Can Sunscreen Cause Acne? Here’s What a Dermatologist Says

can sunscreen cause acne

Sunscreen, the most important product to keep your skin from turning into a wrinkly piece of leather when you're older and a product for men that is barely used. We all understand the importance of sunscreen to keep our skin from harmful UV rays and preventing premature aging. Yet most men hate using sunscreens because of the thick oily feeling of putting it on their skin. 

However, a popular question often arises: Can sunscreen actually trigger acne breakouts? 

That correlation every guy makes to my skin feeling oily and acne is as old as time, but is it the sunscreens fault? Keep reading to see what the dermatology pros have to say about if sunscreen causes acne and how to keep your skin blemish free.

Can Sunscreen Cause Acne?

Contrary to popular belief, sunscreen itself does not directly cause acne or breakouts. Its primary purpose is to shield the skin from harmful UV rays. However, certain factors related to sunscreen usage can contribute to breakouts in individuals prone to acne. 

One reason is the presence of comedogenic ingredients in some sunscreen formulations. These ingredients have the potential to clog pores and trap oil, leading to the development of acne. 

Moreover, heavy or occlusive sunscreens can create a barrier on the skin's surface, trapping sweat, dirt, and bacteria, which can worsen existing acne or trigger new breakouts. 

Additionally, inadequate removal of sunscreen at the end of the day can leave residue on the skin, increasing the likelihood of clogged pores and acne formation. It's important to note that not all sunscreens cause acne. 

Selecting non-comedogenic, oil-free, or mineral-based formulas can significantly minimize the risk of breakouts while still providing essential sun protection.

How to Get Rid of Acne From Sunscreen

If you've noticed an increase in acne breakouts after using sunscreen, fear not – there are ways to tackle this issue. 

First, opt for oil-free and non-comedogenic sunscreen formulas specifically designed for acne-prone skin. Look for ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, as they are less likely to clog pores. 

Additionally, ensure thorough cleansing of your face every evening to remove any residual sunscreen, sweat, or dirt that may contribute to breakouts. Incorporating regular cleansing into your skincare routine can also help unclog pores and prevent acne caused by sunscreen. Ideally make sure to cleanse your skin prior to applying sunscreen. 

“Applying your sunscreen as the last part of your daily skincare regimen has several benefits: it helps lock in the moisturizer you already used, it will make it less likely to clog your pores, and it will allow it have a maximum protective effect,” says Prettyboy’s Dermatologist. 

Should You Still Wear Sunscreen If You Have Acne?

The answer is a resounding "yes!" While the fear of sunscreen-induced acne is understandable, protecting your skin from the damaging effects of the sun is crucial, especially when dealing with acne-prone skin. 

Sun exposure can exacerbate acne and lead to hyperpigmentation, inflammation, and even premature aging. To strike a balance, choose lightweight and non-comedogenic sunscreens that won't clog your pores. With proper care and the right sunscreen, you can shield your skin from UV damage without sacrificing your quest for clear skin.

What Type of Sunscreen Is Best for Acne-Prone Skin?

When it comes to sunscreen for acne-prone skin, selecting the right product is essential. Look for sunscreens labeled as "oil-free" or "non-comedogenic," as they are formulated to minimize pore-clogging. Opt for a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. 

Additionally, physical sunscreens containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide can be beneficial, as they sit on the skin's surface and deflect UV rays rather than being absorbed. Experimenting with different formulations and finding what works best for your specific skin type is key to achieving effective sun protection without causing acne flare-ups. 

“For many people with sensitive or acne-prone skin, it may take time to find the right sunscreen for you. Water-based sunscreens (gel or lotion) are least likely to cause outbreaks. Regardless of your sunscreen choice, a wide-brim hat, UPF 50+ clothing and seeking shade between 10am-2pm are equally if not more important in preventing skin damage and premature aging,” says PrettyBoy’s Dermatologist. 

Get 6-in-1 Skincare With PrettyBoy

It’s not only important to protect your skin from the UV rays but also taking care of your skin after a long day in the sun. Wearing Sunscreen is not a perfect shield. It wears off and your skin can still burn. 

It’s important to reapply but also just as important to use high quality products for aftersun care to rehydrate and heal that skin barrier. Using a cooling gel cream like PrettyBoy that’s packed with hydrating soothing ingredients to help rebuild that skin barrier after a fun day in the sun is crucial to long term skin health. 

On top of strengthening your skin barrier, PrettyBoy’s 6-in-1 Revival gel cream moisturizer can simplify your skin routine by targeting multiple concerns with just one product!

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