Everyone knows that wearing sunscreen daily is the best way to prevent signs of aging like wrinkles and hyperpigmentation, but finding a good sunscreen can be challenging. Some sunscreens may clog your pores and cause breakouts, while others leave a greasy mess on your face. And don’t even get us started on the sunscreens that leave you looking like a ghost due to the white cast!
If this predicament sounds all too familiar, we recommend looking for a non-comedogenic tinted sunscreen that provides broad spectrum protection with at least SPF 30. Elta MD formulates quite a few different sunscreens that meet these criteria, and we’ll discuss each of them in this review.
Keep scrolling to read the details on the key ingredients in these sunscreens, as well as Elta MD Tinted Sunscreen reviews from real customers.
What Are The Best Elta MD Tinted Sunscreens?
At the time of writing this review, there’s six different products in the Elta MD Tinted Sunscreen collection. Below we’ll give you the details on each one, and we’ll also share what we believe is the best Elta MD Tinted Sunscreen.
Related: Best Sunscreens for face
Elta MD UV Clear Tinted Broad-Spectrum SPF 46
The most popular product in the Elta MD Tinted Sunscreen collection is Elta MD UV Clear, which is also available in an untinted version.
Elta MD UV Clear has a very lightweight, silky texture that absorbs into the skin quickly without feeling heavy or greasy.
You can thank cyclomethicone for this lovely texture. Cyclomethicone is a type of silicone that gives products a smooth silky texture, allowing them to glide on easily. Plus, it has a drier finish and it evaporates quickly after application. That means it won’t hang around and clog your pores!
We like that the formula includes antioxidants like niacinamide and vitamin E, as well as the super hydrating ingredient sodium hyaluronate.
As far as sun protection goes, Elta MD UV Clear contains the mineral sunscreen zinc oxide, as well as the chemical sunscreen octinoxate. Together, these ingredients provide broad spectrum SPF 46 protection.
One problem with octinoxate is that it’s absorbed into the body after one use, according to studies published by the FDA. Why is that a problem? Well, according to the EWG, octinoxate is a hormone disruptor and can also cause allergic reactions after exposure to ultraviolet light. Due to this, we cannot recommend Elta MD UV Clear.
Bottom Line: Elta MD UV Clear Tinted Sunscreen has a lightweight silky texture, and the formula provides antioxidant protection and broad spectrum SPF 46, but we’re concerned with the ingredient octinoxate.
Elta MD UV Glow Tinted Broad-Spectrum SPF 36
Elta MD UV Glow is an all-mineral sunscreen that promises to give your skin a dewy, healthy glow. Zinc oxide provides broad spectrum SPF 36 protection, while key ingredients like niacinamide, ergothioneine, and vitamin E offer antioxidant protection.
Additionally, niacinamide has been shown to repair the skin barrier and improve skin moisture, as well as reduce inflammation, blotchiness, hyperpigmentation, acne, and wrinkling, according to a publication in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology.
Ergothioneine is a naturally occuring amino acid that has a strong protective effect when applied to the skin. Specifically, it has been reported that skin cells have the ability to uptake ergothioneine to strengthen their natural antioxidant defense system. In addition, ergothioneine provides mild protection against the sun’s UVA and UVB rays.
This hydrating sunscreen also contains hyaluronic acid and coconut fruit extract to restore moisture, leaving skin feeling supple.
Plus, the formula includes the mineral mica to reflect light away from the face, instantly creating a dewy, luminous finish. The tint of this sunscreen makes it ideal for light to medium/dark skin with warm to neutral undertones.
Bottom Line: Elta MD UV Glow features zinc oxide to provide broad spectrum SPF 36 protection, as well as a blend of antioxidants and a tint that’s best for those with light to medium/dark skin tones.
Elta MD UV Elements Broad-Spectrum SPF 44
EltaMD UV Elements is a 100% physical sunscreen in a moisturizing base with a universal tint that’s said to work well for most skin tones. The mineral sunscreens zinc oxide and titanium dioxide provide broad spectrum SPF 44 protection.
In order to protect your skin from environmental free radicals, the formula also includes ascorbyl palmitate, a vitamin C ester.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that protects your skin from free radical damage while also helping to fade dark spots, even out skin tone, and increase radiance. As if that wasn’t enough, research suggests that when vitamin C is applied to the skin, it significantly reverses aging-related structural changes by influencing collagen and elastin synthesis.
