11 Best Sunscreens For Acne-Prone Skin (For Oily, Dry, Combination & Sensitive Skin Type)

Acne-Prone Skin is especially prone to sun damage, so it is important to choose a sunscreen that will provide the best protection. There are many different types of sunscreens available on the market, so it can be hard to decide which one is right for you. However, there are a few factors that you should take into account when choosing a sunscreen. We have written a detailed guide about how to choose the best sunscreens for acne-prone skin. Considering all the key factors that should go in an ideal sunscreen for acne-prone skin, we have come up with the best sunscreens for all types of acne-prone skin (Oily, Dry, Combination & Sensitive Skin Type) that don’t cause breakouts, offer brilliant protection from both UVA & UVB solar radiation, and provide a host of other benefits.

Fixderma Shadow SPF 30+ Gel

Fixderma Shadow SPF 30+ Gel

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Looking for a sunscreen that’s gentle on your acne-prone skin, offers top-notch protection against sun’s harmful radiations, provides a dewy skin finish without leaving any white cast or residue, requires minimal spending, and can be used even by children? Well, go for Fixderma Shadow SPF Gel as it checks all these.

  • Target Skin Type: Oily, Combination, Sensitive
  • Sunscreen Features: Hybrid, SPF 30, PA+++ Graded, Water-Resistant, Kids Safe
  • Acne-Skin Friendly Features: Water-Based, Lightweight, Non-Greasy, Non-Comedogenic, Sensitive-Skin Friendly
  • Amazon Rating: 4.3

Differentiating Factor:

  • It’s one of the most pocket-friendly sunscreens in the list, which was selling for less than Rs. 200 when we wrote this review.

The Not-So-Great Side:

  • Contains Fragrance: ✓
  • Mattifying: X
  • Contains Octinoxate: ✓ (a chemical that causes coral bleaching and has been shown to produce hormonal (estrogen-like) effects in animals (not in humans, though)).

Plum Green Tea Daylight Sunscreen SPF 35 Gel

Plum Green Tea Daylight Sunscreen SPF 35 Gel

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Do you want to buy a sunscreen which doesn’t break out your oily acne-prone skin, doesn’t pack common irritants (SLS, Parabens, Mineral Oil), offers a great protection against scorching radiation, smells wonderful, goes well with different products, and provides a host of skin benefits? Then, Plum Green Tea Daylight Sunscreen Gel should be your choice. This 100% vegan sunscreen features anti-acne ingredients, and provides a calming effect to the irritated skin while brightening skin texture.

  • Target Skin Type: Oily, Acne-Prone
  • Sunscreen Features: Chemical, SPF 35, PA+++, Water-Resistant
  • Acne-Skin Friendly Features: Water-Based, Super Lightweight, Non-Greasy, Non-Comedogenic
  • Amazon Rating: 4.1

Differentiating Factors:

  • It’s 100% vegan, so if you follow a vegan lifestyle or want to buy products that involve no animal suffering, this is the one you should be picking up.
  • The brand offers a recycling provision which allows users to send their empty products to the company for recycling purposes. For doing so, just contact Plum Team’s customer care number (+91-750-649-6604), and share your address.
  • Only sunscreen in our list to be FDA approved (that means it’s been thoroughly reviewed and determined to provide far-more benefits than potential risks).

The Not-So-Great Side:

  • Contains Fragrance: ✓
  • Mattifying: X
  • Water-Resistant: X
  • Children’s Friendly: X

IPCA Acne-UV Oil Free SPF 30 Gel

IPCA Acne-UV Oil Free SPF 30 Gel

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Imagine if there exists an effective sunscreen that provides a mattifying effect, contains no oil, works for all the seasons, and goes well under makeup. Stop imagining, because IPCA Acne-UV SPF 30 Gel delivers on all this. What’s more is that it gets easily absorbed without leaving your skin oily, sticky or white. Free from irritants (including preservatives, alcohol, dyes, color additives, parabens), it goes well for sensitive skin types. Target

