Adding an extra step to your acne routine may seem like a nuisance, but there’s one layer you just can’t skip: sunscreen. Let’s debunk those myths and learn why and which sunscreen is the perfect and non-negotiable addition to your skin care regiment.
Why is sunscreen so important?
Sunscreen protects your skin against sun burns, aging, hyperpigmentation, and related cancers by blocking the damage from UVA and UVB rays. Additionally, acne medicine can make your skin more vulnerable to sun damage, making daily sunscreen use a must.
Myths and Facts
Myth: You only need sunscreen when it’s sunny.
Fact: Actually, it’s all about UV rays, which can also be strong on overcast days. Clouds are no excuse for skipping your SPF.
Myth: Once a day is enough.
Fact: No matter the SPF amount, all sunscreen erodes under UV rays, so be sure to apply every two hours during prolonged sun exposure.
Myth: The SPF in my moisturizer or makeup isn’t enough.
Fact: All products with SPF are regulated, so as long as you’re using the recommended amount, you’ll have the full coverage. However, this recommended amount can translate into a very thick layer of makeup.
Myth: Since I have a darker skin tone, sunscreen isn’t necessary.
Fact: While it’s true darker skin tones naturally have some SPF built in (up to SPF 13), it’s dangerous to assume this will prevent long-term damage that causes skin cancer or hyperpigmentation.
Which sunscreen is best for acne prone skin?
To protect your skin, especially when using acne treatment products, choose a sunscreen with the following specifications:
- 50 SPF or higher (don’t assume two low SPFs will add up, i.e., one SPF 25 plus another does not equal SPF 50)
- Labeled as “broad spectrum” (UVA and UVB protection) or containing ingredients like Octocrylene (which protects against both UVA and UVB rays and stabilizes other ingredients to maintain full SPF longer)
- Noncomedogenic or “oil-free” options in the form of gels, sprays or fluids (these lightweight options are better for oily skin)
- Avoid sunscreens with oxybenzone and PABA (they’ll irritate already sensitive skin)
How do you use sunscreen?
Approximately 20 minutes after applying your acne products (or once it’s absorbed), apply sun protection, using the recommended amount. Apply daily and, if you’re spending time outdoors, reapply every two hours.