Can Wearing Sunscreen Make Acne Worse?

Actually, not wearing sunscreen can make acne worse. Although you may love the way your skin looks and feels after a day in the sun – whether it’s summer pool or beach time, or winter ski time – getting a sunburn will only make your acne worse. Sunburn causes inflammation in the skin, which is a leading factor for acne flareups.

No matter the season, it’s important to apply a top-quality sunscreen to your face, hands, neck, and all exposed areas of your body. Use a sunscreen that has lighter, less harsh chemical ingredients like avobenzone, oxybenzone, methoxycinnamate, octocylene, and zinc oxide if you’re prone to acne. If you currently have acne, sunscreen is still a must. Look for ‘noncomedogenic’ printed on your sunscreen’s label, and ask your dermatologist to recommend a top-performing sunscreen for daily use, as well as one for sporting use. Noncomedogenic products are non pore-clogging, which helps prevent acne breakouts.

One important thing to consider is that sunscreen needs to be washed off when you’re done out in the sun. Leaving sunscreen on your skin throughout the night can mean that any dirt, oils and bacteria you’ve accumulated on your skin will be granted easy access to your pores, where they will create inflammation, blocked pores, trapped bacteria and other conditions that can worsen acne flareups. It’s not the sunscreen causing your acne in this case; it’s not following ideal skincare tips to wash your face with a gentle cleanser several times a day and especially at night, no matter how tired you are from a full day of adventures.

Share this sunscreen information with all of your family members, especially with teens who may be struggling with their own teen acne conditions. A good lesson in proper sunscreen use will go a long way to keeping your child safe from skin damage and skin cancer, and can also help improve his or her teen acne problem by just a simple step after smartly using sunscreen during the day.

Your dermatologist can test you for any skin damage caused by the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays, and help advise you on where to apply sunscreen more liberally, to help protect your skin’s appearance as well as your health. It’s a good idea to keep multiple bottles of your dermatologist’s recommended sunscreen choices in your car, in your beach bag, in your gym bag, even in a diaper bag if you tote your little one around town on a regular basis. You always want to have a quality sunscreen — and sunscreen lip balm — on hand, no matter where you are.

And don’t use last year’s sunscreen, even if there’s still a lot of lotion left in the bottle. Get a new bottle each season to be sure your sunscreen is fresh and free of any skin cells or bacteria in the bottle, so that you don’t risk any additional acne harm, and so that your sunscreen works optimally.

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