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For today’s post, I rounded up the BEST sunscreens for oily skin, and acne prone skin too!
But first, I have a skin confession to make- I used to NEVER wear sunscreen on my face. Like, never. Not even when I vacationed in Thailand in the scorching hot summertime. Not even when I lived in Miami and went to the beach every week. And not even when I went to Jamaica and realized I had a bunch of sun spots on my cheeks by the end of the trip.
It’s not like I wanted my skin to be destroyed by the sun and aged an extra 10 years (though I admit, I love having a nice golden tan). It’s just that I hated how sunscreen would make my face more oily, and made me break out more. My makeup would just dissolve on top of the sunscreen, which I needed to cover my zits up. So I just avoided it, until very recently.
I realized that I was really doing myself a disservice by not using sunscreen on my face. I did so many other things to take care of my skin already! In fact, a lot of products I use like retinol and glycolic acid make the skin more sensitive skin to the sun, so I was REALLY damaging my skin more by not using sunscreen.
Once I realized all this, I started researching sunscreens and trying out different ones with my makeup to see what held up. Here’s what I look for when I buy sunscreen…
What to Look for in a Sunscreen for Oily Skin or Acne Prone Skin
Physical sunscreens AKA mineral sunscreens
Physical sunscreens = titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.
Chemical sunscreens = avobenzone, homosalate, octinoxate, oxybenzone, etc
I always choose mineral sunscreens over chemical sunscreens because they’re simply better for your skin. Why?
-They are more gentle and less irritating on the skin, especially good for sensitive skin types. I love this part because my skin is less oily and I don’t get extra breakouts when I use mineral sunscreens.
-They offer both UVA and UVB protection (broad-spectrum protection is key!), whereas many chemical ones do not offer complete protection unless you combine several of them!
-They are more stable and don’t break down as quickly in the sun. Meaning your mineral sunscreen will last longer, and fewer reapplications!
-Zinc oxide is the white stuff that you see lifeguards putting on their nose. But, if you buy a tinted sunscreen, you won’t get that white cast. Really, you won’t look like a ghost even if you are tan. Don’t let zinc oxide deter you from buying a mineral sunscreen!
-Mineral sunscreen usually costs a bit more than chemical sunscreen, but it’s so worth it.
Other things to look for
-Matte finish, primer, BB Cream. Some sunscreens will be marketed as a multi-use product that you can layer under your makeup, doubling as a primer to smooth out and mattify your skin. Usually, the packaging will indicate it. A hint is to look for silicones in the ingredient list (commonly used in primers and makeup to smooth the skin appearance) like Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclomethicone, Methicone, and Dimethicone.
-Oil-free. Generally, I go for oil-free sunscreens, although I’m not opposed to acne-friendly oils that aren’t comedogenic.
-Fragrance-free, or no added artificial fragrance. Cause who needs added fragrance to irritate the skin?
So don’t forget to read the label before you buy! This is super important. If you want more information about sunscreen, here’s a great PDF from the Environmental Protection Agency. There’s a chart that shows you a complete list of physical versus chemical sunscreens!
If you want to find out more about my oily skin care routine, grab my free guide below! Also, check out my post on the best moisturizers for oily skin. Now, onto the best sunscreens!
Free Clear Skin Guide
my step by step regimen for oily, acne prone skin
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10 Best Sunscreens for Oily Skin and Acne Prone Skin
These are ALL mineral/physical sunscreens! No chemical sunscreens here 🙂
1. Tizo 3 Tinted Face Mineral SPF 40 Sunscreen: My aesthetician gave me a sample of this sunscreen, and my skin felt so smooth and matte. I never knew sunscreen could feel so good on the face! I immediately bought my own tube because I was hooked. It’s a bit pricey, but a little bit goes a long way. The formulation is excellent and wears well under makeup, feels like a primer. There is a tint but it’s very light, not enough to really add any color to the skin IMO. This is water resistant for 80 minutes!
2. Tarte BB Tinted Treatment 12-Hour Primer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen: This is marketed as a BB cream, but it’s a fantastic sunscreen! I’ve been layering this under my foundation, and it’s been working very well to mattify and prime the skin. This really does it all to treat, hydrate, prime, protect, and camouflage the skin. I do wear a little moisturizer underneath, but if you have extremely oily skin you may not need it. The tint comes in 4 shades, and there is enough tint to blur out light sun spots, old acne scars, redness, etc. My skin isn’t good enough to go without foundation, but some people may find this adequate to use on its own.
3. Coola Suncare Mineral Face SPF 30 Sunscreen Matte Tint: The first mineral sunscreen I bought, mainly because it’s matte and tinted. This is a good sunscreen for the lazy person because it can double as a moisturizer. Organic shea butter (which surprinsingly, is non-comedogenic!) moisturizes the skin, and the organic rosehip oil is full of antioxidants! I love all the extra skin benefits in this sunscreen.
4. EltaMD UV Physical Tinted Facial Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 41: My dermatologist recommended this brand to me when I was treating my acne with her and my skin became more sensitive to the sun. This is a lightweight formula, fragrance-free, lightly tinted, and gentle on post-procedural skin (which is what my derm uses it for).
These next options are powder sunscreens! If you want a lightweight sunscreen for your oily skin, to mattify your skin, to set your makeup, to wear sunscreen on top of your makeup, or to touch up your SPF during the day, these are AWESOME.
Also very portable, but I find that the packaging and brush can be iffy sometimes. I prefer to just transfer the powder into my own sifter jars and dust on with my own (better quality) powder brush. Usually, there is a way to open the container so you can transfer the powder.
5. Supergoop! Invincible Setting Powder SPF 45: I like that this powder sunscreen comes in Translucent and 3 different tints for various skin tones. This is sweat resistant, fragrance-free, and leaves a soft matte finish. The powder also contains ceramides to protect your skin and creates a barrier against environmental damage. They also sell refills for when you run out, which is cheaper than buying a brand new brush!
6. Tarteguard Mineral Powder Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30: The simple ingredient list and super cute packaging= great option for sunscreen touchups. And it has natural vanilla to give it a pleasant scent…I just love skin care that smells like food, don’t you!?
7. Mineral Fusion SPF 30 Brush-On Sun Defense: This oil-absorbing, translucent powder sunscreen is a little bit more affordable than some other options. The finish gives your skin a subtle glow (due to the mica) without the shine. It also contains vitamin E, white tea and pomegranate extracts which are full of antioxidants!
8. Colorescience Sunforgettable Mineral SPF 50 Sunscreen Brush: This is the first mineral powder sunscreen I ever purchased, and there’s a reason this is the OG powder sunscreen. Yes, it’s pricey, but it contains the highest amount of SPF I’ve found in a powder sunscreen. This sunscreen comes in 5 different shades, and I find it does add a little tint (keep this mind if you’re using over foundation). I recommend erring on the side of going lighter. Check out their skin health resource center here.
Finally, here are some affordable mineral sunscreen options under $15!
9. Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Dry-Touch Face Sunscreen SPF 50: This sunscreen is oil-free, fragrance-free, non-comedogenic and non-greasy! Check and check. The high SPF and skin friendly ingredients make this sunscreen TOTALLY worth it! It’s on sale for about $6 right now!
10. CeraVe Sun Protection Sunscreen Face Lotion: This is available in both SPF 30 and 50. It contains niacinamide and ceramides which help repair and restore the skin’s natural barrier. It’s also lightweight, oil-free, and has what they call InvisibleZinc which absorbs more easily and doesn’t leave a white cast. Great sunscreen for the money!
And those are my picks for best sunscreens for oily skin! Don’t forget to check out my post on the best moisturizers for oily skin too!