Sunscreen & Skin Acne
Normally, acne develops as a result of dead skin and excess oil. These two materials can accumulate within the pores and cause an obstruction that triggers an active lesion. But other factors are also known to contribute to this clogging of the pores and subsequent breakouts, especially if you're already prone to acne. Any product you put on your skin, including sunscreens, can lead to problems, warns the American Academy of Dermatology.
Though it's important to protect your skin from the sun, people with acne-prone skin need to pay close attention to their sunscreens. Like cosmetics and moisturizers, sunscreens can contain ingredients that clog the pores. Look for products that are clearly labeled as noncomedogenic, which means that they are free of ingredients that would block pores.
If you're suspicious about whether or not a given sunscreen is actually noncomedogenic, there are a number of ingredients that you can look for. Some of the more common culprits known to contribute to breakouts are cocoa butter, coconut oil, lanolin, wheat germ oil and sodium lauryl sulfate. Isocetyl stearate and isopropyl isostearate, myristate or palmitate may also be problematic. Other ingredients known to cause problems include octyl stearate, propylene glycol monostearate and algae extract.
Before purchasing any sunscreen, make sure to read the packaging. If you're uncertain of what to buy or still unfamiliar with the comedogenic ingredients, choose only those sunscreens that are water-based. These products don't typically contain ingredients that irritate the skin and cause breakouts.
It's also important to wear sunscreens when using certain acne medications, advises the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Tretinoin, adapalene and tazarotene are all prescription retinoids used to treat active lesions, but they also make treated skin more sensitive to ultraviolet rays. This means you'll more easily burn when exposed to the sun, especially during peak hours.
To ensure proper protection, always wear sunscreens with a sun protection factor, or SPF, of 30 or more. Apply the product at least 30 minutes before heading outdoors and reapply every two hours. If you're sweating or swimming, reapplication should take place sooner than two hours.
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