The 13 Best Sunscreens for Oily Skin, Tested by Grooming Editors and Dermatologists

two of the best sunscreens for oily skin

By Joseph Cheatham

There’s one step in our skincare routine that you should never skip this summer—and it’s applying sunscreen. That’s true even if you have oily skin. The best sunscreens for oily skin protect against fine lines, premature aging, and sunburn, without clogging or irritating your face. However, trying to find the right sunscreen for oily skin can be pretty tough.

While the best sunscreen for oily skin should be formulated for daily use, some products tend to contain ingredients that cause irritation and/or create greasy residue. For us to better understand how to pick out the best sunscreen for oily skin, we turned to dermatologists and our grooming editors to weigh in on what to look for—and what to steer clear of—in a formula. We also spent the past year field-testing over 50 sunscreens designed for oily skin in a variety of settings: at the beach, working out, at work, and just about everywhere to make sure that these formulas held up in all sorts of environments.

How We Chose the Best Sunscreen for Oily Skin

When picking out the best sunscreen for oily skin, our experts recommend you to consider the following:

Ingredients: It’s always important to read the label for the ingredients. If you’re naturally oily, then it’s wise to stay away from sunscreens with oil-based formulas to prevent potential breakouts and clogged pores. Occlusive ingredients such as petrolatum, glycerin and silicones are designed to hydrate and moisturize the skin, but will produce that unwanted shine and greasiness. That’s why you should go with a non-comedogenic sunscreen, according to Dr. Jeremy Brauer, a New York-based dermatologist, dermatologic surgeon, and founder of Spectrum Skin and Laser.

Mineral vs Chemical Sunscreen: Choosing between the two relies on your own person preference—especially those with darker, sensitive or acne-prone skin. Mineral sunscreens employ active ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which scatter light and create a physical barrier that helps prevent the sun’s rays from penetrating the skin, according to Dr. Rahi Sarbaziha, a Beverly Hills-based Integrative Aesthetics Doctor. On the flip side, mineral options often have a thick, goopy consistency. Chemical sunscreens are lighter and absorbs quicker. However, their most commonly used ingredients are oxybenzone, avobenzone, and octinoxate, which aren’t a seamless combination with oily, sensitive skin.

Matte Finish: Although some sunscreens can make your skin appear too glossy, there are others capable of achieving that radiate look with a skin-blurring, mattifying effect.

EltaMD Clear SPF46 Broad-Spectrum Duo

This non-comedogenic, oil-free moisturizer with SPF comes highly recommended by Brauer. It’s a light sunscreen that caters to all skin types—especially acne-and rosacea-prone skin.

Whether you’re getting into the water this summer or sweating bullets, this SPF has staying power. With a calming ingredient trio of niacinamide, lactic acid and hyaluronic acid, our editors found that using this consistently for one month helped their skin look healthier.

ISDIN Eryfotona Actinica 100% Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50+

Dermatologist Robert Finney, MD, recommends this mineral sunscreen for oily mugs since it’s “pure zinc oxide.” Bonus: it contains DNA repairosomes to help fix existing sun damage, and Vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant. Our editors also love that it applies easily, though it can leave a white cast on darker skin tones.

Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen

It’s a great standalone product that’s featherweight and feels cool as a cucumber on the skin. We’ve been wearing this water and sweat-resistant sunscreen on a regular basis since 2020. It’s our go-to especially for days at the beach and by the pool because it gives a velvety finish, regardless of how many times we reapply. Our Grooming Editor Garrett Munce loves this formula, and says it absolutely leaves no trace behind, even if your skin is a little bit oily.

“But what really makes it great for oily skin is the matte finish,” says Munce. “It won’t leave even the slightest hint of shine behind and can even help camouflage and reduce shine as the day wears on. There’s even a new version for the body that’s equally as amazing.”

Neutrogena Clear Face Liquid Sunscreen for Acne-Prone Skin, SPF 30

Because this oil-free sunscreen is specifically formulated for acne-prone skin, it not only helps mattify shine, but it actually helps control oil throughout the day, so it won’t leave you feeling like an oil slick after a couple of hours (and each reapplication).

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Clear Skin Sunscreen

This clear, oil-free sunscreen has such an ultralight texture, and our editors found that after testing it for a week, they could barely feel it on their faces. Its unique formula supports to consume excess oil, provides excellent UVA/UVB protection, and helps provide a matte finish.

Eucerin Sun Oil Control SPF 50

While not as lightweight as some other sunscreens (it takes only slightly longer to rub in), we still love this sunscreen because it does double duty – protects your skin from the sun and helps control oil to avoid shiny patches and breakouts.

Cetaphil Dermacontrol Oil Absorbing Moisturizer with SPF 30

Oily skin still needs moisturizer—in fact, when skin isn’t properly hydrated it can actually produce more oil. This lotion would be a great oily-controlling moisturizer on it’s own, but it also contains SPF 30 which makes it an ideal double whammy for daily wear.

Colorescience Total Protection™ No-Show™ Mineral Sunscreen

Sarbaziha grants her seal of approval for this colorless, sheer option because it settles nicely into even the oiliest skin. Our editors found that it barely leaves any residue on their faces after testing it.

Face Reality Skincare Daily SPF30 Lotion

We first tried this SPF in 2021, and its sheer, natural-looking finish has kept us coming back for more ever since. As a result of its noncomedogenic formula, we don’t have to worry about it clogging our pores—even on humid summer days.

Alastin Silkshield All Mineral Sunscreen

We’re fans of this protective sunscreen, thanks to a couple of its prominent ingredients—TriHex Technology® and Ectoin. Combined, the two aim to reverse the signs of skin damage,
combat early stages of aging and provide protection from blue light.

Colorescience Total Protection Face Shield

This superpower SPF does many things: carries a subtle tint, offers environmental protection against infrared radiation, and pairs well for both men and women alike, but most importantly, it goes on clearly.

Sun Bum Original SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion

Suitable for long hours spent in the sun, Sun Bum’s gluten-free and vegan sunscreen lotion is a gem. We were surprised to find that it doesn’t leave a white cast on darker skin tones—and since that’s not the case, we apply liberally with no problem.

Is Matte Sunscreen Good for Oily Skin?

The answer is yes. Matte sunscreen helps to reduce the skin’s shiny appearance and prevent further exacerbation of oil on the skin. Some even absorb oil and control breakouts. We recommend getting a sunscreen that is easily absorbable, lightweight and oil-free.

Which is Better—Mineral or Chemical Sunscreen for Oily Skin?

According to our experts, mineral sunscreens are trusted across the board. Generally, they’re more tolerable for oily skin, as most contain active ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Because of the those ingredients, mineral sunscreens tend to rest on the surface, which lowers the chances of them blending with the skin’s natural oil. In contrast, chemical sunscreens soak up the sun’s rays like a sponge instead of physically blocking them. Yet, they’re more likely to acquire an ultralight texture and dry with a matte finish.

What Ingredients Should We Look for in Sunscreens for Oily Skin?

The best sunscreen for oily skin should include mineral-based ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, according to our experts. They have oil-absorbing properties, offer shine control and protect your skin from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. In addition, Sarbaziha suggests using sunscreens that include dimethicone, iron oxides and silica, all of which contribute to a smooth matte appearance, to eliminate the appearance of shine and minimize excess oil.



At Spectrum Skin and Laser we utilize the latest technologies and techniques, often in combination to best improve your results. Dr. Jeremy Brauer has remained at the forefront of these technological advances since the beginning of his career, and looks forward to meeting with you to discuss your needs. To schedule a consultation, please schedule below. 

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