The Best Sunblock for Acne-Prone Skin

If you’re prone to facial acne, then look for facial sunscreens labeled “noncomedogenic,” which won’t clog pores that lead to acne.

Sun Hat

Summertime poses a new problem for many people with acne: sunscreen. Sunscreens, particularly when applied to the face, can cause or worsen acne. There are two reasons: 1) The sunscreen itself is often thick with ingredients such as petroleum, which protect the face but also clog the pores, leading to acne bumps. 2) Some ingredients in sunscreens irritate the skin, such as avobenzone, which causes inflammation, leading to acne bumps.

What can you do?

Choose sunscreens that are formulated specifically for the face and that are labeled, “noncomedogenic,” which means non-pimple forming. Some inexpensive options (under $10), that can be found at most drugstores, include Neutrogena Clear Face Liquid Lotion Sunblock SPF 55 and Aveeno Continuous Protection Sunblock for the Face, SPF 30.

Remember not to apply anything to your face before the sunscreen, as most sunscreens need to soak into the skin to work properly. So for women, it’s best to apply facial sunscreen allowing it to dry completely before applying make-up.

Of course, wearing a fashionable (and sun-blocking) wide-brimmed hat wouldn’t hurt either.

Got any recommendations for facial sunscreens that you use and like? Share them with us in the comment section below.

Photo credit: FCC, Gordon


4 thoughts on “The Best Sunblock for Acne-Prone Skin”

  1. No question – LaRoche-Posay Anthelios SX Daily Moisture Lotion – very broad-spectrum, contains Mexoryl for long-lasting UVA protection, feels decent on the skin, doesn’t contain titanium dioxide, which tends to make me look washed-out, doesn’t make me break out – I’m the color of Xerox paper and tend to get itchy/queasy from sun exposure, so finding something this *astonishingly* effective in an SPF 15 was a real surprise. I don’t care for their SPF40, as it’s got Ti02 and is “heavier” on the skin, so my logic is that SPF15 slathered on and properly reapplied, with amazing UVA protection, is better than SPF30 that I’m not as willing to use consistently or that makes my skin look worse from the other ingredients.

  2. Hi Jeff:

    I like Elta sunscreen/moisturizer SPF 40. It’s lightweight and contains no harmful chemicals like parabens. The main ingredient is titanium dioxide.

  3. Sofina Jenne Day Protector SPF 50+ PA +++ 🙂

  4. As a darker skinned person of color, I choose to avoid physical sunblocks, because they turn me blue and ashy (regardless of trying to cover it up with makeup). So as far as well sustained chemical sunscreens that do not cause acne, I’ve been hard pressed to find anything better than Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunscreen SPF 45 ( I can actually go all the way up to SPF 55 and still see very little blue/gray tinge) . It doesn’t clog my pores and doesn’t feel heavy or tacky. However as added protection against a breakout, I use a medicated toner/serum right after washing, (ie. Nucelle’s 10% Mandelic acid serum /Paula Beqouin’s BHA 2% liquid/Skinceuticals LHA solution) on my face before applying, then wait 2 mins and I apply the sunscreen with a liberal dollop ( about the size of a quarter), and then wait 5 mins before applying any makeup. I’ve never seen the “Clear Face” line here in Canada, but I’d be willing to try it I’m pretty sure the formulation is quite similar ( maybe they even add salicylic acid? )

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