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20 Most Effective and Absolutely Best Sunscreens for Acne Prone Skin

For those with zits and worries of tanning, here's the crème de la crème of sunscreens for acne prone skin to keep you in peak complexion.

20 min read
Photo-Illustration: Catchy Shopper; Photos: Retailers
Photo-Illustration: Catchy Shopper; Photos: Retailers

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Staying sun-safe is crucial, but selecting the right sunscreen for acne-prone skin can be a real challenge. With so many options out there, it can be hard to know which ones are actually good for your skin and won't cause breakouts. That's why we've done all the research for you and assembled a list of our top 20 recommended sunscreens that tick all the boxes: non-comedogenic ingredients, free from irritants and with a lightweight feel, plus broad spectrum protection that shields against harmful UV rays. So you can go outside with confidence, knowing your skin is well looked after! Explore our selection today and find the perfect sunscreen solution for you.

Importance of Using Sunscreen for Acne Prone Skin

If you have acne-prone skin, you might not think twice about using sunscreen for fear of making your breakouts worse. But the truth is that your skin's health depends on it — especially if you use acne treatments like topical retinoids or benzoyl peroxide.

Sunscreens not only protect against premature aging, hyperpigmentation and even skin cancer, but they can also help prevent the further spread of inflammation caused by acne. When your skin is inflamed, it doesn't defend itself as well from UV rays and other environmental stressors. Taking even basic steps to shield it with sunscreen can ultimately protect it from long-term damage and make your breakouts better in the process.

How to Choose the Best Sunscreen for Acne Prone Skin

The sun can be wonderful and energizing, but it also carries risks. For people with acne-prone skin, the sun can take a toll, leading to inflammation and further breakouts. To protect yourself from its harmful effects, you need an effective sunscreen that won’t clog your pores or make your skin worse. Thus, finding the best sunscreens for acne-prone skin is key.

So how do you find good sunscreen? Here are some tips:

Look for oil-free or noncomedogenic ingredients

Many of the oils in traditional sunscreens can increase inflammation and irritation on sensitive skin types. Noncomedogenic products are formulated without these oils; they’ll be less likely to cause breakouts while still providing protection against the sun’s UV rays.

Protect yourself from both UVA and UVB rays

UVA rays penetrate deeper into your skin than UVB rays and have been linked to premature aging as well as other forms of damage. Be sure to use a broad spectrum sunscreen so you’re protected from both types of radiation coming from the sun.

Use physical blockers whenever possible

Physical blockers, also referred to as mineral blockers, create a protective layer on the skin's surface using zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Unlike chemical blockers, they do not penetrate the skin, which minimizes the risk of pore-clogging ingredients causing irritation or clogging pores. This makes them an excellent option for those concerned about ingredients that may clog pores.

Consider using additional forms of protection

Sunscreen should never be used as the only method of protecting yourself from the sun; wearing long sleeves and pants when outdoors can provide additional protection without having to reapply the product every few hours (as long as they are loose enough not to cause friction). A hat also provides coverage along with sunglasses that protect eyes from ultraviolet radiation exposure

Following these steps will help ensure you select a safe and effective sunscreen that won't aggravate your acne-prone complexion. As with any skincare product, make sure it fits your needs by doing proper research beforehand!

Our Favorite Sunscreens for Acne Prone Skin

When selecting a sunscreen for acne-prone skin, there are certain criteria that are essential to consider. These criteria ensure that the sunscreen won't cause breakouts or further irritate the skin. Here are the categories we've used to select the best sunscreens for acne-prone skin:

Non-comedogenic Formula

Sunscreens containing oils or comedogenic ingredients can cause further breakouts and inflammation in sensitive skin types. Choose an oil-free or noncomedogenic product to ensure your pores won’t be blocked.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Clear Skin Sunscreen SPF 60

Acne-prone skin can be tricky to treat, but La Roche-Posay Anthelios Clear Skin Dry Touch Sunscreen SPF 60 offers a solution. This oil-free, non-greasy formula won't cause breakouts — making it a game-changer for those of us who've been struggling with acne for years! Not only does it protect your skin from UV rays, but also won't clog pores or lead to more breakouts.

