The light, it burns!
August 25, 2012 3:44 PM   Subscribe

Best non-comedogenic physical sunblock on the market?

Looking for the most hardcore physical sunblock (blocking out UVB/UVA) brands out there that won't clog pores. I am looking for the type of stuff that would let Dracula wander around in Miami and prevent Edward Cullen from sparkling in the sun. Angel would be able to brood in the daylight if he wore this stuff.

Bonus points if you've a sun allergy or photosensitivity issues and you find that this sunblock helps - both face/body sunblock recommendations are highly appreciated.
posted by zennish to Health & Fitness (21 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
My family uses Josie Maran sunscreen and it rocks. Don't be afraid of the fact that it's oil based. I've got the oiliest skin on earth and this stuff sinks right in, with no acne flare-ups.
posted by terrierhead at 3:49 PM on August 25, 2012

Can you clarify what you mean by "physical sunblock"?
posted by Dasein at 4:02 PM on August 25, 2012

I like the md solar sciences line, particularly their mineral screen gel.
posted by abirdinthehand at 4:04 PM on August 25, 2012

Response by poster: Sunblock with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide in it instead of chemical ingredients like oxybenzone - either the chemical blockers don't work for me or I'm using the wrong brands. Either way, it was suggested to me that I find something that blocks UV rays physically instead of chemically.
posted by zennish at 4:25 PM on August 25, 2012

Non-comedogenic is a complete "your mileage may vary" issue but my very finicky skin likes Elta MD SPF 30.
posted by nubianinthedesert at 4:27 PM on August 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

I think Dermatone is awesome. I have the SPF 30 version and it is listed as non-comedogenic. It has 4 different active ingredients and goes on clear.

I've used it mostly for high altitude mountaineering. It's kept my face from peeling off and the inside of my nose from blistering at over 20,000ft.
posted by zephyr_words at 4:30 PM on August 25, 2012

Cetaphil moisturizer with SPF 50 is non-comedogenic and has both oxybenzone and titanium dioxide.
posted by Dasein at 4:42 PM on August 25, 2012 [2 favorites]

I like BurnOut Eco-Sensitive Sunscreen SPF 32 (18.6% zinc oxide).

In my experience (I'm a very fair person with a family history of precancerous skin lesions and normal-to-oily, acne-prone skin), the stuff has worked well.

Two caveats:

1. The manufacturer's website says "no chalky whitening," which is not 100% true, but the stuff is lightweight enough that blending it into one's skin doesn't take a huge amount of effort.

2. Per nubianinthedesert, "non-comedogenic is a complete 'your mileage may vary' issue."
posted by virago at 4:46 PM on August 25, 2012

The skincare board at Makeupalley is fantastic for this type of question. I know that Skinceuticals Physical Fusion is a favorite there, though I haven't tried it myself.
posted by insectosaurus at 4:55 PM on August 25, 2012

I have ridiculously sensitive, acne-prone skin and the MyChelle Sun Shield SPF 28 not only doesn't make me break out but actually seems to help keep my skin calm, and is very effective as a sunscreen as well.
posted by HotToddy at 5:14 PM on August 25, 2012

Try baby sunscreen. I need a sunscreen with a physical blocker in it, and I have sensitive skin. Baby sunscreen takes care of both.

I'm not brand-loyal...all of them seem about the same to me.
posted by phunniemee at 5:17 PM on August 25, 2012

Derm told me Blue Lizard and hats and clothes. Even with BL on, can burn after a short while (just a weirdo here) so must wear hats and long covering clothes.
posted by tilde at 6:00 PM on August 25, 2012

I recently tried and was impressed by Alba Botanica Kids Sunscreen, SPF 45. I figured the kids' versions usually have less fragrance, and in this case it was true. I find that it is not oily, doesn't cause me to break out (and I have used it on my face), and works to protect me from the sun.

One odd thing: it does smell very faintly like mint for a few minutes after applying. It seems to have a small amount of spearmint oil in it, but it doesn't irritate my skin and it does fade.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 6:46 PM on August 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

The La Roche Posay line of sunblock (called Anthelios) is highly regarded
posted by kitkatcathy at 7:00 PM on August 25, 2012

I have super sensitive, very pale skin. I got an awful photo-contact dermatitis reaction to a chemical sunblock in Aruba, a bumpy, blistery rash that took hydrocortisone cream + time out of the sun to clear, so I really sympathize. I did some research after that and came up with Vanicream. I tried it on a recent trip to California and it was great. Granted, I didn't get Aruba-style sun, but I didn't burn and didn't have any reaction to the sunblock + sun, either.

I've linked the 30 SPF but it also comes in 60 SPF and in a more water/sweat-resistant sports formula. It's greasy when first applied but does absorb; I wore a silk dress one day without fear of staining it. I found it gentle enough to use on my face (a light dusting of powder settled any remaining shine after it absorbed).

You can also read reviews at DermStore, which helped me decide on Vanicream. Good luck!
posted by swerve at 8:13 PM on August 25, 2012

I've tried SO many and the one that works the best for me so far is Badger. Can't remember if it officially says non-comedogenic or not. (I do have super-sensitive skin, though.)
posted by wintersweet at 8:41 PM on August 25, 2012

The best sunblock I've ever tried (and I have tried many with my extremely sensitive acne-prone skin) has been Elta MD's line, which was recommended by my dermatologist. I use UV Clear SPF 46 on my face and Sport SPF 50 everywhere else. The face sunblock absolutely vanishes into my skin, has zero fragrance (not even a slight sunblock fragrance) and I have experienced no irritation. The Sport SPF 50 also has no fragrance, just a slightly thicker consistency which seems to work better in terms of staying power for the backs of my hands and arms. Both of these are 9% Zinc Oxide.
posted by puellaeterna at 11:50 PM on August 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've yet to find a physical sunscreen that didn't leave a greasy finish, white cast and break me out horribly, and I've tried.

At the moment I'm really loving Kiehls Super Fluid SPF 50 on my face, and Supergoop for the rest of me.
posted by nerdfish at 6:22 AM on August 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

That said - I do love sunscreen powders to reapply sunscreen throughout the day without ruining my makeup (superficial, I know). I use Peter Thomas Roth, and I'm also intrigued by Go Screen.
posted by nerdfish at 6:26 AM on August 26, 2012

If you have acne-prone skin, pay attention to avobenzone. It's a chemical block that's in many sunscreens, and it causes breakouts for some folks. It's a great ingredient if you don't happen to break out from it but a super shitty one if you do.

From my experience, I think you won't find sunblocks with ONLY physical sunblock ingredients that have a high SPF. It's a certain point (without the added chemical blocks) you'd have to be coating your face in thick white paste.
posted by needs more cowbell at 7:42 AM on August 26, 2012

Response by poster: This is awesome. Lots of stuff to try out. Thank you!
posted by zennish at 6:45 PM on August 26, 2012

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