Acne Friendly Sunscreens

Acne Friendly Sunscreens

By Simon K
04/09/2023 | Read time: 5m

I suffered from mild to moderate Acne through my teenage years and early 20s. People who suffer from Acne will understand how it can have a negative and significant impact on self-esteem and quality of life.


Thankfully, I took a course of Isotretinoin (also known as Roaccutane) which completely cleared my Acne. In addition, it significantly reduced sebum production and pore size which improved the overall appearance of my skin. Taking Isotretinoin was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

I am currently 35 years old, and I only experience very mild infrequent break-outs and light sebum production, nothing crazy. I do have some very light post-inflammatory-hyperpigmentation which is barely noticeable.

However, over the last few years, I have become a bit insecure, so I have decided to proceed with micro-needling treatment which will help address my skin concerns. During my initial consultation, I was told that it is paramount I wear sunscreen daily. The skin is more susceptible to sun damage when you are having micro-needling.

According to the Fitzpatrick scale, my skin type is IV, which is light brown, olive skin, Mediterranean origins. UV radiation typically leads to sunburn within 50 minutes for IV skin type. For that reason, I rarely wore sunscreen growing up and never experience any issues with sun damage.

I would only wear sunscreen daily if the UV index was high, and if I was outside for extended periods. The thought of wearing sunscreen daily was really off-putting for many reasons that I will discuss shortly.

Nevertheless, I am now taking sun protection more seriously and understand the importance of daily protection, especially if you’re trying to address post-inflammatory-hyper-pigmentation.

Issues I’ve had with Sunscreens

I would go as far as saying I hate sunscreen. I much prefer the feeling of freshly cleansed skin and a light moisturiser. Sometimes less is better. I have multiple issues with sunscreens.

(1) They can often feel clammy and greasy on the skin. (2) They may exacerbate certain skin conditions such as Acne. (3) They can often leave a white cast or residue which makes sunscreen unpleasant to wear, especially from an aesthetic point of view.

My growing frustration motivated me to do research which is how I discovered Korean beauty and in particular their sunscreens.

I have a strict checklist when it comes to sunscreen: must be fragrance free, non-comedogenic, lightweight to medium texture, easy application, must feel good on the skin from morning until evening (8 hours plus), no white cast, not overly dewy or shiny, but not too matt or drying, must have ingredients that calm and benefit skin conditions like Acne, must offer adequate protection.

Almost seems like an impossible task. That said, I can truly say that Korean sunscreens have given me some hope.

Why Korean Sunscreens?

Korean sunscreens utilise newer generation UV filters which make them superior when it comes to user experience. There is a wide range of sunscreens depending on the finish you want and your skin concern.

From my experience, the formulations seem more elegant, and the texture is light with easier application. I often find that there is no sticky or clammy feeling on the skin and no white cast or overly dewy finish.

Furthermore, Korean sunscreens often use beneficially ingredients that sooth the skin and help with conditions such as Acne. This makes me feel less apprehensive and gives me more confidence to explore new options.

My two favourites so far:

· SKIN1004 – Madagascar Centella Hyalu-Cica Water-Fit Sun Serum SPF 50 PA++++

· iUNIK – Centella Calming Daily Sunscreen SPF 50 PA++++

Both are very similar. Texture is very lightweight with easy application and feels more like a moisturiser. It settles down nicely on the skin and does not leave any residue or cast. The finish is more like a soft sheen natural look which is what I prefer. It performs well throughout the day (8 hours plus) and does not feel clammy on the skin.

I feel comfortable wearing both sunscreens for the full day, and I have combination skin, sometimes dry and other times oily.

Both sunscreens have beneficial ingredients. Centella Asiatica has anti-inflammatory and skin healing properties; it is calming on the skin and may help with Acne and redness. Niacinamide (vitamin B3) is well tolerated and versatile. This ingredient also has anti-inflammatory properties which is good at calming acne blemishes and redness.

Niacinamide can also boost skin ceramide production which is important for barrier protection and keeping moisture in, as well as reducing sebum production. For those reasons, both sunscreens are good options in my opinion and worth a try.

Final Thoughts

I am grateful I discovered Korean beauty and their sunscreens. Research is so important, it empowers you to make well-informed decisions and sometimes, surprisingly, you might find a solution that you never knew existed.

Always trust your gut feeling, listen to your skin, and don’t be afraid to try new products. My experience with Unblemish has been great so far, and Bianca is truly amazing. My journey does not stop here, and I will be exploring K-beauty further.

The next product I am keen to try is COSRX ADVANCED SNAIL 96 Mucin Power Essence Gel.

Leave a Reply

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