I've been super transparent about my love-hate relationship with sunscreen—a beauty product that, up until recently, I largely avoided due to my sensitive, acne-prone skin. In fact, just looking at 80% of the sunscreens on the market makes my oily skin erupt into one big zit. (Honestly, I wish that was me being dramatic.) Luckily for me and my sunscreen-despising psyche, lots of brands and formulas have come a long way in recent years, and more and more oil-free, acne-safe options have made their way onto the sun-protection scene.
By now, we all know that wearing sunscreen every single day (no matter the time of year or weather) is of utmost importance if you want to stave off damage and premature signs of aging. And thanks to the editor-approved selection of oil-free sunscreens below, even the oiliest, most acne-prone people can get by with that daily application sans irritation, clogged pores, and breakouts. Not all oil-free sunscreens are up to our high standards, but rest assured any of the below 13 have our discerning seal of approval. Keep scrolling!
The Best Oil-Free Sunscreens
There are two camps in the world: those who haven't yet tried Supergoop's best-selling SPF-and-primer hybrid and those who apply it religiously. For the former, this is your sign to finally get your hands on it, and for the latter, this is most definitely a fab excuse to stock up. Your face (and any makeup you apply afterward) will thank you, and you can rest assured your pores will remain free and clear.
Celebrities, facialists, dermatologists, and editors alike fawn over this cult-loved sunscreen from EltaMD. It's the ultimate suncare sidekick for anyone who veers acne prone or sensitive, and even though it feels miraculously lightweight on top of your complexion, ingredients like sodium hyaluronate and lactic acid pull double and triple duty to keep your skin moisturized and super smooth.
While I love, use, and repeatedly recommend both of the above formulas from Supergoop! and EltaMD, this facial SPF from French brand Avène is a dark horse and my personal favorite. I recently brought it with me to a bachelorette weekend in Palm Springs, and not only did it keep my sensitive, acne-prone skin breakout and burn-free, but it also made my skin feel silky and look super healthy and glowy. Every single girl on the trip ditched whatever they had packed to use this instead. It's a mineral zinc oxide formula that also offers extra-credit additions such as niacinamide, bisabolol, allantoin, and thermal spring water to keep the skin feeling balanced and calm.
Say hello to a new, very exciting oil-free sunscreen on the market. Adorable packaging aside (we can always count on Starface for a healthy dose of vanity appeal), it offers invisible broad-spectrum protection from the sun and other environmental aggressors for acne-prone skin specifically. It has a silky texture and doesn't leave a sketchy white cast, and the cool gel texture couldn't feel more refreshing layered on top of parched, sun-drunk skin.
I'm not going to lie—the majority of our favorite oil-free sunscreens come with a hefty price tag, but not all of the most impressive formulas out there will put a dent in your bank account. I've been wearing Coppertone since I was in diapers, and the brand has evolved and debuted some incredible launches in recent years. This oil-free facial option is a favorite among editors, as we can always count on it to deliver 80 minutes of water- and sweat-resistant protection while reducing the chance of a sunscreen-induced breakout.
Beloved French brand La Roche-Posay makes some of the most popular, award-winning sunscreen formulations in the beauty biz, and you really can't go wrong with any formula you choose. That said, if you're someone who's looking for an oil-free, acne-safe option from the brand, this is the one I'd recommend you try first. With each application, you'll get a whopping dose of oxybenzone-free SPF 60 protection, and the innovative Cell-Ox Shield technology ensures fast dry-to-the-touch absorption, making it the ultimate choice for anyone who hates that infamous "sunscreen" feeling on their face.
Shiseido is another beauty brand that has really made a name for itself in the sunscreen category. I have a slew of go-tos, but for the peeps who crave a highly protective nutrition label, this is a smart direction to go in. You get 40 minutes of water-resistant protection, a silky matte finish, and a light-filtering effect that makes your pores look smoother and smaller.
I love a multitasking anti-aging product, and this youth-enhancing sunscreen from Paula's Choice ticks every last box. It's a favorite among multiple picky editors here at Who What Wear, and you won't believe how light and airy the formula is until you try it for yourself. Not to mention, it's spiked with skin-improving antioxidants (black elderberry, goji, and pomegranate extracts) to stop premature signs of aging in their tracks. Oh, and fear not! If your skin is sensitive and quick to inflame, this formula has green tea and oat extract to keep your complexion cool as a cucumber.
I feel fairly confident every WWW editor could write a heart-felt ode to Sunday Riley's oil-free sunscreen. It utilizes a mix of both physical and chemical sunscreen to protect the skin from sun damage and blue light, all while hydrating thirsty skin with a smooth-as-velvet finish. (Psst: It even helps reduce the appearance of pores, fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots.)
I know $98 is a steep investment for sunscreen, but this industry favorite (it's obsessed over by A-list makeup artists and celebrities) is worth every penny if your budget has the bandwidth. You can wear it as a sunscreen or as a primer—it will make your foundation look magical—and the botanical-rich, nontoxic formula offers everything from providing UVB protection to softening the look of wrinkles and tightening up loose skin. It's a powerhouse investment you won't regret.
M-61's oil-free sunscreen offers so many skin-boosting perks and ingredients that I'm not sure if it's a multivitamin or a sunscreen. Light and airy, reef-safe SPF 40 combats UVA and UVB rays, peptides plump and prevent fine lines, vitamin B5 re-ups hydration, and, last but not least, unique additions like tamarind, aloe, and centella asiatica soothe and increase lost elasticity.
Next time you're at the drugstore, make sure you basket this oil- and oxybenzone-free sunscreen from Neutrogena. The strategic formula keeps pores and skin clear thanks to noncomedogenic ingredients, and the light, water-like texture is downright yummy during a long day in the elements.
There are lots of sunscreen-primer hybrids out there yelling for your money, but this one from Clinique is one of the best. It's lightweight enough to be worn daily, and the sheer, oil-free composition absorbs excess oil, wicks away sweat, and keeps even the most sensitive skin happy and healthy. It's also a great option if you're looking to steer clear of chemical formulas.
Shop My Favorite Oil-Free Foundations to Add to Your Sunscreen Routine