Best Sunscreens for Acne Prone Skin – 2023 Reviews and Top Picks

best acne sunscreen

In our commitment to help you find products that won’t only keep your skin beautiful but healthy as well, we’ve spent more than 18 hours going through 22 different products to determine the best sunscreen for acne prone skin. The products that made it to our list were carefully selected based on their SPF level, compatibility with acne prone skin and added skin benefits.

Doctor's Choice

Best Sunscreens for Acne Prone Skin – 2023 Reviews and Top Picks

EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 for Sensitive or Acne-Prone

Other Products

Best Sunscreens for Acne Prone Skin – 2023 Reviews and Top Picks

Eau Thermale Avene XeraCalm A.D Lipid-Replenishing Cream

Other Products

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo

At A Glance: Our Choices for The Best Sunscreens for Acne Prone Skin

UV Clear SPF 46 by EltaMD might be the priciest one in this group, but there are a lot of great things about the product that make it a best seller year after year. For one, it contains a high SPF rating that won’t compromise your skin. It is specially formulated to calm and protect Acne Prone and Sensitive Skin and will work for all skin types. It also comes in an airtight container that can making it a perfect choice for travelers.

Neutrogena Clear Face Liquid Lotion Sunblock is our top drugstore pick since it's free from oil, fragrance and PABA. It has been tested on acne prone skin which means it's guaranteed to work for you.

With an SPF of 30, this sunscreen is formulated as a lotion. It will leave your skin clear and radiant.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Ultra-Light Sunscreen, meanwhile, is water-resistant. It has a fast-absorbing formulation that leaves a matte finish on the skin.

We particularly liked that it has been tested on sensitive skin for efficacy and safety.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Oily Skin SPF 60 is great for people who have oily skin. The matte finish leaves minimal to zero white cast with a light weight feel. It wears great under make up and helps to absorb excess oil.

MD Solar Sciences Mineral Tinted Creme is not your average sunblock. Aside from offering protection against the sun's harmful rays, it can also conceal and heal red spots.

It blends well with a wide range of skin color.


Key Features

  • Formulated for Acne Prone Skin
  • SPF: 46
  • Scented: No
  • Water Resistant: Yes
  • SPF: 30
  • Scented: No
  • Water Resistant: Yes
  • SPF: 60
  • Scented: No
  • Water Resistant: Yes
  • SPF: 60
  • Scented: No
  • Water Resistant: Yes
  • SPF: 30
  • Scented: No

Now, scroll down to find the best sunscreen for acne-prone skin.


EltaMD-Sunscreen -1

UV Clear SPF 46 by EltaMD is one of the gentlest sunscreens you can find. Apart from that it doesn’t contain fragrance, it is also free from parabens and dyes.

It comes in this airtight container which means you won’t have to worry about its potent ingredients being exposed to light or bacteria getting inside the bottle. Plus, you can even bring it to the airport as the product’s packaging adheres to airport safety.

The nice thing about this product is that it is also infused with antioxidants. It is a day cream so you can use it as a replacement of your moisturizer and eye cream.

It can work on either dry or oily skin, without clogging pores, triggering breakouts or irritating existing acne. In fact, it can also soothe skin redness.

The sunscreen has an SPF rating of 46 that is resistant to both UVA and UVB. It’s a form of chemical sunscreen which eliminates the greasy feel you can find in other sunscreens.

Take note, however, that although it is fragrance-free, it isn’t a complete guarantee that you won’t get irritated skin.

What We Like:

  • Comes in an airtight container
  •  fragrance-free, paraben-free
  • Specifically formulated for Acne Prone and Sensitive Skin

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Not Water Resistant
  • Chemical sunscreens may not work on really sensitive skin

Most sunscreens feel heavy on the skin. This is one of the reasons why Neutrogena Clear Face Liquid Lotion fits acne-prone skin.

It has a lightweight consistency and leaves a matte finish on the skin. Apart from that, the product is free from fragrance and is non comedogenic, too.

The product offers broad spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays. You’ll love that it’s water-resistant (up to 80 minutes) as well.

As for the consistency, the product has a lightweight liquid consistency. It seems to be somewhere between a serum and a lotion.

This is actually a plus point since the product won’t suffocate your skin.

To get the most out of the product, apply it around 15 minutes before going out. Reapply it after every two hours, particularly if you’ll be swimming or sweating.

The issue with this product is that it doesn’t provide too much moisture on the skin. If you are currently using anti-acne medications, make sure to use a separate moisturizer to prevent excessive skin dryness.

