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Readers Respond: Sunscreens That People with Sunscreen Allergy Can Use

Responses: 70


Updated June 23, 2009

From the article: Sunscreen Allergy
Sunscreen allergy is relatively common, and patients I've diagnosed with it often say that they've had a hard time finding a sunscreen that they can tolerate. Most often, I recommend a barrier sunblock that contains titanium or zinc oxide, but a lot of people don't like these forms of sunblock because they don't rub into the skin. If you have a sunscreen allergy, have you found one that you like and that works well for you? Though what works for one may not work for all, sharing your tips may be helpful to others.
If you're still on the hunt for a sunscreen that works for you, share your other sun protection tips.

Sensitive skin

I have super sensitive skin and break out easily. I get dry skin and a rash with banana boat sunscreen. With coppertone I get a goosebump-like rash and my skin feels like it's burning when the sun is on it. Any suggestions on a sunblock or anything that will help?
—Guest Mia


I sat and compared clear zinc to two top brands of sensitive skin sunscreen. They don't have a single same ingredient. We are trying it today. With all of the responses about diaper cream... Clear zinc seems better :). I found it at Walgreens $4.99. Says SPF 50

Lasers increase allergic response?

No ibuprophin allowed for 2 weeks prior to laser hair removal treatment. I forgot. Signed waiver & had 2nd treatment in spite of warning of possible burn. Arms got light burn & discomfort. Couple days later wore Up&Up (Target brand) sunscreen. Arms sufferred most: itching, burning rash. Face & chest irritated to lesser degree. Clinic doctor gave me steroid shot (last resort with blood sugar problem) and an Rx anti-histamine. Few days later, more Up&UP spf50. Right back to rash. Will wait out 10 days for recovery and will head to allergist. In meantime, anyone else had laser hair treatment with sunscreen reaction? Thanks.


I am very allergic to something in sun screens. My dr would not test but said it is trial and error. I do not swell or itch, my skin peels layer after layer one right after the other until I bleed. I found a product called Mexitan that works well because it is all natural but the only place I have found it is ebay.
—Guest Amber

L'oreal Ombrelle

I have the same issue as a lot of thers on this post. I 've had the issue since I was 8 years old, I'm 35 now. My skin swells & I itch all over, my lips crack & blister. I use Reactine, my doctor gives me extra strength when its intense & crotisone cream. I went to an allergist when I was a teenager and he basically said its the sun. I found that L'oreal Ombrelle works, but I still need to be careful in the sun, I wear a large brim hat and shades. Long sleeves if its not too hot. I find I react worse at the beginning of the summer or if I go south on vacation in the middle of winter. I also started using a vitamin C lotion from GNC and noticed that this summer my face isn't nearly as bad. I was caught out in the park in the middle of the day and was worried because I didn't have sunblock. The next day no reaction! So I think the Vitamin C lotion helps... but I almost always use sunblock. The block leaves a white film and feels like my pores are clogged.
—Guest Marilyn

My daughter and I are allergic

For years I knew that I was allergic to sunscreen, but which chemical in it, I don't know. There are too many to consider! And knowing that I was allergic, I figured my daughter would be too. We both break out in hives and huge rashes mostly over the more sensitive areas (back of knees, inside elbows, neck, inner thighs, etc). Anyone have a similar reaction? If so, what is a good gluten/nut free product to try that will still offer us good protection? We can use sunscreen on our face and a few other areas of our bodies with no rxn, but this isn't good enough. I haven't found a good allergist or dermatologist in our area, so we might have to do this on our own.
—Guest Rosalyn

Olay Complete spf 15 or 30

My daughter and I both react to any sunscreen applied to the face other than Olay Complete it comes in spf 15 and sometimes you can find it in a 30. She reacts worse than I do...skin peels and blisters. It has to be reapplied often but is worth the extra effort as we are avid swimmers and spend tons of time outdoors.
—Guest ~L

Allergic to Vitamin E

Almost every sunblock lists vitamin E (tocopheryl). That is what I'm allergic to. Do a patch test to pure stuff to find out. Vitamin e is synthetically produces. Its not natural.
—Guest A

Equate kids lotion 50 fps

I was thinking if it was really the sunscreen and I did put again and provoques again the same allergy, is itching all my body.
—Guest marcia

Sunscreen allergy

This first started happening to me last May. I would put on my moisturizer (with 15 spf) in the morning and by the time I was finished getting ready for class my face would be red and itchy, especially around my eyes. It would only get worse as I walked to class and started to sweat. I had a professor actually send me home once because he was convinced I had some horrible disease and shouldn't have come to class at all. I have very fair skin so going without sunscreen isn't really an option for me. I typically use Coppertone Water Babies 50 spf lotion when I plan to be in the sun a lot. It doesn't irritate me nearly as much as any other kind. Everything by Neutrogena or Aveeno makes me itch, really anything meant to be used as a daily facial moisturizer containing spf ruins my face for a day and a half. After reading some of the other replies I realize that mine is a really mild case but I thought I'd share what works for me. Hope this helps! :)
—Guest Erin

One that works for my daughter

My daughter has always been allergic to most sunscreens. The one that works best with no reaction is Pre Sun. All their products produce no reaction in her. They have one with zinc oxide and also a clear gel. They used to have a spray which I have tried to order again to no avail. A determatologist suggested we try Pre Sun and it's great. We been using it for over 10 years.
—Guest Guest Susan

banana boat spf 30

i used the banana boat spf 30 sunscreen on my legs and they got sooo red and i got a rash for about 15 to 2o minutes! everytime i try to use it it gives me rash! i wanted to use it under the baby oil to protect my skin but it is giving me rash, so i just used baby oil without sunscreen and i didnt burn! very ironice
—Guest sarah

The only sunblock I am not allergic to~

Hello, I am allergic to all metals, so sunblocks containing titanium or all else are an issue for me. Oil based suntan lotions up to spf 8 have not caused issues ( such as banana boat or coppertone oils are fine). I am highly allergic to the sparkles that are popular, but Bain de Soleil suntan lotion is the only non-oil form of suntan protection that does not create an issue for my skin. I hope this is helpful, Best, Jane
—Guest Jane


I changed from one expensive sunscreen lotion to one much cheaper and my face swelled so that my eyes would not open. I took 2 different medications for the allergy and it does not correct the problem. One Allergy med. has Diphenhydramine Hydrochloride Antihistamene and the cheaper one had Diphenhydramine HCI Antihistamine. The Benadryl Allergy Relief made some swelling, but it was much out of date. Is it the remedy or the sunscreen block causing the problem.
—Guest Jackie

Vanicream works for me

I have a large box of sunscreen products that give me rashes. All Neutrogena products for sensitive skin give me a rash. The only thing that doesn't give me a rash is Vanicream SPF 30 for sunscreen sensitive skin. BUT, the lip protectant gives me a rash so beware.
—Guest Billie
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