Isotretinoin (13-cis retinoic acid) is a vitamin A derivative commonly known by the brand name Accutane.
Accutane is the most powerful medication your doctor can give you to treat moderate to severe acne, and the effects of the treatment are often long-term or even permanent.
However, while Accutane has an extremely high success rate in treating acne, the medication is known for its side effects, such as causing the skin to become dry and sensitive.
Besides that, this medication will definitely increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun, and besides the uncomfortable burning sensation you may experience, there is also the added risk of developing stubborn hyperpigmentation.
Therefore, while you should avoid direct sun exposure for a prolonged time whilst taking Accutane, you should also be very diligent with applying sunscreen for added protection.
Here are my recommendations for the…
15 Best Sunscreens To Use (While on Accutane)
|Aveeno – Positively Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50 – $10||SHOP HERE|
|Bioderma – Photoderm Max Aquafluid SPF 50 – $21||SHOP HERE|
|Differin – Oil-Free Moisturizer with Sunscreen SPF 30 – $10||SHOP HERE|
|Vanicream – Broad Spectrum SPF 50 – $15||SHOP HERE|
|cocokind – Daily Sunscreen SPF 32 – $25||SHOP HERE|
|Blue Lizard – Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 – $18||SHOP HERE|
|La Roche Posay – ANTHELIOS Invisible Fluid SPF 50 – $25||SHOP HERE|
|EltaMD – UV Physical Broad-Spectrum SPF 41 – $34||SHOP HERE|
|La Roche Posay – ANTHELIOS Ultra Hydrating Cream SPF 50 – $25||SHOP HERE|
|La Roche Posay – CICAPLAST Baume B5 SPF 50 – $12||SHOP HERE|
|EltaMD – UV Replenish Broad-Spectrum SPF 44 – $35||SHOP HERE|
|Elta MD – UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 – $37||SHOP HERE|
|EltaMD – UV Restore Broad-Spectrum SPF 40 – $37||SHOP HERE|
|SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50 – $35||SHOP HERE|
|SkinMedica – Essential Defense Mineral Shield SPF 35 – $38||SHOP HERE|
Aveeno – Positively Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50 – $10
Aveeno Positively Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50 is a great mineral sunscreen for sensitive skin that relies on zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as its main protective filters against UV damage.
The lightweight formula dries sheer with a velvety matte finish, and it leaves a slight white cast that can be easily covered with a lightweight foundation.
It’s also sweat and water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, and it’s SPF 50, which means it’s very suitable for outdoorsy people.
Bioderma – Photoderm Max Aquafluid SPF 50 – $21
Bioderma Photoderm Max Aquafluid SPF 50 is one of the best European sunscreens for dry and sensitive skin due to Accutane.
Unfortunately, it’s not available in the US yet, but you will easily find this sunscreen in any online store or your nearest pharmacy if you live in Europe.
Photoderm Max Aquafluid has the highest sun protection factor and uses chemical filters to absorb UV rays.
It has a lightweight, runny consistency that dries down into a velvety matte, and it is water-resistant for up to 30 minutes.
It also doesn’t contain fragrance or drying alcohols, which makes it excellent for irritated or allergy-prone skin.
Differin – Oil-Free Moisturizer with Sunscreen SPF 30 – $10
Differin’s Oil-Absorbing Moisturizer SPF 30 is a great option for sensitive and irritated skin on Accutane.
Although it’s marketed as “oil-free,” this product doesn’t dry matte, and it leaves a little bit of shine behind, so it doesn’t truly live up to its name, but it is definitely gentle and hydrating.
It is a chemical sunscreen that uses several cosmetically elegant UV filters, and it also contains a couple of soothing and anti-inflammatory ingredients, including zinc and allantoin.
It’s also fragrance-free, which makes it a good option for anyone who’s allergic or sensitive to fragrance, and it comes in a good-sized bottle of 118 ml (4 oz) for only $10.
Vanicream – Broad Spectrum SPF 50 – $15
Vanicream Broad Spectrum SPF 50 is a lightweight mineral sunscreen that applies smoothly and hydrates the skin without leaving a sticky or greasy residue.
It uses non-nano zinc oxide for broad-spectrum UV protection, and while it doesn’t leave a terrible white cast, medium and dark skin tones may notice it more than pale skins.
All in all, it’s a great, simple, and affordable sunscreen formulated without irritating fragrance or drying alcohols, making it a very suitable option for Accutane-induced dryness and irritation.
Blue Lizard – Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 – $18
Blue Lizard is an Australian sunscreen manufacturer known for making reef-safe sunscreens with interesting packaging that “detects” UV rays and changes the color into dark blue, depending on the UV strength.
The Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen is a particularly good one for irritated skin going through an Accutane treatment.
It uses mineral filters, including titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, as its primary agents against UV damage, but it also contains emollients, antioxidants, and soothing agents such as green tea extract to calm and soothe irritation.