Plus, this sunscreen is oxybenzone-free, meaning that you don't need to worry about any harsh chemicals irritating your skin. And the texture? Light and almost like a primer — making it perfect as the base of your makeup routine. It won't leave any white residue and is non-greasy so you don't feel weighed down by the product all day long.

Of course, no product is perfect. It's a little bit pricier than some other drugstore sunscreens, however the benefits are worth every penny! Additionally, keep in mind that this sunscreen isn't water-resistant so if you're planning on spending time in the pool or at the beach you'll need to reapply often.

As one satisfied user put it, "I have suffered from bad acne for my whole life and this has been the only one not to cause me a breakout. I'll never stop using this on a daily basis."

Neutrogena Clear Face Liquid Lotion Sunscreen SPF 55

For those with acne-prone skin, Neutrogena Clear Face Liquid Lotion Sunscreen is a must-have. This fragrance-free, non-comedogenic, and oil-free sunscreen won't clog pores or leave you smelling like a tropical fruit salad. Plus, it's lightweight and absorbs quickly so you can wear it under your makeup or alone without feeling weighed down. And the 3 fl ounce size makes it ideal for on-the-go use.

But that's not all! While you're protecting your skin from the sun, this sunscreen also works to improve your skin over time thanks to ingredients like salicylic acid that help to unclog pores and prevent breakouts. Some users even report reduced breakouts after using this product — making it a total win/win.

Of course, there are a few things to think about before purchasing: some people find the formula too thin and runny to apply evenly, while others might be sensitive to salicylic acid or other acne fighters contained in the product.

So keep those things in mind but overall we definitely recommend Neutrogena Clear Face Liquid Lotion Sunscreen for its affordability, effectiveness, and ease of use. Plus you get the added bonus of helping improve your skin health at the same time!

EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 46

This little baby is the perfect solution for anyone with sensitive or acne-prone skin who wants to enjoy the sun without worrying about breaking out or getting sunburned.

Let's start with the basics. EltaMD UV Clear is a broad-spectrum sunscreen that provides both UVA and UVB protection. It's also mineral-based, meaning it contains zinc oxide as the active ingredient, which is a natural, non-irritating, and non-comedogenic sunscreen agent. That means it won't clog your pores or cause breakouts, which is great news for anyone with acne-prone skin.

First of all, it's oil-free, so it won't make your skin greasy or shiny. It also has a pump, which makes it super easy to apply and avoids any mess or waste. Secondly, it's fragrance-free, so it won't irritate your skin or cause any unwanted reactions. And finally, it has a high SPF of 46, which means it offers excellent protection against harmful UV rays.

But does it actually work? Well, according to one user, it does. She writes: "I have super sensitive skin and could never wear sunscreen on my face without waking up the next day with pimples. I tried this sunscreen hoping since it was geared towards acne-prone skin hoping it would do the trick... My hopes were low as I have tried many other "acne-prone" sunscreens and they all failed. I was skeptical about trying this but applied it after my morning skincare routine." And guess what? It worked! Not only did it not cause pimples, but it also made her skin look amazing. Win-win!

Free from Common Irritants

Some ingredients like fragrances, preservatives, and alcohol may cause irritation; avoid any products that contain these if you have sensitive skin.

Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30

Blue Lizard SENSITIVE FACE Mineral Sunscreen is the perfect choice for those who want an advanced level of skin protection without any of the greasiness or irritation that can sometimes accompany sunscreens. This product comes with a "smart cap" technology that changes color when exposed to harmful UV rays, so you'll always know when to re-apply and stay safe from sunburns. Plus, the bottle's cap snaps closed tightly to guarantee no leaks or spills occur!

Not only is this sunscreen lightweight and non-greasy, but it goes on smoothly, allowing for even application all over your skin. And since it's water-resistant, you won't have to worry about reapplying after swimming or sweating - this sunscreen will stay put regardless of your activities!