Elta MD UV Elements also includes sodium hyaluronate, the salt form of hyaluronic acid, in order to attract and retain moisture, thereby improving skin feel and restores suppleness
Bottom Line: EltaMD UV Elements is a 100% physical sunscreen with a universal tint that hydrates skin with sodium hyaluronate and brightens skin with a vitamin C ester.
Elta MD UV Physical Broad-Spectrum SPF 41
This lightly tinted, oil-free sunscreen contains zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, two physical sunscreens that provide broad spectrum SPF 41 protection. The formula also includes a blend of antioxidants, including quercetin and thioctic acid.
One aspect of this formulation that sets it apart from the others is that it’s water resistant for up to 40 minutes, making this sunscreen ideal for outdoor activities, exercise, or swimming.
Bottom Line: A lightly tinted, oil-free 100% mineral sunscreen that’s water-resistant up to 40 minutes.
Elta MD UV Restore Tinted Broad-Spectrum SPF 40
A 2021 Allure Best Of Beauty Award Winner, the Elta MD UV Restore Tinted Sunscreen is an excellent choice for protecting and improving sun-damaged skin.
The 100% mineral sunscreen includes zinc oxide to offer broad spectrum SPF 40 protection, while antioxidant vitamins C and E help to combat skin-aging free radicals associated with ultraviolet (UV) and infrared (IR), as well as high-energy visible (HEV) light protection.
Furthermore, Elta MD UV Restore Tinted is designed with ginger root extract, which improves skin tone, texture, and smoothness, minimizes the appearance of redness, discoloration, and dark spots, reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and provides anti-pollution protection.
Another ingredient that helps to minimize the appearance of dark spots from urban pollution while also soothing irritated skin is saccharide isomerate.
And we love that this sunscreen includes squalane, a super-light, non-greasy emollient that sinks into the skin fast, yet it helps the skin to instantly feel soft and moisturized.
Bottom Line: A multi-tasking formula that protects skin with broad spectrum 100% mineral UV filters, while also hydrating, soothing, and color-correcting all skin tones.
Elta MD UV Daily Tinted Broad-Spectrum SPF 40
This Elta MD tinted sunscreen contains many of the same ingredients as the other tinted sunscreens, including zinc oxide for broad spectrum SPF 40, sodium hyaluronate for hydration, and vitamin E for antioxidant protection.
However, unlike the other sunscreens in the collection, vitamin E is the only antioxidant in this formula. Since the other sunscreens in this collection have more robust formulations with a variety of antioxidants and other skin soothing ingredients, we have to pass on Elta MD UV Daily.
Bottom Line: This Elta MD tinted sunscreen has a rather basic formula, and we think the other sunscreens in the collection represent better options.
Which Elta MD Tinted Sunscreen is Best?
While the best Elta MD Tinted Sunscreen will depend on your skin type and concerns, we believe that Elta MD UV Restore Tinted Broad-Spectrum SPF 40 is one of the best formulations.
The reason we believe UV Restore is the best is because the 100% mineral formula provides broad spectrum SPF 40 protection while also offering a host of other benefits due to key ingredients like vitamins C and E, squalane, ginger root extract, and saccharide isomerate.
What Are The Key Ingredients in Elta MD Tinted Sunscreens?
Of course, the key ingredients used in Elta MD Tinted Sunscreens are sunscreen ingredients. The brand also uses a variety of antioxidants in their formulas. Let’s explore how these ingredients can protect your skin and prevent premature skin aging.
Mineral (Physical) Sunscreens
Mineral — also known as physical — sunscreens include zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These ingredients protect your skin by using physical UV filters to block or deflect UV light.
Physical sunscreens tend to be better tolerated by most skin types because they are not absorbed into the skin. Thus, they are especially useful for those with heat sensitive skin (i.e. rosacea patients) as well as those with acne-prone skin as they are typically less pore-clogging.
All of the Elta MD Tinted Sunscreens contain physical sunscreen ingredients, although Elta MD UV Clear also contains the chemical sunscreen octinoxate.
We appreciate that all Elta MD Tinted Sunscreens are formulated with sun protection factor (SPF) over 30 — the minimum recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology
Furthermore, all Elta MD Tinted Sunscreens are broad spectrum. According to the FDA, broad spectrum means that the sunscreen can protect skin from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. UVA rays can prematurely age your skin, whereas UVB rays can burn your skin. Both types of rays can cause skin cancer.
