By Dr. Anisa Shomo
I have struggled with acne since my teen years, I could write 10 articles about that, but today I would like to focus on my struggle to find a daily facial sunscreen that will not break me out. I have tried many over the years without much success. I put the search on hold while focusing on wearing hats and visors while in the sun. Regular sunscreen use does have the best evidence to prevent skin cancer so I wanted to try this search again while I could cover my face with a mask in case of any breakouts (COVID upside).
Side note: Many people believe that African Americans do not need to wear daily sunscreen. This is a myth and has even been studied as a health disparity. Studies have shown that doctors are less likely to discuss sunscreen with their African American patients and it creates a knowledge gap for doctors and patients. Ultimately, African Americans are at risk for skin cancer and other sun related conditions so they should wear sunscreen, regardless of skin tone.
I searched different articles and Amazon reviews. I learned about reef friendly options that avoid the use of oxybenzone, octinoxate, and nano-sized zinc oxide. I also learned that there is more to this conversation but I did not dive deeper since I am not planning to visit a reef anytime soon. My criteria became: at least SPF 30 coverage; reef friendly per above criteria; sheer finish; under $25; and Black-owned if possible.
- Sun Bum Face 50, Amazon 12.99 for 3 oz
- Advantages: fragrance free, dermatologist tested, 50 SPF, sheer finish, water resistant
- Disadvantages: smells like sunscreen, not much moisture added, small breakout
- Black Girl Sunscreen for Face and Body, Target 15.99 for 3 oz
- Advantages: Black-owned, fragrance free, sheer finish, water resistant
- Disadvantages: smells like sunscreen, not much moisture added, large breakout
- Thrive Sunscreen Balm, Amazon 20.95 for 2 oz
- Advantages: smells amazingly tropical, moisturizing, did not break me out
- Disadvantages: most expensive, not water or sweat resistant
The good news is that I have a Health Savings Account (HSA) that I was able to use to purchase these items from Target and Amazon. For now, I may need to use 2 different brands depending on the activity.
Dr. Anisa Shomo
Owner of Health is Love Co.