Medically reviewed by Aimee Paik, MD
Written by Annie Lam
Last updated 4/4/2022
We know having acne is frustrating, and sometimes it feels like every product you try may be breaking you out. Unfortunately, many put the blame on their sunscreen. People often describe sunscreen as “heavy” and “greasy” but is it really causing your breakouts? We’re debunking some common acne and sunscreen myths and sharing our tips on what to look for when sunscreen shopping for acne-prone skin.
Dermatologists and skinfluencers constantly talk about the importance of SPF, but are you noticing increased breakouts with your sunscreen? While it’s true that some greasy, heavier sunscreens may clog pores and worsen acne, this isn’t the case for all (or most) sunscreens. What’s most important is finding a formula that works well for your skin. Daily sun protection is essential to preventing skin cancer, hyperpigmentation, and signs of aging, so it’s important to find a sunscreen you love! Our derms recommend looking for lightweight, oil-free formulas that don’t feel heavy or greasy on the skin.
We always say the three basic steps in a skincare routine are cleanser, moisturizer, and SPF. However, there are many hydrating sunscreen formulas (like ‘Screen) that can double as your moisturizer + SPF in one! This works especially well for people with combination or oily skin that can find sunscreens heavy. Using this hack keeps your routine simple and your skin hydrated and protected.
Some claim that acne-prone skin can be more sensitive, so mineral sunscreen is the best option. While mineral sunscreens may be a better choice for sensitive skin, the formulas tend to be thicker and heavier. Chemical sunscreens tend to be more lightweight and also work well for acne-prone skin - it’s all about the formula. Regardless of having acne, whether you choose mineral vs chemical sunscreen doesn’t really matter. What’s most important is finding a broad-spectrum SPF 30+ that works well for your skin.
💦 Look for oil-free formulas. Oil-free sunscreens tend to feel more lightweight on the skin. If your skin often feels heavy or greasy when applying sunscreen, consider looking for a formula without heavy oils like coconut oil.
🧈 Avoid heavy butters. Ingredients like shea butter and cocoa butter can feel very heavy on the skin, which may exacerbate acne. Consider looking for a more lightweight formula without these ingredients.
☀️ Use other sun protection methods. Sunscreen is essential for healthy skin, but taking additional sun protection measures is also important to avoid worsening hyperpigmentation! Wear a hat while outdoors, and try to seek shade during peak hours of the day (12-3 PM).
While sunscreen can get a bad reputation for acne-prone folks, it’s an essential part of your routine. If you’re looking for a sunscreen specifically formulated for acne-prone skin, be sure to check out ‘Screen - our derm-approved, hybrid SPF that’s safe for all skin types. Don’t forget to #SlatherOn your ‘Screen!
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