Acne develops as a result of many factors: increased sebum production results in the formation of a microcomedone, which attracts the p. acnes bacteria. Does sunscreen play any role in this sequence? Does sunscreen cause acne? The answer is that sunscreen does not cause acne, as long as you choose the correct sunscreen. That greasy sport sunscreen gel that you apply to your legs is probably not the best choice when it comes to choosing a sunscreen for the acne-prone skin on your face.
As with moisturizers and makeup, a sunscreen for the face should be labeled non-comedogenic or non-acnegenic. These phrases indicate that the product inside the packaging (in this case, the sunscreen itself) has been scientifically proven not to contribute to the formation of a microcomedone. If a microcomedone does not form, the p. acnes bacteria doesn’t congregate in the pores and lead to the development of acne.
Next time you walk outside, remember to apply a daily sunscreen prior to any sun exposure. Daily use of sun protection can decrease your risk of skin cancer and prevent the development of premature aging. Daily use of a proper sunscreen will not lead to the development of acne. In fact, many acne treatments and acne medications cause mild sun sensitivity. It is important to protect your skin from excessive sun damage while using these medications or undergoing these treatments. Dr. Schweiger notes that, “I recommend non-comedogenic sunscreens that are specially developed for acne-prone skin. Elta MD UV Clear and our own sunscreens, CompleteME AM and TintME, provide sun protection while not contributing to the formation of a microcomedone.”