Sensitive skin


If you have sensitive skin, chances are you struggle to find sunscreens that don't irritate or cause your skin to flare up. Avoiding the sun or covering up completely is not always practical and with Australia having the highest rate of skin cancer in the world. We all know how important it is to protect yourself when out in the sun.


So what should you know before choosing a sunscreen?


Not only can the sun cause sensitive skin to flare up or become dry, sensitive skin is often already more prone to irritation. So it’s important to choose a product that won’t irritate your skin while providing adequate sun protection. Also, make sure you continue your normal skincare routine and don’t ditch your moisturiser in favour of a sunscreen, unless it is specifically formulated to both moisturise and provide UV protection, otherwise you might find your skin becoming dry or irritated.

Firstly, look for a broad-spectrum SPF 50+ product, as this is the highest level of protection you can get.

Secondly, look for a product that is fragrance free, as this may reduce the likelihood of causing irritation.

Thirdly, if you are prone to breakouts or prefer a lighter product, choose one that is oil-free and non-comedogenic (won’t block pores).

Once you have a product that ticks these boxes, you should still make sure it is right for you. Patch test the product on a small area of your skin before using it widely on your skin.

And lastly, remember no matter the weather; hot or cold, rain or shine, always apply your sunscreen at least 20 minutes before heading outdoors and reapply every 2 hours. Make sure you apply it liberally – at least half a teaspoon for the face, neck and ears and 1 teaspoon for each limb.


Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. Limit sun exposure and use protective clothing, hats and eye wear. Keep out of eyes. Reapply sunscreen regularly.


Cancer Council of Australia / About Sunscreens. Available from:

Stiefel C, Schwack W. Photoprotection in changing times – UV filter efficacy and safety, sensitization processes and regulatory aspects. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2015;37(1):2–30.

Nash JF et al. Maintenacne of healthy skin: cleansing, moisturisation, and ultraviolet protection.

J Cosmet Dermatol.2007;6:7-11.

Schneider J. The teaspoon rule of applying sunscreen. Arch Dermatol 2002;138(6):838–9.