How Do I Choose the Best Non-Comedogenic Sunscreen?

Lainie Petersen

When choosing non-comedogenic sunscreen, consider your skin type, the ingredients in the sunscreen, and the strength of the product’s sun protection. If you have very sensitive skin, you may find that you need to try several types of non-comedogenic sunscreens before you find one that effectively protects your skin while not triggering breakouts. Other considerations include product price as well as whether the product does double duty as a moisturizer. Your dermatologist may be able to recommend a suitable non-comedogenic sunscreen based on his or her experience with other patients.

To choose a non-comedogenic sunscreen that provides significant sun protection, make sure and read the ingredient label.
To choose a non-comedogenic sunscreen that provides significant sun protection, make sure and read the ingredient label.

The term “non-comedogenic” is often used by skin care and cosmetics manufacturers to describe products that are formulated with ingredients that are less likely than others to clog pores. It should be noted, however, that the term itself is not always regulated. In some jurisdictions, such as the United States, any company can use the term to describe any product, regardless of its ingredients or whether there is any proof that it does not clog pores. As such, you should not select a non-comedogenic sunscreen simply because of its packaging claims. When possible, get a sample of several sun-protection products and try them out for yourself, choosing the products that do not result in blemishes or irritation.

Non-comedogenic suncreen.
Non-comedogenic suncreen.

It is also important to choose a non-comedogenic sunscreen that provides you with significant sun protection. You should read the ingredient label to ensure that the product will protect you against both UVA and UVB sun rays. The first type of radiation, UVA, can cause skin cancer and damage. Exposure to the second type, UVB, results in sunburn. Find a product that contains an ingredient or a combination of ingredients that addresses both radiation types. Some common ingredients that are capable of providing this full-spectrum protection include titanium oxide, zinc oxide, and avobenzone.

The amount of protection against the sun’s burning UVB rays offered by a sunblock product is typically expressed as its SPF or sun protection factor. Most experts recommend that you use a product that has an SPF of at least 15, which means that it protects you against a burn for 15 times longer than going out without any sunscreen. Some types of sunscreen offer a great deal more protection, though some experts note that these can irritate skin. If you are already undergoing treatment for acne, you may want to avoid using these high-potency sunscreens unless you have the chance to try them to make sure that they don’t aggravate any redness and irritation that you may already be experiencing.

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Discussion Comments


@burcinc-- If you buy your sunscreen from a regular store, it's difficult to find non-comedogenic ones there. Most of these products are formulated for the body and cause problems when used on the face.

So you should get your sunscreen from a skin care line. Skin care lines always make sunscreen especially for the face and they make them according to different skin types.

I buy my non-comedogenic sunscreen from a skin-care counter of a good brand at the mall. The product is labeled "mattifying" and is made for acne-prone skin.

It costs more than regular sunscreen, but it's worth it.


@burcinc-- That's a great question.

Check the ingredients list for natural oils. Natural oils are not non-comedogenic, they clog pores. So if a sunscreen is oil-free, it's basically non-comedogenic.

It's not possible to know how your skin is going to react to every single ingredient though. I can't even pronounce most of the ingredients in my sunscreen. So it requires some trial and error. You have to try it and see if it clogs your pores.


If the term "non-comedogenic" is not regulated, how do I know if the sunscreen is really non-comedogenic or not?

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