Sunscreen is a key part of any health and beauty regimen. If you have sensitive and acne-prone skin, finding a sunscreen that does not irritate your skin or cause breakouts is especially challenging. Some acne medications may even make sun sensitivity worse. Choose a sunscreen that does not clog pores, offers a high SPF and is hypoallergenic.
Taking good care of your skin is especially important if you have sensitive skin with frequent breakouts or more severe acne. Sun damage is more likely when you are treating acne with over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription acne medications, so using a high SPF sunscreen is critical. While you should be certain to wear sunscreen anytime you will be out for 20 minutes or more, consider choosing a moisturizer with sunscreen for daily use. Look for a sunscreen with at least SPF 30 to protect your skin if it is especially fair or sensitive, but an SPF 15 may be adequate for normal exposure. Wear sunscreen daily to keep your sensitive skin healthy.
Choose a noncomedogenic sunscreen made for use on the face, rather than the body. Noncomedogenic products do not clog pores and will not increase the likelihood of breakouts. Look for an oil-free formulation, as oil can contribute to acne and may not stay on your skin well. Gel-based products may be ideal if you have especially oily skin, but light cream formulations work well for most people with acne-prone sensitive skin. You can find noncomedogenic moisturizers made for acne-prone skin that include sunscreen for daily use, but these may not be waterproof or suitable for extensive sun exposure.
While it can be easy to find a sunscreen well-suited to acne-prone skin, finding one that works well for sensitive, easily irritated skin is somewhat more challenging. Physical sunscreens that rely on mineral components may be less irritating than chemical ones that use avobenzone and oxybenzone to provide chemical sun protection. Physical sunscreens are quite effective and well tolerated, but they may be heavier and more visible on the skin than chemical options. Consider visiting a large cosmetics store to test a variety of sunscreens, if you have especially sensitive skin. Test small amounts of sunscreen on the inside of your forearm. Wait several hours before choosing one that works well for your skin.
If you have sensitive skin, you probably want one sunscreen for your face and another for your body. Hypoallergenic spray sunscreens or spray formulations made for children are well tolerated on the body, but they can be too greasy for the face, if you are prone to breakouts. Look for an unscented formulation. Thick creams and solid sunscreens are more apt to be irritating, greasy or heavily scented.