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When it comes to sun protection, many experts say that the “best” sunscreen is the one you’ll use consistently. But in order to find your favorite go-to sunscreen, you’ll first need to understand your options. Sunscreen products come in many forms, including chemical sunscreens, mineral sunscreens, and—you guessed it—hybrid sunscreens that combine both types of sun filters. Below, we’re sharing some of the key facts you should know about hybrid sunscreens, including what they are, how they work, and what sets them apart from other types of sunscreens. We’ve also asked Dr. Kiran Mian to weigh in and share her expert tips on how to incorporate a hybrid sunscreen into your daily routine.

Facts About Hybrid Sunscreen

  • Hybrid sunscreens are a type of sunscreen that contain both types of sun filters (mineral and chemical). 
  • This type of sunscreen helps protect your skin by simultaneously reflecting and absorbing the sun’s harmful rays. 
  • Hybrid sunscreens, such as CeraVe Hydrating Sheer Sunscreen, can be used by many skin types and skin tones to help protect against sun damage and visible signs of aging (when used as directed with other sun protection measures, such as limiting time in the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and wearing long-sleeved shirts, hats, and sunglasses). 
  • These sunscreens are an ideal choice if you’re looking for a versatile formula that combines the cosmetic elegance of chemical sunscreen with the benefits of mineral sunscreen.

What Is Hybrid Sunscreen?

Sunscreens can be formulated with two types of UV filters: mineral (physical) and chemical (organic). “A hybrid [sunscreen] formula uses both physical and chemical filters to help block UV rays,” says Dr. Kiran Mian. This allows hybrid sunscreens to offer the best of both worlds when it comes to sun protection: the benefits of mineral sunscreen coupled with the cosmetic elegance found in many chemical sunscreens. According to Dr. Mian, hybrid sunscreens “combine the reflective properties of mineral-based ingredients and the absorbing and altering properties of chemical ingredients to help prevent sun damage.”



What Are the Key Ingredients in Hybrid Sunscreen?

Hybrid sunscreens contain chemical and mineral UV filters. The mineral sunscreen component of your hybrid sunscreen will often include zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These mineral UV filters help reflect the sun’s damaging rays before they can penetrate your skin. On the other hand, chemical sunscreen ingredients often include oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate. These chemical UV filters function like a sponge, helping to absorb harmful UV rays via a chemical reaction before they can cause skin damage.


Besides these active ingredients, many hybrid sunscreens also feature other beneficial ingredients that can help support hydrated, healthy-looking skin. Dr. Mian offers CeraVe Hydrating Sheer Sunscreen as one example. “This sunscreen has essential ceramides in it to keep skin hydrated during sun exposure, and of course, the SPF 30 helps keep you protected from UV damage,” says Dr. Mian.   



What Are the Main Benefits of CeraVe Hydrating Sheer Sunscreen?

Hybrid sunscreens offer a variety of benefits that can help your skin look and feel its best. If you’re searching for a hybrid sunscreen to add to your daily skincare routine, we recommend trying CeraVe Hydrating Sheer Sunscreen—our first-ever hybrid sunscreen formula for use on both the face and body. This multi-benefit sunscreen provides broad-spectrum sun protection and features an ultra-lightweight, sheer formula that’s makeup-friendly and suitable for all skin types.


Read on to discover some of the reasons why Dr. Mian has called this product her “go-to sunscreen for summer 2023.”


It offers broad-spectrum sun protection

For effective sun protection, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends using “broad-spectrum” sunscreen products that contain SPF 30 or higher.1 Our hybrid sunscreen is formulated to provide broad-spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen protection, meaning it helps protect against both types of harmful UV rays (UVA and UVB). 


It’s suitable for all skin types

Finding the right sunscreen for your skin type can sometimes be challenging, especially if you have sensitive skin. Many people with sensitive skin, dry skin, or eczema-prone skin find mineral sunscreens to be gentler on their skin. What that said, our fast-absorbing hybrid sunscreen is formulated to be suitable for all skin types, including acne-prone or sensitive skin. 


It features convenient, leak-proof packaging

Sunscreen should be applied every day, 365 days per year—rain or shine—and reapplied at least every two hours during the day. Since you’ll be applying (and reapplying) your hybrid sunscreen often, the last thing you want to deal with is product leakage. This hybrid formula features convenient packaging that makes it easy to take with you on-the-go. “I love the leak-proof dispenser," says Dr. Mian. “When I’m traveling, I only need to take one sunscreen with me, as it works so well on the face as well as the body.”


It is absorbed quickly and dries to a sheer finish

One of Dr. Mian’s favorite things about this hybrid sunscreen is that it “applies white to make sure you’re getting even coverage, then dries sheer.” According to Dr. Mian, “the thin formulation makes for easy spreadability, and it absorbs quickly without leaving a white cast or greasy feel,” explains Dr. Mian.


It’s water-resistant for up to 80 minutes

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a water-resistant sunscreen, especially when swimming or sweating.1 CeraVe’s hybrid sunscreen is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, which makes it an excellent option if you’ll be spending time outdoors. But remember: Water-resistant sunscreen still needs to be reapplied after 80 minutes when sweating or swimming.


It’s non-greasy and feels comfortable on skin

Besides the sun protection benefits, many people enjoy the cosmetic elegance of hybrid sunscreen formulas, including Dr. Mian. "CeraVe Hydrating Sheer Sunscreen is one of the most comfortable sunscreens I have ever used. Its thin formula allows for easy spreadability and breathability,” she says. It’s also non-greasy and non-comedogenic, so it won’t clog your pores.



How To Use CeraVe Hydrating Sheer Sunscreen

Getting the most out of this hybrid sunscreen will require proper application. Always read the product label carefully before applying and follow the instructions on the packaging. Here are a few tips to consider when using our Hydrating Sheer Sunscreen.


Apply 15 minutes before heading outside

This sunscreen should be applied every morning, 15 minutes before heading outdoors.


Reapply at least every two hours (and after swimming or sweating)

Remember to reapply this hybrid sunscreen at least every two hours. To help ensure effective sun protection, it should also be reapplied after 80 minutes of sweating or swimming.


Completely cover sun-exposed areas

Our Hydrating Sheer Sunscreen can be used on your face and body. However, it’s important to apply the correct amount for each area. When applying onto your body, we recommend using approximately 1 ounce (about the size of a golf ball) and blending until fully absorbed. For your face, try dispensing one line of the product onto two separate fingers, then blend onto your skin.


Don’t forget about other sun protection measures

Sunscreen alone cannot completely protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), sunscreen should be used in combination with other sun protection measures. This includes wearing protective clothing when outdoors (such as hats and sunglasses), staying in the shade, and limiting sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.2 

For help choosing the right products for your specific skin type and skin concerns, use our Find My Skincare Solution tool.

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