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15 Best Sunscreens Safe For Acne-Prone Skin To Use

No greasy formulas in sight.

acne prone sunscreen
Christine Giordano

With warmer weather on the way, you're bound to start sweating more, which is not the best news for your sun protection, especially if your skin is naturally on the oilier side. If you’re in the midst of a bad breakout, there are the beauty products you want to put on your skin (i.e. concealer and spot treatment) and the ones you don’t. For most people, sunscreen falls in the latter category. After all, who wants to put something that’s stereotypically greasy on top of an already oily complexion?

On top of that, if you're using a prescription retinoid to treat acne, you have to be even more diligent about using SPF on your delicate skin. "Retinoids actually make the skin more sun sensitive, even though we use it at night. Sun protection is always key to avoid irritation and burns," says Sheila Farhang, MD, board certified dermatologist and founder of Avant Dermatology & Aesthetics.

What should you look for in an acne-proof sunscreen?

Thankfully, there are plenty of sunscreens that are suitable for acne and sensitive skin, and that won’t leave you more oily than you were before. First, make sure the sunscreen you're using on your face is actually formulated for the face, and not a body sunscreen, Dr. Farhang advises. She also suggests going with a mineral formulation. "Chemical sunscreens don’t necessarily cause acne, but they do tend to be more irritating, especially for those on acne-treating products such as retinoids, benzoyl peroxide, and salicylic acid," says Dr. Farhang.

When it comes to ingredients, look for bottles that are both oil-free and non-comedogenic, according to dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD. “Oil-free products tend to feel lighter on the skin, while non-comedogenic ones won’t clog pores and trigger breakouts,” he explains.

You'll want to search for a lighter, non-greasy formula: Dr. Farhang recommends sheer or almost liquid sunscreens for acne-prone patients. "Also, mineral powder based sunscreens are great for reapplication and soaking up that extra oil that has developed throughout the day," adds Dr. Farhang. And if you want to cover up any pre-existing breakouts, try a tinted sunscreen.

How do you prep acne-prone skin before putting on SPF?

If you're breaking out often, make sure you stick to a regular skincare routine before you slather on sunscreen.
Start your regimen with a gentle cleanser, followed by whatever acne medication you typically use, says Dr. Farhang. Then rub on the sunscreen, and top that with a moisturizer, so your skin doesn't get dry, especially out in the sun.

Now that you're prepped and ready to shop for and apply your sun protection, here are the 13 best sunscreens for acne-prone skin you should reach for.

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Best Tint
Hydrating Sunscreen Face Sheer Tint SPF 30

CeraVe is one of the top recommended brands for sensitive skin that dermatologists recommend because it's known to be non-irritating for many skin types. This sunscreen is no different. The best part though is that the mineral formula blends in so seamlessly it's hard to tell you even have it on.

Best Powder
Mineral Sunscreen Powder SPF 30
Brush On Block

Powder sunscreens are ideal for sensitive skin because they cancel out redness and mattify oily skin—on top of being great mineral SPF. They sit on top of your skin and don't have as much added ingredients since they're a dry formula—ideal for applying over makeup.

Best Spray Formula
Fragrance Free Clear Spray Sensitive SPF 50
Alba Botanica
Now 32% off

If you’re dealing with an unfortunate back breakout, the last thing you want is a sunburn to add to your issues. Opt for a clear spray that’s formulated for sensitive skin like Alba Botanica’s.

Best Body Protector
Mineral Tinted Creme SPF 30

Acne on your chest, arms, or legs can be especially uncomfortable, so apply a mineral-based formula that infuses skin with a wash of color.

Best Dermatologist Pick
Anthelios Clear Skin Dry Touch Sunscreen SPF 60
La Roche-Posay

It comes as no surprise that a dermatologist would pick a facial SPF with a super high SPF, but the reason Dr. Zeichner likes this particular sunscreen for acne? “It contains volcanic ash to help absorb excess oil and prevent you from looking shiny,” he explains.

Best Drugstore Steal
Pure & Simple Sunscreen Lotion for Face

You don't need to spend a lot to keep breakouts at bay. Case in point: This tube is less than $5!

Best Pore Minimizer
Silken Pore Perfecting Sunscreen

No chalky finish here: It melts into skin while delivering a range of complexion-boosting benefits due to its combination of skin softening silk extract, pore-tightening Japanese rose extract, and calming loquat leaf extract.

Best Clear Facial SPF
UV Clear Facial Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 46

EltaMD has been a fave among dermatologists (including Dr. Farhang) for years, thanks to its non-comedogenic and fragrance-free formula designed for sensitive skin. That’s why it’s no surprise the brand also has this great product for those who are acne-prone. It has lactic acid to unclog pores and nix shine, plus hydrating sodium hyaluronate.

9 Intellishade Matte
Revision Skincare

For a sunscreen that's both calming and cooling (it's the green tea extract), plus moisturizing, thanks to Vitamin C and hyaluronic acid, try a Revision Skincare oil-free formula. If you want to cover up blemishes or acne scars, Dr. Farhang also recommends Revision's tinted sunscreens for a matte look.

Best Clean Formula
On-The-Defense Sunscreen SPF 30
EleVen by Venus Williams

"I’ve been very impressed with Eleven by Venus–it is great for all skin types and tones, is mineral-based, and sheer zinc-based," Dr. Farhang says. Not to mention it's reef-safe as well.

Best All-Over Lotion
Clear Face Break-Out Free Liquid Lotion Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 55

No matter if your chin or your chest is a hotbed for acne forming, this lightweight liquid has you covered. Designed to be used on your face or your body, it protects against UVA and UVB rays while leaving behind a matte finish.

Best SPF Facial Moisturizer
Oil Absorbing Moisturizer

Everyone’s favorite over-the-counter acne-fighting retinol, Differin, also makes a grease-wicking moisturizer. Its combination of micropearl and oleosome technologies absorbs oil, minimizes irritation, and hydrates skin.

Best Primer Hybrid
Unseen Broad Spectrum SPF 40

Avoid a mid-day makeup meltdown by prepping your face with this priming sunscreen. Not only will it shield skin from the sun, but it also has red algae to minimize blue light exposure from your phone or laptop.

Best Matte Finish
Physical Matte UV Defense SPF 50

Its whipped consistency goes on like a mousse and dries down like a powder. Beyond working as a mattifier (it has aerated silica technology that keeps skin shine-free no matter how hot or humid the weather is), it also smooths and reduces the appearance of pores.

Best Tinted Formula
Sun Shield Liquid Tint SPF 50
Now 45% off

Beyond feeling more like a tinted moisturizer than a SPF, its sheer color easily disguises any redness or dark spots.

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