No matter what kind of skin you have, putting on sunscreen should be as much of a part of your routine as putting on pants (or like, a dress if that’s more your jam). As in, you shouldn’t ever leave the house for the day before you do it… or else you risk some pretty serious (albeit very different) consequences. And yes—this rule applies no matter what type of skin you have.
I know, I know: If you’ve got oily or acne-prone skin, the concept of rubbing a greasy layer of product on top of it every morning is incredibly unappealing and can feel like you’re causing one problem while preventing another—i.e. causing acne while trying to keep UV damage at bay. But like it or not, you need it. The good news? The right products will stave off sunburns without leaving pimples in their place.
“Everyone, regardless of skin type, needs to wear sunscreen every single day,” says Supergoop founder Holly Thaggard, noting that it’s arguably more important for someone with acne-prone skin to slather on SPF, because many ingredients found in topical acne products make your skin more sun sensitive. And if you’ve got old acne scars, studies have shown that UVB is enemy number one, so your best bet is to cover them up with something strong and protective. Plus, utilizing sunscreen is one of the key tools to fighting development of skin cancer (short of staying out of the rays all together) which is pretty much the definition of #skingoals.
But with the whole “sunscreen is important” thing at top of mind, we’ll admit that certain products are better for acne-prone skin than others. “Certain ingredients in skin-care products may clog pores and contribute to acne, I always advise our patients to check their skin-care products and use products labeled ‘noncomedogenic,’” a.k.a. “non pore clogging,” says Dr. Lortscher.
Cosmetic chemist Ginger King points to the inactive base ingredients of sunscreens—so, not the actual active sun-blocking ingredients—as the usual culprits for pore clogging. “Most likely the inactive ingredients used as film formers cause acne,” she explains. “There are people who may have reactions to sunscreens due to the chemical sunscreen. To be an effective sunscreen, a lot of products can be made with heavy film formers. If you have acne and don’t keep your face clean, the occlusive materials can make it worse. The safe bet is using zinc oxide or tintanium dioxde-based products, and avoiding ingredients with wax, myristyl myristate, mineral oil, petrolatum, [and] lanolin as all these are heavy and can cause comedogens.”