Now the weather is getting warmer and the sun is shining brighter, I wanted to look at the sun cream ingredients people with acne need to avoid to prevent pimples and clogged pores.
The low down on sun protection
Before we talk about the ingredients you need to avoid in sunscreens, I wanted to talk about SPF as there are a lot of common misconceptions about what is the best SPF and what SPF actually protects you against!
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and it measures the protection against the UVB rays which cause sunburn - the SPF rating doesn't actually measure the protection against the more harmful, skin damaging UVA rays!
Think UVB for BURNING and UVA for AGEING
Why SPF50+ isn't recommended
- SPF15 filters out 93% of UVB rays
- SPF25 filters out 96% of UVB rays
- SPF30 filters out 97% of UVB rays
- SPF50 filters out 98% of UVB rays
- SPF100 filters out 99% of UVB rays
Because the SPF rating of a sun lotions doesn't indicate the protection against skin damaging UVA light, it's not recommended to just seek out the highest possible SPF you can find because:
You need to let SOME UV light through to get your vitamin D
Vitamin D is SO important for anyone suffering with blemishes and plays a key role in healing and preventing acne by cooling inflammation, soothing the skin, improving mood, boosting your immune system and helping to control insulin response. Vitamin D cannot be produced by our bodies without sun light so it's important to let a little bit of UV light through by using an SPF15-SPF30.
You'll reapply less frequently and stay in the sun longer
There is a tendency for people to think that if they apply a higher factor sunscreen, they can stay out for longer. This isn't the case - a higher SPF just blocks out more UVB rays, it still needs to be reapplied every 2-3 hours to maintain protection from UVB and UVA rays.
Why should you choose a natural sunscreen?
Natural sunscreens are the best choice for everyone, not just those with acne! Apart from caring for your skin, natural sunscreens also:
- Contain higher amounts of antioxidants and skin vitamins that protect against cell damage which causes premature ageing.
- Don't contain the hormone disrupting toxins which have been shown to have a dramatic 'gender bending' effect on aquatic life.
- Don't contain the UV filters and preservatives that are found mainstream sunscreens (particularly oxybenzone, butylparaben, octinoxate and 4-methylbenzylidene camphor) which have been shown to cause devastating viral infections and bleaching in coral reefs.
Is your sun cream causing acne?
Now we've covered the basics of sun protection, it's time to talk about the ingredients found in sun lotions that could be aggravating our acne.
What acne causing sun cream ingredients do I need to avoid?
The main ingredients that need to be avoided in your sun creams are anything that could potentially clog up your pores. One of the main reasons we get a pimple is because of an excess build up of dead skin cells and sebum that lead to bacteria growth and inflammation. By avoiding any ingredients that could potentially cause further congestion, we are reducing the risk of build up within our pores.
Silicones & mineral oils
Many mainstream sunscreen products will contain pore-clogging ingredients such as mineral oils and silicone. These ingredients are basically like wrapping your skin up in cling film! This reduces the amount of sweat that can escape through your pores and traps it under the surface of your skin which can lead to irritation and inflammation.
Beeswax & plant wax
While most skin types can tolerate bees and plant wax, those who are struggling with chronic acne need to be wary of these ingredients. Generally, I find these ingredients are safe to use on the body - even if you suffer with acne on your chest, shoulders or back. However, I prefer to avoid putting fuel on the fire so I stay clear of waxes in my facial sunscreens (and make up for that matter) as the skin on my face is more susceptible to clogged pores already!
Heavy comedogenic oils and butters
Ingredients such as cocoa butter, coconut, wheatgerm and soybean oil are commonly found in natural sun protection. However, despite being natural these ingredients can sometimes be too rich for acne prone skin and clog pores and cause breakouts. Look for sunscreens that contain oils such as jojoba, sunflower, rosehip, sea buckthorn and grapeseed that a light, non-greasy and will not cause acne!
Read my full list of pore-clogging ingredients found in make-up and skin care here!
Should I wear an SPF everyday if I have acne scarring?
Any amount of sun exposure can make red marks and acne scarring worse. The red marks that you get after a breakout are the result of abnormally high levels or over stimulated melanocytes which produce melanin - the substance that gives skin its colour. Sun exposure further stimulates the production of melanin which can result in darker acne scars and prolonged healing. To avoid your Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation from getting darker and lasting for longer, I recommend using a daily SPF which provides broad spectrum protection. Luckily, many mineral make-up brands contain the same earth minerals found in sun lotions such as Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide so you can ensure you're fully protected from UV light in both your skin care and make up routine.
Originally posted on Skyn.Therapy.
Amy Saunders is an expert in natural beauty and founded her virtual acne clinic Skyn.Therapy after suffering from severe acne for 13 years. Amy delves deeper into the root causes of acne, proving you don't need harsh chemicals to achieve a flawless complexion. Find Amy on Twitter, Instagram, and on her blog Skyn.Therapy.
Why Organic Sun Lotion? https://goo.gl/ZgRS1F
Essential Guide to SPF and UV Protection. https://goo.gl/AkMNme
What Are Nanoparticles? https://goo.gl/wevnurSuggest a correction