Sunscreens in 2021 (Dermatologist-Reviewed) 1
  • Top 9 Best Fragrance-Free Sunscreens in 2021 (Dermatologist-Reviewed) 2
  • Top 9 Best Fragrance-Free Sunscreens in 2021 (Dermatologist-Reviewed) 3
  • Top 9 Best Fragrance-Free Sunscreens in 2021 (Dermatologist-Reviewed) 4
  • Top 9 Best Fragrance-Free Sunscreens in 2021 (Dermatologist-Reviewed) 5

Top 9 Best Fragrance-Free Sunscreens in 2021 (Dermatologist-Reviewed)

Whether you have sensitive skin or just prefer to avoid strong smells, a fragrance-free sunscreen is a great addition to your skincare routine! Before you buy one, however, it's helpful to understand what this term means. Fragrance-free products aren't necessarily 100% free from ingredients that contain scents. Rather, fragrance-free products have no added perfume or scent-masking ingredients. 


We've also provided some tips and suggestions on how to choose a fragrance-free sunscreen that matches your skin type and needs. We picked the Unscented SPF 30 Clear Zinc Sunscreen Cream from Badger as our number one product! It's biodegradable, contains minimal ingredients, and offers broad-spectrum protection. Don't forget to check other suggested products in our top 9 list, too! 

Experts featured in this article

Dr. Lauren Levy
  • Last updated: 11-07-2021
  • 1,200 views
Table of Contents

In Collaboration With Board Certified Dermatologist Dr. Lauren Levy

In Collaboration With Board Certified Dermatologist Dr. Lauren Levy

Dr. Levy is a board certified dermatologist practicing in NYC and Westport, Connecticut. She has expertise in treating inflammatory skin conditions like acne, rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis. She has an interest in skincare and takes a personalized approach to all of her patients.


We asked her to evaluate our buying guide below for accuracy, and she also contributed some extra tips and advice. You can also follow her on Instagram for more skincare tips!

Top 9 Best Fragrance-Free Sunscreens

These are the best fragrance-free sunscreens that we could find, scouring the internet. Here are a few different types of sunscreens that are different in terms of ingredients, consistency, SPF level, and packaging. 


*Please note that these products were chosen after extensive research by mybest writers. The choices are not necessarily affiliated with or recommended by Dr. Lauren Levy.

1

BadgerUnscented SPF 30 Clear Zinc Sunscreen Cream

$14.99

Amount2.9 oz.
SPF30
Main ingredientsZinc oxide, sunflower oil, beeswax
ConsistencyThick, smooth
HighlightsCruelty-free; no essential oils, dyes, parabens, artificial ingredients
2

Babo BotanicalsSheer Zinc Sunscreen

$13.53

Amount 6 oz.
SPF30
Main ingredientsZinc oxide, aloe vera juice, jojoba
ConsistencySheer
HighlightsCruelty-free; no parabens, phthalates, gluten, oxybenzone
3

Sun BumBaby Bum Mineral Sunscreen Face Stick

$6.99

Amount0.45 oz.
SPF50
Main ingredientsZinc oxide, coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter
ConsistencyLightweight, non-greasy, smooth
HighlightsCruelty-free, dermatologist-approved, vegan; no parabens, phthalates, dyes, PABA, sulfates, petroleum
4

Blue LizardSensitive Mineral Sunscreen

$14.51

Amount5 oz.
SPF30
Main ingredientsZinc oxide, titanium dioxide, beeswax
ConsistencyLightweight, non-greasy, liquid
HighlightsDermatologist-approved; no parabens, oxybenzone, octinoxate
5

VanicreamSunscreen Sport

$15.09

Amount4 oz.
SPF35
Main ingredientsZinc oxide, octinoxate, glycerin
ConsistencyThick, creamy, smooth
HighlightsDermatologist-approved; no parabens, dyes, PABA, lanolin, preservatives
6

CeraVeHydrating Sunscreen

$13.99

Amount2.5 oz.
SPF30
Main ingredientsZinc oxide, titanium dioxide, hyaluronic acid
ConsistencyLightweight, smooth
HighlightsDermatologist-approved; no parabens, oils
7

EltaMDUV Clear Facial Sunscreen

$36.00

Amount1.7 oz.
SPF46
Main ingredientsZinc oxide, octinoxate, niacinamide
ConsistencyLightweight, non-greasy
HighlightsDermatologist-approved, non-comedogenic; no essential oils, parabens
8

La Roche-PosayAnthelios 50 Mineral

$33.50

Amount1.7 oz.
SPF50
Main ingredientsZinc oxide, titanium dioxide
ConsistencyLightweight, non-greasy, liquid
HighlightsDermatologist-approved, non-comedogenic, allergy-tested, no parabens
9

