12 best dermat-approved sunscreens for oily skin
Because we know how gross that feels
Sunscreen is a must in any beauty routine but between toner, serum, moisturizer, and whatever else you slather on, finding a daily sunscreen that slips into your beauty routine and plays nice with every other product is no easy task. But the latest and greatest sheer-formula sunscreens can be layered right alongside other skin care and makeup. We asked six dermatologists to nominate the best sunscreens for oily skin for undetectable protection.
Melanie Palm, MD, director of Art of Skin MD first suggests picking a broad-spectrum sunscreen, meaning one that protects from both UVA and UVB light. “UVA causes ageing changes in the skin—pigmentation, age spots, collagen destruction, waxy yellow discolouration of skin—and has been definitively linked to the development of melanoma,” Palm explains.
As for active ingredients, many dermatologists prefer mineral-based sunscreens over chemical formulas. The latter’s harmful chemicals—words that seem to contain the whole alphabet, like avobenzone and homosalate, are always bad signs—change UV light into heat, which can lead to inflammation. On the flip side, mineral agents like zinc oxide simply reflect harmful rays from the get-go.
Now that you have the science behind SPF, find out which daily sunscreen is best for you.
12 best sunscreens for oily skin
A favourite among top dermatologists is La Roche-Posay Anthelios Broad-Spectrum SPF 50. It’s a lightweight (meaning it won’t be too cakey) broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against free radicals from the sun. “This water-resistant broad spectrum SPF 50 is free of fragrances and parabens, ideal for sensitive skin, and is an incredibly light mineral sunscreen fluid that won’t weigh down skin,” explains dermatologist Karen Hammerman of Schweiger Dermatology Group.
Dermatologist Tara Rao also recommends Supergoop. Instagram’s favorite SPF oil-free formula leaves a velvety matte finish so your makeup won’t look too shiny. It’s also made with natural extracts of citrus, basil, and bois de rose—which is a much more sophisticated scent than your good ole childhood Coppertone (no shade).
Great for normal to dry skin, this drugstore sunscreen also contains moisturizing hyaluronic acid and ceramides. Dr Melanie Palm also notes the inclusion of niacinamide, which improves pigmentation. An editor favorite, it doesn't hurt that it's the cheapest of the bunch, too.
This lightweight protector "combines broad-spectrum SPF with moisturizers and antioxidants," says Manhattan dermatologist Sejal Shah.
Just because you applied sunscreen in the morning doesn't mean you're done for the day. Shah opts for sunscreen powders and SPF setting sprays that can be stored in your bag and dusted on throughout the day.
For hyperpigmentation, Shah recommends the homeostatine and alpha arbutin in First Aid Beauty 5 in 1 face cream. "It lightens dark spots and evens skin tone, making it great for people with discolouration," she says.
"People with oily skin should skip thick, emollient-rich products and find a lotion with a matte finish," Shah explain, recommending La Roche Posay Anthelios Sunscreen Fluid for its sheer finish. Those with oily skin can opt for the brand's new product, the AOX Daily Antioxidant Serum With Sunscreen.
Recommended by every dermatologist we spoke to, EltaMD is the gold standard. According to Ellen Marmur, MD, president and founder of Marmur Medical in N.Y.C., it also contains salicylic acid, which will help deal with acne but is gentle enough for those with sensitive skin.
Due to sensitive skin's fickle behavior, Palm recommends Avène Mineral Cream. "People with very sensitive skin may have irritation reactions to chemical sunscreens so it's key to choose moisturizers that contain only mineral sunscreens," she notes. Palm adds that sunscreens including hyaluronic acid and ceramides will hydrate and heal dry, sensitive skin.
Marmur's tinted picks? SkinCeuticals Fusion Tinted SPF 50 and Skin Medica Total Defense: "Smart sunscreens that make your skin look amazing while protecting you."