The 20 Best Sunscreens for Dark Skin, According to Editors, Experts and Reviewers

February 15, 2024

Sunscreens for Dark Skin


We can’t emphasize enough how important sunscreen is in your skincare routine. And while many promise to protect your skin from harsh UV rays, they’re not always catered to all skin tones. Whether you prefer a chemical or mineral sunscreen, there are some formulas that may leave a chalky finish behind. Luckily, we found the 20 best sunscreens for dark skin that will blend seamlessly with your complexion (no Casper the Friendly Ghost here).

How We Chose the Best Sunscreens for Dark Skin at a Glance

We tapped our editors to share the best sunscreens they’ve used for their melanated skin. We also chatted with dermatologists who cater to skin of color and researched products that reviewers are currently loving right now. Whether you prefer a tinted serum like Ilia’s, a body sunscreen like Supergoop! or a formula specifically catered to Black and Brown skin (hello, Black Girl Sunscreen), check out our list below.


Frequently Asked Questions

How Much SPF is Best for Darker Complexions?

All the experts recommend using SPF 30 or higher for adequate sun protection, regardless of your skin tone. There’s a common misconception that those with darker skin don’t need sunscreen or that their skin isn’t affected by sun damage. But according to Dr. Hu, that’s not true. “Darker skin tones do have more natural protection from the sun because their skin contains more melanin, however, it doesn’t eliminate all possibility of the risk of sun damage,” she explains. “Without sunscreen application, [those with] dark skin tones are susceptible to sunburns, hyperpigmentation and photoaging. While the risks are lower due to the amount of melanin in their skin, they can still experience sun damage over time.”

Is Mineral or Chemical Sunscreen Better for Dark Skin?

Dr. Awan says there’s beauty in both options for dark skin. “Both are excellent at protecting against UV radiation. [Personally], I use both chemical and mineral sunscreens, but because people with dark skin tones are more prone to pigmentation, I’m a big fan of tinted mineral sunscreens with iron oxides as it gives more protection against visible light.” He adds, “The best sunscreen is going to be the one that you use regularly and liberally,” meaning find one you actually enjoy using (or at least don’t mind putting on your skin).

Often, chemical sunscreens are favored for having no white cast, but Dr. Awan says you shouldn’t dismiss mineral sunscreens too quickly. “Newer physical sunscreens have greatly improved on their blending issues,” he assures. Once you find the sunscreen that best matches your skin type—regardless of whether it is chemical or physical—make sure to use the appropriate amount, which is about half a teaspoon’s worth to cover the face and neck.”

How to Find the Best Sunscreen for Dark Skin

The experts share four key things to look for when shopping the best sunscreens for dark skin.

  • SPF Factor: Dr. Boakye says finding the right amount of protection is crucial for preventing damage and other skincare concerns (i.e., hyperpigmentation, age spots and wrinkles). Look for SPF 30 or higher.

  • Skincare Ingredients: Dr. Boakye recommends finding sunscreens that are rich in antioxidants such as vitamin C and E, niacinamide, aloe vera and tumeric.

  • Texture and Finish: Aside from protecting against the sun, the experts say key features like having no white cast, a lightweight formula and absorbing easily are important. As Rogers explains, “You should enjoy putting it on, so that you want to wear it daily.”

  • Sunscreen Type: For this list, we included sunscreen sticks, sprays, lotions and everything in between, so you can hopefully find something that works for your skin type. This can help narrow down your search, though Edwards says that having a variety of options is a good thing. “Having multiple forms of sunscreen is always great. Spray bottles and large tubes are generally meant for the body, while sunscreen for the face generally comes in much smaller bottles. Also, having a variety of sticks and sprays on hand is ideal because they’re great for reapplying quickly to the face, neck, ears and backs of hands when you’re on-the-go,” she explains. Simply put, the more, the merrier when it comes to protecting your skin.

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