Acne and Sunscreen: What Should You Use?

If you suffer from acne and find that using sunscreen makes it worse, so much so that you're tempted to ditch the sunscreen, you're probably just using the wrong sunscreen. We asked top aesthetics and skincare expert, Dr MJ Rowland-Warmann, what she recommends for people who suffer from acne.

Why does sunscreen make my acne worse?

Put simply, it's most likely you're using the wrong sunscreen and the solution is actually very simple - change it!

What sunscreen should I be using if I have acne?

There are two different types of sunscreen; physical and chemical. Physical sits on top of the skin and reflects UV rays. Chemical is absorbed by the skin and turns UV rays into heat - this isn't great for acne suffers, and therefore people with acne should always use a physical SPF.

Dr MJ from Smileworks says if sunscreen is irritating your acne, you're probably using the wrong sunscreen

Why are physical sunscreens better for acne?

Physical SPFs usually contain zinc and are anti-acne or noncomedogenic (noncomedogenic is a term used to describe skincare products that are formulated in such a way that they are not likely to cause pore blockages (comedones) and breakouts). Zinc is an anti-irritant and well tolerated by sensitive skin types (it’s often found in baby products). Zinc also provides the most complete UVA protection.

Is it better to avoid sunscreen if I have acne?

Absolutely not. That's a bad idea. Sunscreen should be worn every day, even if it's snowing. If you really want to risk skin cancer and looking 85 by the time you're 40, then that's your call, but I do not advise it. SPF is probably the most important component of skincare. If the only reason you're avoiding it is because it makes your acne worse, it's about changing the sunscreen, not to stop using it.

How can I find the right sunscreen for my acne?

If you're yet to switch there are plenty of products you can try, just google 'physical sunscreen' but I do recommend the Obagi range (Obagi Medical Sun Shield Matte, or Sun Shield Tint, Broad Spectrum SPF 50) for acne patients. If you've switched to a physical sunscreen already and your acne is still worsening, then it's time to seek out expert advice from a medically-qualified aesthetic practitioner (search here to find one).

To find a medically qualified practitioner who can advise you on the best sunscreen for your acne, click here.

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