Waterproof Sunscreens Cause Pain

by Caroline
(United Kingdom)

I am going to Australia on February 2014 and I have severe reactions to sun screens. P20 used to be ok but they are all waterproof now. My reaction is severe rashes anywhere I apply the creams. My skin blisters, itches, burns an then goes crusty as the bubbles burst. When I was in menorca two years ago I need anti histamine injections for three days any the rash took a week to go and I had to stay inside. This last summer I did not use any screens, but my sister in Australia has told me I will need to find one. Does anyone have any advise.

My reply

Hi Carolyn, thanks for your message. I am so sorry for the terrible reactions you've been having from waterproof sunscreens.

If you can look at the ingredients list in the sunscreens you used, you may be able to find some common ingredients that are used in all of them. That will give you an idea of which ingredients to avoid.

Then, the challenge becomes finding a sunscreen that will not create a rash. Your best chance would be to find one that does not contain toxic or irritating ingredients, and then do a skin test, by applying it ONLY to one small patch of skin, like the inside of your wrist or elbow.

We have a page on Sunscreens for Sensitive Skin that can give you some tips, and also the drawbacks to using a nontoxic sunscreen.

Even if you do find a good sunscreen, I also recommend a wide brimmed hat and some lightweight long sleeved cover ups that you can wear at the beach, that will protect your skin. Good luck, I hope this is helpful for you!

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