What We Like:

  • Lightweight
  • Absorbs fast
  • Leaves a matte finish
  • Offers broad-spectrum protection

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Consistency can be an issue
  • Leaves skin feeling powdery
La Roche-Posay

La Roche-Posay Anthelios 45 Face Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid has an ultra light texture that won’t feel bothersome on your skin. It leaves a matte finish so you won’t have to worry about looking like a greaseball the rest of the day.

The product offers sun protection with an SPF rating of 60. It is water- resistant and oil-free, too.

It goes on smoothly and won’t affect your makeup. It does, however, look a bit white- but once rubbed on and absorbed by your skin, it actually blends well.

If you worry about it looking odd on your skin, you can hide it with a good powder. Just make sure that you wait for the sunscreen to set completely.

The sunscreen is a bit expensive and only offers 1.7 fluid ounce of product. However, since you will only be using a small amount of product for your entire face, one bottle can last you quite a while.

What We Like:

  • Leaves a matte finish
  • Oil-free
  • Noncomedogenic
  • Works well under makeup

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Expensive
  • Can be a bit too white on the face

#4 La Roche-Posay Clear Skin SPF 60 for Oily Skin

clear skin LA Roche

Another great sunscreen from La Roche-Posay. This formulation is perfect for those with oily acne prone sensitive skin. This formulation will absorb excess pore-clogging oil while providing high spf coverage.

Those who hate the greasy feeling of typical sunscreens will love the dry touch texture. It has a matte shine free finish that is very water resistant. 

While this is a chemical sunscreen, to ensure that your skin won’t react negatively, the product also doesn’t contain parabens, oxybenzone, or fragrance.

The only downside we see to this, is the bottle is quite small. 1.7 ounces can go quick, but for those who hate traditional sunscreens this is worth the splurge.

What We Like:

  • Oil absorbing 
  • Specially formulated for sensitive skin
  • Dry touch, shine free, matte finish

What We Didn’t Like:

  • On the pricier side 
  • small bottle

If it is hint of color you are looking for, MDSolarSciences Mineral Tinted Crème Broad Spectrum SPF 30 is a great choice. It comes with a light, natural tint (sheer to light) that can blend well with most skin tones.

The sunscreen has a gel-cream texture which makes it a good fit for those with oily and acne-prone skin. Apart from the consistency, the product is also hypoallergenic and noncomedogenic.

The kind of protection you can get from this one is actually unique. Instead of relying on chemicals, it utilizes naturally derived minerals.

It also contains vitamin C and green tea, which are ingredients with potent anti-oxidant properties.

The product leaves a silky finish on the skin. I’ll have to tell you though that it’s not entirely moisturizing so be sure to not miss your favorite moisturizer.

What We Like:

  • Offers a natural tint
  • Has naturally derived ingredients
  • Has fragrance-free formula
  • Has gel-cream texture

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Expensive
  • Requires effort to remove

For a powder and matte finish, is a good product to invest in. It’s lightweight and has the ability to minimize the appearance of pores.

Apart from giving you a more flawless skin, the product is also non comedogenic. It can also repel oil to minimize shine.

What makes this product unique is that it doesn’t leave too much white cast despite having SPF 50. Its trick lies in its tint, which is sheer to match most skin tones.

The sunscreen has a soufflé-like cream formula which is a bit thick. As you blend the product, it actually thins out and becomes weightless on your skin.

For these features, it actually makes a good primer.

Despite the high price tag this sunscreen comes with, it lacks great antioxidants for added skin benefits. Its oil-control property isn’t that great as well.

What We Like:

  • Has weightless, matte finish
  • Can blur out minor imperfection
  • Can work as a primer
  • Fragrance-free

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Expensive
  • Weak ability to control oil
  • Doesn’t have much antioxidants
Beauty by Earth

If it’s a natural sunscreen you are looking for, you can try Beauty by Earth Mineral Sunscreen. It offers sun protection with an SPF 25 rating. It’s water resistant and non-toxic, making it great even for kids.

The product contains mineral-based sunscreen that doesn’t require a long waiting time to get activated. It goes on easy, with a lotion-like consistency.

Apart from the mineral-based sunscreen, you can also find aloe vera and other plant extracts in this sunscreen. It has no parabens, oxybenzone or even chemical-based fragrances.

It has a thicker texture than other sunscreen, which can make application a bit tricky. Once dry, however, it isn’t tacky or too oily on the skin.

