Sunscreen Suggestions

Updated on April 21, 2009
S.W. asks from Litchfield, MN
30 answers

My little guy has very sensitive skin. We had issues with allergic reactions to sunscreen last year. My doctor wanted to wait to test him till he turned 3. Last year after trying 12 different sunscreen brands we finally found Alba brand that worked great. However last night we used sunscreen again for the first time since last summer and he swelled up like the micheline man. We took him to the doctor and now have an allergy appointment schedualed but not for a month. The sunscreen was the same brand we used last year only now he isn't tolerated it. Anyone have any suggestions on sunscreen to use? We have done everything from Aveno, coppertone, Jason, Baby stuff, alba, burts bees and about a 6 other brands. I'd really hate to take him outside with out sunscreen so if you have suggestions please let me know. Thanks

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So What Happened?

After trying sunscreens and getting no where with the allergist We decided to skip sunscreen all and all. We have spent a small fortune in Sun blocker clothes from head to toes. This seems to be working well so far. Thanks to all the mom's who offered their suggestions and sent samples of sunscreens. It is really appreciated. We are taking him to a dermatologist in a few weeks and hopefully get some answers their. Thanks again.

Featured Answers

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A.W.

answers from Milwaukee on

Perhaps the lotion from last year is expired. I know my kids have sensitive skin also (not to this extent)and over the winter we experienced out-dated body wash and lotion, which created a skin rash. Just a thought!

1 mom found this helpful
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L.A.

answers from Minneapolis on

We use the California Baby sunscreen for sensitive skin, it has nothing harmful in it. If you haven't already tried it, I would, it's really the only thing I feel comfortable putting on my kids' skin. Good luck!

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K.F.

answers from Appleton on

Brands that I like that are great for sensitive skin are: California Baby, Lu Sa, and Angel Baby. Happy hunting!

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L.P.

answers from Minneapolis on

Hi S.,
You have already received some very good recommendations so I may sound like a broken record. My son has a milk and nut allergy so most lotions are off limits. He does do well with California Baby and Banana Boat. Both are sold at target.
Best of luck with your appointment!

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K.S.

answers from Rochester on

Our son has sensitive skin as well (he has allergies and ezcema). We have been using either Vanicream sunblock, which contains titanium dioxide and zinc oxide ( http://www.psico.com/products/vani_sunscreen.cfm ) or Blue Lizard which has zinc oxide and few other ingredients. I know Vanicream can usually be found at Walgreen type stores, although you might have to ask for it at the pharmacy counter. You can also order both from Amazon. They are a big costly, but work great on our fair skinned blond son.

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A.F.

answers from St. Cloud on

So many sunscreens are touted as "all natural" but my son got a severe reaction from Melaleuca's sunscreen. Not to mention that he got severe sunburn on some of his body and the rest of his body was covered with zinc that wouldn't wash off for 8 DAYS!
Can your son wear clothing that protects from UV rays? www.onestepahead.com carries clothing and hats that protect from the sun.
www.cosmeticsdatabase.com is a good resource for finding out the safest products for your child's skin.

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K.S.

answers from Minneapolis on

Have you tried the Arbonne Baby Care line? We have an awesome sunscreen with an SPF 30+ - all botanically-based - pure, safe and beneficial. I am a consultant in Minneapolis and would be happy to get a sample to you to try if you are interested. You can contact me at [email protected]____.com or ###-###-####. I hope you find something that works for your son!

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J.S.

answers from Fargo on

The only thing I can think of is the Arbonne baby sunscreen. I am sure if you go online you could find a consultant near you, or maybe you know someone who sells it.

They are supposed to use all natural ingrediants. If you haven't tried, check it out.