For all those seeking serious sun protection coupled with unbeatable comfort, Blue Lizard SENSITIVE FACE Mineral Sunscreen checks all the boxes. Consult a dermatologist if you have any questions about which product is best for you, and be sure to enjoy outdoor activities with confidence knowing that your skin is protected from harmful UV rays!

Cetaphil Pro Oil Absorbing Moisturizer with Sunscreen SPF 30

When it comes to keeping your skin looking and feeling great, Cetaphil Pro Oil Removing Foam Wash is the perfect solution. Whether you're dealing with an oil-prone complexion or sensitive skin that's prone to breakouts, this face wash will keep your skin fresh, clean and clear in all seasons.

This pack of three 8-ounce bottles means you'll have plenty of product to last for months, so you won't have to worry about running out anytime soon! And what makes this face wash even better is that it's gentle enough for everyday use but powerful enough to remove makeup easily – no more clogged pores or stubborn breakouts from leftover makeup.

The best part? It really works! Just check out this glowing review from a satisfied customer: "This is undoubtedly the best face wash I have used so far. I have been using it for the past five years when recommended by my dermatologist. I have sensitive skin with moderate to severe acne and this product has helped a lot. I use it twice daily and it does a very good job at keeping the excess oil on my face under control.

Added bonus: It also removes make-up very well. Summer or winter, this stays with me. I must say that I have used other face wash (high end and drugstore brands) products, but I always keep coming back to Cetaphil. And you cannot beat the price!! If you have acne, do give Cetaphil Foam Wash a try. You won't regret it." So why not take their word for it? Try Cetaphil Pro Oil Removing Foam Wash today and experience the difference!

Vanicream Sunscreen SPF 50+

No matter your skin type, Vanicream Sunscreen's Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ can provide you with the protection you need from the sun's damaging rays. This mineral-based sunscreen won't irritate even the most sensitive of skin and manages to rub on easily without leaving a white film or feeling overly greasy. Plus, one user said this new formula works even better than its predecessor!

So if you're looking for an effective sunscreen that won't break the bank, then you've found it in Vanicream's Broad Spectrum SPF 50+. Its smaller size and slightly higher price point may be drawbacks, but when it comes to protecting your delicate skin, it won't disappoint! So go ahead and give it a try - your skin will thank you!

Broad-Spectrum Protection

Be sure to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays since UVA penetrates deeper and can lead to premature aging as well as burning of the skin.

Supergoop! Everyday Sunscreen SPF 50

First of all, can we just talk about how clever the name is? It's not just for play, it's for everyday use! Plus, with 18 fl oz in the bottle, you'll have plenty to keep you protected all season long.

This stuff is fast absorbing, so you won't be standing around awkwardly waiting for it to soak in before you can get back to your game. And speaking of games, it's water and sweat resistant, so you won't have to worry about it melting off your face during an intense volleyball match.

But what really sets Supergoop! PLAY apart from the rest is its reef-friendly formula. As we become more aware of the impact our actions have on the environment, it's important to make choices that are kind to our planet. So, not only will you be protecting your skin, but you'll be protecting our oceans and marine life as well.

Sun Bum Original Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50

Feeling the summer vibes? Get ready to be protected while soaking up the sun! This vegan sunscreen not only shields your skin from harm, but also protects the environment and aquatic life. Proudly reef-friendly and free of Octinoxate and Oxybenzone, this broad-spectrum sunscreen is made with hydrating ingredients like coconut oil and shea butter. It's even enriched with Vitamin E for maximum hydration and nourishment.

With stellar reviews on Amazon, customers love its non-greasy formula and pleasant scent – making this product a must-have for summer. Whether you're at the beach or in the backyard, protect your skin while enjoying some sunshine – thanks to this amazing vegan sunscreen!

Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Sunscreen Lotion SPF 60

Summertime is finally here, and with it comes the need to protect your skin from the sun's harmful UV rays. This sunscreen lotion provides broad-spectrum SPF 60 protection, while also containing prebiotic oat to help maintain a healthy skin barrier. Plus, it's infused with Vitamin E and oat extract to hydrate and soothe dry skin.

