Serums, toners, peels, sprays…the business of skincare is as vast as ever. And while many delight in creating a science out of their routine, others can benefit from just a few important products. Chief among them? Sunscreen. Whether your skincare arsenal is overflowing or barely there, sunscreen is a non-negotiable: a product that not only makes your skin look better, but also protects from skin cancer—the most common form of cancer in the U.S.—and other types of lasting sun damage.
Like with all products, however, it’s important to consider your skin type before investing in skincare. For us oily-skinned folks, sunscreen can be a particularly tricky product to shop for, as its protective benefits can also create an undesirable greasiness. We know that the last thing you want is greasy, chalky, heavy sunscreens on your skin. Fortunately, the world of oil-free, mattifying sunscreens has evolved, offering feather-light formulas that feel like nothing on your skin.
"Oily skin is an extremely common problem with women," explains dermatologist Rachel Nazarian, M.D., at Schweiger Dermatology Group. "We can experience super oily times of the month, on our face and even in our scalp—making our hair look dirtier than normal." She adds: "I see many patients that don't realize the products they're putting on their skin can be making their oiliness worse. Avoiding heavier products allows your skin to continue getting feedback from its surroundings and in many ways 'breathe' more effectively, avoiding unnecessary excess oil production."
The sunscreens below, which were hand-picked by oily, acne-prone skin survivors, will give you all the protective benefits without disturbing your makeup, drying out your face, or leaving a greasy sheen as the day goes on. And since we know you’re probably wondering: Many of the products below are also non-comedogenic, meaning they won’t clog your pores or cause new breakouts.
This Fast-Absorbing Formula
La Roche Posay Anthelios Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid SPF 60
This is an award-winning formula for a reason. The super-sheer, weightless formula dries down in literally seconds with a hefty amount of SPF 60. It's a very fluid formula, so you may need to double-up throughout the day for it to thoroughly hydrate and protect your skin. Pro tip: Shake up the bottle and apply it 15 minutes before you come in contact with the sun.
This Lightweight Serum
Supergoop City Serum SPF 30
Swap your heavy-duty moisturizer for a light and airy SPF. Supergoop!, one of the beauty industry's leading sun brands, now offers UV protection in the form of a serum. It's infused with key ingredients like lactic acid and vitamin E to protect against environmental stressors and keep your complexion nice and supple all throughout the day.
Cetaphil Dermacontrol Facial Moisturizer SPF 30
If you have acne-prone and sensitive skin, this dermatologist-approved SPF is for you. It's hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic, which means it won't add insult to injury and clog your poor pores anymore. The matte finish is actually made with a special Micropearl technology, which works to absorb excess oil and stop shine.
This Water-Resistant Winner
EltaMD UV Pure Broad-Spectrum SPF 47
If your skin can't stand chemical sunscreens, switch over to zinc-filled formulas instead, which are known for their more sheer and translucent undertone that doesn't leave behind a grayish reflection. This one is made with just enough zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, vitamin C, alpha hydroxy acids, to slip right into your skin without clogging your pores because its non-comedogenic. While it shields your skin from the skin, it can also resist water for up to 80 minutes—magic.
Bliss Block Star Invisible Daily Sunscreen
If you’re looking for an all-in-one sunscreen, this is for you. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide join forces to create a broad spectrum formula that works hard to reflect UVA and UVB rays from the face, while the mineral formulation lends itself to easy blending that can be layered with makeup. Canina fruit oil prevents oil build up, while Blueberry acai and green tea extracts protect the skin against damaging free radicals.
The Dermatologist Go-To
Differin Oil Absorbing Moisturizer SPF 30
The brand that brought us some of the best over-the-counter acne treatments and moisturizers is also behind this dermatologist-approved sunscreen, which was developed specifically for acne-prone skin, absorbing surface face oil without sacrificing protection.
The Easy-To-Apply Powder
Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Brush-On Shield SPF 50
A self-dispensing brush tip makes this mineral powder sunscreen a breeze to apply, but the ease of use doesn’t come at the expense of coverage. Colorscience’s award-winning sunscreen brush gets its first update, with a product that combines titanium dioxide and zinc oxide at SPF 50, defending against UVA, UVB, blue light, and pollution. The powder can be used on its own or over makeup, and absorbs oil for a more matte finish.
SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50
Thanks to the sheer, tinted formula, this SPF 50 sunscreen adapts to a range of skin tones without leaving a white cast behind. In addition to broad-spectrum protection and water-resistance, SkinCeuticals’ sunscreen is enhanced by plankton extract Artemia Salina that boosts the skin’s natural defenses to UV rays.
The Antioxidant Rich Formula
Origins A Perfect World SPF 40 Age-Defense Oil Free Moisturizer with White Tea
Plants and herbs are key to many of Origins’ cult-favorite products, and this SPF relies on anti-aging and antioxidant rich white tea to create a multi-functional formula. Because the overproduction of oil can be linked to under-moisturized skin, this lightweight-yet-moisturizing product will keep your oiliness at bay.
The Drug Store Favorite
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Lotion Sunscreen SPF 50
This oil-free, non-comedogenic formula is equally effective at reducing grease as it is at quenching the skin. While sun exposure can be drying, Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost SPF has a water-light feel that won’t weigh down your skin, clog your pours, or interfere with makeup.
The Natural Glow Choice
Daily UV Defense Sunscreen SPF 36
The mini perk of having oily skin is the natural glow that is always on our skin if in the right lighting. Innisfree wants to embrace that with this water-based sunscreen that nourishes and leaves skin looking radiant and glowy, not greasy.
This Ultra Hydrator
CeraVe Tinted Sunscreen SPF 30
It couldn't be easier to work this universally sheer tint into your skin, which indeed complements all complexions without an ashy cast (trust me!). Besides solely being a sun protectant, this product from CeraVe is made with ceramides, which work to strengthen the skin's barrier overtime. Other vitamins, like niacinamide and hyaluronic acid, can be found in this formula to equip the skin with extra hydration throughout the day if you're prone to dryness.
This Mattifying Formula
Murad Oil and Pore Control Mattifier SPF 45
Powerhouse ingredients avocado and African yellow wood bark extract work together to keep shine at bay and instantly minimize the appearance of pores. Whether you prefer to wear this sunscreen on a fresh face or under your makeup, you'll notice that, with continued use, your skin will take on a beautifully blurred, filtered-like finish.
Dermalogica Oil Free Matte Broad Spectrum SPF 30
The issue with a lot of matte sunscreens is the powdery residue they come with, which nobody ever asked for. Thankfully, this sheer matte SPF 30 soaks up every ounce of oil like a sponge without that annoying side effect and soothes inflammation if you're dealing with a breakout. The sophisticated combo of zinc gluconate, caffeine, niacinamide, and biotin works extra hard to shield your skin from UV rays and treat acne-prone skin.
The Stick Formula
Shiseido Clear Sunscreen Stick SPF 50+
The balm form of this sunscreen is such a genius and convenient way of applying SPF that you’ll want to put it all over your body. I got a little heavy-handed and just applied this balm layer after layer, and it still didn’t grease up my face. Perfect for the on-the-go-life or for re-application through the day.
Epionce Ultra Shield Lotion SPF 50
SPF is all about protection, and Epionce takes it one step further with their formula that contains ingredients found in both mineral and chemical sunscreens. Ideal for sensitive skin, the fragrance-free formula won’t irritate; even better, it’s protection that won’t leave a white cast.
Magic In A Bottle
skinbetter science sunbetter Advanced Mineral Protection SPF 75
At first glance, this beige sunscreen looks like it will make anyone ashy, but let me tell you straight up that it doesn’t, it’s just magic in a bottle. It melts into your skin to match your texture and complexion—with a little effort to get rid of blue undertones—at SPF 75 you’ll be ready for any sunny day.
The Matte Match
Algenist Sublime Defense Ultra Lightweight UV Defense Fluid
Layered products on top of oily skin can be a nightmare, but this mattifying SPF makes the perfect base for makeup or consistent sunscreen reapplication.
This Travel Size Go-To
Sun Bum Original Sunscreen Face Stick SPF 30
Simply swipe on your SPF with Sun Bum's face stick. The easy to apply formula and compact packaging makes it convenient to slip into your bag and take along for effortless on-the-go reapplication.