You may have noticed that many of the Elta MD Tinted Sunscreens include antioxidants, such as:
- Thioctic Acid
- Vitamins C and E
Antioxidants lessen or prevent the effects of free radicals. This is important because free radicals damage the cellular DNA, the cell membrane, and cellular proteins, including collagen. Damaged collagen manifests as signs of premature skin aging, including wrinkles, lines, and sagging skin.
Furthermore, skin hyperpigmentation, and the reactions that precipitate it, have been linked to free radicals.
Thus, the combination of antioxidants with broad spectrum UV filters in the Elta MD sunscreens will help to reduce premature signs of aging and hyperpigmentation.
How Much Do Elta MD Tinted Sunscreens Cost?
Elta MD Tinted Sunscreens are mid-range in terms of cost; they aren’t cheap but they are ridiculously expensive. The prices range from $32.50 USD for EltaMD UV Daily Tinted up to $39 USD for Elta MD UV Clear Tinted Sunscreen.
Where to Buy Elta MD Tinted Sunscreens?
Elta MD Tinted Sunscreens are sold on the brand’s website, as well as several third party online retailers, such as Dermstore, Skinstore, LovelySkin, SkinCareRx, Amazon, and more. The brand has a list of authorized retailers on their website.
What is The Elta MD Tinted Sunscreen Return Policy?
The Elta MD return policy states, “EltaMD reserves the right to limit returns for products based on usage. Your order will not be eligible for return if you’ve used over 50% of the product. Defective package may be an exception. Shipping and Handling charges, if any, are not refundable. Return shipping costs are the responsibility of the customer.”
Is Elta MD Cruelty Free?
Yes, Elta MD is cruelty free and is a PETA certified Beauty Without Bunnies partner.
Elta MD Tinted Sunscreen Reviews
Elta MD Tinted Sunscreen reviews on the brand’s website are overall very positive. The product with the most reviews is the Elta MD UV Clear Tinted Sunscreen, which has received an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars after nearly 1,000 customer reviews.
The positive reviews for the Elta MD UV Clear Tinted Sunscreen mention that it offers light coverage without feeling greasy or leaving a white cast.
For example, one review says, “Great product. Really helped protect my skin without breaking me out. Offered light coverage to even out my skin tone. It would be nice to see deeper tints for darker skin tones. No burning or stinging when applied near my eyes.”
And another 5-star review says, “EltaMD UV clear is my favorite mineral sunscreen as it goes on very nicely, is not greasy, and does not leave a white cast. Also appreciate the pump packaging.”
However, there are a handful of negative reviews for the Elta MD UV Clear Tinted Sunscreen from customers who found that the formula was way too greasy.
For example, one review says, “This sunscreen does not leave a white cast on black skin however, it did make my skin look excessively greasy.”
And a similar 1-star review says, “I am fair skinned, but not that fair skinned. Goes on looking like golden streaked mud on my neck, but just slightly too dark for my face. Then the shine!!! Not a glow, but a wet mud look. Doesn’t dry any lighter and brings out the oil shine too well.”
Overall, we think that the Elta MD Tinted Sunscreens are formulated well, although we can’t recommend Elta MD UV Clear Tinted Sunscreen due to the inclusion of octinoxate.
- Elta MD Tinted Sunscreens provide broad spectrum UV protection, and all have SPF above 30
- Many formulas also contain antioxidants to protect against environmental free radicals
- All formulations are fragrance free and paraben free
- Many positive Elta MD Tinted Sunscreen reviews
- Elta MD is cruelty free
- The use of octinoxate in Elta MD UV Clear Tinted Sunscreen is a problem since this ingredient is considered to be a hormone disruptor and can also cause allergic reactions after exposure to UV light
What Are Some Alternatives to Elta MD Tinted Sunscreens?
If you’re looking for skincare products to defend your skin against damage and aging, we recommend Carrot & Stick. Carrot & Stick maximizes the use of powerful ingredients and minimizes the use of superficial ones, resulting in advanced skincare solutions that help promote healthy, more youthful-looking skin. We recommend this defence serum and sunscreen.
EWG “The trouble with ingredients in sunscreens”
J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2010 Feb; 3(2): 22–41
Nutrients. 2017 Aug; 9(8): 866.
American Academy of Dermatology “How to Decode Sunscreen Labels”