How to choose sunscreen for acne-prone skin

We’ve all heard the excuses for not wearing sunscreen every day, ranging from “it’s not sunny” to “I have a natural tan” to “sunscreen makes me break out”. Everyone needs to wear sunscreen every day, no matter the weather and their skin type. There are plenty of well-formulated sunscreens that don’t cause greasy, irritated skin, and that are especially developed for acne-prone skin.

Do I need to wear sunscreen if I have acne breakouts?

Yes. Everyone needs to wear sunscreen every day, especially if you are prone to irritation such as skin sensitivity, inflammation or acne. The sun can irritate your skin even more when not protected by sunscreen, leading to even worse acne flare-ups.

Why do I need to wear sunscreen every day?

While it might seem inconvenient to apply sunscreen every day, SPF is crucial for protecting your skin from the sun’s damaging UV radiation. UV rays cause irreversible cell damage in as little as 10 minutes, leading to skin cancer, premature ageing, and hyperpigmentation.

Choose a sunscreen you love, and you won’t mind wearing it every day!

Read practical tips for managing greasy skin caused by sunscreen here.

How to choose a sunscreen for acne-prone skin

It can be challenging to find a non-greasy sunscreen that doesn’t cause irritation to the skin, especially if you typically experience inflammation or acne breakouts from sunscreen products. Here are some tips if this is the case for you.

Look for oil-free, noncomedogenic products

Oil-free products keep your face from feeling and looking greasy. Noncomedogenic means that the product doesn’t contain ingredients known to block pores.

Don’t use a sunscreen meant for your body on your face

Body sunscreens are typically to thick and heavy for use on the face, and can contribute to breakouts.

Try fluid, gel or spray products

Sheer sunscreen fluids and sprays are quickly absorbed into the skin, thereby feeling more lightweight than lotions and creams. Sunscreen gels can also be ideal for the scalp and other areas with a lot of hair growth. But ensure you use enough of these products to actually cover your skin!

Use broad-spectrum SPF50+

The sun emits various types of UV radiation and a broad-spectrum sunscreen is required to block them all. Choose a sunscreen with a high SPF rating (at least 30 or ideally over 50) for longer lasting protection. Read more about understanding SPF here.

Avoid oxybenzone and PABA

The active ingredients oxybenzone and PABA can be irritating to the skin, especially if you experience skin sensitivity, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, or acne. Choose a product that contains titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide as the active ingredient.

If you need help choosing the right sun protection product for you, ask your Dermal Clinician for help!

If you would like to speak to a Doctor or Dermal Clinician about your skin concerns, please call us or book your appointment online.

Written by National Skin Cancer Centres