Every skin expert will tell you that wearing sunscreen daily is absolutely essential for optimal skin health. Sunscreen helps prevent sun spots, signs of aging, sunburn and skin cancer. However, if you have acne-prone skin slathering on thick, creamy sunscreen daily may seem like a big ask. Not all sunscreens are created equal—experts say some are better for acne-prone skin than others. We’ve rounded up the best face sunscreens for those with acne-prone skin, according to dermatologists.
“In general, I recommend mineral sunscreens that not only protect from the sun but also have a low irritation profile, thereby reducing skin redness and [preventing] acne worsening,” says Washington, D.C. dermatologist Tina Alster, MD. “This oil-free broad-spectrum SPF provides a hint of color to mask acne discoloration and has a wonderful consistency.”
West Palm Beach, FL dermatologist Kenneth Beer, MD, says he especially likes this tinted sunscreen from ALASTIN Skincare. He says it’s non-irritating, won’t cause acne and provides “exceptional protection.”
“Acne-prone skin tends to be oily, so daily SPF should be very light, non-greasy and not clog pores,” says Glenn Dale, MD dermatologist Valerie Callender, MD. One of her recommendations is this lightweight formula from Neutrogena.
This is Saddle Brook, NJ dermatologist Dr. Fredric Haberman’s favorite sunscreen for acne-prone skin. “It absorbs quickly with a weightless gel-cream formula that’s hydrating–but not greasy.,” says Dr. Haberman. “It has a sheer green tint that disappears into the skin to balance signs of redness instantly. It has a barely-there, breathable finish that doubles as a light primer.”
This recommendation from both Dr. Callender and Dr. Beer is specifically formulated for acne-prone skin. It provides SPF 60 protection while absorbing pore-clogging oil, even in the heat.
Dr. Alster says this sunscreen blends into the skin nicely without leaving any white film behind. “It contains hydrating ingredients (hyaluronic acid and squalene) as well as niacinamide (strengthens the skin barrier) and kojic acid (reduces skin discoloration),” she adds. It also has a tint, which helps mask acne discoloration.
A favorite among dermatologists, EltaMD Sunscreen is great for all skin types. Dr. Haberman says it’s an “excellent sunscreen for acne-prone skin.” The mineral sunscreen sits on top of the skin and doesn’t clog the pores, says Dr. Haberman.
Dr. Callender recommends this PCA Skin product which is great for all skin types. It’s universally tinted, reef safe and provides an antioxidant boost that fights free-radical damage.