Best Acne Sunscreen – January, 2019 Reviews & Buyers Guide

No two skin types are alike. Shopping for sunscreen that fits your personal needs can be almost as bad as shopping for a new pair of jeans–it’s hard to find a winner that does everything you want it to! You might not be aware of the impact sunscreen can have on your skin, so let’s take a look at some of the reasons you might want to be more selective…

Acne…Acne…ACNE! Waking up with it, breaking out from applying something your skin didn’t like–regardless, it can turn a good day into a bad day, or a pleasant experience into an irritating one. Literally.

Reasons why you might want to shop for acne-friendly sunscreen could be because acne is a daily struggle for you. If that’s the case, look for sun care that will help and not make things worse. This can happen because chemicals in the bottle irritate your acne, and/or because the sunscreen’s formula clogs your pores.

If you have sensitive skin, like me, your face or body might break out WHEN you apply sunscreen. This is not uncommon, and there are plenty of sunscreens out there that include chemicals any body should live without.

Broad spectrum is a term that you will stumble upon while researching sunscreens. If a sun lotion is “broad spectrum,” it is protecting you from all UV rays: UVA and UVB.

UVB is the one we see the effects of within hours. On your way home from the beach, or after you play a sports match, you might find the painful red splotches appearing on your arms, shoulders, nose, etc. You get the picture. UVB rays are damaging to the surface of the skin.

Although UVB gives us the immediate annoyance, UVA radiation is the one we should be worrying about the most. It can harm the skin on a cellular level, and this is what can lead to skin cancer. It also speeds up the aging process of our skin–stealing the elasticity and gifting us with wrinkles.

What about SPF? This is the sun protection factor, and according to the FDA, one of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to sunscreen. The SPF number doesn’t indicate how long you can be exposed to the sun, rather it is a protection level.

Two terms you should be aware of are physical and chemical. A dermatologist named Saxon Smith, quoted in this Huffington Post article on the matter, said that “absorbent” and “reflector” are easier ways of understanding their differences.

Chemical sunscreens are more widely known, and they’re probably more popular. These soak into your skin and the effect is that the skin soaks up UV radiation and then it exits the skin as infrared rays. In general, chemical sunscreens can be enemies of oily and acne-prone skin. The chemicals can irritate your acne or irritate sensitive skin and stir up a reaction.

Physical sunscreens are infamous for their creamy texture that never seems to want to absorb into the skin–leaving behind clear signs that you just applied sunscreen. Because of this, physical sunscreens tend to be less popular among adults who want to keep their glowing features out there on the beach.

However, if you have acne or if sunscreen tends to irritate your skin, physical/mineral based sunscreen will probably be a good friend. The way physical sunscreen protects you is by reflecting the sun off of your skin.

Nanotechnology is a term that you might stumble across when shopping for a physical sunscreen. Don’t get freaked out--nanotechnology has to do with breaking down the molecules in physical sun protectors into nano molecules. Minimizing the reflector molecules helps reduce the pastyness-effect you might not like about physical sunscreen.

Some essential sun protection habits should include not only applying sunscreen but also:

  • Staying out of the sun during peak hours. These are between 10am-2pm.
  • Reapplying sunscreen regularly. It’s not a once and done event. If you’re in water or sweating, you should apply it even more regularly because sunscreen wears off.
  • Wear protective clothing and limit direct exposure. A brimmed hat helps to protect your face.

Now, a few things to consider before purchasing acne-friendly sunscreen:

  • What’s your skin complexion? Do you need a sunscreen suited for oily or dry skin?
  • Sensitive skin: if you have this, look for a sunscreen you don’t won’t drive you crazy.
  • Avoid oxybenzone! This is a chemical prevalent in some options on the market, but it can have adverse effects. Stay away from it.

