I am feeling tentatively excited that we might be finally getting closer to something ideal as far as an Acne.org SPF goes.

I worked with one of our formulators to take our new, improved non-SPF moisturizer (which should be out in a few months) and add in some Avobenzone and Octocrylene. I’ve been using this sample generously on half of my face each morning for over a week now and it’s not breaking me out. In fact, the half of my face where I’m using it looks better than the other side of my face where I’m using another sample SPF I’m testing.

This is surprising because all five of the Avobenzone based SPF moisturizers I’ve tried from drugstores over the years seemed to break me out. Because of this personal experience, I had no confidence in Avobenzone moisturizers. Also, because Zinc is a welcome ingredient to acne prone skin, I’ve been formulating only with Zinc or Titanium Dioxide (a similar physical blocker) up to this point. But as you know if you’ve been following this saga, I found that Zinc and Titanium Dioxide are such severe flake promoters that there’s really no way to make an SPF with those ingredients that works with a benzoyl peroxide regimen.

At my wits end, I decided to take another look at Avobenzone. Aside from Zinc and Titanium Dioxide, Avobenzone is the only other reliable broad spectrum active ingredient available in the United States, where I manufacture products. I will only make an SPF which is protecting people from both UVB and UVA rays. It was time to take a second look at Avobenzone.

So, why is this sample not breaking me out? It’s hard to say. Since there are so many variables involved in acne, possible reasons abound. Were other ingredients in the other Avobenzone based moisturizers to blame? Was it other variables in my own life at the time when I tried each of them? Or have I simply not used this Avobenzone/Octocrylene SPF I am currently using long enough to experience a breakout?

I’ve got my fingers crossed that we’re on the right track here. I’ll keep you posted on how it progresses.


Leave a Reply

  • Crichel

    Interesting Dan, but could you not just make an SPF with just Octocrylene ? I use in the UK both Eucerin Hydro Protect with SPF15 and Olay complete care with SPF15, neither of which contain Avobenzone, Zinc or Titanium Dioxide – the key ingredient for the SPF seems to be the Octocrylene. Both work well, hydrate brilliantly and and do not break me out.

  • Susan H.

    I’m always impressed with the way you don’t put out a product until it’s as perfect as you can make it. Thanks!

  • Ben

    If you make both moisturizers that would be amazing, I prefer the zinc/titanium over toxic chemicals any day, as I just use yuour moisturizer only and not the regime (I can’t use benzoyl peroxide on my skin)

  • Amanda

    Hi Dan,
    I just wanted to start off that your website has really helped me with my acne! So, thank you for that! Next, I read that you used to prefer the Olay Sensitive Skin Lotion with SPF 15 but they had changed their formula and added Avobenzone. I was just in CVS and the CVS version of the Olay product does not contain Avobenzone. I don’t know if you have ever given it a try but I thought I’d just pass on that knowledge. I haven’t tried it myself, but I (like all of us) still need to find a good spf. So until you perfect one, I think I might give the CVS brand a try. If you have ever used it please let me know what you thought! I’d really appreciate it.
    Thanks again for you site!

  • Joyces

    Hi Dan, I hope the new spf you are making with Avobenzone and Octocrylene is nothing like Cetaphil spf 15 because that is the only product I know that has those two sunscreen ingredients. I got a bad skin reaction to it. I got skin-colored bumps all over my face, especially my chin and nose. I’m looking forward to your spf product!!!!!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    use mexoryl sunscreen

  • Katrina

    I’m curious to know what you find out with your skin’s reaction to the AvoBenzone….like you said, are you not breaking out now because of different chemicals mixed with the Avo? Or could it be other things in your life that made you break out those other times? I agree with you -that acne is so up and down. I have good days, and bad days – even on the Regimen. I’m clear – but sometimes my skin just acts up. You can’t predict acne.

    A part of me wonders, too – how AvoBenzone (your product) isn’t breaking you out – but could your gender and age matter, too? As well as the different chemicals? My acne didn’t kick in until I was much older – and some others – it kicks in much younger and goes away – could your age now – be a reaction to your own AvoBenzone? And in past times – the Avobenzone reacted with your skin then, versus your skin now?

    So many variables here!

  • David St. Michael


    Would you please be so kind as to list the five products you’ve tried in the past? Thank you.

  • Daniel Hicks

    An more effective combination could be the use of 2% AvoBenzone with 3% Mexoryl with some octocrylene and you could even add a small percentage of titanium dioxide in it. Would be interesting if you could get your formulators to try it out.

  • Joy

    I think a physical sunscreen is much more friendly to sensitive and acne prone skin. Perhaps a fomulation with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide? I’ve heard good things about Elta MD Physical Sunscreen SPF 41 (tinted). I just ordered it so I don’t have personal experience with it quite yet!

  • Anonymous

    What about the bare minerals new SPF powders. May be kind of girly but have you tried it?

  • Kerry

    Thanks as always for the hard and thorough work Dan!

  • admin

    Very interesting, but I’m wary. Avobenzone based sunscreens have always given me a hot feeling on contact and made my skin go beet red. -Brandy

  • Monika

    Well, I browsed your website many times and Im finally trying out your product. I really hope it works, I have tried everything for my adult acne which is moderate but still lowers my self esteem. I hope this helps my skin.

  • miranda

    please make an spf30!