Do you have a 3.3V or 5V Arduino board ?
Manufacturer's page of the MAX30102: https://www.maximintegrated.com/en/products/interface/sensor-interface/MAX30102.html.
The MAX30102 sensor runs at 1.8V, maximum 2.0V.
Its led needs 3.3V.
However, the signals pins, such as SDA and SCL can get up to 6V before the sensor gets damaged. That is what the circuits make use of, but it is not nice.
The pullup resistors on most modules can get in the way, as you mentioned.
I encountered a few websites trying very hard to make the modules work.
For a 5V Arduino board, level shifters for SDA and SCL should be used and a voltage regulator for 3.3V for the led and a voltage regulator for 1.8V for the sensor.
This one is better, but still very weird.
The SDA and SCL are converted to 3.3V signals, but that should be 1.8V signals. The "INT" signal does not have a level shifter, but that should work: https://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/GY-MAX30102-MAX30102-Heart-Rate-Click_60631080453.html.
The advantage is that the sensor will not be damaged and there should be no problems with pullup resistors.
Those are also on AliExpress: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000083361778.html.
The level shifters are made with mosfets. The limit for the lowest voltage is about 1.8V. Perhaps that is why they convert the signals to 3.3V for the 1.8V sensor. Take a little here, and give a little there, and hope that it works.
I didn't expect to enter such weird world when interfacing the MAX30102. I'm returning now to the real world