When you have sensitive, acne-prone skin, slathering a greasy, irritating product on your face doesn’t seem appealing. But since your skin is more reactive, you need sunscreen more than any other skin type. Sensitive skin requires extra care to look and function at its best. Before we go over which sunscreen ingredients to avoid, let’s walk you through the importance of sunscreen for reactive, blemish-prone skin:
REDUCES OIL PRODUCTION
You probably think sunscreens clog pores, but they actually do the opposite! If you don’t apply sun protection, the sun’s UVB rays will burn the top layers of your skin. Sunburn dries out the skin. To compensate for this dryness, your skin will overproduce oil, which results in more breakouts. By preventing sunburns, sunscreen can keep oil production in check.
PREVENTS ROSACEA FLARE-UPS
If you suffer from a sensitive skin condition, you already know about the importance of sunscreen. The sun can be your skin’s worst enemy. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), sunlight is among the top triggers of rosacea. Daily sunscreen use protects your skin from UV radiation and helps you avoid painful and unsightly flare-ups.
PROMOTES EVEN SKIN TONE
Sunscreen use is necessary even if you don’t have rosacea. Because sensitive skin is more reactive, the damaging effects of sunlight severely inflame your skin and produce facial redness. By shielding your skin from UV damage, sunscreen decreases redness caused by inflammation. This can help you achieve a brighter and more even skin tone over time.
MINIMIZES IRRITATION-INDUCED ACNE
The importance of sunscreen cannot be stressed enough if you want clear skin. Why? Because sunlight is an environmental irritant. The sun’s UV light irritates your skin, and this irritation inflames your pores. The result? Red, swollen, and painful bumps that look like acne. Frequent sunscreen application helps reduce skin irritation to keep your pores calm and healthy.
By now, you should have learned that sunscreen use is crucial to calm and clear up your skin. But all sunscreens are not created equal. The importance of sunscreen is well known, but some sun protection products contain chemical UV filters that are not well-suited for sensitive, acne-prone skin. However, they remain better than no sunscreen at all. Here is the list of chemical UV filter ingredients:
Let’s begin our list with the most common chemical UV filter: oxybenzone. A common substance found in FDA-approved sunscreens, oxybenzone is a chemical UV filter that has been reported to cause several problems, such as disrupting your hormones, increasing the risk of cancer, and causing allergic skin reactions. The topical application of oxybenzone can aggravate your sensitive, acne-prone skin.
When it comes to what sunscreen ingredients to avoid, keep avobenzone in mind. Avobenzone is another chemical sun filter that absorbs UVA and UVB wavelengths. This ingredient, however, is very unstable. When exposed to sunlight, it degrades and produces free radicals. These free radicals damage your skin and trigger inflammation, exacerbating acne and facial redness.
OCTINOXATE (OCTYL METHOXYCINNAMATE)
At this point, you’re well aware of the importance of sunscreen for sensitive, acne-prone skin. Sunscreen, however, can provoke your skin if it contains octinoxate. Octinoxate is a common UV filter used to absorb UVB rays. Research has shown that octinoxate can cause dermatitis. This dermal disorder inflames sensitive skin and can trigger irritation-induced acne.
Here is another irritating sunscreen ingredient to avoid. Octocrylene is a synthetic UV filter that absorbs both UVA and UVB rays. Because it’s quite photostable, it’s also used to stabilize other sunscreen ingredients. If you have redness-prone skin, you should stay away from octocrylene. Studies have shown that octocrylene produces allergic reactions in people with sensitive skin.
When you have sensitive, acne-prone skin, the importance of scanning sunscreen ingredients for fragrances should not be overlooked. Fragrances are commonly used in chemical sunscreens to give them a more pleasant smell. Because they can be irritating, fragrances inflame sensitive skin conditions and contribute to acne breakouts.
Now that you know what sunscreen ingredients to avoid, let’s talk about how to find the best sunscreen for your skin type. While people with normal skin can get away with conventional sunscreens, you need specialized formulations to soothe and protect your skin. Here is what you should look for to pick the right sunscreen for sensitive, acne-prone skin:
- Mineral UV filters ⏤ Mineral sun blockers, like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, are proven to be safe and and better tolerated than chemical UV filters
- Lightweight formulation ⏤ Oil-free and non-comedogenic formulations quickly absorb into your skin and don’t clog pores.
- Hypoallergenic ⏤ A hypoallergenic label means the product is formulated with non-irritating ingredients to keep your reactive skin calm.
- Antioxidants ⏤ Antioxidants fight free radical damage from the sun and help to reduce skin inflammation, which improves the appearance of facial redness.
- SPF 30+ ⏤ A sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 will provide high protection against sunburn, helping you avoid rosacea flare-ups and acne breakouts.
Now you know the importance of sunscreen for sensitive, acne-prone skin. Wearing sunscreen religiously is key to achieving a clear, even-looking complexion. If you want to improve your skin tone, look no further than Senté sunscreens. With mineral UV filters, antioxidants, and hypoallergenic ingredients, our medical-grade sunscreens provide unparalleled UV protection without any irritation. Shop Senté dermatologist-recommended sunscreens to brighten up your complexion.