Sunscreen allergy: What, am I Mr. Krabs' long-lost sister?

So I applied facial sunscreen to my face and neck a few days ago in the morning, like I always do. I didn’t see or feel anything unusual about my skin after applying it, and left the house for work.

After lunch, I went to the women’s room and was struck by the sight of my own face in the bathroom mirror. (No, not because I’m that gorgeous. :D)

I’m quite pale-skinned, and I burn easily, so reddish or pinkish tinge to my skin is not unusual.

But the deep redness of my whole face and neck was really startling. In addition to that there was a troubling, Mr. Krabs - esque bright red patch on my cheek that was even redder than the other areas.

I ran to the sink and started frantically washing off my face with lukewarm water, which led to a horrible stinging and itching sensation on my face. I wet some towels and I wiped off my neck, and the skin there started stinging and itching as well.

The end result? My face and neck were now one giant, angry red, flaming and itching mass. While the stinging subsided, I continued to itch for hours, and the redness took about three days to subside.

So, I put away the ‘sensitive skin’ facial sunscreen I’ve been using these last few months and have waited for my skin to settle down before trying some alternatives.

Any of you with sunscreen allergies - what sort of alternative sunscreens have you tried? Did you end up having to give up sunscreen because everything you tried gave you some sort of allergic reaction?

I tried numerous sunscreens before hitting on this one, which appeared to work well without irritating my skin - well, at first. I want to proceed with extreme caution before trying anything else, although I know that even a sunscreen that causes no skin reaction at first could suddenly cause one later, like this most recent one.

I’ve got nothing but love for Mr. Krabs - I just don’t want to look like him. :smiley:

Were you using a chemical or physical sunscreen? Apparently not uncommon to get a reaction to the chemicals either directly or through photo sensitivity. Perhaps try using a physical sunblock instead (with titanium or zinc dioxide). These are available in both liquid and powder versions and tend to be recommended for sensitive skin. Not sure of US brands, but Invisible Zincis once such brand here in Australia.

Most sunscreens these days contain aloe, and if you’re allergic to the stuff - as many are - then that may be the problem. Sunscreen is exactly how we found out about my daughter’s aloe allergy. There are a few aloe-free brands, most notably Coppertone Sport. Aloe, as a botanical, can be a potent allergen yet cosmetic and bath/body products are full of the stuff. The term ‘hypoallergenic’ really is meaningless.

You need to figure out which ingredient in the sunscreen you were allergic to. I would go to a make-up store, like Sephora where they have those tester lotions you can try out. A lot of them have sunscreens in them. Read the ingredients and note which ones have aloe, different chemical sunscreens, etc. and put a little dab of each of them on your arm.