It dawned on me this morning as I was applying sunscreen that I haven’t actually done a post dedicated to this topic. Plus, earlier this week my friend Holly told me that she broke out after wearing sunscreen over the weekend, and asked me what sunscreens she should wear to avoid that again. Soooo, duh, I completely flaked on posting a topic that would probably be really helpful!!! Especially for those who do have sensitive skin, and have reactions from these types of products regularly. My bad…. Here we go!
There is a pretty heavy debate about sunscreens and sunblock, and their safety due to the types of chemicals and ingredients they contain. The debate is even bigger in Europe. My best advice it to do your own research, and also check out the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database to ensure the products you purchase align with what you want to use. What I will recommend below are those products that my family and I use, and have had extremely good luck with – not only from a sun protection aspect, but also as people who have highly reactive, sensitive skin. Also, I believe in avoiding products containing allergen-causing sunscreens (particularly Avobenzone and Oxybenzone). The reason that they are used is that in product testing, most users favor a silky, sheer texture – this has driven most cosmetics and skincare manufacturers to use those ingredients in order to meet the requests of the general consumer. But in my logic, what is the point of using something that will most likely cause you a reaction? (See: breakout, rash, irritation) This logic also effectively narrows down my choices in the marketplace too. Oh, and please don’t ask me my opinion about spray sunscreens – I’ll just say I avoid them at all costs. Not to sound extremely harsh, but if you want to know more about them, just Google the topic to see the amount of controversy surrounding their usage.
Bottom line, zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, and octinoxate sunscreens are what I’ve had luck with as ingredients within products to be effective and not cause reaction. Plus, don’t worry too much about SPF numbers higher than 30. Research has shown that anything higher than SPF 30 isn’t really that more effective. Ok – enough of that – on to the fun part!
Everyday I wear SPF 15 between using my Olay Complete moisturizer for sensitive skin, and then layering with my foundation (which also contains sunscreen – hint: see my previous posts on these). However, for those days where the sun is really intense or I know I’ll be active outside, I skip the Olay and instead moisturize first with my Trader Joe’s Nourish oil-free moisturizer, and then apply Cotz Face. This formula comes in both a Light and Medium shade to pick from, and has a sheer, matte finish. Let’s just say that this stuff ROCKS!!! I have had great luck with it as a base under my foundation too! This is a newer brand to gain attention on the market, and I think they really hit the nail on the head for what sensitive skins need.
If you need a great, basic sunscreen for the whole family, CeraVe really gives one of the best overall body formulas to choose from. It uses micronized zinc oxide for a very smooth formula, and lasts through sweat and fun in the pool. Plus, it contains ceramides to give a skincare-like quality to help care for sensitive skins.
If you want something more sexy, try Miracle Skin Transformer’s Tinted Beauty Balm. This gives body skin a beautiful bronze tint and protects with SPF 20. I love it on legs and arms when wearing summer dresses. It also contains great skincare qualities such as firming and toning. Just make sure to use a body puff or sponge to exfoliate skin before using a bronzing product – it will ensure smooth color application.
As a rule of thumb, sunscreens usually labelled as “baby” formulas are generally good to choose. Typically, they don’t contain those allergen-causing ingredients. But just make sure to read the labels and ingredient listings. You’ll lessen your chance for a reaction and maintain great looking skin!
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