How to Find a Sunscreen that Doesn't Make you Breakout

I sometimes hear from my patients that they have trouble finding a sunscreen that doesn't cause them to develop acne.Thankfully, there are a plethora of sun-care choices today, including many options for people with acne-prone skin. The following are steps you can take to find a sunscreen that does not cause you to breakout:

1. Make sure that your sunscreen's label says "non-comedogenic" and/or "non-acnegenic"Comedone is the medical term for blackhead or whitehead, and products that are labelled as non-comedogenic are formulated to be less likely to clog your pores. While this isn't a guarantee that a product won't make you break out, it may be less likely to do so. Lightweight sunscreen lotions and moisturizers with added sunscreen ingredients that are labelled as "non-comedogenic" often work well for acne-prone skin.

2. Some experts think that acne-like breakouts may result from the heat that is given off when the sunscreen's active ingredients absorb the sun's harmful rays. In these cases, switching to a sunscreen that uses only titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide for sun protection may be helpful.  These ingredients are known as physical filtersand they tend to transfer less heat to the skin than chemical filters do when they are used in sunscreens.

3. If the above steps are not helpful, consider using a sunscreen in a powder form or a mineral make-up with sunscreen. These types of products are very unlikely to contribute to acne. I usually prefer they be used in addition to a cream or lotion-based sunscreen, but they can be used on their own for everyday use in people with very sensitive or acne-prone skin. A water-resistant sunscreen should still be used for beach/pool days.

Michelle Levy

Dr. Michelle Levy is a board-certified dermatologist specializing in medical and aesthetic dermatology. A graduate of the University of Toronto's Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Levy provides a full spectrum of dermatologic services in Toronto, Canada. Education: M.D., University of Toronto, 1999 Residency in Dermatology, University of Toronto, 1999-2004 Employment History: Self-employed, North York, Ontario, 2005-Present Medcan. Consultant Dermatologist. 2007-Present