  • Skin Type: Acne-Prone
  • Sunscreen Features: Hybrid, SPF 30, PA+++, Water-Resistant
  • Acne-Skin Friendly Features: Lightweight, Oil-Free, Non-Irritant, Non-Comedogenic, Mattifying
  • Amazon Rating: 4.4

Differentiating Factors:

  • It’s a mattifying sunscreen, which provides refined, matte texture appearance by reducing unwanted shiny appearance from the oily skin. If you have an oily skin type, and love having that matt look, this is what you should buy.
  • It’s an oil-free sunscreen, so won’t clog your pores.
  • It can be used as a base for your makeup, which makes it perfect for girls who frequently apply various makeup products.

The Not-So-Great Side:

  • Contains Fragrance: ✓
  • Water-Based: X

SkinKraft Sunscreen Ultra Matte Sunscreen SPF 40

SkinKraft Sunscreen Ultra Matte Sunscreen SPF 40

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Oily acne-prone skin needs specially formulated sunscreen that’s lightweight, mattifying, non-sticky and doesn’t  leave any white cast even when you apply it generously. That’s where SkinKraft Sunscreen steps in. What sets it apart from many other sunscreens is its high-level of sun protection, odorless composition, competitive price, and Phthaltes, Parabens, SLS, and Formaldehyde-free recipe. It’s also 100% cruelty-free, meaning it hasn’t exploited animals for testing purposes.

  • Skin Type: All
  • Sunscreen Features: Hybrid, SPF 40, PA+++
  • Acne-Skin Friendly Features: Lightweight, Non-Sticky, Non-Comedogenic, Mattifying, Odorless
  • Amazon Rating: 4.3

Differentiating Factors:

  • One of the very few odorless sunscreens in our list. Why this is great is because sometimes fragrance chemicals in skin care products can induce negative skin reactions, especially in those with sensitive skin.
  • As it has higher SPF (40) and better PA grading (PA++++) than other sunscreens in the list, it’s able to provide maximum protection from both UVA & UVB rays. If you stay in regions of extreme summer, or go out frequently in summers for prolonged duration, this one offers better protection than former sunscreens.
  • Its gel-based formula is specially formulated for oily skin type, by SkinKraft’s team of Dermato-Cosmetologists, Pharmacists, and Pharmaceutical Engineers.
  • While it’s not as affordable as Fixderma Shadow SPF 30+ Gel, it’s still priced way below than many other similar sunscreens in the list. Those who want to try a great sunscreen without spending excessively, this sure is a good one.

The Not-So-Great Side:

  • Water-Resistant: X
  • Alcohol-Free: X

Kaya Clinic Daily Use Sunscreen SPF 30

Kaya Clinic Daily Use Sunscreen SPF 30

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Packing 2 reliable anti-acne ingredients, Kaya Clinic Sunscreen not only provides decent protection from solar radiation, but also brightens and soothes skin. What sets this lightweight, non-greasy, non-sticky sunscreen apart from other sunscreens is its 5 star boots rating (explained below), compatibility with sensitive skin type, and its dermatologists-developed formulation.

  • Skin Type: Oily
  • Sunscreen Features: Hybrid, SPF 30, PA+++
  • Acne-Skin Friendly Features: Water-Based, Lightweight, Non-Greasy, Non-Sticky, Non-Comedogenic, Sensitive-Skin Friendly
  • Amazon Rating: 4.1

Differentiating Factors:

  • Features 5-star boots rating, meaning it offers more than 90% protection in the UVA spectrum relative to the UVB spectrum. Put simply, this sunscreen offers the best level of protection against UVA rays (radiations that cause premature aging and skin cancer).
  • Provides great anti-acne benefit as it packs 2 great anti-acne ingredients (Copper Gluconate, Niacinamide). Niacinamide also allows this sunscreen to remove tan and lighten skin.
  • Those who have irritated skin would benefit from this sunscreen as it contains two reliable soothing soothing ingredients Zinc Gluconate & Copper Gluconate.

