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Your Comprehensive Guide to Sunscreen & Acne...

Acne - we've all heard of it, seen it and in many cases, been a victim of it.

Acne is the most common skin disease, with 85% of Australians under 24, impacted by these red and tender spots.

Usually beginning in the teenage years and often affecting people well into their 20s, acne is the result of when the hair follicle becomes blocked and inflamed, allowing bacteria to breed and grow, causing often painful inflammation.

When you have acne or are prone to acne outbreaks, the last thing you want to do is apply anything to your face that will add to the pain and discomfort.

The good news is that applying sunscreen doesn't have to trigger an outbreak or make your acne worse.

In fact, using the right sunscreen can prevent and heal acne, soothe the skin, keep dark spots and clogged pores at bay, all while protecting from harmful UV rays.

Sun Protection is Essential for Your Face

Sun protection is an essential consideration for every skin type, from dry to oily and everything in between.

Avoiding sunscreen can worsen the appearance of acne, and if the skin gets sunburnt, the symptoms of acne can be painfully exasperated. People with acne often have larger sebaceous glands, resulting in an overproduction of waxy/oily sebum. When this oil is blocked, it can cause inflammation. Allowing acne-prone skin to become sunburnt adds another layer of inflammation to skin that is already red, painful, and tender. 

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, sunburn is an 'inflammatory reaction to ultraviolet damage on the skin's outermost layers'.

When the skin starts to peel, it is simply the body trying to get rid of damaged cells, exposing more vulnerable skin cells in their wake. The inflammation from sunburn can worsen acne breakouts and scarring, which can be even more challenging to cope with than the acne itself.

The best sunscreens for acne-prone skin...

When you think of sunscreen, you may conjure memories of a rigid tube of gluggy, smelly, greasy substance that left a white sheen in its tracks no matter how vigorously you rubbed it in.

Sunscreen has changed and improved significantly over the last ten years, with fewer people interested in tanning and more interested in which sunscreen applies best under makeup. This is largely due to the beauty industry jumping on board as they realise that no good skincare routine effectively treats wrinkles and acne without SPF. 

Not sure what SPF is? Read more about it here...

SPF in Beauty Products

A quick scan of the beauty aisle will have SPF popping out from many different products, from foundation to lip balm and everything in between.

The addition of SPF in everyday items is one of the biggest perks of the beauty industry's sudden sun conscious disposition. Many skin-conscious citizens are realising the benefits of SPF as an anti-aging tool.

Because of this SPF boom in beauty products, sun screen is becoming more gentle, effective, advanced, and elegant.

Sunscreen is available in a range of delivery methods, from sticks to powders and lotion, with a range of added ingredients to nourish your skin while protecting it from the sun.

Anyone prone to acne breakouts will be familiar with reading ingredient lists and wary of putting anything potentially harmful on their skin. However, with many modern sunscreens, they will be pleasantly surprised.

Go Fragrance-free for Sensitive Skin

If you're prone to acne, shop for a fragrance-free, non-comedogenic, hydrating, non-greasy sunscreen to protect the skin without clogging the pores. In addition, a matte finish will give extra protection and absorbency to your skin to fight against oiliness.

An excellent way to incorporate sunscreen into your daily routine without much fuss is by using a moisturiser with an SPF of 30 or above. This will allow you to avoid putting yet another product on your face when it may already be feeling sore. If you want to go the extra mile in finding a sunscreen that will soothe your irritated skin, look for one with added zinc, lactic acid, and white tea to diminish scars and relieve discomfort. 

If you've had bad experiences with sunscreen on your skin before, it was likely a lower quality, oily chemical sunscreen which can encourage breakouts and irritate pre-existing acne.

Don't let this discourage you, as there will be a formulation out there that works for you, and the benefits of using daily sunscreen are worth a short period of trial and error. A good course of action can be to discuss what works and doesn't work for your skin with your dermatologist, as knowing your skin type is the first step in finding the right sunscreen. 

7 lightweight, non-oily and gentle sunscreens to explore:

  1. 1. EGO Sunsense Daily Face SPF 50+ - A lighter feeling, oil-free sunscreen for your face. Goes on with a an invisible matte finish and a sheer tint.
  2. Hamilton Everyday Face SPF 50+ - this sunscreen suits a variety of skin tones and will protect against both UVA and UVB rays.
  3. Mecca To Save Face SPF 50+ - Beauty brand mega weight Mecca has released this hydrating, moisturising SPF that sits lightly on the face and goes perfectly under makeup. 
  4. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Lotion 50+ - non-greasy, readily available and suited for use on the whole body, this lightweight lotion is a popular choice for many acne-prone Aussies.
  5. Cetaphil Suntivity Ultra-Light Lotion 50+ - if you've got acne-prone skin, your medicine cabinet likely already features some Cetaphil products. This gentle, fragrance-free, hydrating lotion is the perfect addition to your collection. 
  6. La-Roche Posay Anthelios XL Ultra-Light Fluid SPF 50+ - a country of beauty, luxury and a passion for sun protection, the French have gotten it right when it comes to skincare. This sunscreen soaks in to create a matte feel and is as luxurious to use as the rest of the brand's skincare line. 
  7. Ultra-Violette Queen Screen SPF 50+ Lightweight Sun Serum - if the thought of rubbing sunscreen into your skin makes you recoil, this lightweight serum may be your solution. This serum offers broad-spectrum protection without being heavy or thick to apply. 
a lady wearing a towel applying sunscreen on her face
The best sunscreen is the one you will use on a daily basis

The best sunscreen is the one that you will use. Finding the right product can be a game-changer when it comes to protecting your acne-prone skin. 

If you're looking for peace of mind or further advice on protecting your skin from the sun, give the Sun Doctors skin cancer care team a call on 13SKIN, or click here to book a consultation at one of our skin clinics near you

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