NeutrogenaSensitive Skin Face Mineral Suncreen

$9.29

Amount1.4 oz.
SPF50
Main ingredientsZinc oxide, titanium oxide
ConsistencyLightweight, non-greasy
HighlightsDermatologist-approved, non-comedogenic; no oils, PABA, harmful chemicals

Compare the Best Fragrance-Free Sunscreens

Image
1
Badger Unscented SPF 30 Clear Zinc Sunscreen Cream 1

Badger

2
Babo Botanicals Sheer Zinc Sunscreen 1

Babo Botanicals

3
Sun Bum Baby Bum Mineral Sunscreen Face Stick 1

Sun Bum

4
Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen 1

Blue Lizard

5
Vanicream Sunscreen Sport  1

Vanicream

6
CeraVe Hydrating Sunscreen 1

CeraVe

7
EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen  1

EltaMD

8
La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Mineral 1

La Roche-Posay

9
Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Face Mineral Suncreen 1

Neutrogena

Name

Unscented SPF 30 Clear Zinc Sunscreen Cream

Sheer Zinc Sunscreen

Baby Bum Mineral Sunscreen Face Stick

Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen

Sunscreen Sport

Hydrating Sunscreen

UV Clear Facial Sunscreen

Anthelios 50 Mineral

Sensitive Skin Face Mineral Suncreen

Features

A Reef-Safe Sunscreen With Only Five Ingredients

A Non-Nano Zinc Oxide Spray-On Sunscreen

A Plant-Based, Travel Size Sunscreen

A Reef-Friendly Sunscreen in a Unique "Smart" Bottle

A Moisturizing, Dermatologist-Approved Sunscreen

100% Mineral Sunscreen With Moisturizing Ingredients

An Oil-Free, Non-Comedogenic Sunscreen

A Dual-Protection Sunscreen With a Matte Finish

An Anti-Shine Sunscreen Great for Everyday Use

Price$14.99$13.53$6.99$14.51$15.09$13.99$36.00$33.50$9.29
Amount2.9 oz. 6 oz. 0.45 oz.5 oz. 4 oz. 2.5 oz. 1.7 oz. 1.7 oz. 1.4 oz.
SPF303050303530465050
Main ingredientsZinc oxide, sunflower oil, beeswaxZinc oxide, aloe vera juice, jojobaZinc oxide, coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butterZinc oxide, titanium dioxide, beeswaxZinc oxide, octinoxate, glycerinZinc oxide, titanium dioxide, hyaluronic acidZinc oxide, octinoxate, niacinamideZinc oxide, titanium dioxideZinc oxide, titanium oxide
ConsistencyThick, smoothSheerLightweight, non-greasy, smoothLightweight, non-greasy, liquidThick, creamy, smoothLightweight, smoothLightweight, non-greasyLightweight, non-greasy, liquidLightweight, non-greasy
HighlightsCruelty-free; no essential oils, dyes, parabens, artificial ingredients Cruelty-free; no parabens, phthalates, gluten, oxybenzoneCruelty-free, dermatologist-approved, vegan; no parabens, phthalates, dyes, PABA, sulfates, petroleumDermatologist-approved; no parabens, oxybenzone, octinoxateDermatologist-approved; no parabens, dyes, PABA, lanolin, preservativesDermatologist-approved; no parabens, oils Dermatologist-approved, non-comedogenic; no essential oils, parabensDermatologist-approved, non-comedogenic, allergy-tested, no parabensDermatologist-approved, non-comedogenic; no oils, PABA, harmful chemicals
Link

How to Choose a Fragrance-Free Sunscreen - Buying Guide

In this section, you'll find a lot of useful information on how to choose a fragrance-free sunscreen that perfectly matches your needs. Make sure you don't miss out on any details!

Determine Your Skin Type and Concerns

Before you look for a sunscreen, you must first know your skin type to find the right consistency and ingredients for your skin.

Non-Comedogenic Sunscreens Suit Oily or Acne-Prone Skin

Non-Comedogenic Sunscreens Suit Oily or Acne-Prone Skin

If you have oily or acne-prone skin, we suggest you avoid most oils. Keep in mind that your skin is already shiny and greasy enough, adding more oil your skin is the last thing you'll want. 


Some oils are also pore-clogging and can lead to breakouts, so we suggest that you stick with an oil-free, sheer, and lightweight formula like a gel or spray. If you have acne-prone skin, a non-comedogenic sunscreen is a good choice - this phrase means it doesn't contain any pore-clogging ingredients!  

Dr. Lauren Levy
Board Certified Dermatologist
Dr. Lauren Levy

Acne medications make you sun-sensitive, so wearing daily sunscreen is a must. Just be sure to look for an oil-free sunscreen. My favorite sunscreen is the one I wear myself and recommend to all my acne and rosacea patients: EltaMD UV Clear. 