The Not-So-Great Side:

  • Contains Fragrance: ✓
  • Contains Parabéns: ✓
  • Mattifying: X
  • Water-Resistant: X
  • Leaves White Cast: ✓

La Shield SPF 40+ Anti Acne Sunscreen Gel

La Shield SPF 40+ Anti Acne Sunscreen Gel

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Wanna pick up a sunscreen that enjoys a brilliant rating of 4.3 from 1000s of reviews, and gets recommended by dozens of dermatologists? We sure would! La Shield Sunscreen Gel doesn’t irritate acne-prone skin, feels light on face and very effectively prevents tanning.It offers amazing protection from solar radiation (with SPF of 40 & PA+++ grading), can be used as a primer, and is free from preservative, alcohol, dye, and color additives.

  • Skin Type: All
  • Sunscreen Features: Hybrid, SPF 40, PA+++, Water-Resistant
  • Acne-Skin Friendly Features: Lightweight, Non-Sticky, Non-Irritant, Non-Comedogenic, Mattifying
  • Amazon Rating: 4.3

Differentiating Factors:

  • It enjoys a brilliant overall rating of 4.3 from 3000+ customers. While we do have sunscreens that have such great overall ratings, having such a number from 3000+ ratings is an achievement. Want a sunscreen that’s getting loved by the masses? Well, this is an awesome choice.
  • Not only is it dermatologically tested, but it gets frequently endorsed by top dermatologists. We didn’t find any other sunscreen getting as much recommended by dermatologists as this one (we observed this from customer reviews on Amazon).
  • It works great for reducing tan and fine lines.

The Not-So-Great Side:

  • Contains Fragrance: ✓
  • Contains Octinoxate: ✓
  • Water-Based: X

The Pink Foundry SPF 30 PA+++ Broad Spectrum Matte Sunscreen

The Pink Foundry SPF 30 PA+++ Broad Spectrum Matte Sunscreen

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Who says that there isn’t any (great) 100% physical sunscreen when there exists “The Pink Foundry  Matte Sunscreen”? It check marks all the great characteristics that an acne-prone sufferer would want in a product, works for all types of skin, offers great moisturization, gives an amazing yellow tint coverage with a matte finish, leaves no white cast, comes in a unique pretty packing – all while offering a complete protection from both UVA & UVB rays. Also, it’s free from many common irritants including Paraben, PABA, and Fragrance. Plus, it’s 100% vegan and 100% cruelty-free. Well, well, there is so much (more) to be loved about this sunscreen.

  • Skin Type: All (Sensitive, Acne prone, Dry, Oily & Combination)
  • Sunscreen Features: Mineral, SPF 30, PA+++, Water-Resistant
  • Acne-Skin Friendly Features: Ultra Light, Non-Sticky, Quick-Absorbing, Non-Comedogenic, Mattifying, Hypoallergenic
  • Amazon Rating: 4.6

Differentiating Factors:

  • The only moisturizer in the list to be 100% mineral (so contains only Zinc Oxide & Titanium Dioxide, and no chemical sunscreen compounds). That means it’s great for those with sensitive skin-type, allows for instant apply-and-go provision, and offers all-round protection from both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Offers a natural-looking yellow tint that gives a bit of brighter look to the skin. Good for guys and great for girls as they can still rock without even makeup. Now, let us tell you that it works equally well under makeup too.
  • Provides amazing moisturization, as it packs two great moisturizing ingredients Shea Butter. However, if you have acne-prone skin, we would advise you to invest in great moisturizers for acne-prone skin.

The Not-So-Great Side:

  • Water-Based: X
  • Contains alcohol: ✓
  • Contains artificial coloring agents: ✓

SkinQ SPF 40 Sunscreen Gel

SkinQ SPF 40 Sunscreen Gel

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Fearing that a sunscreen might give you a breakout? That should be your last worry with SkinQ’s non-comedogenic dermatologist-formulated Sunscreen Gel. It offers advanced protection from harmful UV rays (with a higher SPF of 40), keeps skin looking young and healthy (as it packs antioxidants), protects from tanning, goes well with even kids, and goes on skin smoothly like a gel while leaving no white residue.