This Water & Sweat Resistant SPF
Paula's Choice Non-Greasy Face and Body Sunscreen SPF 50
If you live an active lifestyle or are looking for a swim day go-to block, try this face and body option. The non-greasy formula glides on with ease, leaves behind a matte finish, and is both sweat- and water-resistant.
This Non-Greasy Formula
Kiehl's Since 1851 Super Fluid Daily UV Defense Sunscreen SPF 50+
This sunscreen fights off early signs of aging and acts as a barrier against damaging free radicals with antioxidants like vitamin E. You'll be pleasantly surprised at how quickly this formula absorbs into the skin without leaving behind a greasy payoff.
This Melanin Hero
Black Girl Sunscreen Make It Matte Sunscreen SPF 45
This gem of a sunscreen was created by a Black woman to cater to the needs of darker skin tones. Make It Matte is fragrance-free and infused with natural ingredients like aloe, shea butter, squalene, and coconut oil. What makes this product even more of a stand-out is that it dries completely invisible—no ghost-like finish here!
This Skin Shielder
Shiseido Urban Environment Oil-Free UV Protector SPF 42
There are so many environmental factors out of our control that contribute to excess oil production in the skin. This sunscreen does the groundwork for you, employing active ingredients to protect our skin from UV rays, oxidation, and over-production of sebum. It's a silky lotion that gives your skin a youthful glow and shrinks the size of your pores thanks to botanical extracts.
This Anti-Aging Formula
REN Clean Skincare Clean Screen Mattifying Face Sunscreen SPF 30
Inadequate sun protection can result in premature aging. Maintain a forever-young glow with this non-nano zinc oxide sunscreen, which targets wrinkles, fine lines, and sagging skin from sun spots. There's also a good amount of starch in this sunscreen to stop shine in its tracks. A win-win!
Great Base For Makeup
ISDIN Eryfotona Actinica Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50+ Zinc Oxide
This lightweight sunscreen with SPF absorbs quickly into your skin and doesn’t leave a white, greasy finish, so you can apply makeup overtop seamlessly. In addition to protecting your skin against broad-spectrum UVA/UVB rays, it contains photolyase enzymes that repair damage caused by the sun.
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare All-Physical Dark Spot Sun Defense Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50
For oily and sensitive skin, this sunscreen is a great choice. It’s both oil-free and fragrance-free, and it has skincare ingredients, so your skin is being taken care of in more ways than one. Within the formula is black rice extract, which supports collagen production, and a complex of melatonin and vitamins C and E that targets hyperpigmentation, dark spots, fine lines, and wrinkles.
Water Resistant for 80 minutes
COOLA Sheer Matte SPF30 Mineral Face Lotion
Before you head out the door, apply this mattifying mineral face sunscreen with SPF 30. The sheer, antioxidant-rich formula absorbs quickly when you rub it in, and it won’t leave a greasy finish.
The Sheer Tinted Formula
Jan Marini Physical Protectant Broad Spectrum SPF 45
This lightweight formula has a universal sheer tint, and once you massage it into your skin, it has a clear matte finish. It also has glycerin to keep your skin feeling hydrated and fresh while it's being protected from environmental damage.
The Pore Minimizing Pick
Tatcha Silken Pore Perfecting Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 35 PA+++
If you’re seeking a smooth, pore-less look, give this sunscreen a try. The lightweight mineral sunscreen makes for a lovely primer with its silky matte finish.
The Hydrating & Tinted Pick
ALASTIN Skincare HydraTint Pro Mineral Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 36
With this non-comedogenic tinted mineral sunscreen, you don’t have to worry about white residue, and the tint will make it easy to blend and even out your natural skin tone. It also offers long-lasting hydration and antioxidant protection.
Maya Allen is the former Digital Beauty Editor at MarieClaire.com where she covered makeup, skincare, haircare, wellness, you name it! She has a 15-step skincare routine, owns over 200 red lipsticks, and enjoys testing the latest and greatest in beauty. On most weekends, you can find her at her happy place, which is her makeup vanity. There, she’s usually blasting her speakers while singing along to lyrics at the top of her lungs, and making sure her highlighter is on point. Before joining MarieClaire.com, she held positions at Byrdie.com and Cosmopolitan.com.
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