Does sunscreen clog pores?

Never look for an excuse not to wear sunscreen. Just like moisturizer, ingredients in sunscreen may clog pores, so if you’re prone to blackheads avoid especially thick creams. Sunscreens labeled “non-comedogenic” mean they don’t include clogging ingredients, but honestly, it’s an unregulated term that doesn’t necessarily guarantee anything.1 What clogs one person’s pores might be hydrating and helpful for another. “At a minimum, it’s a good starting point,” says Dr. Tiffany Jow Libby, a board-certified dermatologist and the Director of Mohs Micrographic and Dermatologic Surgery at Brown Dermatology, “You know the product is trying to be not-pore-clogging.” The term “oil-free” might be another signal a sunscreen is non-comedogenic. Some also throw “lightweight” on there for bonus points. Mineral and powder sunscreens are another great non-clogging option for oily skin, notes Dr. Libby, because they’re completely oil-free, oil-absorbing, and sit on top of the skin instead of sinking into the pores.

1Clinical utility of marketing terms used for over-the-counter dermatologic products by Emily Boozalis and Shivani Patel. J Dermatolog Treat.

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Clogged Pores

Pores are filled with a buildup of sebum, dead skin cells, bacteria, and other minuscule debris.

Also Called

Whiteheads, blackheads, acne, pimples

Looks Like

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Frequently Found On

Back, chest, arms

Learn More: Clogged Pores