  • Skin Type: All
  • Sunscreen Features: Chemical, SPF 40, PA+++
  • Acne-Skin Friendly Features: Water-Based, Light, Non-Sticky, Non-Greasy, Non-Comedogenic, Mattifying
  • Amazon Rating: 4.4

Differentiating Factors:

  • Packs an inbuilt anti-oxidant Vitamin C, which allows it to fight off free radical damage and reduce pigmentation from tanning. Looking to keep your skin young, healthy, and tan-free? This is all you need!
  • One of the very few sunscreens in the list to be kids-friendly. That means all of your family, from elders to youngsters, can blindly use it everyday.
  • Packs an SPF of 40, which is better than many other sunscreens in the list. If you like playing outdoors, or need to go out frequently for a longer duration, this is a better choice than many other moisturizers in the list.
  • One of the very few sunscreens in the list that’s dermatologists-formulated, tested & approved. Having dermatologists involved at every stage surely makes it more credible and trustworthy than other sunscreen in the list.

The Not-So-Great Side:

  • Contains alcohol: ✓
  • Water-resistant: X
  • Expensive: ✓

SUNMATE Anti-acne Oil-free SPF 30+ Sunscreen

SUNMATE Anti-acne Oil-free SPF 30+ Sunscreen

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For those who have sensitive acne-prone skin and sweat profusely, SUNMATE’s Oil-Free Anti-Acne Sunscreen is the one to buy. Not only does it offer great protection from the sun’s harmful radiation, but its superlight, oil-free, odorless, and mattifying formula goes super-delicate on acne-prone skin. What’s more is that it can be used as foundation, gets suggested by dermatologists themselves, and even comes with a free sample of Sunmate SPF30 sunscreen gel-cream.

  • Skin Type: Sensitive
  • Sunscreen Features: Chemical, SPF 30, PA+++, Water-Resistant
  • Acne-Skin Friendly Features: Oil-Free, Light, Non-Sticky, Odorless, Non-Comedogenic, Mattifying
  • Amazon Rating: 4.4

Differentiating Factors:

  • Offers 2 hours long water-resistant effect (highest of any sunscreen in the list). For those who sweat profusely, stay in humid regions, or go out frequently during summers, this is a must have.
  • Like La Shield Sunscreen Gel, it’s not only dermatologically-tested but also gets frequently endorsed by dermatologists themselves. For dermatologists to recommend a sunscreen, there must be something great about it (there sure is).
  • Odorless and oil-free, it’s one of the only sunscreens in our list that’s specially formulated for sensitive skin types. For those with sensitive acne-prone skin type, this is hands down the best choice.

The Not-So-Great Side:

  • Complete ingredients’ list: X

Cetaphil Sun Spf 30 Gel

Cetaphil Sun Spf 30 Gel

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Dermatologically-tested, hypoallergenic, and non-comedogenic Cetaphil Sun Spf Gel is sure to go kind on your acne-prone skin. Its get formula offers protection from all 3 sun’s radiations (UVA, UVB, and IR) while its vitamin E helps nourish your skin. And all this comes at no expense of paraben, fragrance, or emulsifiers.

  • Skin Type: Combination
  • Sunscreen Features: Chemical, SPF 30, Water-Resistant
  • Acne-Skin Friendly Features: Water-Based, Light, Non-Sticky, Odorless, Non-Comedogenic, Hypoallergenic
  • Amazon Rating: 4.3

Differentiating Factors:

  • Contains ingredients to help protect skin from tanning, premature skin aging, and dark spots. Also packs vitamin E that helps nourish one’s skin.
  • One of the few sunscreens in the list to contain no fragrance. For those who have sensitive skin, or just don’t like the idea of having fragrance in everything, this is great.