Best Acne Sunscreen

Image
Our Favorite
Eltamd UV Clear SPF 46, 48-Gram 1.7 oz.
Highest Rated
EltaMD UV Shield Facial Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 45, 3.0 oz
Highest Quality
Jan Marini Skin Research Marini Physical Protectant SPF 45, 2 oz.
Heliocare 360° Gel Oil-free SPF 50 UVA, UVB Sunscreen 50ml
Dr Dennis Gross Dark Spot Sun Defense SPF 50 Sunsreen, 1.7 Fluid Ounce
Description
It is a mineral or physical sunscreen that is composed of zinc oxide. It works to reflect the sun’s rays off of your skin.
EltaMD’s UV Shield is a mineral sunscreen that utilizes zinc oxide. This sunscreen is SPF 45 and offers broad spectrum protection against the sun’s radiation. It comes in a 3 ounce bottle.
Jan Marini’s blend includes both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.You should be good to go for up to 80 minutes after application.
The formula is a lightweight gel that will probably blend in well without leaving streaks on your skin.
It’s SPF 50 and has vitamins and antioxidants added into it to fight aging.
Our Rating
Price
$33.00
$25.00
$51.00
$23.50
$35.00
Our Favorite
Image
Eltamd UV Clear SPF 46, 48-Gram 1.7 oz.
Description
It is a mineral or physical sunscreen that is composed of zinc oxide. It works to reflect the sun’s rays off of your skin.
Our Rating
Price
$33.00
Highest Rated
Image
EltaMD UV Shield Facial Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 45, 3.0 oz
Description
EltaMD’s UV Shield is a mineral sunscreen that utilizes zinc oxide. This sunscreen is SPF 45 and offers broad spectrum protection against the sun’s radiation. It comes in a 3 ounce bottle.
Our Rating
Price
$25.00
Highest Quality
Image
Jan Marini Skin Research Marini Physical Protectant SPF 45, 2 oz.
Description
Jan Marini’s blend includes both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.You should be good to go for up to 80 minutes after application.
Our Rating
Price
$51.00
Image
Heliocare 360° Gel Oil-free SPF 50 UVA, UVB Sunscreen 50ml
Description
The formula is a lightweight gel that will probably blend in well without leaving streaks on your skin.
Our Rating
Price
$23.50
Image
Dr Dennis Gross Dark Spot Sun Defense SPF 50 Sunsreen, 1.7 Fluid Ounce
Description
It’s SPF 50 and has vitamins and antioxidants added into it to fight aging.
Our Rating
Price
$35.00
Image
DEVITA INTERNATIONAL Moisturizer Daily Solar Protective, 2 Ounce
MDSolarSciences Mineral Tinted Crème Broad Spectrum SPF 30,1.7 oz.
Alba Botanica Fragrance Free Clear Spray Sensitive SPF 50 Sunscreen, 6 oz.
Replenix Sheer Physical Sunscreen Cream SPF 50+ with Zinc, Antioxidants, and CoQ10, 2 Oz
Paula's Choice SKIN BALANCING Ultra-Sheer Daily Defense SPF 30 Oil-Free Moisturizer, 2 Ounce Tube
Description
This is a broad spectrum, SPF 30 sunscreen that is 100% vegan and also advertised as a good option if you are gluten-sensitive.
The sunscreen is sold in a 1.7 ounce tube, and it is a broad spectrum, SPF 30 option.
This sunscreen is convenient because all you have to do is spray on. Plus, it’s eco-friendly in an aerosol-free bottle.
This is a broad spectrum sunscreen that has added green tea polyphenols that can help give you healthier and younger-looking skin.
It’s a broad spectrum sunscreen, so your skin is well protected from all of the sun’s harmful rays.
Our Rating
Price
$20.41
$32.00
from $10.22
$22.40
$29.00
Image
DEVITA INTERNATIONAL Moisturizer Daily Solar Protective, 2 Ounce
Description
This is a broad spectrum, SPF 30 sunscreen that is 100% vegan and also advertised as a good option if you are gluten-sensitive.
Our Rating
Price
$20.41
Image
MDSolarSciences Mineral Tinted Crème Broad Spectrum SPF 30,1.7 oz.
Description
The sunscreen is sold in a 1.7 ounce tube, and it is a broad spectrum, SPF 30 option.
Our Rating
Price
$32.00
Image
Alba Botanica Fragrance Free Clear Spray Sensitive SPF 50 Sunscreen, 6 oz.
Description
This sunscreen is convenient because all you have to do is spray on. Plus, it’s eco-friendly in an aerosol-free bottle.
Our Rating
Price
from $10.22
Image
Replenix Sheer Physical Sunscreen Cream SPF 50+ with Zinc, Antioxidants, and CoQ10, 2 Oz
Description
This is a broad spectrum sunscreen that has added green tea polyphenols that can help give you healthier and younger-looking skin.
Our Rating
Price
$22.40
Image
Paula's Choice SKIN BALANCING Ultra-Sheer Daily Defense SPF 30 Oil-Free Moisturizer, 2 Ounce Tube
Description
It’s a broad spectrum sunscreen, so your skin is well protected from all of the sun’s harmful rays.
Our Rating
Price
$29.00

EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum, SPF 46, 1.7 oz

EltaMD is a quality brand that has been recommended for more than 25 years. The company is dedicated to providing excellent products.

Their UV Facial Sunscreen is a broad spectrum solution offers full protection from all of the sun’s dangerous radiation: UVA and UVB. This is a facial sunscreen that is developed to specially address the needs of your facial skin. It is a mineral or physical sunscreen that is composed of zinc oxide. It works to reflect the sun’s rays off of your skin.

EltaMD suggests that you reapply the sunscreen to your face at least every 2 hours so that you get the best protection it has to offer. Each bottle holds 1.7 ounces.

This sunscreen is ideal if you have facial acne because it should not irritate or bother your skin. EltaMD’s product works to protect your skin, and this particular one is oil-free--which might be good for you if you have oily skin because it won’t make it greasy.

It is a lightweight formula and fragrance-free. Since it has no added scents, this sunscreen might be perfect for you if you have sensitive skin. Added fragrances are one way to get a reaction out of sensitive skin.

EltaMD does not include oxybenzone. One downside is that it’s on the higher end of the price range.

Pros and Cons

  • Oil-Free
  • Supports Acne-Prone Skin
  • Facial Sunscreen
  • Fragrance-Free
  • Lightweight Solution
  • Broad Spectrum
  • Moisturizes & Refines Skin
  • No Oxybenzone
  • Mineral Sunscreen
  • One of the pricier options

EltaMD UV Shield SPF 45, 3 oz

EltaMD’s UV Shield is a mineral sunscreen that utilizes zinc oxide. This sunscreen is SPF 45 and offers broad spectrum protection against the sun’s radiation. It comes in a 3 ounce bottle.

This mixture offers a physical sunscreen that is cream-like in consistency but should mostly rub into your skin without leaving more than a few traces of it behind. It works well with makeup and shouldn’t leave with you any weird clumps or streaks.

UV Shield acts as a moisturizer for oily skin but is oil-free, so you shouldn’t experience it leaving any greasy after-effects. If you have dry or normal skin, the moisturizer levels offered in this sunscreen might not be enough--you might find yourself needing an additional skin moisturizer to get what you need for the day.

UV Shield protects against pigmentation, and it is fragrance-free.

An interesting fact about this sunscreen is that it does include a chemical, so it’s not wholly a physical sunscreen. We’re not sure why the company has done this. The sunscreen should be reapplied every 2 hours, at least. If you are sweating, you might want to look out for this dripping into your eyes because it might sting.

Pros and Cons

  • Mineral Sunscreen
  • Compatible with Makeup
  • Protects Against Pigmentation
  • Moisturizer for Oily Skin
  • Oil-Free
  • Fragrance-Free
  • Includes Chemical as Well
  • May Leave Small Traces
  • Might Sting around Eyes

Jan Marini Skin Research, Marini Physical Protectant, SPF 45

This physical sunscreen is broad spectrum, SPF 45 option that comes in a 2 ounce tube. Jan Marini’s blend includes both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.You should be good to go for up to 80 minutes after application.

This sunscreen includes green tea extract as well as oil-fighting properties. Excess oils in your skin are absorbed via molecules found in this quality sunscreen. It’s advertised as a good option for acne-prone skin as well, and its gentle blend should have positive effects.