The product does leave a slight white cast that may be more prominent on medium to deep skin tones, but it can be easily covered with makeup.
cocokind – Daily Sunscreen SPF 32 – $25
cocokind’s Daily Sunscreen SPF 32 is a reef-safe, mineral-based sunscreen that uses a high percentage of non-nano zinc oxide as its protective filter against UV rays.
It is suitable for medium and deep skin tones and leaves the skin with a natural-looking, glowy finish.
It does have more than a few clogging ingredients that could be a problem for oily, acne-prone skin; however, it is a suitable option for dry, sensitive, and irritated skin due to Accutane.
La Roche Posay – CICAPLAST Baume B5 SPF 50 – $12
La Roche Posay’s Cicaplast Baume B5 is a thick, non-comedogenic moisturizer often recommended to people whose skin is getting used to tretinoin or Accutane due to its ability to soothe it within seconds of applying it.
They also came out with a moisturizer that has SPF 50, which is basically the same thing as the original, with added sun protection.
It’s thick, creamy, it spreads on the skin with ease, and it’s non-comedogenic. So even if by some miracle, your skin still gets oily while on Accutane, this is a good option for you.
La Roche Posay – ANTHELIOS Invisible Fluid SPF 50 – $25
La Roche Posay’s Invisible Fluid SPF 50 is the sunscreen that I saw everywhere before deciding to finally buy it and find out what the hype was about.
It has a super lightweight, very runny consistency, and it sinks into the skin like a dream.
It also doesn’t leave a white cast, which is why many people with medium and dark skin tones also love it, and it’s incredibly gentle and hydrating to the skin.
It also comes in a non-fragrant version, so make sure to pay attention to that if fragrance in skincare is causing issues for your skin.
La Roche Posay – ANTHELIOS Ultra Hydrating Cream SPF 50 – $25
The Anthelios Ultra-Hydrating Cream SPF 50 is a heavier sunscreen specially designed for skin that’s on the dry side and gets easily irritated.
It’s free of fragrance and contains soothing and barrier-repairing ingredients such as glycerin and propanediol, as well as other emollients that help soften the skin and prevent trans-epidermal water loss.
It might not be the ideal option for someone whose skin gets oily even while on Accutane, but it is a perfect choice if you are dealing with dryness and irritation caused by this medication.
EltaMD – UV Physical Broad-Spectrum SPF 41 – $34
EltaMD UV Physical Broad-Spectrum SPF 41 is a tinted sunscreen formulated for extremely sensitive skin prone to redness and rosacea.
The reason why the tint is light is that rosacea is a condition that typically manifests in people with fair skin and has a reported prevalence of 05-10%.
So if your doctor has you on Accutane to specifically target rosacea, the UV Physical Broad-Spectrum SPF 41 may be the best option for you.
EltaMD – UV Replenish Broad-Spectrum SPF 44 – $35
The EltaMD UV Replenish Broad-Spectrum SPF 44 is a heavier moisturizer best suited for dry and sensitive skin due to Accutane.
It’s marketed as oil-free and suitable for oily skin, but it contains waxes, silicones, and emollients that will work better for dry skin.
So if you have been experiencing dryness, dehydration, sensitivity, and even itchiness from taking Accutane, this is the one for you.
Elta MD – UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 – $37
EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 is another win in the department of sensitive and irritated skin due to Accutane.
Although marketed towards oily skins, this sunscreen doesn’t dry matte, and it gives an insanely beautiful glow.
It is also formulated without fragrance or alcohol, but it does have a faint scent of almonds that’s pleasant and won’t whack you in the nose like some heavily fragranced sunscreens.
EltaMD – UV Restore Broad-Spectrum SPF 40 – $37
EltaMD UV Restore SPF 40 is a good sunscreen for anyone dealing with extreme dryness, irritation, and sensitivity from taking Accutane.
It contains zinc oxide as well as many other ingredients that have a primary function of restoring and strengthening the skin barrier, including caprylic/capric triglycerides, squalane, anti-inflammatory ginger root extract, and a few silicones.
It also comes in a tinted version, but the tint pulls a little orange when it fully dries down, so it might not be an option for everyone.
SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50 – $35
SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50 is a tinted mineral sunscreen fluid containing zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as the main UV filters, making it suitable for sensitive skin and the skin around the eyes.
It has a lightweight, runny, and non-greasy consistency that leaves a beautiful glow when fully dried. It is a product that caters to dry and sensitive skin types, and it’s exceptionally good for redness and rosacea-prone skin.
SkinMedica – Essential Defense Mineral Shield SPF 35 – $38
SkinMedica Essential Defense Mineral Shield SPF 35 is the priciest option on the list; however, it has been praised by several tretinoin users on TikTok, and I find it extremely good for when the skin is feeling dry and sensitive.
It’s a lightweight, sheer sunscreen that doesn’t leave a white cast and has a high UVB and UVA protection. It’s also non-comedogenic, and it is ideal for post-procedure skin, which makes a lot of sense if many tretinoin users love it.
My name is Simone and I am a certified skin specialist. I created this website to teach my readers how to take great care of their skin and I also like to occasionally share my honest opinions on skincare products I’ve tried. You can learn more about me here.
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