EltaMD Skin Care UV Clear SPF 46 Facial Sunscreen

Last updated: July 19, 2022

EltaMD Skin Care UV Clear SPF 46 Facial Sunscreen

Our Review Process

Don't Waste Your Money is focused on helping you make the best purchasing decision. Our team of experts spends hundreds of hours analyzing, testing, and researching products so you don't have to. Learn more.

Don't Waste Your Money Seal of Approval
Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in the category.
Show Contents

We looked at the top Facial Sunscreens and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Facial Sunscreen you should buy.

Overall Take

Featuring mineral ingredients, this sunscreen is gentle and less likely to cause issues if you have acne or sensitive skin. It has an SPF rating of 46 and offers broad protection. It's ideal for use if you won't get wet or sweat.

In our analysis of 17 expert reviews, the EltaMD Skin Care UV Clear SPF 46 Facial Sunscreen placed 1st when we looked at the top 9 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

From The Manufacturer

Oil-free EltaMD UV Clear facial sunscreen is recommended by dermatologists as it helps calm and protect sensitive skin types prone to acne, rosacea and discoloration. This zinc oxide facial sunscreen with broad- spectrum coverage protects against UVA and UVB rays from the sun. Apply per directions to help prevent sunburn. Reapply at least every 2 hours.

Expert Reviews

What experts liked

Lightweight. Absorbed quickly. Leaves no residue. Dermatologically tested. Oil-free. Fragrance-free. Paraben-free.
This mineral sunscreen rubs in without any white cast (a white film that titanium dioxide or zinc oxide can leave on the skin). It's designed for those with acne, rosacea and hyperpigmentation and includes niacinamide, an ingredient that can soothe inflammation and reduce redness.
SPF 46. Mineral zinc oxide lotion. Fragrance-free.
Non-comedogenic. Dermatologist-recommended. Absorbs quickly.
- Byrdie
Lightweight and silky, this sunscreen contains ingredients that promote the appearance of healthy-looking skin. Choose from tinted or untinted formulas. Odorless and transparent.

What experts didn't like

Some testers found greasy compared with our picks. One tester with dark skin noticed a blue sheen long after rubbing it in.
Contains octinoxate. Can trigger allergies.
It takes a bit of rubbing to get the formula to sink in and there's a very thin but detectable clear film that it leaves behind.
Pricey. Not water-resistant.
- Byrdie
More expensive than drugstore brands.


Sun exposure can damage your face to cause undesirable effects such as wrinkling and dryness as well as increase your chances of getting skin cancer. That means you’ll want to use a good facial sunscreen for protection. While you might opt to just use your regular sunscreen, getting a specific formula for your face is a good idea so that the ingredients won’t be too harsh for this sensitive area or cause issues like breakouts.

Considering the sun protection factor (SPF) is crucial for finding a facial sunscreen that will work best for you. Many facial sunscreens start with an SPF rating of at least 30, though you can find them with an SPF of 70 or even higher. You should keep in mind that the higher rating the facial sunscreen has, the longer it protects your skin. In addition, you’ll want to verify that the facial sunscreen is labeled as a broad-spectrum formula since that will keep your skin safe from UVA and UVB rays.

You’ll want to identify your skin type and note any issues you experience so you can choose the right facial sunscreen formulation. You’ll also want to consider your everyday activities – such as whether you’ll be swimming – in the decision.

Most products on the market consist of chemicals that provide sun protection, last long and often come with features such as water resistance. You’ll find you need to use less of these products to do the job as well as reapply them less often. However, these chemical sunscreens also can cause irritation, clog your pores and have negative environmental effects. In addition, there’s up to a 15-minute waiting time from application until protection is in full effect.

Other facial sunscreens consist of mineral ingredients that act as a physical block from the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. These options tend to cause less irritation, can offer longer protection if you’re not getting wet and can be ideal for those with acne. However, they don’t perform as well when you do water activities, and they require more generous and frequent application. In addition, you might see an unwanted white film that affects your skin tone.

Whichever facial sunscreen type you choose, look out for some special features. For example, you might look for moisturizing ingredients if you have dry skin or a non-oily formulation if you have acne. You might also prefer sunscreens that are either vegan or labeled as not harmful to ocean life.

Buying Advice

  • For the best results, start each day with an application of sunscreen to your face and other exposed areas of the body. This applies even if you’ll be going out on a cloudy day since the sun can still cause skin damage even when it’s not bright out.
  • If possible, you should always apply the face sunscreen as the first layer before you move forward with any makeup or other skin products. However, it’s OK to put certain products such as acne medications on first.
  • As a further safeguard, you can use makeup that has some SPF protection in it, but don’t rely on such makeup alone.
  • To make sure you get the right coverage, follow a few guidelines for applying face sunscreen. First, rather than just spreading it all over your face at once, try putting smaller dots of sunscreen on the different areas of your face and then spreading it out. Make sure you apply the formula to your ears, temples and hairline too.
  • Putting on face sunscreen usually isn’t a one-time daily task. A rule of thumb is to reapply it every two hours of sun exposure, whether you’re outside at the beach or inside by a sunny window. If you’re doing water activities, you might reapply more often such as every hour or each time you finish swimming and use a towel to get dry.
  • Always take a close look at the face sunscreen’s ingredients list to see if you identify anything you’re sensitive or allergic to. If you use a particular product and notice signs like red skin that’s itchy, painful or swollen, that could indicate an allergy. You’ll want to get the sunscreen off your skin, avoid using it again and seek a doctor’s help. Doing a patch test can help identify such an allergy before you apply the sunscreen to your entire face.