There is a tint in this sunscreen that is supposed to adapt to every skin tone, but there have been some complaints that it doesn’t work well for women of color because the tint is “off.” Another downside is that this is one of the pricier options on the market.

Pros and Cons

  • Excess oils are absorbed via molecules
  • Adapts to skin tone
  • Good for oily skin types
  • Pricier Option
  • Product’s Tint is Unnatural for Darker Skin

Heliocare 360 Gel Oil-Free

Heliocare 360’s Gel Oil-Free sunscreen is a broad spectrum sunscreen that is sold in 50ml tubes. This sunscreen is designed for normal and oily skin types–it can act as a moisturizer without adding extra shine to your skin. The formula is a lightweight gel that will probably blend in well without leaving streaks on your skin. However, some have noted that it might leave traces behind if you have darker skin.

Helio 360 includes antioxidants in this sunscreen, which can have anti-aging effects on your skin. The formula should work well if you have acne-prone and/or sensitive skin. It is designed to care for you without irritation.

Pros and Cons

  • Lightweight Gel Formula
  • Oil-Free
  • Designed for Oily Skin
  • Broad Spectrum
  • Designed for Acne-Prone & Sensitive Skin
  • Includes Antioxidants
  • Might Leave Traces on Darker Skin

Dr. Dennis Gross Dark Spot Sun Defense

Dr. Dennis Gross is a dermatologist who is known for his acne-defense formula. This one might work wonders for you if you have acne-prone skin. It is a broad spectrum sunscreen that should protect you from the radiation dangers of the sun. It’s SPF 50 and has vitamins and antioxidants added into it to fight aging.

It hydrates the skin without leaving a greasy coating, and it is designed to evenly tone your skin.

Dr. Dennis Gross’s professional sunscreen is a quality option, but it does cost more than some of the others for acne-defense on the market.

Pros and Cons

  • Anti-Aging
  • Acne Defense
  • Hydrates Skin
  • Added Vitamins
  • Evenly Tones Skin
  • Broad Spectrum
  • Pricey Option

Devita International Moisturizer Daily Solar Protective

Devita International’s Moisturizer Daily Solar Protective got on some of the best sunscreen for acne prone skin in 2015 because it provides some features that are rare on the sunscreen market. This is a broad spectrum, SPF 30 sunscreen that is 100% vegan and also advertised as a good option if you are gluten-sensitive.

Devita International’s sunscreen is good for acne-prone skin, as well as oily skin. It includes a daytime moisturizer that can moisturize your skin without adding oil or grease to it.

It is a mineral sunscreen that comes in 2 ounce bottles. It’s recommended that you reapply every 90 minutes–more often if you’re sweating or swimming.

There have been a few more recent complaints about a possible formula change that has left some consumers disappointed.

Pros and Cons

  • For Gluten-Sensitive Individuals
  • Mineral Sunscreen
  • Full Spectrum
  • Non-Oily Moisturizer
  • Some complaints about the formula change

MDSolarSciences Minteral Tinted Crème

MDSolarSciences has produced a sunscreen that may be a dream for sensitive skin. The sunscreen is sold in a 1.7 ounce tube, and it is a broad spectrum, SPF 30 option.

This sunscreen is a mineral base–working to protect your skin, but without clogging your pores or leaving an oily presence on your skin. It is non-irritating, hypoallergenic, and fragrance-free. If you struggle with reactions to skin care products, you might find this one to be gentle on your skin.

This sunscreen is designed to work well for acne-prone and blemished skin. The formula helps to clear your skin and includes the following antioxidants: green tea and vitamin C, as well as pomegranate and cranberry fruit extracts. Vitamin C.

This sunscreen is loaded with benefits for those who struggle with acne or sensitive skin. It costs more than some of the other ones out there, but it might just be worth it.

