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The best sunscreens for your skin issue

Sunlight can make certain skin issues such as acne and eczema worse, so using the right suncare is key to maintaining healthy skin

The feel of summer sun on the skin has an almost instantaneous feel good effect. But we all know the downsides: too much sun is ageing and can cause skin cancer. Not only that, it can also trigger or exacerbate certain skincare issues.

“If you want to protect your skin from sun damage, it’s important to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF of 40-50,” says Professor Anthony Bewley, Consultant Dermatologist at Barts Health NHS Trust. “Choosing the right sunscreen is also crucial if you’re affected by skin conditions such as eczema or rosacea, sensitivity, acne or hyperpigmentation.”

Chemical or mineral?

Chemical sunscreens absorb UV rays within the skin, while mineral/physical sunscreens sit on the the skin and reflect rays away,” says EV Expert and Holistic Skin and Wellbeing Expert Gemma Clare. “Mineral sunscreens use ingredients such as titanium dioxide, zinc oxide and iron oxide. They are better for sensitive skins, as skin issues may be aggravated by chemical ingredients.”

A sunscreen to suit your skin

The latest advances in suncare technology means there’s a sunscreen to suit every skin type and issue. Innovative new formulations now offer lighter, more blendable textures in a wide range of shades, while dual action formulations combine UV protection with other skin friendly (eg: antioxidant) ingredients. We asked the Etre Vous Experts to give us their top suncare picks.

Sensitive skin

Sensitive skin can be more reactive to UV light and is prone to sun damage. “Always use a physical, broad-spectrum sunscreen with antioxidant ingredients such as vitamin C, E, glutathione, and resveratrol to mitigate UV, ionising radiation (IR) and free radical damage,” says Clare. She recommends avoiding chemical ingredients such as oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and avobenzone.

  • Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Brush-On Shield SPF50 is a 100 per cent mineral, broad-spectrum brush on sunscreen for ultra sensitive skin. It protects against UVA and UVB rays, pollution, blue light, and infrared radiation thanks to a trio of antioxidant green tea, grape seed and oak wood extracts, hydrating hyaluronic acid and tara tannins. 
  • Skinceuticals Mineral Radiance UV Defense SPF50 is a mineral sunscreen with a sheer, subtle tint that provides ultra powerful protection.

"Polymorphic Light Eruption or PLE (also known as sun allergy) is an intensely, itchy skin rash, triggered mainly by exposure to UVA rays, but also UVB rays,” says Professor Bewley. “Symptoms come up in 2-3 days and last for about two weeks. Reduce symptoms by using a broad-spectrum SPF50 sunscreen.”

  • Eucerin Sun Allergy Protect Cream Gel SPF50 is formulated with advanced spectral technology that combines UVA/UVB filters, as well as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory ingredients lipochalcone A (derived from Chinese licorice root) and glucosylrutin (flavonoid).
  • La Roche-Posay Anthelios UVMUNE 400 Invisible Fluid SPF50 contains an exclusive MEXORYL400 filter to protect against UV-induced damage, and has a fragrance free, anti-eye stinging, invisible texture. 


“Typical symptoms of rosacea include a flushed face, dilated blood vessels, tiny pustules and a stinging, burning sensation,” says Professor Bewley. In a recent survey by the National Rosacea Society, sun exposure was named as the top trigger for rosacea flare ups by 81 per cent of respondents.
  • Neostrata Defend Sheer Physical Protection Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF50 is a lightweight, tinted fluid sunscreen, formulated with zinc oxide, titanium dioxide and a polyhydroxy acid (PHA) complex to protect the skin barrier. 
  • AlumierMD Sheer Hydration Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 40 (Versatile Tint) is a silky, sheer sunscreen that combines zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, vitamin E, vitamin C, resveratrol and glutathione. The tint blends to mask redness.


Typical symptoms include dry, red, inflamed skin that is intensely itchy. “For some people eczema improves with sunlight, but with photosensitive eczema, symptoms get worse,” says Professor Bewley. “So, always use a broad-spectrum SPF50 sunscreen and keep skin well moisturised.”

  • Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Face Shield Flex SPF50 is a hydrating, demi-matte, broad-spectrum sunscreen, available in four shades. It contains EnviroScreen technology to protect against UVA/UVB and HEV/IR light. 
  • Heliocare 360º Mineral Tolerance Fluid SPF50 is a light fluid that contains mineral filters, vitamins C and E.


“If you’ve got acne, skin is more sensitive to heat and humidity than sunlight,” says Professor Bewley. “The best formulations are oil free and non-comedogenic.”

  • AlumierMD Clear Shield Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF42 is oil free, non-comedogenic and quick drying. It contains hyaluronic acid, protective niacinamide and antioxidants glutathione and resveratrol. 
  •  AlumierMD Moisture Matt Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF40 is mattifying, absorbs excess oil and is available in three tints. 


“Exposure to the sun stimulates the pigment-producing cells in your skin (melanocytes) to produce melanin which can cause hyperpigmentation. Melasma is a form of pigmentation that triggers dark patches on the face–it is stimulated by oestrogen and sun exposure and may occur in pregnancy, when taking the birth control pill or hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

  • Heliocare 360º Pigment Solution Fluid SPF50 is a silky fluid with a subtle tint that offers maximum UV protection. Contains the plant-derived antioxidant Fernblock, vitamins C, E and green tea.
  • Photoderm Bioderma M SPF50 is a gel cream for dark spots and melasma. It shields skin against UV rays and offers the highest blue light (which can cause hyperpigmentation) protection on the market. 


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