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Introduction to Top 10 Sunscreens for Oily Skin

Everyone knows you need sunscreen -- no brainer, right? But what types of protection should you use if your skin is oily or acne-prone?

©iStockphoto.com/Slobodan Vasic

Sunscreens help fight wrinkles. Really. And premature aging, leathery and loose skin, brown spots, scaly patches and even cancer growths. It's estimated that about 90 percent of all non-melanoma skin cancers (basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas) and as many as 65 to 90 percent of melanomas are caused by exposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation, with more than 3.5 million new cases of skin cancers diagnosed every year. One in five people will develop a form of skin cancer during their lifetime [source: Skin Cancer Foundation, American Academy of Dermatology].

No matter your skin type or color, you need protection from the sun's UV rays.

Many people with oily skin also have problems with acne and take prescription medications that make their skin even more sensitive to the sun. When you have oily skin, grabbing a basic sunscreen off the shelf can make your skin worse, leading to clogged pores and breakouts. So do you just avoid the sun, risk damaging your skin or deal with the side effects?

Luckily, manufacturers have realized that there's a market for sunscreens for people with oily skin. The catch is that they can be harder to find and more expensive than other sunscreens. (That's because the most inexpensive sunscreen ingredients are typically thick and creamy, which isn't what oily skin needs.)

You also need to be sure that whatever sunscreen you use, it has an SPF of at least 15 (the higher, the better) and protects against both UVA and UVB radiation (which is known as a "broad spectrum" sunscreen). Just as with any other skin care product, look for phrases like oil-free, water-based and noncomedegenic -- meaning it's unlikely to clog your pores.

And don't forget: You can find protection for your skin outside the sunscreen aisle.

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