What We Like:

  • Free from harsh ingredients
  • Works quickly
  • Non-toxic

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Can take a bit of an effort to rub on skin
  • Tends to leave white patches if not applied properly
  • Thick consistency can be an issue
Blue Lizard

Blue Lizard sunscreen SPF 30 is a powerful sunscreen that is gentle enough for those with sensitive and acne-prone skin. It utilizes titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to get the job done.

Dermatologist recommended, Blue Lizard Sunscreen is free from chemicals, parabens and even fragrance. It also absorbs quickly into the skin which is a nice thing if you’re in a hurry.

Apart from the sun protection it offers, the product can also alleviate redness and burning.

One unique thing about this product is its packaging. It comes with smart bottle technology that changes blue when it detects harmful UVA rays.

It’s a great help for you to know when you’re being exposed to harmful rays.

What We Like:

  • Comes with a unique packaging
  • Doesn’t contain chemicals and fragrances
  • Affordable

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Leaves faint white cast
  • Doesn’t rub well

Infused with vitamins A, C and E, Clinique Super City Block Ultra Protection comes in an opaque squeeze tube. Since its opaque, it does a good job in preserving the potency of its ingredients.

As for the product, it has a lightweight consistency that is easy to apply and hydrating to the skin.

Apart from titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, the product also has a handful of antioxidants, like cucumber extract and chestnut rose extract.

Unlike other sunscreens that come with a white tint, this one looks natural. For those with darker skin tones, however, the tint can make you look a bit ashy.

It has a mild sunscreen smell which I don’t think is very bothersome- it tends to dissipate after a while.

What We Like:

  • Has good antioxidant ingredients
  • Can help conceal minor blemishes
  • Packaging is opaque

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Scent can be an issue for some
  • Tint is not for all skin color

Coola Mineral Face Sunscreen has an SPF 30 rating and a matte tint that can immediately smoothen out your fine lines. You can compare its finish with a natural BB cream.

The sunscreen is unscented and is infused with anti-aging ingredients, like evening primrose and flaxseed oils. It also has rosehip oil.

Its texture is similar to mousse and goes on very light on the skin. It’s finish is matte but it won’t make you look white or chalky.

One issue I have with this sunscreen is that it tends to be drying on the skin. This can be great for oily skin, but if you have dry and flaky skin, make sure to use moisturizer underneath the product.

What We Like:

  • Has natural tint
  • Contains anti-oxidants
  • Not chalky on the skin

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Not for dry skin
  • Scent can be an issue

Reviews and Comparisons of The Best Sunscreens for Acne Prone Skin


Best Sunscreen for Acne Prone Skin

Best Fragrance-Free Sunscreen for Acne Prone Skin

Best Sunscreen for Oily Acne Prone Skin

Best Sunscreen for Oily Sensitive Skin

Top-Rated Sunscreens for Acne Prone Skin 2018

EltaMD-Sunscreen -1
La Roche-Posay
LA Roche Oil Free


Water Resistant






SPF 46

SPF 30

SPF 60

SPF 60







1.7 fluid ounce

3 ounce

1.7 fluid ounce

1.7 fluid ounce






Get Started

What Is Sunscreen?

Sunscreen is important. You use it not just to protect your skin against sunburn but from the harmful rays your eyes don’t get to see.

These rays are called Ultraviolet rays. There are two types you’ll commonly hear when it comes to sunscreen: UVA and UVB.

UV rays can cause a lot of damage. Apart from speeding up the aging process, they can also cause skin cancer.

UVA can penetrate your skin’s thickest layer, the dermis. UVB, on the other hand, can burn the topmost part of your skin.

For this reason, UVB rays are the ones more strongly linked to cancer. UVA can also aid in the development of the condition, but the effects of UVB rays are considered more potent.

The intensity of UVB rays and their effects vary by the time of exposure (10 AM to 4 PM), the season as well as the frequency. The longer and more exposed you are to the rays, the more you are predisposed to the condition.

Unfortunately, however, not all sunscreens are capable of blocking both types of rays. Older products can block UVA, but not UVB.

So, be sure to check if your sunscreen can provide protection against both types of rays.

Protection against UVA rays

Protecting your skin against UVA rays is a bit different. There’s actually no ratings or criteria that can tell you how much a product can save your skin from the effects of these rays.

Your best bet is in the ingredients your sunscreen contains.

Some great examples include:

  • Avobenzone and oxybenzone
  • Ecamsule
  • Zinc oxide and titanium oxide

Although these ingredients basically do the same job, they actually differ in how they work. Avobenzone and oxybenzone are considered chemical sunscreens. Zinc oxide and titanium oxide, on the other hand, are referred to as physical sunscreens.

