Stroll through the sunscreen aisle of your local beauty store and you’ll face a dizzying number of choices—two of the best brands that always stick out to us, though, are Elta MD and Supergoop.
We’ll be comparing their best-sellers side-by-side so you can see which would suit you and your skin the best. Enjoy!
This post contains affiliate links; as an Amazon Associate we earn commission from qualifying purchases.
Elta MD vs Supergoop Sunscreen
If there is one skincare product that you must have all year round—especially in the summer—it’s sunscreen. SPF should be a part of your everyday skincare routine to protect the sensitive skin of your face from harmful UV rays.
Elta MD offers a host of incredibly popular sunscreens, however, our pick of the bunch is the best-selling Elta MD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen, as it is by far their most popular. Arguably just as popular is the Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen, which we will be comparing today.
While they are both fragrance-free, oil-free, silky, lightweight, and intended for use on facial skin, there are a few key differences that must be addressed.
2024 update: EltaMD's sunscreen now has a new look! The formula hasn't changed, but it's worth noting that there might be some packaging variation depending on your preferred retail store.
First and foremost, the Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen is a chemical sunscreen whereas the Elta MD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen is a mineral sunscreen. Once upon a time this difference would make or break your decision (and to a lesser extent it still might), but a cumulation of scientific advancements now means that the differences are practically negligible.
All you need to know is that mineral sunscreens contain tiny particles that physically prevent UV rays from penetrating the skin, whereas chemical sunscreens contain chemicals that absorb UV light and converts it into heat. Either way, they both provide clinically proven broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection.
The second key difference becomes obvious upon inspection of the inactive ingredients lists. The Elta MD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen contains Niacinamide, Hyaluronic Acid, and Lactic Acid—all of which promote the appearance of healthy-looking skin on their own, but more specifically as a trio they actively help to calm, treat, and protect acne and rosacea-prone skin types.
The Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen on the other hand is actually targeted towards *all* skin types. Containing Shea Butter and Jojoba Esters, it offers intense moisturizing benefits, and with Frankincense and Meadowfoam Estolide it offers antioxidant protection as well as soothing and hydrating benefits.
Clearly both sunscreens are a cross between skin care and sun protection, but this does mean that your skin type will play a large role in deciding which is best for you.
If you have problematic skin (i.e. those struggling with acne, rosacea, or hyperpigmentation) you will be better served with the Elta MD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen, otherwise Supergoop's Unseen Sunscreen is the one for you, since its formula is ideal for all skin types.
One final point before we wrap up is the fact that Elta MD's sunscreen contains Octinoxate. While there is insufficient evidence to suggest that it is harmful to humans, what we do know is that it damages marine ecosystems. In other words, it is not 'reef-safe', as you might have seen mentioned while browsing sunscreens.
With both clocking in at around the same price per fluid ounce, and with it being a genuine struggle to find any real negative feedback about them anywhere online, the only real way to separate the two is with regards to skin type.
To reiterate: if you have problematic skin (e.g. acne, rosacea, or hyperpigmentation) you will be better served with the Elta MD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen, otherwise Supergoop's Unseen Sunscreen is the one for you.
UV Clear Facial Sunscreen SPF 46 by Elta MD
Our rating: ★★★★★
Calms and protects acne-prone skin.
What makes it special? Oil-free EltaMD UV Clear helps calm and protect sensitive skin types prone to discoloration and breakouts associated to acne and rosacea. It contains niacinamide (vitamin B3), hyaluronic acid and lactic acid, ingredients that promote the appearance of healthy-looking skin. Very lightweight and silky, it may be worn with makeup or alone. Choose from tinted and untinted formulas for use every day.
Which skin types? Skin types prone to acne, rosacea, and hyperpigmentation.
Unseen Sunscreen by Supergoop!
Our rating: ★★★★★
The original, totally invisible, weightless, scentless sunscreen with SPF 40 that leaves a velvety finish.
What makes it special? This innovative, antioxidant-rich multitasker has a unique oil-free formula that glides onto skin while providing broad spectrum SPF 40 protection. Use it as a makeup-gripping primer under foundation when you want a little more coverage, or on its own if you want a more natural look. It’s a totally game-changing way to wear sunscreen every day, and it will have you SPF-Obsessed.
Which skin types? For all skin types.
Elta MD Best-Sellers
Work in progress
You have been reading a post that we are constantly updating. Be sure to bookmark this page, subscribe, and come back later to see additions to the definitive Elta MD vs Supergoop sunscreen guide!
This article was originally published on May 25th 2022, but it has been reviewed and updated with the latest available information on February 6th 2024 by Sara Mckay, MA.
Calum Torrington is the founder of FemmeNordic. He has worked as a beauty editor since 2020 and employs his analytical background in mathematics to thoroughly scrutinize complex INCI lists. Now, he helps over 1 million people per year to find the best beauty products.