Selecting sunscreen suitable for sensitive skin can be a challenge, as skin sensitivities vary and one product enthusiastically endorsed by people with sensitive skin might not work as well on other people. As a general rule, reading ingredients carefully to check for known irritants and allergens is recommended. People may also find it helpful to read reviews written for people with sensitive skin in mind and to consult their dermatologists about options.
Wearing sunscreen is important, especially for people with sensitive skin, as they may be more susceptible to burning. Sensitive skin sunscreen is designed to minimize the risks of developing a skin reaction, keeping people comfortable while wearing sunscreen. Sometimes, the cheapest and most effective solution is to use a sunscreen formulated for children, as such products tend to be designed to be as irritant-free as possible.
People with skin sensitivities should select a sensitive skin sunscreen free of fragrances, dyes, alcohol, and grease. All of these ingredients can cause skin irritation and may lead to skin breakouts, rashes, and other problems. Many people with sensitive skin can also find components like parabens and para amino benzoic acid (PABA) irritating on their skin and should avoid sunscreens with these products listed on their ingredients.
Some sensitive skin sunscreen uses a physical, rather than chemical, method to block the sun's rays, using compounds like zinc oxide. These can be gentler on the skin and will be less likely to cause skin reactions. People concerned about skin sensitivity can also seek out hypoallergenic sunscreens, products designed specifically with skin sensitivity in mind, while people who are worried about breakouts can look for noncomedogenic sunscreens.
People with allergies to foods like corn, wheat, and dairy can review ingredient disclosures carefully for signs of these ingredients. If sunscreen with an allergen in it is applied to the skin, people can develop hives or other allergic reactions. Food ingredients are sometimes used in unusual ways, and all people with food allergies should read ingredient lists with extreme caution to check for potentially dangerous ingredients. Even if a product is labeled as a sensitive skin sunscreen, it might contain unsafe ingredients.
There are prescription sensitive skin sunscreen products available, specially formulated for sensitive skin. If people find that no commercial sunscreens meet their needs, they can discuss the option of using a prescription product. Many drug companies offer samples to dermatologists, allowing people a chance to test a prescription product before buying it to see if they experience skin reactions. Wearing protective garments can also help reduce the need for sunscreen, allowing people to apply less and reducing the risk of a skin reaction.