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By now, you know that sunscreen is the ultimate non-negotiable in skincare. But because traditional formulas were often thick and greasy, SPF wasn’t the most appealing to acne-prone folks. After all, when your skin is breaking out, the last thing you want to do is rub sticky goop on it and risk clogging your pores. But no matter your skin type, everyone needs sun protection. 


With Acne Awareness Month happening this June, let’s break down one of the most burning questions in skincare and SPF. Does sunscreen actually cause acne? Can you avoid breakouts while using SPF? Keep reading.

Can sunscreen cause acne?

Sunscreen itself isn’t inherently acne-causing, compared to comedogenic ingredients such as cocoa butter or coconut oil. Just like any other product, not all sunscreens will work for everyone simply because we all have unique skin types and needs. Moreover, medical experts state that it’s often the added emollients, fragrances, and preservatives in sunscreen that tend to cause skin reactions. 

How to avoid breakouts when wearing sunscreen

The key to finding the best daily sunscreen lies in the right ingredients and formula. If you’re acne-prone, it may be best to avoid heavy formulas that take forever to absorb. Acne happens when your pores get clogged with dead skin cells, grime, and sebum — A.K.A. a waxy substance produced by your own oil glands. Thick, greasy sunscreen can clog your pores similarly. 


It’s also important to check the ingredients list for potential irritants. For instance, mineral oil is one culprit that can reportedly block your pores and cause acne. Meanwhile, studies have shown that oxybenzone and PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid) can commonly cause irritation and allergies (among other health conditions). Steer clear of these when shopping for SPF. 

The best everyday sunscreen for acne-prone skin

At Everyday Humans, all our formulations are safe, clinically vetted, and free from harmful toxins that can irritate skin. If you’re looking for a lightweight and hydrating option (because people with acne can have dry skin too!), Resting Beach Face SPF30 Sunscreen Serum is a good option. It is an oil-free sunscreen that absorbs fast, and is filled with nourishing ingredients like spinach and green tea extract. 


Looking for something extra gentle? Rose From Above SPF30 Sunscreen Base is a physical sunscreen for face that is packed with soothing rose oil, ceramides, and plant squalane to keep your skin barrier healthy. This mineral sunscreen also uses zinc oxide for sun protection, which is anti-inflammatory and may even reduce redness. 

Sunscreen is for all skin types

Conclusion: acne-prone people, don’t skip sunscreen! If you’re on acne medications or using exfoliants to manage breakouts, then you should be even more religious with sun protection since these can make you more sensitive to sunburn. Breakouts are more than avoidable if you select the right formula and ingredients for your skin, so be sure to do your research, patch-test products, and consult your dermatologist when in doubt.

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