It’s the most wonderful time of the year! And no, I’m not referring to Christmas. I’m talking about Spring and the warmer weather this season brings along with it.
But warmer weather means a stronger sun, and a stronger sun means more sunscreen.
When I suffered from cystic acne, though, the last thing I wanted to do was apply sunscreen that would make my skin look even more red and oily leading to more breakouts.
I’m sure you feel the same way if you have acne-prone skin.
However, using the right SPF is one of the most important factors of healthy skin. Here’s why you need to wear it and how to choose an SPF for acne.
No matter the season, you need to apply SPF every single day. For starters, UV rays increase your risk of developing skin cancer, signs of aging and sun spots.
When it comes to acne-prone skin, daily SPF is crucial because acne will worsen when exposed to infrared heat from the sun.
On top of that, UV rays cause melanin to set up shop in those dark spots. Meaning, your acne scars will look much more pronounced because there will be a buildup of extra melanin.
So remember to apply SPF under your face cream and makeup anytime you head out the door.
If you have acne-prone skin, there are a few things to watch out for in order to reduce your risk of breaking out.
First up, avoid SPF products with the harsh ingredients that I discuss in this blog. Toxic ingredients such as fragrance, parabens and endocrine disrupting chemicals can irritate the skin, clog the pores and lead to acne. According to research by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) in 2019, two-thirds of the products examined were found to offer “inferior sun protection or contain worrisome ingredients like oxybenzone, a hormone disruptor, or retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A that may harm skin.” Sunscreens use a form of vitamin A called retinyl palmitate that acts as an antioxidant. Unfortunately, government studies show that it may trigger skin tumours and lesions when applied topically and exposed to sunlight.
Next up, look out for mineral oil in sunscreen. It coats the skin like saran wrap, which clogs your pores and then contributes to more breakouts. This inhibits your skin’s ability to release toxins, promoting acne and other issues.
Finally, make sure the label on the sunscreen says non-comedogenic. This ensures that the product has been tested and proven not to clog pores. Look for non-comedogenic ingredients like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.
Now that you know what to look out for in sunscreen, let’s talk about what to look for.
Choosing an SPF product depends on the type of skin you have– dry skin, sensitive skin or acne-prone skin. No matter the skin type, though, you should always stick to an all-natural sunscreen that is at least SPF 20, broad-spectrum and water-resistant. Also, use sun protection that contains zinc because this mineral reduces redness and inflammation.
Now, here are some specific things to look for depending on your skin type:
Acne-prone skin: Use a non-comedogenic and oil-free sunscreen in order to prevent clogged pores and more breakouts.
Dry skin: Find a creamy sunscreen with a higher amount of emollients to hydrate the skin. Look for ingredients such as shea butter and fatty acids that will lock in moisture.
Sensitive skin: Apply mineral-based sunscreens with zinc or titanium dioxide as the main active ingredients. It’s also important that the sunscreen is fragrance-free, hypoallergenic and paraben-free to prevent skin irritation, redness and rashes.
If you’re looking for a natural sunscreen that won’t cause more breakouts, here are a few of my favourites that you can order online from BeautyCounter:
Be sure to check out EWG’s annual Guide to Sunscreens that they release each spring as well. They rank the best and worst sunscreens for both children and adults.