Most of us know what it’s like to struggle with oily skin.
It really stinks!
The last thing those of us with oily skin want is to end up with a sunscreen that makes us feel even more sticky and – even worse- may exacerbate our oily skin and result in acne breakouts!
That’s why today we’re talking about how to choose a good sunscreen for oily skin, why certain sunscreens make oily skin worse, and reviewing some of our top picks for the best oily skin compatible sunscreens out there!
What Types of Sunscreen Are Best for Oily Skin?
Oily skin has an excess of sebum, which is a waxy oil produced by your pores to moisturize the skin. Normally, sebum is great for keeping skin soft and moisturized, but an overabundance can result in excessively oily skin.
People with oily skin often clog their pores with pore-clogging ingredients in certain sunscreens, leading to acne breakouts if they’re using a sunscreen that was not designed for an oily skin type.
Wearing sunscreen is a must, whether you have normal or oily skin, if you want to avoid skin cancer and keep your skin safe from additional aging effects. Seeking out gentle, mattifying sunscreens that won’t result in clogged pores is a must to keep sensitive skin happy while providing protection.
The term “oily skin” also commonly refers to combination skin, meaning some areas of the face are oily and some areas are dry. The best sunscreens for combination skin need to be able to moisturize dry patches as well as avoiding adding too much oil to existing oily areas.
There are several factors that make certain sunscreens best for oily skin, including:
- Oil-free. Naturally, an oil-free sunscreen is going to be recommended for individuals whose faces already overproduce oil.
- Non-comedogenic. This means the ingredients will not cause acne breakouts. Those with oily skin or acne-prone skin should opt for non-comedogenic sunscreens.
- Matte Finish. Sunscreens that dry to a matte or satin finish are best for oily skin, as they’ll offer a silky smooth finish that doesn’t make you look like a grease monkey!
- Quick Drying. Since facial sunscreen is usually just one in a series of steps for a morning face routine, a quick-drying formula is a must if you want to complete your skin care routine and get out the door without waiting a long time for your sunscreen to fully dry.
- Sheer, Lightweight. Look for sunscreens that promise to be as lightweight as possible, as these won’t sit heavy on your skin.
- No Cast. When shopping for a facials sunscreen, most people will want a formula that doesn’t leave a white, pasty cast on your skin.
- Powder or Gel. If you have oily skin, gel or powder sunscreens tend to be best, as they are less likely to leave your face looking shiny and can even absorb excess oil.
- Broad Spectrum. This is your face we’re talking about here, so you want to protect it from cancer-causing UV rays as well as prevent early aging, which means you’ll want a UVA/UVB broad spectrum sunscreen for full coverage and anti-aging benefits.
Best Sunscreen for Oily Skin: Our Favorites
Let’s jump into our list of the best sunscreens for oily skin!
1. Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40
Supergoop! is a no-brainer best in class sunscreen for anyone, whether they struggle with oily skin or not! With SPF 40 broad spectrum sun protection, it still managed to feel incredibly lightweight.
The best part is that this formula doesn’t leave any greasy residue on your skin – it’s clear, weightless, and is fragrance-free. It can even be applied to extremely dry and oily areas alike without leaving them feeling textured, unlike many other sunscreens. That’s why this is a great sunscreen for psoriasis too!
Supergoop! also has an oil-free matte finish that looks fantastic when layered under makeup, so you never have to choose between safety and beauty!
This formula is a chemical formula, but it doesn’t include oxybenzone, which is one of the major chemical ingredients that can cause breakouts and irritation for some skin types.
2. CeraVe Ultra-Light Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30
Dermatologists love this brand of sunscreen for oily skin because it is a drugstore staple that offers value without sacrificing on quality.
This gentle, light sunscreen provides broad spectrum SPF 30 protection, along with ceramides for skin-strengthening, hyaluronic acid to add moisture, along with a clean matte finish.
This sunscreen also doesn’t have fragrances or oil, and with its mineral composition, it’s a great sunscreen for protection against blue light as well.
This is another chemical type sunscreen (learn more about the differences between physical mineral vs chemical sunscreens) but doesn’t have the problematic oxybenzone ingredient, instead relying on active ingredients avobenzone, homosalate, and octisalate.
3. EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46
EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 is a lightweight, transparent sunscreen for oily skin that contains an effective combination of chemical and mineral based ingredients for optimal broad spectrum sun protection.
This featherweight-light sunscreen includes two skin-supporting agents: lactic acid to gently exfoliate the skin and niacinamide to even skin tones, reduce redness, and make your skin more radiant.
Fragrance-free and cruelty-free, this high-quality sunscreen is a popular pick for any individuals with oily skin! It’s ultra gentle formula also makes it a popular dermatologist-recommended sunscreen for perioral dermatitis as well.
4. Australian Gold Botanical SPF 50 Tinted Face Sunscreen Lotion
Tinted face sunscreen is a great way to keep your skin safe from exposure while also eliminating the need for a full face of foundation!