Pros and Cons

  • Great for acne-prone skin
  • Broad Spectrum
  • Oil-Free
  • Mineral Sunscreen
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Tinted Color
  • Non-Irritating
  • Includes Antioxidants
  • Fragrance-Free
  • Gluten-Free
  • Pricey Option

Alba Botanica Very Emollient, Fragrance Free Sunscreen

Alba Botanica has been around since 1979 and serious about providing products that are 100% vegetarian. This sunscreen is convenient because all you have to do is spray on. Plus, it’s eco-friendly in an aerosol-free bottle.

This is a broad spectrum sunscreen that is SPF 50. It is water-resistant for 80 minutes, but don’t forget to reapply at least this often. It comes in a 6 ounce bottle and is fragrance free. It does not include oxybenzone. It has not been tested on animals.

This sunscreen is designed for sensitive skin and has been used for acne-prone skin. It might be a great option if you’re looking for an eco-friendly sunscreen.

This product did undergo a packaging change that led to some confusion. It used to include lavender, for example, but no longer does.

Pros and Cons

  • For Sensitive Skins
  • 100% Vegetarian Ingredients
  • Not Tested on Animals
  • Eco-Friendly
  • Aerosol-Free
  • Underwent packaging change that led to confusion

Replenix Sheer Physical Sunscreen Cream

Replenix’s Sheer Physical Sunscreen is made from zinc oxide. As the title notes, it is a physical sunscreen that is creamy but does not leave the streaks that many physical sunscreens are notorious for. This one will blend well–going on easily and clear. Some consumers are saying this is one of the best physical sunscreens they’ve tried because it’s not splotchy.

Replenix has designed this sunscreen to work well for dry and oily skin types. It is also meant for acne-prone skin, and its unscented blend will protect your skin. If you have sensitive skin, this one might also work well for you because it is a quality mineral sunscreen that shouldn’t irritate your skin.

This is a broad spectrum sunscreen that has added green tea polyphenols that can help give you healthier and younger-looking skin. It’s made in the USA.

One negative to this sunscreen is that some have found that it leaves makeup in little clumps, although some consumers have used it with no issues in conjunction with makeup, so it might depend on the makeup you use.

Pros and Cons

  • Mineral Base
  • Goes on Clear
  • Includes Green Tea Polyphenols
  • For Sensitive Skin
  • For Dry & Oily Skin
  • Meant for Acne-Prone Skin
  • Broad Spectrum
  • Might not be compatible with all makeup

Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Ultra-Sheer Daily Defense

Paula’s Choice SPF 30 sunscreen comes in a 2 ounce bottle. This blend offers a moisturizer for your skin that is oil-free and meant for normal, oily, and combination skin types; it absorbs oils from your skin. It’s a broad spectrum sunscreen, so your skin is well protected from all of the sun’s harmful rays.

Paula’s Choice is fragrance-free, which might be great for you if you have sensitive skin. This sunscreen promotes anti-aging and includes green tea and other moisturizers that, although it’s oil-free, do not leave your skin dry and flaky. You should apply it every 2 hours.

The skin balancing blend is designed for acne and blemish-prone skin, so if you are dealing with acne or getting those annoying blemishes every once in a while, you might want to check this one out.

Paula’s Choice has included antioxidants that are known to heal skin damage.

This sunscreen does not include any dyes and hasn’t been tested on animals.

Some consumers are saying that this sunscreen is great for their oily and combination skin. They’re also saying it is lightweight and absorbs into their skin quickly.

Unfortunately, this one includes oxybenzone. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use it, but you might want to be careful.

Pros and Cons

  • Oil-Free Moisturizer
  • Includes Antioxidants
  • Fragrance-Free
  • Not Tested on Animals
  • Anti-Aging
  • No Dyes
  • Broad Spectrum
  • Designed for Acne & Blemish-Prone Skin
  • Includes Oxybenzone

Conclusion

There’s a lot to consider when purchasing any quality products for your skin. Protecting your body from harmful UV radiation and caring for oily and acne-prone skin are essential. Just like most products, sunscreen is meant to enhance your life, but there are still ones being sold that could have the power to harm your skin.

Try to be intentional in purchasing a sunscreen that will not damage acne-prone skin. If you’ve noticed issues with sunscreen in the past, take a look at some new options that might be healthier for your skin.