Our Favorite Sunscreens for Oily Skin


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Without question, daily, consistent use of a broad-spectrum SPF 30 or greater 365 days a year, rain or shine, is the best way to preserve the health of your skin and reduce the risk of early skin aging (fine lines, uneven skin tone, and loss of radiance) and even skin cancer. The tricky part for those of us with oily skin is finding the right sunscreen that doesn’t leave your skin looking and feeling like a greasy, pore-congested mess.

We’re calling a truce in the struggle between oily skin and sunscreen because Paula’s Choice Skincare has formulated some of the most lightweight, fluid sunscreen formulations imaginable.

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Guidelines for the Right Sunscreen for Oily Skin

Consider lightweight sunscreens (sheer or fluid lotions) that dry down to a matte finish. Well-formulated water-based sunscreens with absorbent ingredients are prime candidates!

Avoid formulas that are loaded with emollients like plant oils and fatty acids, which often result in a shiny face (and makeup that seems to slide off your face by lunch).

Stick to broad-spectrum formulas rated SPF 30 or greater, and choose sunscreens that include antioxidants and soothing agents for multi-tasking benefit.

Paula’s Choice Sunscreens Picks for Oily Skin

Each of the sunscreens we’ve selected fit the criteria we mentioned above exactly, working beautifully for those with oily to combination skin types.

RESIST Youth-Extending Daily Hydrating Fluid SPF 50. Want to stack the deck against aging? This water-like formula feels like nothing on skin, yet it’s loaded with soothing ingredients and antioxidants for additional anti-aging benefit.

RESIST Super-Light Daily Wrinkle Defense SPF 30. This best-selling mineral-based sunscreen imparts a sheer, skin-enhancing tint that sets to a super-matte finish and wears beautifully under makeup or alone. Bonus: You may find you no longer need your oil-absorbing primer as this can do double-duty.

SKIN BALANCING Ultra Sheer Daily Defense SPF 30. Making good on its name, this "ultra-sheer" formula helps balance combination to oily skin and dries to a soft-matte feel. Your skin will love the light amount of moisture without a greasy finish.

CALM Redness Relief SPF 30 Mineral Moisturizer for Normal to Oily Skin. This gentle formula pampers temperamental, reddened skin with lightweight, soothing hydration. The skin-replenishing blend leaves skin looking healthy and feeling smooth.

Is Foundation with SPF OK?

While we don’t recommend relying on foundation as your sole source of sun protection (unless you’re willing to apply it very liberally which is essential when applying any sunscreen), using a foundation or tinted moisturizer with SPF 30+ in unison with another SPF-enhanced product is absolutely a great option.

The Best Skin of Your Life Starts Here: The same type of research used to create this article is also used to formulate Paula’s Choice Skincare products. You’ll find products for all skin types and a range of concerns, from acne and sensitive skin to wrinkles, pores, and sun damage. With Paula’s Choice Skincare, you can get (and keep) the best skin of your life! See Paula's Choice Products for Oily Skin.

About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books about skincare and makeup. She is known worldwide as The Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula’s Choice Skincare. Paula’s expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international radio, print, and television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and providing expert advice that solves your skincare frustrations so you can have the best skin of your life!

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