The Australian Gold Botanical SPF 50 Tinted Face Sunscreen offers the best of both worlds with its non-chemical formula (it has titanium dioxide and zinc oxide for active ingredients) and added antioxidants of kakadu plum, eucalyptus, and red algae to nourish and protect your skin.
Plus, since this is a tinted sunscreen, some users may just apply this and skip the foundation. Many attest that this sunscreen does a great job covering up fine lines while still providing a protective skin barrier against the harmful sun’s rays!
It boasts an SPF50 rating and we adore this soft, powdery matte finish that blocks UV rays while cleaning up any sweat or shine on your face. It comes in two tint shades for different skin tone variations as well – awesome!
5. Neutrogena Clear Face Oil-Free Sunscreen SPF 30
The Neutrogena Clear Face Oil-Free Sunscreen SPF 30 is another great sunscreen for oily skin. Specially formulated to take care of acne-prone skin, it will help you achieve a sheer matte finish and protect from the sun all day without compromising your skin, as it’s oil and fragrance free.
Non-comedogenic and dermatoligst-tested, it won’t clog your pores.
6. Cocokind Daily SPF 32
The Cocokind Daily SPF 32 is an ultra-clean sunscreen for oily skin that’s made with plant-based, natural ingredients and along with 21% zinc oxide. It’s a no-brainer pick for those with sensitive skin, and won’t leave behind any kind of greasy or oily residue.
The zinc-based formula also makes it a great pick for those who are looking for a zinc oxide sunscreen for face use and are looking to avoid chemical ingredients like oxybenzone and avobenzone.
7. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Face Mist Sunscreen
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Face Mist Sunscreen another best pick for oily skin types or anyone dealing with acne. The ultra-sheer, lightweight formula won’t clog pores and leaves skin with an invisible finish without greasy residue.
We also love that this sunscreen has an SPF 55 rating, making it perfect for when you need a little more sun protection. As with all sunscreens though, don’t forget to reapply!
Plus, we love how easy to use the SPF face spray format is – just spray and go!!
8. Dayspa Body Basics Non Nano Zinc Oxide Sunscreen Powder SPF 25
For those who want a powder sunscreen option, this All-Natural Powder Sunscreen from Dayspa Body Basics is a great choice.
Providing broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection, this hand-crafted natural plant-based 25 SPF powder has no fragrance, no petro chemicals, and is paraben-free, using non-nano zinc oxide for reliable, worry-free protection.
With a hypoallergenic formula designed for sensitive skin, this sunscreen for oily skin won’t clog up your pores, and the powder formula means your face will end up with a clean matte finish.
As this is a powder form sunscreen, you can simply sprinkle some on your face like you would makeup before working outdoors in the summer – much easier and faster to apply than cumbersome cream products.
Plus, this sunscreen is cruelty-free and not tested on animals. It’s even made in the USA!
The best sunscreens for oily skin are those that provide both UVA/UVB broad spectrum protection while still making sure not to clog up pores. Oily skin users should opt for a formula that can provide a clean matte finish to the skin, and ideally should seek out an oil-free sunscreen.
Did we miss any of your favorite sunscreens for oily skin? Share your top picks in the comments below!
FAQ About Sunscreens for Oily Skin
Can Zinc Oxide Sunscreens Not Leave a White Cast?
Zinc oxide is a popular ingredient for physical mineral sunscreens, as it provides a high protection factor, is a natural ingredient, and it sits on top of your skin, rather than being absorbed into the skin (which has more potential to cause skin irritation, breakouts, and clog pores).
The downside is that traditionally, zinc oxide leaves a white cast on the skin -not usually something you want in a facial sunscreen!
If you’re hoping to buy a mineral sunscreen in the hopes of avoiding a ghostly finish, try a product that contains nano zinc oxide, which is formed from smaller zinc oxide particles that spread and absorb better on the skin, allowing for a more natural look. However today, even non nano zinc oxide formulas can provide a sheet, cast-free finish.
While zinc oxide is becoming increasingly popular, there are plenty of advocates for chemical-based ingredients like oxybenzone and octinoxate.
Another option for a zinc-based mineral sunscreen that doesn’t leave a caste is by using a powder sunscreen formula which can be set with a translucent setting powder to keep it matte.
Ultimately, it’ll come down to what your skin likes best, as individuals respond differently to various sunscreen ingredients.
How can I tell if my sunscreen is clogging up my pores?
If you are questioning whether or not your sunscreen is clogging your pores, use the mirror test. Put some of your sunscreen on one side of your face and then take a look in the mirror to see if you notice any changes in the texture of your skin on one side of your face relative to the other. If you see any differences between these two sides, then your sunscreen is likely clogging up your pores or otherwise being absorbed into the skin.
What are best sunscreens for oily skin?
Oily skin users should look for the best sunscreens that provide both UVA/UVB broad spectrum protection. A formula that can provide a clean matte finish to the skin is also best, as well as an oil-free sunscreen.