This is a topic you will see frequently on my blog, and a topic that I would love to get reader feedback on. I am ultra-pale with very sensitive skin that is normal-dry. My (facial) skin is "allergic" to chemical sunscreens and product fragrances. The main sunscreen ingredient that I have identified that I can *NOT* use on my face is Avobenzone (trade name Parsol 1789). It causes red/rash-like bumps on my skin. It is unfortunate because *most* drugstore or inexpensive facial sunscreens contain Avobenzone/Parsol 1789. This totally limits what is even available for me to try. Also, on a personal note...I have a family history of skin cancer and have lost a dear friend to Melanoma. As a girl living in sunny Atlanta who loves the outdoors, my need for a daily facial sunscreen is essential. Not to mention the fact that sunscreen is the #1 ultimate anti-aging product.
My #1 Pick: Skinmedica TNS Ultimate Daily Moisturizer SPF 20:
This is the product that was recommended to me by my Dermatologist for my sensitive skin. I have purchased it at his office, skinstore.com, dermstore.com, and ebay (be careful-check for a reliable seller). It retails for $80 for 2 oz (whew! pricey). But, check for sales, coupon codes, and discounts. I never buy it full price.
This product has gone through a number of reformulations over the years. My favorite formulation was when it did not have the "TNS" (and it was WAY less expensive then). I have been using this version: for the past few years.
BUT, as I am writing this and adding links for you guys, I have noticed that they have reformulated/repackaged yet again...and it looks as if they have added "Parsol MCX"...oh no!!! I am assuming this is another name for Parsol 1789/Avobenzone??? Okay, OMG-I am freaking out! I will have to email the company to check and update you guys. If this ingredient is in fact a version of Avobenzone (which I suspect that it is)...then I can no longer use it. Nooooo! Why must companies change and reformulate products that we love??? Well, I will continue this review on the old formula (that you can still find online, just make sure to ask the seller to tell you the stamped expiration date, as I have had to return expired sunscreens that I have purchased online before). Either way, while I love it...it is way too expensive-IMHO.
What I love about this sunscreen:
- no irritation
- lightly moisturizing
- does not clog pores nor cause breakouts
- leaves a nice finish on skin (not too greasy or dewy)...perfect base for makeup
When I know I am going to be outdoors, I up my SPF and wear Skinmedica Environmental Defense SPF30+. The finish on this is not nearly as nice as the TNS SPF, nor is it as moisturizing. But, it is worth it for the additional SPF when outdoors for sports activities or if you are just going to be in the sun for a few hours. FYI, it leaves a white-cast on your face (I am sure that the white-cast is way more apparent for people with a darker skin tone than me).
Drugstore Sunscreens that have worked for me:
These both work great as far as they do not irritate my sensitive skin nor cause breakouts...but, I still prefer the Skinmedica as it is more moisturizing and leaves a nicer finish (less greasy). But, on the pro-side...these are WAY cheaper than the skinmedica.
For poolside (try to find some shade!) or outdoor sports:
I love the convenience and ease of application with a spray. Just be careful to cover all areas and rub in.
For my everyday body lotion:
Coming soon: Biore Skin Preservation Dual Fusion Moisturizer + SPF 30 review
I just purchased this and will be testing it for the next couple weeks. I have high hopes for this product (and fingers are crossed that I will love it as I have a feeling with the re-formulation of the Skinmedica...that I am going to need to find a new daily sunscreen). So far, so good with this one, but want to test it a bit longer before posting a review.
I would love to hear what is working for other sensitive-skin people.
P.S. Please show support to the Skin Cancer Foundation