Does sunscreen clog pores? Learn how to wear sunscreen while keeping a clear and glowing complexion.
Sunscreen is the most important part of anyone’s skincare routine, and I’m not just talking about beach days.
Even through the winter months, harmful UV rays can do major damage to our skin health, causing dark spots, fine lines, and other signs of aging.
To protect our skin from sun damage and even skin cancer, sunscreen should be applied every morning after moisturizing.
With this said, finding the right sun protection isn’t that cut and dry. Some claim that wearing their sunscreen on a daily basis clogs their pores, causing major breakouts.
Does sunscreen actually clog pores?
It doesn’t have to! By choosing the right sunscreen and implementing a solid skincare routine, you can protect yourself from UV light while maintaining a clear complexion.
In this post, I’m sharing tips on how to prevent sunscreen-caused breakouts, my top sunscreen recommendations, recommended formulas, and ingredients to watch out for.
How to Prevent Sunscreen from Clogging Your Pores
Preventing clogged pores is all about choosing the right sunscreen and skincare routine. Follow these tips for clear pores, guaranteed!
1. Choose the Right Sunscreen
The right sunscreen can protect your skin, provide a smoothing finish, and won’t clog your pores! Here’s how to pick your best sunscreen:
Investigate Sunscreen Formulas
First, decide between chemical or physical (mineral) sunscreens.
Physical sunscreens sit on top of the skin, creating a protective barrier from sun exposure and free radicals. Those with sensitive skin or acne-prone skin types often prefer this formula because it’s less likely to irritate the skin.
Because it doesn’t penetrate your skin, it’s also less likely to clog your pores and cause breakouts!
Physical sunscreen also provides physical blockers against both UVA and UVB rays.
Unfortunately, most mineral sunscreens provide a slight white cast to your skin tone from the active ingredients zinc oxide or titanium oxide. To help this, try a formula that also includes iron oxide!
Some love chemical sunscreen because it’s lightweight, easy to use, and doesn’t provide a white cast.
Chemical sunscreen penetrates the skin, absorbing UV radiation. Some offer broad-spectrum protection, though others will only provide one form of protection.
Because your skin absorbs this sunscreen, it’s more likely to cause skin irritation, clog pores, and result in breakouts.
In my opinion, the best sunscreen if you have acne-prone skin or are very oily is a mineral formula. I personally wear chemical sunscreen as I don’t like the white-cast that often comes with mineral formulas. I follow the steps below to ensure the chemical sunscreen does not clog my pores.
Look for Non-Comedogenic Ingredients
While choosing a sunscreen, remember to opt for a non-comedogenic sunscreen; this means it doesn’t include any pore-clogging ingredients!
Some sunscreen ingredients to avoid include:
- Mineral oil
- Coconut oil
- Soybean oil
- Cocoa butter
- Cetyl alcohol
- Color additives
My Favorite Sunscreens That Won’t Clog Pores
Ready to pick out your best sunscreen? Here are my absolute favorite products:
- NAKED SUNDAYS | SPF 50+ Hydrating Glow Mist Top Up
- SUPERGOOP! | (Re)Setting Refreshing Mist SPF 40
- INNISFREE | Daily UV Defense Sunscreen SPF 36
- LIVE TINTED | Hueguard 3-in-1 Mineral Sunscreen, Moisturizer, & Primer SPF 30
- NAKED SUNDAYS | SPF 50 Clear Glow Radiant Sunscreen Serum
- SUPERGOOP! | Glowscreen SPF 40
- SUPERGOOP! | Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40
- SAINT JANE | Luxury Sun Ritual Pore Smoothing Sunscreen SPF 30
2. Try a Patch Test
Whenever trying new sunscreen products, always try a test patch.
Choose a small spot at the base of your jawline and apply a small amount of your sunscreen. Check-in 24 hours for any sign of redness, stinging, breakout, or other irritation.
For any stocked at Sephora, they can offer you a sample to test out at home!
3. Cleanse Properly
Even with the best sunscreens, prolonged wear can cause clogged pores and acne breakouts. To prevent this, make sure to cleanse your face thoroughly at the end of the day.
Double cleansing is another great option, using an oil-based cleanser to break up the sunscreen and then a water-based cleanser for a clean finish.
Some of my favorite cleanser ingredients include hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, and vitamin C. You can read more about different types of cleaners here.
4. Exfoliate Regularly
Regular exfoliation is also incredibly important to avoid clogged pores. Exfoliants will clear dead skin cells, offering a smooth surface.
Exfoliating can also brighten your skin tone, reduce the appearance of acne scars, and improve your overall complexion.
I like using salicylic acid cleaners to exfoliate because the active ingredient is a lot gentler than physical exfoliants.
My favorite salicylic acid exfoliants and exfoliating cleansers include:
- PEACE OUT | Blemish Balm
- DR. DENNIS GROSS | Alpha Beta AHA/BHA Daily Cleansing Gel
- PAULA’S CHOICE | Clear Pore Normalizing Cleanser
- DERMALOGICA | Daily Microfoliant Exfoliator
- DERMALOGICA | Active Clearing Skin Wash
- THE ORDINARY | Salicylic Acid 2% Masque
- PAULA’S CHOICE | Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant
5. Consult a Dermatologist
Finally, if you’re having difficulty finding a sunscreen that doesn’t clog your pores, contact a board-certified dermatologist for assistance.
A dermatologist can test your skin for sensitivities and offer you high-quality products for a perfect complexion!
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the questions I get asked most in addition to “does sunscreen clog pores?”
How do I protect my scalp from sun exposure?
Scalp burns are so painful (and common!).
While applying greasy sunscreen to your hairline doesn’t sound all too appealing, there are a few ways to protect it from the sun’s rays.
*Protective hairstyles – Pull your hair back in a braid, a half-up-half-down style, or an updo to protect your parting.
*Cute hats – Pop on a cute hat to protect your scalp and give your face even more sun protection.
*Mist sunscreen – Mist a sunscreen like NAKED SUNDAYS | SPF 50+ Hydrating Glow Mist over your part to protect it from the sun. You can also use this mist to reapply SPF over your makeup throughout the day.
What is the best waterproof sunscreen?
A good water-resistant sunscreen is necessary for beach days, pool days, and extra hot days when you’re sweating a ton!
My top waterproof sunscreens are SHISEIDO | Ultimate Sun Protector Lotion SPF 50+ Sunscreen and SUPERGOOP! | Play Everyday Lotion SPF 50.
Use Shiseido sunscreen on your face for a lightweight formula designed for sensitive skin. Use Supergoop Play all over for full body protection.
What is the best sunscreen for oily skin?
If your skin is prone to excess oil, wearing sunscreen regularly can sound like a nightmare!
For a comfortable formula with a beautiful, matte finish, choose an oil-free sunscreen with oil-absorbing ingredients like clay or silica.
Mineral sunscreens including active ingredients zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are also best for a matte finish.
SUPERGOOP! Mineral Mattescreen Sunscreen is an excellent choice.
Final Thoughts – Does Sunscreen Clog Pores?
That wraps up my thoughts on whether sunscreen clogs pores and how to wear sunscreen while maintaining a clear complexion.