Originally uploaded by Mark Interrante (aka pinhole) (flickr)
With that said, I’ve found a few products that have very promising ingredients for that very skin type. As always, however, check with your dermatologist before trying any new products.
Best Overall: LaRoche Posay SPF 60 Fluide Extreme ($44.00, Amazon.com). The first high-SPF product I ever used, this double-formulated (Mexoryl SX and Mexoryl XL) milky product provides superior UVA and UVB protection without a greasy feel or telltale white streaks.
Mexoryl (ecamsule) is an ingredient in chemical sunscreens that has been available in Europe for many years, and which came to the U.S. only this year. Mexoryl, available as SX (water soluble) and XL (lipid soluble), is very effective for two reasons: one, because it is very stable [as a benzylidene camphor derivative], and two, because it absorbs light at a broader range of UVA wavelengths than many other sunscreens. After absorbing light from this broad spectrum, ecamsule undergoes photoisomerization, followed by photoexcitation, which means that it causes for UV light to be released as thermal energy rather than allowing for UV light to be absorbed into the skin and cause damage, as most chemical sunscreens do. Additionally, the combination of Mexoryl SX and Mexoryl XL are even more stable than each alone; however, Mexoryl XL is often not tolerated in patients with sensitive skin, and so only Mexoryl SX is featured in L’Oréal products sold in the U.S.
If your skin is not sensitive, but is oily/acne-prone, I believe this is the best product on the market. Best of all, beauty bloggers and forum contributors with oily/acne prone skin attest to its ability to protect without causing breakouts. Of course, always check with your dermatologist!
Best Drugstore Product: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch SPF 85 ($21.98 for two, Amazon.com). Let’s start off this review with a bit of disappointment: this product does not absorb nearly as sheer or dry as the LaRoche Posay SPF 60 Fluide Extreme for Face does. However, for the cost ($21.98 for 6 of the Neutrogena product versus $44.00 for 6.1 ounces of the LaRoche Posay product), Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch SPF 85 still absorbs dry and sheer enough to make it the best in the drugstore class.
The main ingredient in Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch SPF 85 is Helioplex. According to Johnson & Johnson, the parent company of Neutrogena, Helioplex is a stabilized, patented combination of oxybenzone and avobenzone that has been demonstrated in clinical tests to provide longer-lasting UVA protection than most other sunscreens. In fact, it has been documented (and cited here) that Helioplex is more photostable than even the Mexoryl SX found in the LaRoche Posay product – another reason to consider it!
Despite the superior protection, again, Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch SPF 85 tends to leave telltale white streaks on the face. I personally use it everyday, but if I have an important event to attend, I automatically reach for my LaRoche Posay SPF 60 Fluide Extreme for Face .
Best Physical Protection: Physical sunscreens prevent UV light from penetrating the skin, while chemical sunscreens prevent subsequent damage after UV rays are absorbed by the skin. While some dermatologists (and research from the University of Arizona) swear by layering a chemical sunscreen under a physical sunscreen, knowing patients often prefer physical sunscreens alone because they often do not interact as much with their cosmetics (particularly when their sunscreens contain micronized zinc or titanium dioxide), and for an overall movement towards less chemicals in skin care.
With that said, the best physical sunscreen for oily/acne-prone skin that I am aware of is Mychelle Sun Shield SPF 28 ($30.67 for two 2.3 ounce tubes, Amazon.com). This sunscreen contains over 11% zinc oxide and under 1% titanium dioxide – the ideal formulation for UVA protection! According to a 1999 study by Mitchnik et al., microfine zinc oxide absorbs more UV light than titanium dioxide in the long-wave UVA spectrum, from 340 to 380 nm, and hence provides more effective UVA protection.
I personally have used the Mychelle Sun Shield SPF 28, and while I do not have oily/acne-prone skin (rather normal/sensitive), I thought that it dried well on the skin, with a minimum of white streaks. With all due honesty, I did not like it as much as the LaRoche Posay, but if you want a physical sunscreen, Mychelle Sun Shield SPF 28 may be the best out there.
With that said, let me know you have any sunscreens that you swear by in Comments below! Please be sure to include your skin type.
Founder and CEO Nicki Zevola started FutureDerm as a medical (M.D.) student studying to be a dermatologist. She is an award-winning scientific researcher and writer. She currently is concentrating on FutureDerm and developing FutureDerm's one-of-a-kind products. She can be found on Google+ and Twitter.View all Nicki Zevola posts.
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