If sunscreens are so good, why do they make my skin breakout?

Question and Answer logoQuestion:  Sunscreens are always the last  step of your  treatment plans.  I hear what you are saying, but sunscreens  make  my skin breakout– and I’m 34!  And if I spend  time in the sun, my  skin  actually clears up and looks geat.   Could I be allergic  to sunscreens?

Answer:  I hear you too!.  For years  I found that sunscreens didn’t  so much  prevent  a sunburn as they triggered  more breakouts.  Turned out that many sunscreens  contain ingredients that provoke acne.  Most contain oils, waxes,  and polymers that clog pores.  Others have chemical sunscreens like oxybenzone and homosalate that are irritants– and over  age 30 acne is often provoked by inflammation rather than excess oils.  To get the benefits of a sunscreen without  problems,  look  for oil free  physical sunscreens  formulated with zinc oxide or titanium oxide.  Mineal based  powdered sunscreens  like Brush -On Block by Susan Posnick  provide great touch up durng the day.

I am also  feeling  your pain  about the beauty benefits  of a tan.  Its absoutely true  that in the short  run,  the sun can  decrease oiliness, heal breakouts and even hide discolorations and blur fine lines.   However  in the long run, the sun  rapidly accelerates skin aging.  In fact up to age 60, over 80% of skin aging is due to exposure to  the UV rays of the sun.  Unprotected sun exposure also   dramatically  increases risk of basel cell  skin cancer, squamous cell  skin  cancer and even melanoma.  I find  it sobering that melanoma is the leading cause of cancer deaths in  young women.

A Safer Tan without Sunscreen

Doctors used to believe that a base tan would protect the skin from further sun damage.  We now  know this is so not true.  There is no safe level of unprotected  sun exposure and a  sunscreen should be worn year round.  To satisfy my craving for  tan, I  get a spray tan that lasts about a week.  It  looks  so wonderful with a white dress or bathing suit that I  strip down and get a full body spray once or twice a year.   It costs   between $50- 70 a session  and is  certainly less expensive than  skin cancer surgery.

One thought on “If sunscreens are so good, why do they make my skin breakout?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *