Keep reading to learn more about non-comedogenic sunscreen and how it differs from traditional sun care products.
What is non-comedogenic sunscreen?
Non-comedogenic sunscreen is a fancy way of describing sunscreen that’s designed to not clog your pores.
People who struggle with acne often use non-comedogenic products because clogged pores are one of the main causes of acne in adults and adolescents.
Non-comedogenic is a word that can describe any skincare product that’s been designed in a way that’s meant to reduce pore-clogging.
What makes a product qualify as non-comedogenic?
There are currently no FDA regulations that define which specific characteristics a product needs to have in order to be called non-comedogenic.
There’s a scale that ranges from 0 to 5 and products from 0 to 2 are often described as being non-comedogenic. However, this scale isn’t standardized or regulated by any governing bodies, which limits its usefulness.
That’s why it’s often a better practice to look at the specific ingredients in a sunscreen product to figure out whether it’s non-comedogenic or not.
Common characteristics of non-comedogenic sunscreen
Non-comedogenic sunscreens often feature a mineral formula, rather than a chemical one. These contain natural ingredients that protect the skin without clogging the pores.
For example, Australian Gold’s Botanical Sunscreen product line uses Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide instead of pore-clogging oils.
A great strategy when searching for a sunscreen is to make sure that your sunscreen doesn’t include any ingredients that are known to be comedogenic (or pore-clogging).
There’s a commonly-cited 1984 study that lists some of the top pore-clogging offenders in cosmetics products, including:
- Isopropyl myristate and its derivatives
- Propylene glycol-2
- D&C red dyes
The benefits of non-comedogenic sunscreen
You can benefit from using non-comedogenic sunscreen in each of the following ways:
Enjoy less acne and smoother skin
Pores are tiny openings in the skin that let out sweat and oil. When they get clogged, those substances don’t have anywhere to go, which is what can create acne.
Standard sunscreen may include oils that clog your pores. But if you use a non-comedogenic option, that is much less likely to happen.
When pores get clogged, they can also create bumps on the skin that are called comedones – these give your skin a rough texture.
That’s why non-comedogenic sunscreen may also be able to help you achieve smoother skin. If it can reduce pore-clogging, then it should lead to fewer rough bumps on your skin as well.
Get the same protection from the sun
The fact that a particular sunscreen is non-comedogenic or not has nothing to do with the amount of protection that it offers from the sun.
That means you can buy non-comedogenic sunscreen without sacrificing any SPF protection.
No oily residue
Some sunscreens leave behind an oily residue that sits heavily on top of the skin. But non-comedogenic sunscreen products are often either oil-free or at least have much less oil than their traditional counterparts.
So if you’ve ever been annoyed with the oily film that your sunscreen leaves behind, switching to a non-comedogenic option could be a good move.
Better penetration of other skincare products
You may also be able to start getting more out of other skincare products like moisturizers and lotions by switching to a non-comedogenic sunscreen.
If your non-comedogenic sunscreen can reduce the clogging of your pores, then other skincare products won’t have to fight through as many clogged pores to deliver their nutrients to your skin.
Instead, they’ll have a freer path to providing you with the benefits that you bought them for.
Who should use these products?
Many different types of people can benefit from using non-comedogenic sunscreen. Given what we’ve written previously, these products are obviously good for people who are prone to acne.
But they could also be a fit for individuals who have oily skin in general. If that sounds like you, swapping to a non-comedogenic sunscreen could help you avoid adding any extra oil to your already oily skin.
Dry skin and non-comedogenic sunscreen
If you have dry skin, then by definition your skin lacks oil. Non-comedogenic sunscreen is typically designed to be an oil-free option.
That means it may not be the best solution for your skin type. There’s nothing wrong with comedogenic products in and of themselves, and if you deal with dry skin then you might want to opt for one as a more moisturizing option.
Non-comedogenic sunscreen and tanning
Many people who spend time out in the sun do so intending to achieve the instant glow that comes from tanned skin.
If that describes you, then you might be wondering how using non-comedogenic sunscreen would impact that goal.
The short answer is that it (thankfully!) won’t prevent you from getting a tan. Tanning occurs when the sun’s UVA rays penetrate the lower layers of the skin and create melanin.
The SPF protection in sunscreen prevents some of this from happening to keep your skin protected, but that’s true regardless of whether your sunscreen is non-comedogenic or not.
What matters for tanning is how long you spend in the sun, the type of skin that you have, and the SPF protection that you use. Each of these factors is unrelated to the comedogenic status of your sunscreen.
Is oil-free sunscreen the same as non-comedogenic?
Practically speaking, most oil oil-free sunscreen products are also non-comedogenic. But the two terms aren’t exactly the same thing.
An oil-free sunscreen may still be comedogenic. The reasoning for this has to do with a subtle difference in definitions.
Oil-free sunscreens are free of oil, but may still contain oil replacements that can have similar effects and lead to clogged pores.
Non-comedogenic sunscreens are free of pore-clogging ingredients. That includes most types of oils and any substitutes that can still clog the pores.
Which of these two types of products is right for you will come down to the benefit that you want most.
If you’re more annoyed with oily residue from sunscreen, you may want to go with an oil-free option. But if you want to avoid clogging your pores as much as possible, a non-comedogenic product will likely be your best bet.
Are non-comedogenic sunscreens guaranteed to not clog your pores?
Non-comedogenic sunscreens don’t offer any guarantees. They’re designed in a way that makes pore-clogging as unlikely as possible. But individual results can, and often do, vary.
It’s also worth remembering that oil is just one thing that can clog your pores. The benefits of non-comedogenic sunscreens can always be outweighed by:
- Excess dirt
- Certain types of clothing
- Hormonal changes
- Even toxins in the air
A better way to think about this is that non-comedogenic sunscreens give you a much better chance of keeping your pores unclogged than other types of sunscreen do.
Non-comedogenic after-sun products
If you’re interested in non-comedogenic sunscreen, then you may also be interested in non-comedogenic after-sun products. These are designed to help your skin recover from a day in the sun without clogging its pores.
Most of these products are built around the all-natural plant, aloe vera. That’s great news since aloe vera is about as non-comedogenic as it comes.
For example, you can check out Australian Gold’s Soothing Aloe Vera Gel. It's PABA and paraben-free with a touch of green tea to neutralize free radicals and calm the skin.
The bottom line: Do I need non-comedogenic sunscreen?
Non-comedogenic sunscreen may or may not be right for you. The answer depends on personal factors like your:
- Skin type
- Existing acne situation
- Skincare goals
But if you’ve got oily skin that’s prone to acne, non-comedogenic sunscreen is built with you in mind. And if you’re tired of oily residue from traditional sunscreens that clog your pores, it could be a great fit for you as well.
Look no further than Australian Gold for non-comedogenic sunscreen to get tan and fight acne
Do you think that non-comedogenic sunscreen is right for you? Then consider taking a closer look at Australian Gold’s Botanical Sunscreen.
It features a mineral formulation that blocks the sun’s harmful rays before they enter your skin and features naturally nourishing ingredients like Kakadu Plum, Red Sea Algae, and Eucalyptus.
Check out our online shop to learn more about what we have to offer.