Darbs, that sounds awful! It must be very frustrating to have to keep finding new products and never know which will trigger the reaction.
Don't give up on zinc oxide just yet. There is an Australian sunscreen product called Invisible Zinc that really is just that! If you happen to see Elle Macpherson advertising an Aussie sunscreen, that's the one.
For many people, the ingredient in sunscreen that causes allergic reactions is PABA. There are PABA-free sunscreens, but they do tend to be more expensive (or have zinc oxide). I know I find it worth the price--because I won't avoid using the protection I know I need.
Darbs, what you might need to do is start tracking the additives in products which produce reactions. It took me a long time to figure out that SLS (either sodium laureth sulfate or sodium lauryl sulfate) causes an allergic reaction for me, and both ingredients are inexpensive and therefore in most soaps, shampoos, detergents, toothpastes, etc.
Drabs, I have experienced some similar reactions and now choose to be very careful with what products I put on my skin. I agree with others who suggesr to try to track the problem. Also if you write manufacturers and ask for samples or coupons, explaining your situation, you may be able to find a workable solution without wasting money on products you find you cannot use.
Trust me, I have tried tracking ingredients! I tend to use the Water Babies as my control. The problem is I can look at 3 different types of sunblock and they will have maybe 3 ingredients in common, all of which are in the water babies. It is just a frustrating predicament, for sure.
Plume, I have tried the PABA free ones but some still cause a reaction.
I actually try to just not stay out in the sun for long stretches. I also shower and wash it off as soon as I come in.
darbs, I hear you. It took me over a year to find a sunscreen I could wear on my face for more than 4 hours without causing my eyes to burn. I have to wear a physical sunscreen like titanium dioxide, rather than a chemical sunscreen. I start wheezing within 5 minutes of stepping foot in a Bed, Bath & Beyond. Most scented products (candles, lotions, perfumes) make me wheeze, burn my eyes, and/or give me a migraine. All this extra sensitivity started within the last 6 or 7 years and I hate it.
Oh snowbot, I'm so sorry to hear about your chemical sensitivity! I know how you feel about all the sneezing. If I ever have to go to the locall mall and have to walk through Macy's cosmetic section, I have to hold my breath and walk as fast as I can, because all the perfume sample people are like zombies trying to chase after me to feast on my living flesh! Eek!
Avobenzone is a chemical barrier. Folks who have trouble with chemical barrier sunscreen are probably better at sticking with the physical ones, like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.
I also have sunscreen issues, being a very fair redhead of French/German/Celt descent (my brother, however, got the Lenape olive skin and can tan like no one's business.) I use La Roche Posay sunscreens and sunblocks because they're the only ones that don't cause a reaction for me. I'm going to Orlando next week and although I'm only spending one morning outside (Harry Potter!), I'm already freaking about the sun. I have to remember to decant some sunscreen into a Toob.
Does anyone know if the CVSes in Orlando sell LaRoche Posay? It's hit or miss-- I've found it in Boston and Toronto, but not Houston or Dallas.
Glad to hear I'm not the only one with skin/perfume sensitivities. I have to be careful with sunscreen also (Water Babies works for me, but I will try the Neutrogena), and especially hand lotions. That's where the 3-1-1 gets to be a problem. I'm a tall girl, and it takes a lot of lotion to cover me! Couldn't get my brand in Uganda. ;-) Can only use 1 brand of deodorant. Also have to avoid hotel shampoos and soaps. sigh
On the plus side, I got LASIK surgery last year (had really bad nearsightedness), and now I can travel without [preservative-free] contact solution. Love that!
I've been meaning to submit this to the thread about pinterest Made in USA: I solved a bunch of my 3-1-1 problems by buying camomile bar shampoo and solid discs of moisturizer from Chagrin Valley Soap and Salve. (Great name, huh?) It was really a mom and pop operation when I found them, but now they have a very nice website. Their products are perfect for travel - very gentle, organic, etc., and not liquid. We also really like their calendula salve - great for dry skin, psoriasis, and the like. Home : Chagrin Valley Soap and Salve I don't know if they make sunscreen though...
I love sunny skies and seas but... I need to cover up and wear a wide brimmed hat.
If I weren't wearing pants or pedal pushers, I would fit right in "The Little House on The Prairie".
Much to the hilarity of my sun loving, perfectly tanning birth and in-law family.
Every time the sun and I are out together and it is earlier than one or 2 hours before sunset, even the sun reflexion on water or car/bus/train windshield can give me sunburn.
I am also allergic to everything. Pure zinc oxide was available for a while but now they add preservatives, not good.
I just turned to cocoa butter, shea butter and aloe vera products.
All 3 are produced in Africa, so you might be able to get them there.
Do a search on your destination airport city, ask the people from the organization who have been there.
Let us know how you plan to pack, because it looks like a very interesting endeavor and destination.
@kmcg, thanks for the link. I like it that they offer trial sizes. They would be great for travel. I will try them!
Lavera has some organic and unscented sunscreens that might work for you.
Originally Posted by darbs
My skin is also sensitive to chemicals so I only use organic and natural products now. Regular sunscreens have a lot of chemicals that can be unhealthy to the skin. This list on good sunscreens on the healthy side might be useful:
Best Beach & Sport Sunscreens | EWG's 2011 Sunscreen Report | EWG's Skin Deep
Anyone with lotion/sunscreen sensitivities -- do you know if Cerave works for you? They've made great non-comedogenic lotions for years and are dermatologist recommended, but have recently been branching out with their product line. Unless I need "strong suncreen," my daily sun protection now comes in the form of their Cerave AM facial lotion. I wear it under my makeup and it's been working nicely. Completely unscented, doesn't clog my pores.
Thanks for all of the tips! Looks like I have some research to do before the summer.