This post contains links that are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. For more information, check out my disclosure policy.
Is your skin super sensitive to the sun like mine? It does not take much sun for my skin to burn and become super inflamed for days. Enjoying the great outdoors and hiking a couple times a week throughout the year, I usually prefer covering up with UV protective clothing and a big floppy hat. I definitely inherited my skin from my father, who always wore long pants and a floppy hat wherever he went in the summer. Even with my body covered up, I still have to use sunscreen on my face. If I forget to use sunscreen, I’ll regret it and my skin will feel the sun’s indirect exposure from it’s reflection on water or red rock. Typically I don’t have to cover up as much in the spring, fall or winter unless the UV index is high.
Do you check the UV index where you live? Did you know that if you live nearer to the equator or at higher elevations, then the UV index in your area is most likely higher than other cities. The U.S. EPA Index tool has a zip code identifier, so you can learn what the forecasted UV index is where you live.
Utah is one of the sunniest states in the Union and where I live is about 4,300 feet in elevation which means my exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun is very high. On average Utah’s UV index ranges between high (6) to very high (10). Personally I burn very easy with little sun exposure, which is why I regularly check the UV index in the summer and also always plan to cover up with UV rated clothing, a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen. I do wear sunscreen on my face even when I’m wearing a hat and sunglasses. My skin is extremely sensitive, so I take every precaution and it generally works out for me very well.
The National Eczema Association recommends sunscreens with both zinc and titanium dioxide, as they aren’t absorb directly into the skin and also block harmful ultraviolet A and B rays. Titanium dioxide isn’t necessarily high in nickel, nonetheless I’ve heard from some that they are either also allergic to titanium dioxide or it will cause their skin to react.
Too much sun exposure can cause the skin to overheat and become aggravated. Though I try to limit my own sun exposure, phototherapy, or light therapy, when under the care of a physician can be a treatment solution for some with atopic dermatitis. However, the risk of skin cancer is great, so using clothing and sunscreen is always advised.
The skin on my face and neck is the most sensitive on my body. After trying multiple sunscreens only SF50 Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Oxide Dry-Touch Sunscreen Lotion (affiliate link) works on my face and neck. I love that it’s mineral based and waterproof. I haven’t found it oily or greasy. It also hasn’t given me acne which I appreciate! Though it’s called “sheer” it will leave a little white cast on my face because of the zinc oxide, especially when I don’t thoroughly apply it. However zinc oxide truly does protect your skin from both ultraviolet A and B rays. From all my research, I believe Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Oxide Dry-Touch Sunscreen Lotion is low nickel. Even the EWG rated the Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Oxide Dry-Touch as an overall “top choice for sun protection.”
If you can tolerate coconut, perhaps Eucerin Daily Hydration SPF 30 (affiliate link) which doesn’t include either zinc or titanium dioxide, could be a good option. Using Eucerion’s other products without issues, I randomly picked this up at a Walgreen’s when I forgot to apply sunscreen and planned on spending hours outside. I really like how it feels and I haven’t had any issues when I apply it on my arms and legs. However after I started using it for several days in a row on my face, I experienced a terrible eczema rash. After googling all of the individual ingredients, I realized it contains Hydrogenated Cocoglycerides, which is essentially coconut oil and coconut does not work for me.
For awhile I used other types of sunscreen that included fragrance in its ingredients. Told early on by my dermatologist to eliminate all cosmetic products with fragrances, I no longer use those sunscreen products as they always seemed to do more harm than good for my skin.
Have you found a nickel free sunscreen that you like to use? If so, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.