Best facial SPFs for acne prone skin

Ellie Davis
·6-min read

The importance of SPF has been ingrained in us since childhood, but why do so many of us still avoid it?

Come rain or shine, winter or summer, inside or out - we should all be wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF of at least 30 or higher.

Sun Protection Factor is the measure in which it protects our skin from external aggressors such as UV rays that can cause premature skin ageing including fine lines and wrinkles, a dull complexion or more serious issues like skin cancer.

To maintain a youthful-looking and glowy complexion, SPF is your best port of call. But so many of us are reluctant to slather on chalky, laborious formulas that clog pores and lead to breakouts. And we get it.

For combination, oily and breakout-prone skin, your skin may react to the chemical ingredients or the thick texture. Synthetic sun creams - that work by absorbing UV rays and converting them to heat - tend to have a lighter consistency but may contain aggravating substances. Whereas mineral alternatives that reflect UV rays are composed of natural ingredients but may clog pores with a denser consistency. It can feel like there's no way to win.

But thanks to new innovations in non-comedogenic creations, it’s easier than ever to protect your skin, without causing irritation. It is worth avoiding chemicals like benzophenones, as well as fragrances, oils and ingredients like shea butter. To put it simply, the more minimal the formula, the better.

We have gathered the best SPF formulas for acne and blemish-prone skin.

Bioderma Photoderm AKN Mat SPF30

Bioderma has launched sun care designed to suit specific skincare concerns, from oily, to anti-ageing. The range includes this latest innovation with an SPF30 that provides effective and long-lasting coverage, while improving the appearance of your breakout and preventing further from occurring. The formula is colourless on application and so leaves no chalky white residue or greasy oil. Instead it gets to work regulating sebum production, preventing your pores from clogging and reinforcing your natural defences.

£15.50 | FeelUnique

Paula's Choice Clear Moisturiser SPF30

The lightweight formula of Paula’s Choice SPF moisturiser is just what you’ve been looking for to prevent suncare-related breakouts. It helps to reduce the appearance of your pores while shielding your skin from the harmful effects of UV rays. Ideal for oily or acne-prone skin, it doesn’t feel greasy on application but instead has a mattifying effect. It is packed with plant extracts that are brimming with antioxidant benefits that will minimise the look of red marks, soothe irritation and fight against external aggressors.

£34 | Cult Beauty

SkinCeuticals Ultra Facial UV Defense SPF50 Sunscreen Protection

Your enduring hunt for a non-irritating mineral sunscreen may be over thanks to SkinCeuticals. The science-backed brand uses innovative filters in its SPF to give you high broad spectrum protection while remaining lightweight and absorbing quickly. Without causing further breakouts, it leaves a nice finish and can even be used by those with sensitive skin.

£41 | lookfantastic

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light Invisible Fluid SPF50+ Sun Cream

The clue is in the name, this sun cream glides seamlessly on for a second skin-like feel. It is ideal for blemish prone skin due to the minimalistic formula, free from unnecessary and harmful chemicals. The product absorbs quickly without leaving white marks, stains or a greasy, oily residue behind. The lightweight formula is designed for sensitive skin and so will not cause irritation but instead will soothe as it shields thanks to the inclusion of the brand’s signature Thermal Spring Water. It takes sun care to the next level with the inclusion of a patented technology Mexoplex for even more protection against damaging external aggressors.

£13.12 | Boots

Super Healthy Skin Ultralight UVA/UVB SPF25

Once you’ve sampled Beauty Pie’s multi-tasking sun care essential, you will see why it has become a fan-favourite product with beauty editors everywhere. While it is only SPF25, it has impressive sun-shielding effects where the lightweight formula encourages you to be generous with application. It's a suncream, moisturiser and primer all in one handy product, designed with skin-boosting ingredients like the super-hydrating hyaluronic acid. It sits invisibly on skin without leaving a pore-clogging thick, powdery texture behind. It is also fragrance-free.

£35 | Beauty Pie

BRUSH ON BLOCK - SPF 30 Mineral Powder Sunscreen

If synthetic sunblocks have caused your skin to breakout in the past, opt for a lightweight, chemical-free alternative like this mineral powder from Brush on Block. As the name suggests, it takes a whole different approach to the application, resembling a bronzer brush over a traditional lotion or spray. Apply seamlessly onto skin with a translucent finish. The formula is not greasy and won’t leave a residue behind. It also makes it easier than ever to reapply - removing sandy or dirty hands from the equation.

£25 | Dermacare Direct

Cetaphil Daily Defence Moisturiser SPF50+

For daily use, Cetaphil has you covered with its skin-soothing formula. The brand is designed specifically for sensitive and easily irritated skin and thus takes a simple approach to its formulas that could work wonders to avoid blemishes. It is non-comedogenic and fragrance free but forms an effective barrier to protect the skin all year round.

£12.99 | Superdrug

Ultrasun SPF 50+ Anti-Pollution Face Fluid

With this product, you can make the most of its sun-shielding as well as skin-boosting properties. It has a lightweight texture that offers both broad-spectrum protection and effective shielding from external aggressors like pollution - that much like UV, can wreak havoc on your complexion. The non-greasy formula also treats your skin to a hit of hydration and has a pleasingly brightening effect. It is free from perfumes, preservatives and nasties and so should not irritate your skin.

£28 | Space NK

Kiehl's Ultra Light Daily UV Defense Aqua Gel

Remove arduous, thick formulas from your sun care regime entirely with Kiehl’s lightweight gel that not only offers UV protection but will not cause you to produce excess sebum or clog your pores - in fact, it works to minimise the latter’s appearance. It’s an absolute joy to apply; the SPF feels fresh and cooling on skin. It is also packed with nourishing antioxidants as well as vitamin E for additional protection against external aggressors. The Aqua Gel is also fragrance free and works well on all skin types.

From £23 | Space NK

Murad Anti-Ageing Moisturiser SPF 30 PA+++

While this rich formula offers deep levels of moisturisation, it does so without causing further breakouts. From Murad’s blemish-fighting range, this product will even help to reduce the appearance of pores and blackheads. This is while protecting against irritation and free radical damage to keep your skin looking clear, radiant and youthful. It doesn’t feel oily on the skin or lead to redness but still has impressive UV-shielding action.

£49.50 | John Lewis


Harnessing the power of scientific advancements in sun care, Bioderma’s Photoderm AKN Mat SPF30 will tackle your current breakouts and prevent future spots from occurring while also offering long-lasting and broad-spectrum protection from UV rays. It will not clog your pores and instead helps regulate sebum production. A hero product - for holidays as well as home.

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