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22nd April 2022

SunSense Sensitive

Sensitive skin is not a formal medical diagnosis, but as more than 50% of women and almost 40% of men in the UK will attest, [1] that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. With a range of symptoms including tingling, itching, tightness, even burning sensations in the skin, [2] sensitive skin can have a very real impact on your life and make a relatively simple task like purchasing skincare products including sunscreen much more challenging.

Common skin irritants

Understanding sensitive skin and which cosmetic products may affect you can be a highly personal journey involving much trial and error. An ingredient that irritates one person’s skin might be perfectly fine for someone else, so it’s not as simple as consulting some online list of ingredients to avoid. However, there are certain ingredients that are known to cause sensitivity reactions more commonly than others.
These may include: [3–6]
* Fragrance
* Hair dyes, especially those containing ammonia
* Lanolin
* Propylene glycol
* Methylisothiazolinone (preservative)

Another group of ingredients that can sometimes aggravate sensitive skin is the chemical UV filters/absorbers found in many sunscreens (e.g. oxybenzone, octocrylene, butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane). [7]

The difference between physical and chemical sunscreens

When it comes to sunscreen active ingredients, there are two main classes—chemical absorbers and physical blockers—and each help to protect you from UV radiation differently. Physical blockers, including zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, are chemically inactive and work by scattering and reflecting UV radiation before it reaches the skin. Chemical absorbers, as the name suggests, absorb the radiation, which excites the molecules to a ‘high energy’ state. The radiation is then transformed and released as a non-harmful form or energy, like heat. [8] Unfortunately, this high energy state can cause skin reactions in some people, [9] so physical blockers, which don’t react to UV light, are better tolerated by people with skin sensitivities. While all SunSense sunscreens are free from fragrance and other common irritants, SunSense Sensitive SPF50+ goes one step further and does not contain any chemical UV filters.


Photosensitivity disorders

Finding a suitable sunscreen is even more important for people with photosensitivity disorders, which are caused or aggravated by exposure to sunlight. These types of disorders can include polymorphic light eruption (a rash caused by sun exposure), solar urticarial (an allergic reaction to sun exposure), lupus, or may be brought on as a side effect of using other medications. [10] If you have, or suspect a photosensitivity disorder, talk to your dermatologist for advice on the best way to manage it.

SunSense Sensitive SPF50+

SunSense Sensitive not only provides very high broad-spectrum UV protection, with SPF 50+ and 4 hours water resistance, it contains Vitamin B3 (for a range of skin benefits such as supporting the skin barrier and improving skin tone & texture) and is dermatologically tested on sensitive skin as well as paediatrician tested, making it an ideal choice for delicate or sensitive skin.





1. Willis CM, Shaw S, De Lacharrière O, Baverel M, Reiche L, Jourdain R, et al. Sensitive skin: an epidemiological study. Br J Dermatol 2001;145(2):258–63.
2. Berardesca E, Farage M, Maibach H. Sensitive skin: an overview. Int J Cosmet Sci 2013;35:2–8.
3. Misery L, Loser K, Ständer S. Sensitive skin. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 2016;30:2–8.
4. Miest RYN, Yiannias JA, Chang Y-HH, Singh N. Diagnosis and prevalence of lanolin allergy. Dermatitis 2013;24(3):119–23.
5. Trancik R, HI M. Propylene glycol: irritation or sensitization? Contact Dermatitis 1982;8:185–9.
6. Johnston GA, British Society for Cutaneous Allergy. The rise in prevalence of contact allergy to methylisothiazolinone in the British Isles. Contact Dermatitis 2014;70(4):238–40.
7. The European Multicentre Photopatch Test Study (EMCPPTS) Taskforce. A European multicentre photopatch test study. Br J Dermatol 2012;166(5):1002–9.
8. Egambaram OP, Pillai SK, Ray SS. Materials science challenges in skin UV protection: a review. Photochem Photobiol 2020;96(4):779–97.
9. Young AR. Chromophores in human skin. Phys Med Biol 1997;42(5):789–802.
10. Oakley A. Photosensitivity [Internet]. DermNet NZ2016 [cited 2020 Apr 14];Available from:


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