When it comes to your skin care routine, sunscreen reigns supreme. More than any other product, using sunscreen properly and regularly will do the most to protect your skin and keep it healthy and radiant. Still, with so many options out there, it can be tough to figure out which one is best for you. And recently, more tinted sunscreens have been added to the mix. These formulas have some additional benefits. But is tinted sunscreen better than untinted sunscreen? Here's what you should know.

Tinted vs. Untinted Sunscreen: What's the Difference?

All broad-spectrum sunscreen—tinted or untinted—protects your skin against harmful ultraviolet A (UVA) and UVB rays. They either accomplish this with chemical blockers like Avobenzone, which absorb the sun's rays like a sponge, or physical (also known as mineral) blockers like Zinc Oxide, which act like a shield to form a protective barrier on your skin. Hybrid sunscreens include a combination of chemical and physical blockers. Both types help protect your skin against skin cancer and signs of photoaging, like wrinkles, lax skin, and dark spots.

Broad-spectrum tinted sunscreens offer all of these skin health benefits plus one: they can also block other forms of visible light. Tinted sunscreens include pigments called Iron Oxides, which have two major functions. First, these red, black, and yellow pigments are combined in different amounts to create a range of shades to match different skin tones. Second, they reflect visible light from smartphones, computers, and LEDs.

What Are the Benefits of Tinted Sunscreen?

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Visible Light Protection

Because tinted sunscreen blocks UVA, UVB, and visible light, these formulas give your skin added protection. Visible light can penetrate deeper into your skin than UV light. Studies show this can contribute to redness in people with fair skin and pigment changes like melasma and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation in people with more melanin-rich skin. So, tinted sunscreen can boost your range of defense.


Tinted sunscreen's subtle color minimizes the white cast that some mineral sunscreens leave behind, especially on people with darker skin tones. This can be a huge help if you have sensitive or acne-prone skin, as these skin types tend to do better with mineral sunscreens. Tinted sunscreen allows you to take advantage of gentle mineral formulas without sacrificing blendability, making them more user-friendly for a wider range of people.

Lightweight Coverage

Tinted sunscreen can also even out your complexion and blur minor imperfections. In fact, some people use it in place of foundation. This can be a huge benefit if you're a product minimalist or short on time.

So, Is Tinted Sunscreen Better?

Tinted sunscreen has added protective and aesthetic benefits, but whether it's unequivocally "better" is ultimately up to you. For example, because of its added protection against visible light, tinted sunscreen may be better for you if you're prone to hyperpigmentation or melasma—particularly if you spend a lot of time near screens or under fluorescent lighting. That said, tinted sunscreen may not be for everyone. Some people may find it hard to find a tinted color they like and opt for a sheer formula instead. As with any product, it can take some trial and error before finding a sunscreen that meets your needs.

If you're ready to try a tinted sunscreen, EltaMD UV AOX Elements Broad-Spectrum SPF 50 is an excellent go-to. In addition to blocking blue light, this 100 percent mineral sunscreen is full of antioxidants that protect your skin against other skin-damaging aggressors, like environmental pollution. Hyaluronic Acid and Ginger Root round out this formula by hydrating and soothing your skin and visibly reducing redness.

Healthy Skin for the Win

Tinted and untinted sunscreen are both winners. Healthy skin starts with healthy habits, and that means protecting it every day. In addition to seeking shade and wearing sun-protective clothing, using sunscreen daily will keep your skin healthy, youthful, and vibrant year-round. So, the best sunscreen is the one you'll use regularly.



    Maria Robinson, MD, MBA is a board-certified dermatologist and dermatopathologist with over ten years of clinical experience. Dr. Robinson has a passion for nutrition and integrative dermatology, and is the co-founder of www.integrativederm.org, where people can explore holistic dermatology treatments. Through her writing, she strives to empower people with accurate health information so they can make positive decisions that lead to healthy and vibrant skin.

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