Let’s face it, the idea of applying sunscreen to your sensitive or acne-prone skin may seem like a recipe for clogging your pores. But we all know SPF offers benefits such as reducing the likelihood of premature aging as well developing skin cancer, so what is one to do? “You should use SPF 365 days a year, especially if you are acne-prone because a lot of the aftermath of acne, namely the blemishing, is worsened with increased UV light exposure,” says New York City-based dermatologist Dr. Rita Linkner, board-certified dermatologist at RVL Skincare. “For those with advise acne-prone skin, you should use oil-free sunscreens,” she says.
However, we know that there are many options, and it is essential that you get an SPF that is right for your skin type. “Breakouts can happen if you use the wrong formulation of sunscreen, but most are formulated to be non-comedogenic,” says Dr. Muneeb Shah, Dermatology Resident at Campbell University. (Dr. Shah also has a mega-following on Tik Tok thanks to his hugely popular @dermdoctor channel.) “And most importantly, take cues from your skin if something is breaking you out, switch it up,” he adds.
We asked these experts for their recommendations for the best sunscreen for acne-prone skin, and they had some great suggestions, which we’ve compiled below. Here are some of the best sunscreens for acne-prone skin.
1. Alastin’s Hydratint SPF36 Pro Mineral Broad Spectrum Sunscreen
“One of my favorite SPFs is Alastin’s Hydratint SPF36 for the face,” says Linkner. “It has added infrared heat protection, another factor that can cause hyperpigmentation,” she says. Plus, it is unscented and won’t clash with your favorite scent. Just remember to reapply per the label directions when you are outside for continued protection.
2. Anthelios Melt in Milk Sunscreen with SPF60
Anthelios Melt in Milk Sunscreen with SPF 60 is also a great sunscreen for acne-prone skin. “This oil-free product is just so easy to rub in, it’s a joy to reapply to your body every two hours,” says Linker. This fragrance-free formula has been formulated with cell-ox shield technology which provides broad-spectrum UVA/ UVB protection and antioxidants.
3. EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46
“For patients who suffer from acne, EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 is a great option,” says Shah. “It is formulated with niacinamide, which is an excellent ingredient for acne-prone skin and zinc oxide which has anti-inflammatory properties,” he says. Its oil-free formula can help to calm and protect skin prone to acne, rosacea and discoloration.
4. Versed Guards Up Daily Mineral Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 35
Versed Guards Up daily mineral sunscreen is an affordable broad-spectrum sunscreen SPF that provides protection against the environment and the sun. It blends in well without a white or gray cast that mineral sunscreen can sometimes leave behind because of its dense nature.
5. Supergoop! Zincscreen 100% Mineral Lotion SPF 40
Supergoop! sunscreens are also always top-notch and the brand’s 100% mineral lotion is a truly lightweight, non-nano zinc oxide lotion that can help to protect your face from the sun’s rays. It is also lightly tinted to blend well and disappears when applied to your skin. Plus, it contains ingredients like winter cherry, coconut fruit extract and blueberry extract that can help to hydrate the skin.
6. Neutrogena Clear Face Oil-Free Sunscreen SPF 55
Neutrogena Clear Face Oil-Free Sunscreen is a non-comedogenic, lightweight and oil-free sunscreen for acne-prone skin made specifically for those who experience breakouts. Apply it before participating in your favorite outdoor activities.
7. Cerave Ultra-Light Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30
If you need a sunscreen for acne-prone skin that can hydrate as it protects, Cerave Ultra-Light Moisturizing Lotion is a good option. It contains ceramides that promise to repair and restore your skin. Additionally, it is fragrance-free as perfumed products can sometimes irritate the skin.
8. EleVen by Venus William On-The-Defense Natural Sunscreen SPF 30
Although sunscreen formulas have come a long way, it can still be challenging to find one that melts into darker skin tones. EleVen by Venus Williams — yes, the tennis pro — is completely mineral-based (25% zinc oxide) and blends into all skin tones without leaving behind a white chalky complexion.
9. ISDIN Eryfotona Actinica Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50+
While this sunscreen takes a few seconds to melt into your skin thoroughly and disappear, its benefits are well worth the wait. The consistency of the product is more than just lightweight, it is a thin liquid that is easily applied. It does not have a greasy feel, and after wearing it, your skin appears smoother.
10. Peter Thomas Roth Max Mineral Naked Broad Spectrum SPF 45
This all mineral-based sunscreen for acne-prone skin from Peter Thomas Roth contains vitamins A, C and E, and safflower extract to hydrate and help to enhance your skin’s radiance. It is formulated with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to help deliver broad-spectrum protection.