Physical vs Chemical Sunscreens

Physical sunscreens tend to sit on top of the skin. They deflect the harmful rays even before they can cause any damage.

Since they don’t penetrate the skin, they are the safer choice when it comes to sensitive skin. They are also great for acne-prone skin since they are less likely to clog pores.

The problem with physical sunscreen, however, is that they can easily be rubbed off. This means you’ll have to reapply more frequently.

You also need to apply them thickly to make sure the sun’s rays can’t get in between the molecules.

Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, work by changing UV rays into heat. This is one of the reasons why they are called organic absorbers.

They are more convenient to use on a daily basis since you’ll only need to apply a thin layer.

One downside of this type of sunscreen is that it makes you more prone to developing discolorations and spots due to a higher internal temperature. They can also cause stinging, especially with products that combine multiple chemicals to achieve broad-spectrum protection.

Protection against UVB rays

For UVB rays, you should check out on a product’s SPF rating.

SPF refers to Sun Protection Factor. It ranges from 1 to 90 and generally measures the level of UVB protection it can provide.

Contrary to what most people believe in, SPF isn’t about strength. It actually refers to time.

Think of it this way:

If your skin tends to get burnt after just 3 minutes of sun exposure without a sunscreen on, applying one with an SPF of 30 will give you 90 minutes of protection. This is the time you should expect your skin to show reaction.

Is Sunscreen Good for Acne?

When you have acne-prone skin, just the idea of applying thick and greasy creams can be enough to make you cringe. Add to that is the white cast sunscreens tend to leave, especially with flash photography.

Despite these drawbacks, sunscreen can actually help with your acne.

Here’s how.

1. Prevents moisture loss

Overexposure to the sun can cause the skin’s barrier to weaken. As the barrier becomes ineffective, it becomes easy for water and moisture to leave.

For acne-prone skin, this is a bad thing. When your skin thinks it’s dry and doesn’t have enough moisture, it overcompensates by producing more oil- and breakout happens.

2. Makes scar more noticeable

One of the most common things people do to hide acne scars and blemishes is to get a tan. Although it does help conceal your skin issues at some point, it can actually darken your scars over time.

3. Prevents free radical damage

UV rays can cause free radical damage to your skin’s cells. This results in an inflammatory response.

Since acne is already causing inflammation in your skin, the response your skin creates due to the free radicals can make things a lot worse for you.

How to Apply Sunscreen

Think of sunscreen as your toothpaste. Use it insufficiently or incorrectly and it might not work for you.

It will leave your skin vulnerable to the UV damage.

Ideally, you should apply about a tablespoon of sunscreen to your face after your regular skincare routine. Add another 2 ounces for your body.

However, instead of applying the whole amount on your face right away, dot the product on your face (until you’ve used up the whole amount) and gently rub to ensure proper application.

Sunscreens go under moisturizers and should be applied before heading out. They need time before they can do their job, so apply them at least 20 minutes prior.

If you need to head out right away, choose a sunscreen that has titanium dioxide. It works faster since its main action is to block UV rays.

In case you’ll be staying under the sun for a longer period of time, make sure to reapply every 90 minutes. Do it more frequently if you’ll be going for a swim or if you sweat a lot.

If you have makeup on, you can apply mineral makeup, preferabbly with titanium dioxide or zinc to ensure continuous application.


Sunscreen is an important part of your daily skincare regimen. In addition to being an excellent way to keep your skin more youthful, it can also prevent age spots and skin cancer from forming.

However, if you have sensitive or acne-prone skin, you may be foregoing your SPF skin protection.

Fortunately, there are a number of products on the market today that can provide the required sun protection without causing problems for your skin. The above products are considered the best sunscreen for acne-prone skin- you just have to pick one that suits your needs well.

 Recommendation by Doctor

Best Sunscreens for Acne Prone Skin – 2023 Reviews and Top Picks

Product Recommendation

     For individuals with acne-prone skin, one brand of sunblock that you may want to consider is the EltaMD UV Clear.  It is lightweight, thus suitable for oily skin.  It has zinc oxide and octinoxate for   better protection against UVA and UVB. It can calm acne breakouts since it has  niacinamide which can minimize redness. Aside from these, it has sodium hyaluronate (hyaluronic acid) which keeps the skin hydrated. This sunscreen can be used along with the prescribed acne medications which can sometimes  be drying on the skin. Furthermore, it has Tocopheryl acetate (Vitamin E), an anti-oxidant, which acts against free radicals that can age the skin.  

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Dr Kathleen May Eusebio-Alpapara

A board-certified dermatologist who practices both medical and cosmetic dermatology

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