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R.D.

answers from Des Moines on

I also have reactions to sunscreen and many lotions. In fact, I am still figuring out which products work for me. I've never tried any of the prescription sunscreens others mentioned though. I didn't even know such a thing existed. I've been fairly frustrated with dermatologist visits whose approach seems to be to give me things to try and see what the reaction is. I haven't used good old plain zinc oxide in years, but I don't remember ever having a reaction to that, so it might be worth a try. Cetaphil makes a lotion with SPF 15, I think it is called Daily Moisturizing lotion. It's not made to be used as a sunscreen per se, but I figure whatever works...I also just picked up some of the Bare Escentuals powder sunscreen, but it hasn't been warm enough for me to be outside trying it out. There is also another brand of powdered sunscreen that I've heard is good, but I don't remember the name, maybe someone else knows? I looked into it once but they don't sell it where I live. The other thing is that, for me anyway, the skin on my legs and arms doesn't seem to be as sensitive as my face, neck, chest and back, so I just use regular Neutrogena on those areas. I'm also lucky (but a bit of an anomaly) that I don't have fair skin, so I don't burn very quickly. One more thing I'll mention is that often the fragrances in items are the culprit (although with sunscreen I think it's a sunblock ingredient) and things that claim to be "natural" aren't necessarily much if any better for people with sensitive skin. Anyone who suffers seasonal nasal allergies can tell you that people have reactions to nature's ingredients too.

PS. Did you use sunscreen from the same tube as last year, or did you buy a new tube of the same brand? Sometimes companies change their formulations. It's also possible to develop intolerance over time, just as it's possible to grow out of such allergies.

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H.Z.

answers from Minneapolis on

Have you tried California Baby? My friend's son has eczema, and that's the only brand he can wear.

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K.T.

answers from Milwaukee on

Hi my kids also have sensitive cream and we have used Vanicream sumscreen; you can order it at Walgreen;s in the PhX.

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M.W.

answers from St. Cloud on

Have you tried an organic kind??? The ingridients in there may be easier to tolerate.

Just go to the organic section of your grocery store and give that a try. That's what we use for our kids when I'm really worried. Although mostly they go without and haven't burned yet. I've read that if you eat a well balanced healthy diet that your skin is a natural sunscreen. We eat mostly organic. No pop. No fast food. I don't remember the exact brand right now. It was a yellowish bottle.

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L.G.

answers from Milwaukee on

sunscreen is by far one of the most toxic "beauty products" that exists. i would suggest california baby brand as it's all natural (REALLY all natural) and without all the yucky ingredients that companies usually use to create sun protection.

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M.S.

answers from Lincoln on

Have you taken him to see a pediatric dermatologist? I work for one and this seems like contact dermatitis to me. We sometimes give scripted sunscreens. I'd try that option before dealing with an allergist. I have seen many a misdiagnosis in the office coming from allergy docs...

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C.P.

answers from Eau Claire on

Hi S.,
I shop with an online wellness company. They have a commitment to not putting anything harmful in any of their products, and they do have sunscreen, as well as moisturizers, laundry care, and cleaning products that would probably be beneficial to you if your son's skin is that sensitive. You can't buy their products in stores, but if you'd like more information, I'd be happy to talk to you about it. Send me a message if you'd like more info.
C.

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J.M.

answers from Minneapolis on

Hi S., It looks like you have received a lot of replies already, but I haven't seen any mention of Aloe Up sunscreen. I've been quite pleased with their line of products. It is hard to find retail, but you can order on-line at http://www.aloeup.com/retail/kids

I also have tried Vanicream and found their products to be very reasonable in price and very gentle. Good luck!

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R.C.

answers from Milwaukee on

Hi. I've seen patients with rosacea and other skin sensitivities and I always tell them that you have to read the ingredients on your sunscreen. Those made with titanium dioxide or the traditional zince oxide (you know. what goes on your baby's butt) are the least irritating to those with sensitive skin. I'm sure your allergist will have recommendations based on your child's particular situation as well. Good luck.

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M.T.

answers from Milwaukee on

I also agree about the Blue Lizard brand!

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S.B.

answers from St. Cloud on

check out the lists of chemicals in them. Nasty stuff! We don't use any of them for thatt reason. Our children get a healthy glow each summer, if you are worried, there are clothing lines that cater to warm weather sun protection. Best wishes!

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C.G.

answers from Davenport on

I think it will be hard until you find out what ingredient/s he is allergic to. Have you kept track of the ingredients in the products you have tried, including the nonactive ingredients? Maybe there is one common thing in all of the them. I know the burt's bee uses titanium dioxide. The safest sunblock is zinc oxide (same ingredient as desitin). I don't know any products off hand that only have zinc oxide. You could maybe mix it with a moisterizer so it isn't so pastey.

