DRMTLGY Broad Spectrum SPF45

When it comes to sunscreens and my overly sensitive skin, the phrase “No good deed goes unpunished” tends to jump to mind. Even my once-coveted Supergoop is starting to cause my skin to break out. So, there I went, on the hunt for the latest and greatest bottle of SPF.

DRMTLGY’s SPF 45 boasted the following on their website:

and there weren’t any drying alcohols in this product, how could I not pick this up for $22?

I will say I am a sucker for good packaging, and this certain has it. The bottle is simplistic, clean, sturdy, and has a shiny gold ring right under the cap. The bottle is seems misleadingly large for only having 2oz in it, but, I digress. It’s still a substantial amount, considering a little bit of the product will spread easily over the skin.

And it is fragrance free, lightweight, and absolutely clear. This melts right down into your skin, and there’s no trace of white-cast at any point during the day (even at the end of the day when you go to wash your face, and realize, “ah, I guess there was a little white-cast, after all!”)

But hypoallergenic? No. If a even particle of this comes into contact with your waterline somehow, your eyes will be burning for hours. Chemical sunscreens, such as this one, are not known for their sensitivity toward eyes, but this bottle pushed my level of pain tolerance for certain cosmetics. Although I will give it points for not causing “itchy” skin that often occurs with both mineral and physical sunscreens.

Non-comedogenic? Nope, again! My trial period of this sunscreen was at or around three weeks, and the minute I removed it from my regimen, my skin cleared back up. Otherwise, new break outs had been appearing at the end of each day, and the only thing that had changed in my routine at that time was the sunscreen.

I know that Dr. Dray has reviewed this before and was generally positive about it, particularly for the brand attempting to provide medical grade products, and that this was a much cheaper dupe of Elta MD’s UV Clear. Which, in retrospect, I didn’t do so well with the Elta MD sunscreen either, so everyone else’s mileage may vary.

I wish I loved this, but I’ve never had a sunscreen irritate my eyes as much as this one did. It held up incredibly well under makeup, and was compliant with all of my other moisturizers — but at the cost of ruining my skin. I suppose my hunt for the perfect sunscreen continues! ~A

Perceived efficacy: 4.5/5

Longevity: 4.5/5

How much I actually like this product: 2/5

Recommended for sensitive skin: No!

INNISFREE Daily UV Protection Cream No Sebum SPF35 PA+++

Innisfree UV Protection Cream came up in my search for alcohol-free sunscreens on Reddit, so I thought I’d give it a try. It was… lackluster, though not awful.

You get a tiny bit more product in this sunscreen than you do with most Asian sunscreens at 50mL, at an equivalent price point of $10-12. It was tough for me to find a US seller for this one, so there was a bit of a wait for this to be shipped from Korea.

The product comes out of the tube pretty easily. It initially has this, kind of… beige-colored tint? But it immediately turns white once you apply it to your face. Smells a little like fruity chalk, too. Ok, let’s try a better descriptor than that: like Flintstones vitamins. And that smell never fades at any point through the day.

It applies fairly easy onto the skin, but the white-cast is somewhat noticeable and doesn’t fade easily. That said; it does play well with makeup and other products underneath it, but you might notice the sunscreen ends up being a tad bit of a white-mixer with your foundation.

This sunscreen started to make my skin feel a bit dry after the 4 hour mark — although it wasn’t affecting my makeup necessarily, it felt like my skin was cracking each time I smiled.

I guess longevity isn’t technically a “thing” with sunscreens, because you should be reapplying after 2 hours anyway, but wearing the Innisfree sunscreen for a week or two instead of my usual SPF 50 made me realize how much more effective the SPF 50 is at blocking out rays. I got substantially more color on my skin in those two weeks.

I was a little paranoid this would make me break out because it dried my skin out so quickly, but it didn’t. So that was cool. Other than that, I guess I wasn’t really blown away by anything, and I probably won’t rebuy it. The whitecast was kind of annoying, it made my skin feel too tight, and I could also see how the smell would be off-putting for some. But hey — any sunscreen that doesn’t break me out is a friend in my book! ~A

Perceived efficacy: 3.5/5

Longevity: 3/5

How much I actually like this product: 2.5/5

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!