This sunscreen is very lightweight and hydrating. It also has niacinamide in it, which is an anti-inflammatory ingredient and therefore excellent for acne-prone skin. 


The tinted version of this sunscreen can be worn in the place of foundation, but it's is still very lightweight and won't clog your pores.

Consider Extra-Moisturizing Ingredients for Dry Skin

Consider Extra-Moisturizing Ingredients for Dry Skin

Dry skin can cause redness, itching, cracking, inflammation, and can even lead to eczema. So, you’ll need to add moisture to your dry skin.


We suggest looking for a sunscreen with extra-moisturizing ingredients like ceramides, hyaluronic acid, glycerin, sunflower oil, beeswax, coconut oil, or shea butter. In general, most sunscreens that contain moisturizing ingredients usually come in lotion, cream, or stick formulas.

Dr. Lauren Levy
Board Certified Dermatologist
Dr. Lauren Levy

Creams are more hydrating than lotions, so if you have dry skin, look for cream. I recommend facial sunscreens with ceramides or hyaluronic acid, which will counteract the drying effects of a mineral-based sunscreen. 


You can always use your moisturizer of choice underneath your sunscreen for extra hydration. CeraVe's Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen is a great choice if you have dry skin or eczema.

Avoid Harsh Ingredients and Do a Patch Test for Sensitive Skin

Avoid Harsh Ingredients and Do a Patch Test for Sensitive Skin

If you have sensitive skin, it's better to avoid any harsh ingredients that may irritate your skin, like alcohol and parabens. 


If you’re unsure of which ingredients aren't safe for your skin, do a patch test! Before applying the product to your face or body, put a small amount of product on your wrist and cover it with a bandage. Wait for a day to see how your skin reacts. If there's no redness or irritation, you're good to go!


You can also look for sunscreens that have been dermatologist-approved, or you can ask your own dermatologist for advice.

Look for a Sunscreen With Vitamin C for Mature Skin

Look for a Sunscreen With Vitamin C for Mature Skin

Studies have found that combining sunscreen and vitamin C provides better UVA protection. Vitamin C helps prevent premature aging by promoting collagen production, as well. Thus, this vitamin can help to slow down the signs of aging and offer better defense against the sun!

Dr. Lauren Levy
Board Certified Dermatologist
Dr. Lauren Levy

If you're a minimalist, then a sunscreen with vitamin C is for you. Vitamin C serums or creams should be applied daily in the morning under your sunscreen. This will fight skin aging and help lighten hyperpigmentation. 


Adding vitamin C to your sunscreen is very beneficial if you only want to use one product in the morning, as wearing sunscreen daily is a must to help prevent skin damage from UV rays.

Adjust Your Sunscreen Based on the Season

Adjust Your Sunscreen Based on the Season

Pick a consistency that suits the season! Skin tends to become dry in the winter and oily in the summer. So, you may consider using a sunscreen that has a thick consistency, like creams and lotions, in winter. On the other hand, a lightweight sunscreen, like gels and sprays, are the perfect option for summer.


No matter what type of skin you have, it’s important to always notice your skin issues. You should be ready to change your sunscreen based on the skin problems you have at that time, whether it's dryness, acne, or sensitivity. 

Adjust Your Sunscreen Based on the Season

Water-resistant sunscreen is a good choice for summer, swimming, and outdoor activities. You don't want to sweat or rinse your sunscreen off, after all! All water-resistant sunscreens only protect your skin for 40 to 80 minutes after your skin is wet. 


Since each brand offers a different level of protection, we suggest you always check the label for the protection period. Keep in mind that there is no waterproof sunscreen, so you'll need to reapply the sunscreen as needed.

Always Read Labels and Ingredient Lists

It's very important to read all the labels and ingredients to know what you're putting on your skin. Additionally, it also prevents you from falling into marketing traps!

Synthetic Fragrances are Potentially Harmful to Human Health

Synthetic Fragrances are Potentially Harmful to Human Health

A lot of sunscreens contain synthetic fragrances that are derived from petroleum. These chemicals include phthalates, benzene derivatives, endocrine disruptors, carcinogens, and aldehydes if consumed in large amounts.


Many studies have found that synthetic fragrances can be absorbed into the bloodstream, so they can potentially cause allergies, hormone imbalances, or chronic illnesses. Carcinogens can cause cell damage, whereas aldehydes can increase the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.


If you're pregnant, you should pay more attention to phthalates, benzene derivatives, and endocrine disruptors. Many studies have found that these chemicals can cause birth defects in humans. 

