Sunscreen and Sensitive Skin

Now that the sun has made a guest appearance in my otherwise cold and snowy part of the world, I’m back on the hunt for a good face sunscreen. Here’s my criteria:

  • At least SPF 30
  • No whitecast
  • No drying alcohols

Not too crazy, right? Not even a chemical vs physical sunscreen stipulation! Unfortunately, the “no alcohol” clause rules out at least half, in both the US and Asian beauty markets! Goodbye, Biore UV Watery Gel! (too bad because I love that stuff).

Here’s a quick run down of sunblocks I’ve tried in the past, on a pass/fail basis:

Biore UV Watery Gel: Awesome. Dries fast and clear. Has alcohol. Fail.

Cerave Facial Moisturizing AM 30 SPF: No alcohol, but breaks down makeup, pills like mad, and makes my skin itchy, thus made me break out. Come on, Cerave… Fail.

Innisfree No Sebum SPF 35: No alcohol. Fruity smell might not be everyone’s taste, but I don’t mind it. Whitecast can be a little much and it will break your makeup down after it’s been on all day, but the longevity is certainly better than most! So actually… pass, but not on work days.

Avene Mineral Ultra-Light SPF 50: Absolutely not. Crazy amounts of white-cast, itchy, destroys makeup, pills with every single product, WAY too much money considering this has ZERO cosmetic elegance. Also made me break out. Fail times one million.

Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Face SPF 30: I want to like this stuff so bad because I love Hawaiian Tropic brand for some reason (probably the beachy packaging…) but this basically burned my face off. Smells good, though… Fail. 😦

Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Dry-Touch SPF 50: Another “burned my face off and made me break out”. Fail.

Its Skin 2pm SPF 50: I’ve talked about this one a million times but it’s the only sunscreen that’s a 95% pass for me. Applies smoothly with very little whitecast, smells freakin’ amazing, doesn’t break down makeup or other product, and it’s 50 SPF. It DOES give me little tiny break outs, though. They’re tolerable, but ugh. Still, pass.

So there you have it, my quick review and rant of just some of the sunscreens I’ve tried in the past year. I’ve got Canmake Mermaid Skin on the way to my house right now, and I’m tempted to try Cetaphil’s 50 SPF. Readers, do you have any sensitive-skin friendly sunscreen options? I’d love to hear if you do!

It’s Skin 2pm Sunblock SPF50

its skin 2pm

This chemical sunblock by Its Skin is thus far my holy grail of sunblocks. This is a Korean sunscreen but is, for the most part, relatively accessible on Amazon. For such a small product, you may be concerned that the $15 price tag on this isn’t quite worth it, but the sunscreen itself is pretty liquid-y, and a little goes a long way. And the typical conditions from shipping anything halfway across the world still apply: you’ll probably have to wait a few weeks to get it.

But for me, it’s absolutely worth the wait. Right off the bat, the tube is flashy gold and cool looking. Rip off the silver foil on the top keeping the product fresh under the cap, and the white liquid sunscreen tips out relatively easily without much need to squeeze the bottle. Like I said before, a little goes a long way.

The rest of this story is 100% awesome. The sunscreen sinks in with no whitecast! It smells amazing — very sweet, not overwhelming, and really not like sunscreen at all. After a couple of minutes of allowing to set in, makeup goes over this flawlessly with no issues of pilling (although it will cause some foundations to create a “cake” texture if you apply it too early). Even better — there’s no white-cast pilling atrocities on your face after hour 4. Heck, it doesn’t even happen after hour 8 or 12 or 16, although, technically, the efficacy of the sunblock is probably null and void long before then. But still! No whitecast! Wahoo!

In terms of actually doing it’s job as a sunscreen, this does it’s job as a 50 SPF (probably to better or lesser degrees depending on the timing between me putting it on, and me being exposed to sun). I’ve done a few laps outside of my work office in 85 degree weather with this on, and didn’t burn or tan (or if I did tan, very little).

Now, all of this said. I will say that, for me personally, it can cause a tiny bit of congestion in my skin. Not full on break outs, but minor clogged pores. It’s not pervasive, necessarily, but it does happen from time to time when I’m using it. My skin hated this even more pre-spironolactone, and it caused me to break out a ton (but I loved the concept of this so much that I just had to shelf it until I was a few months into my treatment… no regrets). However, history shows that I break out from most chemical sunscreens anyway, and quite frankly, I’m not sure what the trigger ingredient is. Not very helpful, I know. But while we’re talking about ingredients, I thought I’d mention that this is also alcohol-free! 🙂

Anyways, to wrap up, I obviously love this sunblock. I have yet to find another chemical sunscreen, in the US or otherwise, that ticks off all the boxes like this one does. If your skin tolerates most sunscreens, I highly recommend trying this out. ~A

Perceived efficacy: 5/5

Longevity: 5/5

How much I actually like this product: 5/5!

Recommended for sensitive skin: Maybe