Reader question: Help! Sunscreen is breaking me out!

Hi Ms. Liz, I've been a fan of your blog for so many years. I've been reading it since i started exploring make up and skin care, way back in high school and now I'm in college! My top priority is anti aging (although i definitely need to work on my blemishes), and I apply sunscreen and use moisturizer everyday. But, I've noticed that sunscreen makes me break out!

I've used different sunscreens and make up bases with SPF but most just give me pimples. Can you please recommended sunscreens that won't cause pimples? My skin is so sensitive and I've wasted so much money on items that just make me break out, even VMV breaks me out! I'm thinking of investing in Clinique, because their powders never broke me out, but i'm afraid that it might not work. Thanks so much ms. Liz, for being an inspiration to women, for sharing your awesome tips and tricks and for changing our lives for the better. 

P.S I've stopped using sunscreen for about a month now, because I've been getting tons of cystic acne, and i'm getting really nervous about skin damage because i commute a lot. - Ma. Patricia Garcia

Hi Patricia! Thanks for always reading! Kudos on knowing how important sunscreen is. Regarding your question, you know, before I thought that sunscreens broke me out too. That's actually the main reason I didn't use them regularly before. Later on I realized there were other reasons for the acne - sometimes it's stress, exposure to more pollution than normal, hormones, or a new hair product I'm trying out. There were many different reasons but I found out through trial and error that it was not, in fact, the sunscreen.

My skin is a lot calmer now than it was in my college years and early 20s so I can narrow down exactly what it is that's breaking me out should I need to. At your age I think it's more confusing since there are so many changes in your life. I'm not sure what year you are in college, but I'm assuming you're experiencing a hectic schedule, extra stress with school work, a more hassle commute, late nights, and perhaps some hormonal phases.

These create a hotbed for acne. You mentioned that you're experiencing cystic pimples. Cystic pimples aren't typically caused by products - they're usually caused by those factors I mentioned above. 

My advice is instead of cycling through products hoping to find the one that works, try to improve your lifestyle and current schedule. Perhaps you could manage your time better to be able to finish your work more quickly, sleep earlier, eat healthier food, and drink a lot more water. If it's a hormone issue, it's really best to see a dermatologist who can prescribe medication.

Of course, we can't discount the fact that you just might have extra sensitive skin. If that's the case, see a dermatologist for sunscreen recommendations best suited for your skin. 

Bottomline: sometimes it's not the product, but your lifestyle and your body reacting to many different internal and external factors. Hope this helps!