But that's not all! Its weightless, refreshing feel means no more sticky or greasy sunscreen. And this sunscreen lotion is oil-free and oxybenzone-free too - so you don't need to worry about clogged pores or any potentially hazardous chemicals.

The 3.0-ounce bottle comes in a handy flip-top cap that makes application so much easier. So grab your beach bag or backpack and get ready to enjoy summer with complete confidence knowing that your skin is completely protected!

Lightweight and Non-Greasy

Avoid sunscreens that feel heavy or greasy because they can make breakouts worse while also making your face look shiny all day long! Look for lightweight formulas instead; they provide more comfortable wearability (and don’t forget to reapply!).

Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence Sunscreen SPF 50

This little bottle is the cutest thing ever! It's so lightweight, it won't weigh down your purse or beach bag - plus, it has a watery texture that absorbs quickly into skin without leaving a greasy feeling.

But what really makes this sunscreen stand out is its sun protection capabilities. With SPF 50+ and PA++++ rating, you can rest assured knowing your skin is well-protected against harmful UV rays and premature aging. And it's water-resistant too, so you don't have to worry about reapplying when taking a dip in the pool.

On the downside, some users have complained of a white cast upon application which could be problematic for those with darker skin tones. Additionally, its strong scent could be bothersome for those who are sensitive to fragrances.

Australian Gold Botanical Sunscreen SPF 50 Tinted Face Mineral Lotion

This sunscreen is a must-have for anyone who loves spending time outdoors. It's lightweight with a tinted coverage that blends easily and leaves your skin looking natural and dewy. Not to mention, it has super impressive sun protection - SPF 50 plus broad spectrum UVA and UVB rays - so you don't have to worry about sunburn or premature aging.

The antioxidant-rich ingredients like Kakadu Plum, Eucalyptus, and Red Algae also protect against environmental stressors for youthful, healthy skin. And better yet, it's water-resistant for up to 80 minutes so you can swim and sweat without having to reapply every hour!

So if you're an outdoor enthusiast who wants safe skin protection without sacrificing flawless coverage, look no further than the Australian Gold Botanical Sunscreen Tinted Face BB Cream SPF 50 - your new beach buddy!

Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Weightless Sunscreen SPF 30

Your face deserves only the best protection from the sun's harmful UV rays - and Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Weightless Sunscreen Face Lotion fits that bill! With an SPF of 30 providing broad-spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays, you can be sure that your skin is getting the coverage it needs to stay healthy.

Not only that, but this sunscreen won't leave your skin feeling greasy or heavy - thanks to its weightless texture, it will feel like a dream on your face. Plus, it absorbs quickly so you don't have to worry about it messing up your daily routine. Just be sure to patch test first if you have sensitive skin! With Hawaiian Tropic as your go-to sunscreen choice, you're sure to get reliable and effective protection while still enjoying a pleasant experience each time!

Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion WetForce SPF 50+

Are you looking for an effective and lightweight sunscreen with a non-greasy formula that won't leave a white cast on your skin? Say no more! The Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion is here to save you. This sleek, compact 100mL bottle is perfect for throwing into your beach bag or gym tote, and the snap-shut cap will keep it safe from accidental leaks - plus, it's easy to dispense as well.

With its silky texture and broad-spectrum SPF 50+ protection against UVA and UVB rays, this sunscreen has all the benefits of great skin protection without any of the downfalls. It won't leave you feeling greasy or sticky after application, making it ideal for those with oily skin or a darker skin tone. And because it doesn't cause breakouts or a white-cast look, this sunscreen can be used by people with darker skin tones too!

It's no wonder why one five-star reviewer called them the "absolute best"! So next time you're packing up your beach or gym bag, don't forget to include the Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion - your skin will thank you!

Coppertone Pure & Simple Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50

If you're looking for a sunscreen that won't weigh you down, won't irritate your sensitive skin, and will provide all-encompassing protection from the sun's harmful rays, then look no further than Coppertone Pure and Simple Zinc Oxide Mineral Sunscreen Lotion! Its lightweight, non-greasy formula is free of any fragrances, oils or dyes – making it perfect for those with sensitive skin types.