The Not-So-Great Side:

  • Mattifying: X
  • Contains alcohol: ✓
  • PA-graded: X
  • Expensive: ✓ 

Glenmark Moisturizer and Sunscreen SPF 30

Glenmark Moisturizer and Sunscreen SPF 30

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Specially formulated for dry acne-prone skin, Glenmark’s Episoft AC Moisturizer and Sunscreen offers superior broad spectrum protection against both ultraviolet A (UVA), ultraviolet B (UVB) rays and post acne hyperpigmentation. The unique things about it is the better moisturization (must for a dry skin), hypoallergenic (very less likely to cause allergy, so perfect for sensitive-skin type), and its ability to reduce acne-related redness.

  • Skin Type: Dry
  • Sunscreen Features: Chemical, SPF 30
  • Acne-Skin Friendly Features: Lightweight, Non-Greasy, Hypoallergenic, Non-Comedogenic
  • Amazon Rating: 4.3

Differentiating Factors:

  • Designed for dry skin type, it offers better moisturization than other sunscreens in the list.
  • Its formulation packs special microencapsulated aqueous dispersion sunscreen, which allows it to reduce redness and offer all day protection.
  • Glenmark Moisturizer and Sunscreen is hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic (so very less likely to cause breakouts), dermatologically tested and free from skin irritants.

The Not-So-Great Side:

  • Mattifying: X
  • Contains alcohol: ✓
  • Water-resistant: X
  • PA graded: X

A guide to choosing the best sunscreen for your acne-prone skin

Choose sunscreens meant for your skin-type: To do this, you must know what category your skin falls in (Oily, Combination, Sensitive, Normal, Dry). With a simple search, you should be able to figure that out. This is important as specific sunscreens target specific skin types. For example, someone with oily acne-prone skin won’t need deeply moisturizing sunscreen while that would be great for someone with dry skin type.

Always go after non-comedogenic sunscreens for acne-prone skin: Non-comedogenic sunscreens won’t contain any ingredients known to clog the pores. While that doesn’t guarantee that they would never cause breakouts, they sure are a safer bet compared to sunscreens that aren’t non-comedogenic.

Don’t settle for SPF of less than 30: The number indicates the amount of sunburn protection a sunscreen provides from UVB rays (radiation responsible for skin color change or sunburn). ADA (American Academy of Dermatology) recommends an SPF of 30 or higher, and that’s why our list doesn’t contain any sunscreen with a less than 30 SPF.

Understand physical, chemical, and hybrid sunscreens

Physical Sunscreens: These deflect and scatter damaging UV rays away from the skin by staying on the top of the skin. Great for those with sensitive skin-type, they are apply-and-go sunscreens that offer all-round protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Two key ingredients to look out for when trying to spot them are titanium dioxide or zinc dioxide.

However, physical sunscreens require generous frequent applications, may appear white or chalky on the skin (especially on darker complexions), aren’t makeup-friendly, and generally thicker (so require more effort to rub in).

Chemical Sunscreens: These contain organic compounds that change UV rays into heat, which is subsequently released from the skin and dispersed. They require less amount, spread easily and go well with other products.

They require approximately 20 minutes after application to become effective, and may not be the best choice for sensitive acne-prone skin as these may block pores, and induce irritation and breakouts.

Hybrid sunscreens: Today, we see many hybrid sunscreens in the market, which contain both inorganic and organic filters. These are great, as they maximize plus points of each filter, while minimizing the overall limitations.

Opt for PA graded sunscreens: PA Grading indicates the level of protection a sunscreen provides from UVA rays (radiation that penetrates deep into the skin, and may lead to premature skin aging and cancer). When you are purchasing a sunscreen, try buying PA graded sunscreens. Here’s what various PA grades mean:

  • PA+: Offers some protection against UVA rays
  • PA++: Provides moderate protection against UVA rays,
  • PA+++: Gives excellent protection against UVA rays,
  • PA+++: Offers the best possible protection against UVA rays.

