How to Find the Right Sunscreen for Oily Skin, According to Dermatologists

Experts break down everything you need to know.

Sunscreen for Oily Skin

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Regarding sunscreen, the primary concern for those of us with oily skin is finding the right one. A formula that won't make you look extra greasy (or clog your pores) can be hard to come by. Shopping for SPF can be difficult with acne-prone skin (so many formulations are heavy and comedogenic), but if you know what to look for, it doesn't have to be a fraught endeavor. It is actually quite simple — you just have to be mindful of what formulas and ingredients your sunscreen of choice is made of.

Sunscreen application, as you know, is non-negotiable: You should apply it daily. It's still the best form of protection from the sun's harmful UV rays. To help you find the right sunscreen for your skin type, we turned to the experts. Below, see the four most important things to remember when looking for the best form of sun protection for you.

Look for Noncomedogenic Ingredients.

Sunscreen for oily skin should be oil-free and noncomedogenic, which means that you should stay away from any heavy formulas that could clog pores and lead to breakouts. According to board-certified dermatologist at MDCS Dermatology Marisa Garshick, MD, you'll want to look for ingredients that help soothe irritation and are helpful for acne, such as niacinamide. Something like the SkinCeuticals Physical Matte UV Defense, Dr. Garshick says, helps skin look more radiant, reduces the appearance of pores, and leaves the skin matte and non-greasy.

Dendy Engelman, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and Mohs surgeon at the Shafer Clinic Fifth Avenue, also recommends avoiding sunscreens with alcohol. Alcohol can increase oil production, which creates extra pore-clogging sebum that often causes breakouts. Dr. Engelman likes the EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum, which she says has calming effects on sensitive and acne-prone skin. She also likes this sunscreen because it contains hyaluronic acid for added hydration and lactic acid to gently exfoliate your skin.

Grab Mineral Formulas.

When it comes to oily skin, Dr. Engelman recommends a mineral formula for a number of reasons. The first is that mineral sunscreen tends to be more lightweight than chemical formulas, which will help in avoiding clogged pores and breakouts. The second, she says, is that sunscreens containing titanium dioxide or zinc oxide — two common ingredients in mineral SPF formulas — are super gentle on even the most sensitive skin.

Try a Mattifying Sunscreen

Some sunscreen formulas can be greasy and add to your already oil-prone complexion. To fix that, Dr. Garshick says to look for sunscreens that incorporate mattifying ingredients that help reduce excess shine. She likes the Supergoop Mineral Matte Screen, which gives your skin a matte finish and contains nourishing skin ingredients like white mulberry root to even out the skin's texture and tone. Eucerin's Oil-Control Facial Sunscreen, which contains oil-absorbing minerals to decrease shininess and antioxidants to protect skin from environmental aggressors, is another favorite.

Opt for a Powder Sunscreen.

Both Dr. Engelman and Dr. Garshick say that a powder sunscreen would be a great option for those with oily skin to help reduce the appearance of oil. There's an added bonus: Powders are easy to apply over makeup for added sun protection. Dr. Garshick likes the Colorescience Sunforgettable Brush or the SkinBetter Science Sunbetter Tone Smart Sunscreen Compact, which she says contain titanium dioxide and zinc oxide that block UVA, UVB, and blue light. Dr. Engelman likes the ISDIN Mineral Brush, as it provides great coverage and has mattifying properties too.

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