Unscented Products May Still Contain Fragrances

 Unscented Products May Still Contain Fragrances

Although it says "fragrance-free" or "unscented" on the label, it may still contain naturally fragrant ingredients like essential oils. Some sneaky products contain fragrances that don't aim to create a scent - instead, they cover up the smell of other ingredients


One way to find out if a sunscreen contains any fragrance is to read all of the ingredients. If you run across an unknown ingredient, try searching it on Google. There are also lists available online of chemical fragrance ingredients.


Another way is to check the reviews on Amazon and other e-commerce websites. If it mentions a sweet or delicious smell that isn't from a natural fragrance, you can usually assume that fragrances are added to the product. 

Match the SPF Number With Your Lifestyle

Match the SPF Number With Your Lifestyle

The SPF number indicates the amount of protection a product provides from the sun. Many people prefer a sunscreen with high numbers, like 50, 70, or 100 for better protection. However, a low or high number of SPF doesn’t make a huge difference in the amount of protection.


Many studies have found that SPF 30 can block 97% of UVB rays, while SPF 50 can block 98% of UVB rays. SPF 100 can block up to 99% of UVB rays. 


As you can see, that there is not much of a difference in the percentage of UVB protection among SPFs 30, 50, and 100. It's also worth noting that there is no sunscreen that can block 100% of UVB rays

Match the SPF Number With Your Lifestyle

SPF 30 is the best for everyday use because it’s usually lightweight and provides enough sun protection. However, SPF 50 is ideal for days that you have outdoor activities.


One thing to keep in mind about SPF 50 or higher is that they usually have a thicker formula. This means can make your skin feel uncomfortable, especially in summer. Additionally, a thick formula can congest your pores, too! On the other hand, anything below SPF 30 may not provide enough protection.

Dr. Lauren Levy
Board Certified Dermatologist
Dr. Lauren Levy

Most patients I see in the office have had skin cancer or have other skin concerns that can be worsened by the sun. I tend to recommend SPF 50+ broad spectrum with reapplication every 80 minutes when sweating or in the water. This will give you the most benefit from using it.

Pick a Sunscreen With Broad-Spectrum Protection

Pick a Sunscreen With Broad-Spectrum Protection

There are two types of UV rays: UVA and UVB. It’s important to make sure that the sunscreen you choose can protect your skin from both UV types.


Broad-spectrum describes a sunscreen that can protect against UVA and UVB. In other words, it can protect your skin from tanning, sunburns, dark spots, wrinkles, as well as other signs of prematurely aging skin. 

Mineral Sunscreens are Generally Safe for Everyone

Mineral Sunscreens are Generally Safe for Everyone

Mineral sunscreens, also known as physical sunscreens, protect your skin from the sunlight by stopping the UV rays from reaching your skin. The active ingredients are titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, which are considered safe to use on skin. 


Most mineral sunscreens are free from common allergens like alcohol, parabens, mineral oils, and other chemical agents, which make them a perfect option for people with sensitive skin as well as babies' skin.

Mineral Sunscreens are Generally Safe for Everyone

One main concern about mineral sunscreens is they usually leave a white cast or chalky residue on the skin. People with darker skin tend to see this problem more than those with lighter skin. To avoid this problem, we suggest reading the reviews to know what others say about the product before making a decision.

Dr. Lauren Levy
Board Certified Dermatologist
Dr. Lauren Levy

Mineral sunscreens are safe for all skin types and are not absorbed, making them very popular. I only recommend mineral sunscreen for children, with Blue Lizard Sensitive or Baby being my sunscreens of choice. 


In addition, mineral sunscreens are safe to use on skin with eczema or dermatitis. Facial mineral sunscreens should be used for anyone suffering from hyperpigmentation like melasma. They're gentler on the skin and less likely to cause flare-ups from conditions like eczema, acne, or rosacea.


If you have melasma or hyperpigmentation, a tinted sunscreen containing Ferric, or iron oxide, can help your condition. Iron oxide helps protect your skin by blocking out blue light, which has been shown to worsen skin pigmentation.

Looking for More Fragrance-Free Products?

Looking for More Fragrance-Free Products?

Fortunately, there are many skincare products made without fragrances. We've selected the most highly-rated fragrance-free skincare products that can be used for your face, hands, and body. Take a look at these articles to get some ideas on how to choose a good one!

Summary

Although the terms "fragrance-free" and "unscented" appear on labels, you now know that you shouldn't trust these marketing terms. Reading all of the ingredients is the only way to ensure that the product is truly fragrance-free, and it also helps you avoid harmful chemicals, too! 


Make sure to choose a broad-spectrum or a mineral sunscreen with SPF of at least 30. Also, don't forget to determine your skin type and concerns so you can choose a consistency and ingredients that will meet your needs! 


Author: Apinya Masuda


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