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J.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

I also have terrible reactions to sunscreens, swelling, peeling skin, itchy, etc. I've had this since I was a child. The only sunscreens that I can use, after years of trial and error, are the ones that use zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. I try and get brands which have these ingredients plus a few others that I recognize like olive oil, or cocoa butter. I know the brand I like best currently is the badger brand. It works well for me, even through several tropical beach vacations. I also like the powdered mineral sunscreen, I have one that only contains micronized titanium dioxide and cassava root powder. I forget the brand, I got it at an independent natural foods store. THe rules I use now are 1) titanium or zinc, and 2) only natural ingredients that I recognize. I also test a new one on before my old one runs out, just a little spot on my thigh and wait for tingling or redness in the next 24 hours.

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S.N.

answers from Milwaukee on

Hi S.:
L'Bri Pure n' Natural is another fabulous sunscreen to check it. Organically grown aloe vera is the very first ingredient and its loaded with lots of vitamins, minerals, herbs and botanicals. There are no artificial colors or scents, no drying alcohols and nothing that can harm your baby in any way. If you'd like me to send you a sample to try I'd be happy to. Contact me if you're interested.
S.

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M.C.

answers from Fargo on

Considering MOST sunscreen are very toxic and the rate of children and cancers has elevated at the same rate as the push of sunscreen. Get a list of toxic chemicals to avoid or message me and I can send you one.
Linda Chae has spent countless hours lobbying congress and the FDA to alert the public of the dangers of chemical sunscreens as well as other chemicals in personal care products.
I use her sunscreen from Chae organics with all my kids and daycare. She has a great line of baby care products too, I will message you a link to a site for her products tomorrow.

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A.G.

answers from Minneapolis on

I rarely put sunscreen on my kids because I am concerned about the chemicals. But, California Baby brand should not have toxins in it. You may want to try that.

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C.

answers from Minneapolis on

Have you tried a powder sunscreen? I am really sensitive to sunscreens as well...they make my face swell up and turn red like a beet! Anyway, I have had good luck with mineral powder sunscreens. They come in a little tube with a brush at the top, and you shake them to get the powder out. They are expensive--I use the Dr. Brandt one sold at Ulta--but if you can't find anything else that works, it may be a good last resort. Good luck!

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N.W.

answers from Minneapolis on

I also use Arbonne products for my girls and it works great. They have much higher standards than a lot of products out there. Good luck!

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A.M.

answers from La Crosse on

Vanicream sunscreen! It's the only thing I can use on my face without getting irritated. We also use Nature's Gate kids block on my toddler. Good luck!

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A.S.

answers from Minneapolis on

Hi S.-
I didn't take the time to read all the responses you got, so this may be a repeat. I use Arbonne skin care products on my sensitive-skinned daughter and it works well. They have a whole baby line that includes sunscreen, hair and body wash, lotion, oil, and diaper cream. Arbonne is Swiss formulated, where they have MUCH stricter regulations on their cosmetic products (than the US), but it is still made here in the US to keep costs down. Let me know if you'd like to sample or try the sunscreen...it works great on my girls. Plus, as with all Arbonne products, they are botanically based, hypoallergenic, pediatrician tested, they don't use and animal products or by-products or dyes or chemical fragrances---which all are things that can be irritants to sensitive skin.

Good luck,
A.

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K.C.

answers from Madison on

We use vanicream. I'd push hard to get him tested sooner and while you're in there press hard to have him tested for tree nuts and anything else you might suspect. Many sunscreens contain almond or coconut, both of which my son is allergic to. You might suggest to your doctor or the allergy department that you noticed some "labored breathing" associated with the swelling and they'll put a rush on the appointment!
Good luck

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S.S.

answers from Minneapolis on

My son also has extremely sensitive skin, and last year we FINALLY found one that works--Blue Lizard. It's a non-chemical sunblock. It's a little pricey and hard to find. CVS carries it, so I usually go in there a couple times a summer and stock up. But it's so worth it...it was the only thing I could use on my older son and my baby (who also has mildly sensitive skin).

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