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If you’re prone to breakouts, slathering on a thick, goopy, greasy sunscreen is likely dead last on the list of things you want to do. We get it. But SPF is non-negotiable (safety first, people!), so finding the best sunscreen product that will A) protect you from the sun’s harmful rays and B) not make pimples pop up by the dozen needs to make its way to the top of your agenda.
The good news? “There are sunscreens designed specifically for acne sufferers. In addition to sun protection agents such as zinc oxide, these contain ingredients that reduce inflammation and soothe acne-prone skin,” explains Dr. Kenneth Howe, board-certified dermatologist at UnionDerm in New York City. He recommends looking for “light, non-occlusive, oil-free” SPFs with antioxidants like niacinamide and hydrating agents such as hyaluronic acid.
Whether you like a gel formula that works well under makeup or have been on a never-ending hunt for a sunscreen for your oily skin, you’re in the right place. Here, we’ve rounded up the best sunscreens for acne-prone skin.
The Best Sunscreens for Acne-Prone Skin
The Best Gel Sunscreen for Acne-Prone Skin
Hate sunscreen? We challenge you to take this Supergoop! formula for a spin. It’s essentially the antithesis of everything you dislike. There’s no heavy texture, no scent, and no greasy residue. Honestly, it barely feels like sunscreen at all. The colorless SPF has a more primer-like texture that glides on with ease. It’s also one of my personal favorite products for a beach day—I can layer it every two hours without any pilling (!!).
The Best Treatment Sunscreen for Acne-Prone Skin
Dermatologists across the board, including Dr. Howe, are *obsessed* with this lightweight sunscreen because it was designed with sensitive skin in mind. Have acne? Prone to hyperpigmentation? Suffer from rosacea? Elta MD is the way to go. Their unique formula includes niacinamide, an ingredient that helps with acne and reduces inflammation, as well as lactic acid, which will gently exfoliate away dead skin cells.
The Best Shine-Control Sunscreen for Acne-Prone Skin
If your skin is both acne-prone and oily, layering on a cream and SPF back-to-back might seem like a pore-clogging disaster waiting to happen. Enter, Image. The derm- and beauty editor-loved brand has a two-in-one moisturizer and sunscreen that will give your skin the protection and hydration it needs in a single application. The zinc oxide-based formula is also fortified with a special technology that soaks up extra oil and keeps shine at bay.
The Best Sunscreen for Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation
Anyone dealing with acne is probably well acquainted with the dark marks that linger well after the pimple has made its exit. While this redness, aka post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, will fade over time, U Beauty’s vitamin C-packed SPF can help speed up the process. This luxe formula will have your skin looking brighter and more even in roughly four weeks time.
The Best Pore Minimizing Sunscreen for Acne-Prone Skin
This chemical SPF has one of the most elegant formulas in the game—it glides onto the skin and sinks in without a trace. Honestly, I didn’t believe just how weightless it was until I tried it for myself. Its sleek formula isn’t the only reason this SPF should be on your radar though; it’s also wildly effective at calming down acne-induced redness thanks to the inclusion of chamomile.
The Best Tinted Sunscreen for Acne-Prone Skin
White casts are a no-go—plain and simple. But that can be a hard thing to find when you want a mineral formula. That’s where this tinted sunscreen comes into play; the beige hue eliminates any chalky residue that can be left behind by zinc. As for the ingredient list? It’s free of common acne irritants like fragrance and essential oils. This product also has a matte finish, making it the perfect product to put on before makeup.
The Best Reef-Safe Sunscreen for Acne-Prone Skin
This SPF has a lightweight mineral formula, doesn’t include oxybenzone or octinoxate (two ingredients that have been shown to damage coral reefs), and won’t leave a greasy or tacky finish on the skin. That’s all well and good, but we have to shout out that this SPF goes the extra mile for acne-prone people. It’s infused with red algae, which is helpful for absorbing excess oil. Scoop this up, your t-zone will thank you.
The Best Redness-Reducing Sunscreen for Acne-Prone Skin
Acne isn’t mutually exclusive with other skin conditions. If you’re dealing with redness or dryness too, allow us to direct your attention to this French beauty brand. Their SPF is fortified with licorice and green tea extract to calm down redness and has a super rich and nourishing texture (it almost feels like a cream upon application). Don’t let the latter scare you though—this chemical sunscreen won’t clog your pores.
The Best Sunscreen for Adult Acne
There’s truly nothing better than a multi-tasking product, so it shouldn’t shock you that we’re in a bit of a love affair with this silky, smooth SPF. It’s oil-free, plumps fine lines and wrinkles, and protects against blue lights. How, you ask? Its star ingredients, lingonberry and sea buckthorn, are packed with antioxidants (vitamin C! Vitamin E!), reduce the look of dark spots, and even out skin tone.
The Best Luxe Sunscreen for Acne-Prone Skin
Perhaps the most annoying thing about sunscreen is pilling under makeup. The wrong formula can create little clumps the second you apply foundation. Such is not the case with this high-end formula—so long as you let the formula completely dry down before makeup application. The elegant SPF melts onto the skin and leaves behind a semi-matte finish.
The Best Brightening Sunscreen for Acne-Prone Skin
If a multi-step skincare routine isn’t in the cards, it’s about time this mineral SPF, which is packed with hyaluronic acid, lactic acid, and niacinamide, landed on your radar. This one product is not only going to protect your skin from UVA and UVB rays, it’s also going to help brighten your complexion, even out skin tone, and help treat acne. What more could you ask for?
The Best Firming Sunscreen for Acne-Prone Skin
Dealing with acne as an adult is totally normal; more than 50 percent of women over 25 have breakouts. While there may be other factors at play (read: hormones, genetics, etc.), derms suggest steering clear of common irritants. This SPF doesn’t use any synthetic colorants or fragrances, avoids parabens, and is non-comedogenic. As for what ingredients made the cut? You’ll find brightening vitamin C and niacinamide on the list.
The Best Face and Body Sunscreen for Acne-Prone Skin
This face and body sunscreen is loved for its texture. The SPF is unbelievably lightweight and leaves a silky-meets-matte finish on the skin—it’s not greasy in the slightest. One consumer dubbed this her favorite because it “doesn’t weigh down my face and goes great over serums.” That said, this formula probably is not the best bet for darker skin tones. It takes a while for the white-colored formula to seep into the skin.
The Best Blurring Sunscreen for Acne-Prone Skin
Think of this SPF like a blurring primer and SPF in one. A thin layer of the gel is going to give your skin an airbrushed look, while also offering SPF 40 protection. The texture is hands-down the main selling point, but it’s also worth noting that there’s absolutely no white cast with this clear formula.
The Best Moisturizer With SPF for Acne-Prone Skin
Streamline your skincare routine with this sunscreen-moisturizer duo from Differin. The product was designed with acne-prone skin in mind, so rest assured it’s not going to irritate your skin or cause breakouts. In fact, it does just the opposite. It’s going to absorb extra oil, combat the drying effects of acne treatments, and give a matte finish. One note: You still need to use three fingers-worth of product to get the full SPF 30 protection.
Samantha Holender is the Beauty Editor at Marie Claire, where she reports on the best new launches, dives into the science behind skincare, and keeps up with the latest trends in the beauty space. She has previously written for Us Weekly, Popsugar, Makeup.com, Skincare.com, and Philadelphia Wedding. Follow her on Instagram @samholender.
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