How to Choose Sunscreens for Sensitive Skin

People with sensitive skin needs as much sun protection as others but sunscreen products may cause irritation to sensitive skin.

In sunscreen products, the common ingredients that cause problems are oxybenzone, alcohol, cooling agents (usually menthol), fragrance (also be aware of lavender) and sensitizing preservatives methylchloroisothiazolinone and methylisothiazolinone (Don’t be misled by some ads. Parabens are better than these two.). The safest for people with sensitive skin is to avoid all the above problematic ingredients and use sunscreen products with titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide as the only active ingredients.

Sunscreens with only titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide tend to look too white and opaque. If you are bothered by this unaesthetic feature, you can choose one of these three types of sunscreen: 1. sunscreens containing zinc oxide together with octinoxate, which are not as white and well tolerated; 2. sunscreens containing micronized zinc oxide (If a sunscreen has micronized titanium dioxide as its only active ingredient, it is considered insufficient); 3. tinted sunscreen products.

Don’t expect sunscreen products with titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide to be completely invisible. That might compromise their UV attenuation effects.

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