Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin: What to Look For (And What to Avoid) - Iremia Skincare

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Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin: What to Look For (And What to Avoid)

Sunscreen is a skincare must. It’s essential to protect your skin from sun damage and keep it healthy and calm—especially if you’re in the sensitive skin club like us. 

If you struggle with conditions like rosacea and eczema, finding the right sunscreen can make all the difference. Let’s explore what to look for in sunscreen, what to avoid, and why SPF is your BFF all year round—not just during those glorious summer months. 


The Importance of Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin 

Sensitive skin requires extra love, and that includes sun protection. Everyone can benefit from sunscreen, but those with sensitive skin conditions are at a higher risk of sun-induced flare-ups and skin irritation. Here are a few reasons why sunscreen is essential for those with sensitive skin:

  • Protection against UV rays:Sunscreen acts as a shield, guarding your skin against harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays that can even penetrate through clouds. UV rays trigger inflammation and exacerbate skin conditions like rosacea or eczema, leading to discomfort and heightened symptoms. 
  • Minimizes redness and irritation:This is a big win for those of us with sensitive skin. Redness and irritation are two of the most common sensitive skin symptoms. A broad-spectrum sunscreen can soothe both while preventing further redness from sunburn.
  • Prevents long-term damage: Few things are better than lounging in the warm sun. But without protection, UV rays can lead to premature aging, sunspots, and a higher risk of cancer. Wearing sunscreen daily helps safeguard your long-term health.

Why Some Sunscreens Irritate Sensitive Skin 

Yes, sunscreen is a non-negotiable. But so many brands can cause stinging, redness, or a burning sensation for people with sensitive skin. 

The usual culprits are harsh additives, like fragrances, colour, or harmful preservatives. Many sunscreens also add chemicals like oxybenzone, avobenzone, octiinoxate, or homosalate—all notorious for causing sensitive skin reactions. 

Other irritators? Minerals oils and silicones. For example, dimethicone: a silicone-based ingredient that improves the texture of sunscreen application but really acts like a film on your skin. 

Iremia’s founder, Elaine, has struggled for years with finding the right sunscreen for her rosacea and eczema-prone skin. Every sunscreen she tried would sting, and even after applying a healthy layer, she’d still get sun-induced rosacea flare-ups. She noticed it especially during long car rides, when the sun beamed through the windows. Since then she’s been searching for a sunscreen that doesn’t irritate her sensitive skin.

Choosing Sunscreen For Sensitive Skin 

Good news: It is possible to wear sunscreen every day without making your sensitive skin angry. The trick is to find a product with these soothing, supportive qualities: 

  • Physical (mineral) sunscreen: Look for sunscreens with physical blockers like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These ingredients sit on top of the skin, forming a protective barrier against UV rays, making them less likely to cause irritation.
  • Broad-spectrum protection:Ensure your sunscreen has a high SPF, shielding your skin from both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Hypoallergenic and fragrance-free:Opt for sunscreen labelled as hypoallergenic and fragrance-free to minimize the risk of skin irritation or allergic reactions.
  • Lightweight and non-comedogenic: Choose lightweight and non-comedogenic formulas that won't clog your pores or feel heavy on your skin, allowing it to breathe.
  • Dermatologist-tested: Look for sunscreens that are dermatologist tested or recommended. That’s how you know it has undergone rigorous testing to be compatible with sensitive skin.

Our Recommendation: The Best Sunscreen For Sensitive Skin 

Sensitive skincare is what we do. So when it came time to find a non-irritating sunscreen, we did all the heavy lifting so you don’t have to. Meet our top sunscreen reco: SPF50+ by Laboratoires de Biarritz

This certified organic mineral sunscreen was added to our wellness collection just in time for summer. It checks all the boxes: a high SPF, mineral filters, and it’s hypoallergenic and fragrance-free. Even better: it contains a patented red algae extract called Alga-Gorria®, which prevents cellular damage and fights against premature aging. It’s the perfect sunscreen for rosacea, eczema, highly sensitive skin, and year-round protection. 

Want more sun protection? Our wellness collection also features a wide-brimmed UV-blocking sun hat. This stylish sun-blocker has an opening at the top for your ponytail or bun, and the velcro strap at the back can be adjusted to fit any size. Toss it in your beach bag for a day in the sun to keep your sensitive skin calm and burn-free. 

Sun Protection Starts Now 

Don’t let sensitive skin stop you from staying protected. Choosing the right sunscreen for your unique skin is a crucial step toward a glowing, long-lasting complexion. As long as you look for the right qualities, like mineral, hypoallergenic, or fragrance-free sunscreen, you can be sun-safe without aggregating your sensitive skin. Win-win.