Want longer protections? Go for water-resistant sunscreens: These sunscreens provide longer-lasting protection than standard sunscreen products, as their active components are locked inside the applied film.

Try spotting these nice words: Including water-based or gel-based, oil-free, non-greasy, lightweight, mattifying, etc.

Buy sunscreens free from unnecessary irritants, if possible: These unnecessary irritants include parabens, SLS, mineral oil, PABA, silicones, etc. Most of these are added to increase shelf life of the products, and can cause problems ranging from mild irritation to endocrine-system damage. If you see some sunscreen flaunting Parabens-free, SLS-free, or other such labels, it may be a wise choice to opt for them (especially if you have a sensitive skin-type or you have two products checking the same parameters).

Never hurts to buy sunscreens containing anti-acne ingredients: Yes, if you can spot alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) like salicylic acid or retinol in a sunscreen, this is like icing on cake. However, this is not a necessity as you can always go for great anti-acne moisturizers or find creams that work against acne.

Dermatologist-tested, FDA-approved, yes, this does mean something good: No matter how transparent these labels might be, these at least reflect that the product has undergone some testing procedure by experts who really understand this domain. So like having an anti-acne ingredient in a sunscreen is icing on a cake, this is kind of similar.

Check what other benefits the moisturizer offers: Some can soothe and calm skin irritation. Others can brighten skin. It’s always good to check what additional benefits a sunscreen is providing.

Check product’s popularity, ratings and read reviews: While popularity is never the indication of best, it does offer a precise estimation of a sunscreen’s rating and more reviews to read from to make a better sense. That’s why you won’t mostly go wrong choosing popular, high-rated, and highly-reviewed sunscreens.

Price matters, yes!: While many think that expensive products are automatically great, we don’t think so. There are many budget sunscreens that blow away many expensive competitors. However, if you do find a sunscreen that checks almost all the aspects discussed above, you can always let loose your pocket (only if your budget allows you to).

Sunscreens-Related FAQs

What to apply first: sunscreen or moisturizer?

Apply sunscreen first if you are using a mineral or physical sunscreen, and apply after a moisturizer if it’s a chemical or hybrid sunscreen.

Should I wait before I go out after applying sunscreen?

You can go out immediately if you are using a physical sunscreen, but for chemical sunscreen, you would need to wait 20-30 minutes.

How often do you reapply sunscreen?

A good rule of thumb is two hours. Also, make sure to reapply it after swimming or sweating. For those who just stay indoors, a second session may not be necessary.

Is sunscreen just meant for the face?

No! Sunscreen should be applied (generously) to all the body parts which won’t be covered by sun, like the ears, back, shoulders, and the back of the knees and legs. Always check product specification instructions for more usage details.

Which is the overall best sunscreen for acne-prone skin?

We would love to give this title to The Pink Foundry Broad Spectrum Matte Sunscreen. It’s 100% mineral sunscreen, works for all skin types, is non-comedogenic and hypoallergenic, leaves no white cast and offers complete protection from both UVA & UVB rays.

Are there any true physical sunscreens in the Indian market?

Yes! The Pink Foundry Broad Spectrum Matte Sunscreen is a 100% physical sunscreen. It allows for instant apply-and-go provision, offers comprehensive protection from both UVA and UVB rays, and is amazing for sensitive-skin types as it doesn’t contain any chemical sunscreen.

Can you mention some of the sunscreens that even children can use?

Two great kids safe sunscreens are Fixderma Shadow Gel & SkinQ SPF Sunscreen Gel. For those on a budget, Fixderma is better, while those who can let loose their pocket,  SkinQ SPF Sunscreen Gel is anyday a better choice (as it packs much better sunscreen features).

Reviewed by
DR. B LAKSHMI DIVYA
Registration Number: 74576
MBBS, MD – Dermatology, MBBS, MD – Dermatology , Venereology & Leprosy

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