Not to mention that it's a mineral sunscreen; zinc oxide sits on top of your skin and reflects UV away, rather than being absorbed into your skin like a chemical sunscreen. With broad-spectrum coverage from UVA and UVB rays and an SPF 50 rating, you can feel reassured that your skin is secure from the sun's damaging rays.

Plus, this sunscreen is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes – so whether you're taking a dip in the ocean or breaking a sweat at the gym, you can trust that this sunscreen will withstand it all!

Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defense Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30

This sunscreen has a lightweight, non-greasy formula that's perfect for daily wear. It's also infused with antioxidants to protect the skin from environmental damage. The sleek, minimalist design screams "I have my life together," while the pump dispenser ensures easy, mess-free application. Plus, the 90 mL / 3 Fl Oz size is perfect for tossing in your beach bag or carry-on luggage.

But we know you're here for the real tea - does this sunscreen actually work? The answer is a resounding yes. The lightweight formula glides onto the skin effortlessly, leaving no white cast or sticky residue. It's perfect for wearing under makeup or as a standalone product. And the added marula oil not only moisturizes but also provides antioxidant benefits.

Not only does this sunscreen boast a 4.2-star average, but it's lightweight and nourishing which helps to hydrate and soothe the skin.

It’s always best practice to ask your dermatologist which products are best suited for your skin type before purchasing a new item; not only will this ensure you get something that works but it could save you money in the long run too!

EltaMD UV Sport Broad Spectrum SPF 50

This sunscreen is recommended by dermatologists for its lightweight formula that is perfect for daily use. It also contains niacinamide and hyaluronic acid to soothe and hydrate acne-prone skin. This sunscreen boasts UVA and UVB protection, and it's water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. That means you can cannonball into the deep end or sweat it out on the court without having to constantly reapply. Plus, with zinc oxide as its active ingredient, you know you're getting some serious sun-blocking power.

But protection isn't everything. You also want a sunscreen that won't leave you feeling greasy and gross. Well, EltaMD UV Sport delivers on that front too. Its non-greasy, oil-free formula means you won't have to worry about looking like a sweaty mess (even if you are). And the 7 oz pump bottle makes it easy to apply and carry with you wherever you go.

Of course, no product is perfect. One downside to this sunscreen is that it can leave a bit of a white cast on your skin, especially if you're on the darker side. But hey, at least you'll be protected, right? Another thing to keep in mind is that while the pump bottle is convenient, it can be hard to tell when you're running low on product. So, make sure to stock up before your next beach trip!

La Roche-Posay Body & Face Sunscreen Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 100

Feel confident and safe throughout the day with this dermatologist-recommended sunscreen! Featuring a luxuriously light milky texture that melts into your skin in seconds, this sunscreen will give you a matte finish that helps control oil production and shine. Best of all, it's 100% non-comedogenic, fragrance-free, and paraben-free!

What really sets this sunscreen apart is its powerful SPF 100 protection against UV rays and its water resistance for up to 80 minutes; no more worrying about sunburns while swimming, sweating, or having fun outdoors. It's suitable for all skin types too, so you can enjoy worry-free protection without fear of breakouts or irritation.

Plus, the packaging is super handy - the small size fits perfectly in your pocket or purse and the flip-top cap makes applying it quick and easy. The only downside may be that it's only 3 fl oz, so you might need to wrap up your summer activities soon if you're using it every day! But users have raved about this product even in the harshest sun, with one reviewer saying “most sunscreens cause me to break out during the summer months. This gentle potion did not, however!"

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Lotion Sunscreen SPF 70

This sunscreen is a game-changer! Get ready to feel like you've got the force field of a superhero protecting you - with SPF 70 and broad-spectrum coverage, you can soak up the sun while shielding yourself from UVA and UVB rays. Plus, it absorbs quickly, leaving your skin feeling silky smooth, never slimy. And if you take a dip in the pool? Don't worry - this sunscreen is water-resistant!

