Beauty Clinic: Help me find a sunscreen for sensitive skin
Q. I have sensitive skin, which flares up with ordinary sunscreens. I am going on holiday soon and am looking for a product that won’t cause irritation. I have also sometimes suffered from prickly heat (urticaria). A. It is generally accepted that sun protection which is based on a chemical – rather than physical - barrier is more likely to cause problems with sensitive skins, although manufacturers say that modern formulae bypass this problem. However, synthetic chemicals may in their own right trigger a sensitivity reaction so, to us, it makes sense to avoid them as much as possible if you have touchy skin.
Other potential problem ingredients are perfume and preservatives such as MI and MCI (methylisothiazolinone and its cousin methylchoroisothiazolinone).
One product that ticks all the boxes in this situation is Scent Free Sun Lotion SPF30 by the well-respected natural brand Green People, which contains nearly 80 per cent certified organic ingredients. This is reasonably priced at £18.95 for 200ml with a 30p donation on each one sold to the Marine Conservation Society. It uses naturally occurring UV filters – however, the titanium dioxide is nano-sized; this avoids the Mr. Pastry effect but some people may prefer to avoid nano-particles in skincare.
Scent Free Sun Lotion contains a bevy of skin-nourishing oils and waxes, also soothing botanicals including aloe vera and chamomile. One reader who had a similar problem was delighted with it and has not suffered from irritation or prickly heat while using this product.
Please do note that, in keeping with medical advice, Green People advise applying sunscreen every two hours, starting 30 minutes before you go into the sun. Always re-apply if you have been in the water.
We hope you have a lovely holiday.