Summary: Sunscreen does NOT cause acne but it may aggravate acne if your brand contains particular ingredients.
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Sunscreen does not cause acne but may if it contains particular ingredients.
More Info: Most sunscreens on the market are specially formulated to be non-comedogenic, which is a technical word for products that do not clog pores. Because the compounds in sunscreen do not clog pores, sunscreen is not likely to be the root cause of pimples or acne break outs. However, most sunblock lotions contain oils, fragrances, and other additives. These ingredients may aggravate an acne condition that already exists. If you acne and sensitive or oily skin, you can purchase hypo-allergenic and oil-free sunscreens. The level of Sun Protection Factor (SPF) does affect acne sensitivity.
Not Using Sunscreen May Have Acne Benefits
For people with mild or moderate acne, there may be some benefit to going without sunscreen. In moderation, sunlight may help heal lesions and dry up cystic acne pimples on the face, back, and chest. The results will vary from person to person, and not everyone will notice improvement. The best time to soak up the sun is before 10 am or after 2 pm when the sun's rays are less direct. For prolonged exposure to sunlight, or exposure during peak hours, it is important to wear sunscreen, regardless of any acne condition. According to the American Cancer Society, everyone should use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. To get the most protection, it should be applied 20 minutes before going out into the sun, and should be reapplied after swimming and towel drying.