How to Choose UVB Sunscreen for Acne Prone Skin

The Need for Protection

Many people understand the importance of protecting their skin from sunburn and potential skin cancers, but individuals with acne may have an extra challenge when it comes to choosing the best sunscreen. Clogged pores may lead to numerous skin conditions, and having skin with an oily appearance can be distressing for many reasons. Trapped dirt and oil can cause breakouts and skin irritation, and this may prompt individuals with acne prone skin to avoid using anything altogether. The sensitive skin of the face may need special protection against prolonged sun exposure, and the good news is that there are many effective UVB sunscreen products that protect and nourish the skin as well. An effective sunscreen will protect against:

• Burning
• Peeling

What to Avoid

Many commercial offerings contain ingredients that have nothing to do with UVB protection, and these unneeded ingredients can exacerbate existing skin problems and lead to irritation and inflammation. Individuals with acne prone skin should avoid:

• Synthetic fragrances
• Petrochemicals
• Mineral oil byproducts

Individuals with sensitive and acne prone skin should avoid these ingredients and select sunscreen that is free of added fragrance and questionable synthetic additives. A mild UVB sunscreen with natural ingredients can protect sensitive skin without causing further irritation or inflammation, and using products that have been recommended by dermatologists may be the best criteria when selecting sun protection.  

What to Select

The American Academy of Dermatologists has specific criteria for UVB sunscreen classification. Sunscreen must meet all criteria in order to be considered worthwhile and effective. The products with the highest ratings are:

• Broad spectrum
• SPF 30 or higher
• Water resistant

The AAD recommends broad spectrum products for protection against UVB rays, and broad spectrum products may be ideal for protecting against burning and peeling. An appropriate sunscreen should have a sun protection factor of 30 or higher since a product with an SPF lower than 30 would be considered inadequate according to AAD standards. UVB sunscreen needs to be water-resistant to be effective during sun and water exposure such as outdoor swimming, and this means that the lotion should stay on even when the skin is exposed to water.

Individuals with a tendency to experience acne should look for products that will not clog their pores or create additional skin problems. This may require reading labels carefully, but there are key words that may be helpful. Products endorsed by dermatologists may be labeled as:

• Non-comedogenic
• Hypoallergenic

There are many natural ingredients that support skin health and protection, and many of these ingredients may be used on their own or along with other moisturizing products. Natural ingredients should be as safe, water-resistant, and protective as other products. Some good natural choices include:

• Cocoa butter
• Shea butter
• Jojoba oil
• Zinc oxide

Natural oils and butters can provide moisture without clogging pores with harmful synthetic ingredients. Zinc oxide protects the skin from harmful UVB rays, and it is recommended as a topical agent for controlling acne. The right UVB sunscreen can keep skin moist, clear, and protected.

Sam Moser is a freelance content writer who has written almost exclusively for the web since graduating from the School of Journalism at Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario. A self-confessed beach bum, Sam knows the importance of using an organic UVB sunscreen.


After being self-employed for a majority of her adult life, Becky cannot imagine her work life being any other way. Just about an empty nester with her husband of over 21 years she enjoys the quiet. BUT sometimes misses the commotion. She is a Mom to 3 adult children, 2 boys and 1 girl (ages 26, 22, and 20 respectively) plus a daughter-in-law almost 25 years old. She is also the proud Grandma (or ma-ma) to Emma who is 6 1/2 years old and Zakary who is almost 2 years old. Becky lives out in the country and only misses the internet that a 'city/town' would offer.

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