It's oil-free, so don't worry about breakouts or irritation either - perfect for sensitive skin types. Plus, it won't clog pores, making it ideal for those prone to pimples or blemishes. It even comes in a compact 3 fl oz size that is perfect for putting in your beach bag or purse and taking on the go.

What's not to love? Some may find the high SPF unnecessary for them, but better safe than sorry. And some may prefer a more moisturizing formula - that's just personal preference! So go ahead: enjoy your Vitamin D without any worries.

Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50

Let's start with the basics - this sunscreen packs a powerful punch with SPF 50 and broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection. So you can feel confident that you're shielding your skin from those pesky rays. And with mineral-based zinc oxide, you know you're getting a gentle formula that won't irritate even the most delicate skin.

But here's where things get interesting - the Smart Cap Technology. This nifty little feature actually changes color in the presence of harmful UV rays. So you can glance at your bottle and know if it's time to reapply. No more guessing if you're still protected or not - just let the cap do the work for you.

And speaking of reapplying, this sunscreen is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. So you can take a dip in the pool or ocean without worrying about your protection washing away. And with its unscented, fragrance-free formula, you won't have to deal with any weird smells or overpowering fragrances.

Not only does this sunscreen boast a 4.7-star average and over 1,500 five-star ratings, but it's also water- and sweat-resistant for up to 80 minutes.

Aveeno Positively Mineral Sensitive Skin Sunscreen SPF 50

This dermatologist-recommended sunscreen is perfect for those with sensitive skin. It's free from fragrances, oils, and parabens, and is also hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic. This sunscreen uses 100% zinc oxide for powerful, mineral-based protection. And it's sheer, so you won't have to deal with any white, chalky residue. Plus, it's non-greasy, so you can apply it to your face and body without feeling like a greased-up pig.

But don't let the non-greasy formula fool you - this sunscreen is water and sweat-resistant for up to 80 minutes. So you can take a dip in the pool or hit the gym without worrying about your protection washing away. And with its travel-size 3 fl oz tube, you can toss it in your bag and take it with you wherever you go.

Now, let's talk about the benefits. This sunscreen is specifically designed for sensitive skin, so you won't have to worry about any irritation or breakouts. And with SPF 50, you'll be getting powerful protection from both UVA and UVB rays.

Sunscreen for Acne Prone Skin FAQ

Should I choose a physical or chemical sunscreen for acne-prone skin?

When it comes to sunscreen, those with acne-prone skin may find themselves wondering: physical or chemical? It's not an easy decision and requires taking your skin type and personal preferences into account. Physical sunscreens contain either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, creating a physical barrier on the skin to block out UV rays. Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, utilize organic compounds that absorb UV rays and convert them into heat. For sensitive skin types, physical sunscreens are generally a safe bet. However, if you have oilier or acne-prone skin, chemical sunscreen may be the better option.

How often should I reapply sunscreen for acne-prone skin?

If you have acne-prone skin, it's essential to reapply sunscreen every two hours, especially if you are sweating or swimming. Don't forget to cover all of the exposed areas of your skin with enough sunscreen in order to ensure maximum protection from harmful UV rays.

Can I use a moisturizer with sunscreen for acne-prone skin?

Yes, using a moisturizer with sunscreen can be a great way to streamline your skincare routine. Choose a non-comedogenic moisturizer that is specifically designed for your skin type and includes SPF for maximum protection from UV rays.

Final Thoughts

Protecting your skin from the sun is essential, especially if you have acne-prone skin. Finding the right sunscreen to do this can be a daunting task, but with our list of twenty sunscreens above, you're sure to find one that works for you! These sunscreens provide broad-spectrum protection, as well as non-comedogenic ingredients which soothe and protect your skin. Make sure to reapply sunscreen every two hours - especially when sweating or swimming - for maximum protection. With the right sunscreen, you can go out in the sun without worry and keep your skin looking healthy and glowing!

Reviews in this blog post have been edited for clarity and/or length.