Sunscreen is the most important skincare product you can use on your skin every day. It protects skin from the harmful sun rays, helping to prevent skin cancer, fine lines and wrinkles and those unattractive sun spots. As a result, skin ages more slowly and gracefully. However, if you have oily skin, trying to find a good sunscreen often feels like a mission impossible!
Most sunscreens on the market are too thick and emollient for oily skin, leaving an uncomfortable greasy residue behind. And lightweight sunscreens very often contain alcohol which is irritating and drying. Argh! What’s an oily-skinned gal to do? Many prefer to skip the sunscreen, but that’s never a good idea. Instead, why not try one of these options, which are all suitable for oily skin (and listed in no particular order)?
1. Neutrogena Ultimate Sport Sunblock Lotion SPF 30
Although I prefer physical sunscreens, this chemical sunscreen offers solid protection from both UVA and UVB rays. It contains Avobenzone (3%), Homosalate (8%), Octisalate (5%), Octocrylene (4%) and Oxybenzone (5%), all sunscreen agents that work by transforming UV light into a non-harmful form of energy, such as heat. Homosalate, which belongs to the salicylate family, is one of the ingredients used by the FDA in its standard sunscreen to test the SPF of other sunscreens. Avobenzone is a common ingredient in sunscreens because it protects well from UVA rays, but it is highly unstable (ie it breaks down and produces free radicals) when exposed to light. To prevent this from happening, here Avobenzone is stabilized with both Octocrylene and Oxybenzone.
Helioplex, the technology used by Neutrogena, is simply a stabilized and patented combination of Avobenzone and Oxybenzone. According to the company, it provides longer lasting UVA protection than that given by most sunscreens. These two ingredients shouldn’t, however, be used by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and by babies because they can be absorbed by the body (and are then secreted in the urine). Despite this, they have been found to be non-toxic and safe for adults. The sunscreen has a lightweight, non-greasy consistency that’s suitable for oily skin but, despite its waterproof claims, reapplication every few hours is still necessary. It is available on Amazon at $6.90.
2. Paula’s Choice Extra Care Non-Greasy Sunscreen SPF 50 for Normal to Oily/Combination Skin
This sunscreen has a slightly thicker texture compared to the others in this list, so those with very oily skin may not be able to tolerate it. If you can though, this is a great option. To start with, it offers excellent broad spectrum protection thanks to the mix of Homosalate (10%), Oxybenzone (6%), Octisalate (5%), Avobenzone (3%) and Octocrylene (2%). In addition, it is loaded with antioxidants, which help prevent the premature signs of aging.
It contains Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, a stable form of Vitamin C that can boost collagen production and fight free radicals, and two forms of Vitamin E (Tocopherol and Tocopheryl Acetate) that inhibit collagen breakdown. Vitamins C and E work better when used together because they help stabilize each other and boost both their antioxidant properties and UV protection. The sunscreen also contains Retinyl Palmitate, a gentler form of Vitamin A that has powerful antioxidant properties and can boost the production of both collagen and elastin. You can buy it at paulaschoice.com for $14.95.
3. EltaMD UV Pure Broad-Spectrum SPF 47
If you prefer an all physical sunscreen, EltaMD UV Pure Broad-Spectrum SPF 47 is one of the best on the market for those with oily skin. It contains Zinc Oxide (10%) and Titanium Dioxide (5.5%), two white minerals that can give a white cast to the skin. These two ingredients create a shield on the skin that simply reflects light away from it. They just never allow the sun rays to hit the skin. They also offer excellent protection.
Titanium Dioxide protects from all UVB, and some UVA rays, while Zinc Oxide can, on its own, protect against the entire UV spectrum. In addition, physical blockers are also gentler, and less likely to cause irritations, than chemical sunscreen agents. This sunscreen has a lightweight silky texture that applies easily, and is quite water resistant (although you will still have to reapply it every now and then), but it can leave a slight white cast on the skin. You can buy it for $22.50 on Dermstore.com.
4. Sunumbra Sunkids SPF 40
For those looking for a physical sunscreen that doesn’t leave a white cast behind, there’s Sunumbra Sunkids SPF 40. This tinted sunscreen contains only Zinc Oxide, and a bunch of natural extracts – such as Broccoli Sprout Extract, Black Tea Extract and Astaxanthin – with antioxidant properties that prevent premature aging and boost UV protection. Its texture is very lightweight and absorbs really quickly, without leaving a greasy residue behind. You can check out my full review here. The sunscreen is available at sunumbra.com and retails at $33.70.
What’s your favourite sunscreen for oily skin?