The 5 Best Sunscreens for Acne-Prone Skin

If you have acne-prone skin, you know the struggle of finding the right sunscreen for daily use. You know how important it is to wear sunscreen every day, and you want to protect your skin, but the thought of layering another skincare product on top of your already weighed-down skin feels like a nightmare.

Well, we’re here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be.

With the right sunscreen, you can block out UV rays without clogging your pores in the process. It’s all about finding a formulation meant for your skin type. Today, we’ll explain how to choose the best sunscreen for acne-prone skin that will fit into your skincare routine without causing breakouts.

What Causes Acne-Prone Skin?

While your friends with dry skin can lather on tinted moisturizers and heavy sunscreens with no problems, your oily skin is a different story.

There are three common skin types:

  1. Oily skin
  2. Dry skin
  3. Combination skin

While people with dry skin struggle with keeping their face hydrated throughout the day, people with oily skin (or combination skin, which is oily in some places and dry in others) face a different struggle: too much moisture.

Oily skin is caused by overactive sebaceous glands — the glands in your skin responsible for producing a lubricating and moisture-locking substance known as sebum. While your skin needs sebum to function, too much of it can clog up your pores, leaving your skin feeling greasy.

For this reason, oily skin and acne-prone skin go hand-in-hand.

Because acne is caused by oil, dirt, and other debris clogging your pores, it makes sense that skin that produces too much oil would be more prone to breakouts and blemishes. Though every skin type can develop acne, and oily skin does not always mean acne-prone skin, your skin is more likely to be classified as acne-prone if it’s naturally oily.

Does Sunscreen Clog Pores?

Anything that becomes trapped in your skin’s pores can cause acne — including sunscreen.

Many sunscreens are made with occlusive ingredients like coconut oil, mineral oil, and silicones that create a moisture barrier on top of the skin. While these are great for hydrating your skin and supporting your skin barrier, they can also sink into your pores, trapping sweat and oil within.

Some chemical sunscreens also contain a type of oil that converts UV light into heat, which prompts your body to sweat more. Both this oil and the extra sweat can get trapped in your pores as well, which can cause breakouts.

But just because sunscreen can clog pores doesn’t mean it has to. Are Mineral or Chemical Sunscreens Better for Acne-Prone Skin?

The first step in choosing the right sunscreen for your acne-prone skin is deciding between a mineral sunscreen or a chemical one. However, unlike some skincare products, there isn’t a clear-cut answer between mineral and chemical sunscreens.

Chemical sunscreens can be made with harsher chemicals like para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) and parabens that can irritate oily skin and prompt breakouts. Mineral sunscreens generally don’t contain those same chemicals.

That said, mineral sunscreens are made with more occlusive ingredients than chemical sunscreens, meaning they can more easily clog your pores. Most chemical sunscreens won’t do this.

So, which should you pick?

It’s all about finding what works for you, which may take some trial and error. Some people might prefer mineral sunscreens, despite the occlusive ingredients, because they are less likely to aggravate skin with chemical ingredients. However, others might prefer chemical sunscreens due to the heavier nature of some mineral formulas.

What Are the Best Sunscreens for Acne-Prone Skin?

If you have acne-prone skin, avoiding breakouts while protecting your skin from the sun is all about using the right sunscreen. But we also know that, especially when it comes to oily skin, there is no one-size-fits-all option that will work for everybody.

That’s why we’ve put together a list of five different sunscreens that are all great for acne-prone skin — so you can find the one that works for you.

1. M-61 Hydraboost Oil-Free Sunscreen SPF 40

If you’re looking for an oil-free sunscreen that is designed to combat signs of aging and protect your skin from UVA and UVB rays at the same time, then M-61 Hydraboost Oil-Free Sunscreen SPF 40 is for you.

Unlike thick lotions that leave behind a white cast on nearly every skin tone, this face sunscreen has a lightweight formula that won’t weigh your skin down. Plus, with an SPF of 40, it’s perfect for daily use.

M-61 Hydraboost Oil-Free Sunscreen SPF is made with the best ingredients for oily skin:

  • Peptides: These power-packed protein particles improve your skin’s natural elasticity and strengthen the skin barrier, allowing it to reduce the appearance of fine lines in your skin.
  • Vitamin B5: This antioxidant gently refreshes the skin, working to hydrate from within so you can nourish your skin without contributing to oil.
  • Tamarind: This plant native to the tropical regions of Africa and naturalized Asia is rich with nutrients and antioxidants, allowing it to soothe your skin.

2. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Clear Skin Dry Touch Sunscreen SPF 60

If you’re looking for a powerful sun protectant that is specifically designed for acne-prone skin, then La Roche-Posay Anthelios Clear Skin Dry Touch Sunscreen SPF 60 is for you.

This sunscreen is made with your skin in mind: it has an entirely oil-free formula and is formulated to absorb pore-clogging oil — even on the most hot and humid days. And it does it all while delivering the most advanced sun protection to your skin.

La-Roche Posay Anthelios Clear Skin Dry Touch Sunscreen SPF 60 is made with these powerhouse ingredients:

  • Cell-Ox Shield Technology: This innovative technique blends broad-spectrum UVA and UVB filters with powerful antioxidants and plant-based antioxidants to shield skin cells from harmful free radicals that seek to wither your skin.
  • Perlite and Silica: These natural compounds sourced directly from the earth help absorb excess oil from your skin and mimic shine, leaving you with a matte finish.
  • La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water: This powerful water formula is filled with minerals that are scientifically proven to soothe and smooth skin.

3. Elta MD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum Facial Sunscreen SPF 46

If you have sensitive skin as well as acne-prone skin and are looking for a broad-spectrum SPF that won’t cause irritation, then Elta MD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum Facial Sunscreen SPF 46 is for you.

This lightweight sunscreen is great for skin that’s prone to hyperpigmentation or discoloration. Made to be gentle from the moment you put it on, this lightweight and silky sunscreen does more than prevent sunburns — it supports healthy-looking skin.

Elta MD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum Facial Sunscreen SPF 46 is made with these ingredients to support oily skin:

  • Zinc Oxide: This natural mineral compound works to reflect and scatter harmful UV rays before they can penetrate your skin and cause damage.
  • Niacinamide: This form of vitamin B3 is an anti-inflammatory antioxidant that reduces redness and supports a radiant skin glow.
  • Hyaluronic Acid: Also known as sodium hyaluronate, this humectant attracts and retains natural moisture, nourishing your skin without weighing it down with excess oils.
  • Vitamin E: This antioxidant works to fight off free radicals that would otherwise age your skin.

4. Supergoop! (Re)setting 100% Mineral Powder SPF 35

If you’re looking for a powder mineral sunscreen that can also set your makeup, then Supergoop! (Re)setting 100% Mineral Powder SPF 35 is for you.

Powder sunscreens are often gentle on skin, making them a great option for acne-prone skin. They also double as a mattifying agent, meaning you can use them to top off your makeup routine. If you struggle to remember to wear sunscreen every day, this mineral sunscreen formulation is a great way to stay on top of it.

Supergoop! (Re)setting 100% Mineral Powder SPF 35 is made with these ingredients to support oily skin:

  • Zinc Oxide: This 100% mineral zinc oxide formula delivers broad-spectrum UV protection in the face of even the most intense sun exposure.
  • Ceramides and Olive Glycerides: These natural lipids work to seal moisture into the skin by strengthening your skin’s natural barrier.
  • Coated Silica: This chemical compound derived from sand particles helps to diffuse the sun’s light and gently exfoliate the skin, diminishing the appearance of pores and smoothing out your skin look.

5. Solara Guardian Super Peptide Sunscreen Milk Angel

If you want to hydrate your oily skin as you protect it from the sun, then Solara Guardian Super Peptide Sunscreen Milk Angel is for you.

This sunscreen works to plump and energize your skin while preventing sun damage. Its oil-free formula is specifically designed to hydrate your acne-prone skin without filling your pores with extra oil that it doesn’t need.

Solara Guardian Super Peptide Sunscreen Milk Angel is made with these quality ingredients that support oily skin:

  • Pentapeptides: This amino acid blend works to reduce the appearance of fine lines by plumping your skin, stimulating elastin production, and boosting the amount of collagen in your skin.
  • CoQ10 and Niacinamide: This ultimate defense duo works to lock in natural moisture and keep out excess oil, making it the perfect support for your skin barrier.
  • Superfruits: Made with Tiphala and an Ayurvedic Exotic Triple Plum blend, this formula has natural antioxidant properties, working to rid your skin of lingering free radicals that would otherwise cause stress in your skin.

The Bottom Line

Just because you have acne-prone skin doesn’t mean you have to suffer through sun damage in order to prevent acne flare-ups.

To save your skin from unnecessary acne, it’s important to use the best sunscreen for acne-prone skin. Whether you prefer a tinted moisturizer with SPF or a lightweight cream, non-comedogenic products are essential for preventing breakouts and blocking out UV rays.

With the right sunscreen, powerful (and non-greasy) sun protection is only a step away.