Two Nontoxic Sunscreens For Sensitive Skin Worth Purchasing This Summer (And All Year Round)

As you might have read in my previous article, which explores my journey managing my perioral dermatitis, I took a brief hiatus from sunscreen to give my skin a breather. I am not a medical professional or skincare professional and I would never recommend others to follow suit, but I personally found that foregoing sunscreen helped my skin heal when my PD breakout was at its worst. (I don’t know for sure, but I have an inkling that the chemical sunscreens I was using were irritating my PD in addition to other factors.)

Though I stopped wearing SPF for about a month, I did not leave my skin unprotected. I used physical sun protection: a Coolibar sun scarf wrapped around me with built in UPF 50 protection, a Coolibar wide brimmed hat and UV blocking visor by Axtion Systems. I made sure to keep myself protected from the sun while embarrassing my husband (poor guy) at the same time. 

But a few months have gone by and my skin has healed a lot! Currently, I don’t have a single PD outbreak!!! This is in part to finding a skincare routine that works for me – first following a rigorous routine which I outlined here to rebuild my barrier, then shifting to a lighter routine as my skin strengthened which I will be posting about later today. In addition, adhering to an anti-inflammatory diet/lifestyle has helped immensely! 

Now that my PD is under control, I have incorporated back into my routine the past month two nontoxic sunscreens – Luzern’s La Defense Urban Protect Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 and from Marie Veronique’s organic skincare line – Everyday Coverage Tinted SPF 30. Both are extremely gentle, made with organic and natural ingredients and I would highly recommend them for sensitive or compromised skin based on my personal experiences.

Read on for my full review of both.

marie veronique sunscreen tinted organic

Product: Marie Veronique Everyday Coverage Tinted SPF 30

Best for: Natural, sheer coverage and everyday sun protection

Finish: Semi-matte is what the website says, but I’ve found it to be matte on my skin.

Skin type: All skin types including sensitive or compromised skin

Ingredients: 20% Non Nano Zinc Oxide, Green Tea Infusion, Jojoba Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil, Meadowfoam Seed Oil, Sunflower Oil, Vegetable Glycerin, Red Raspberry Seed Oil, Vitamin E, Non-GMO Sunflower Lecithin, Potassium Sorbate, Allantoin, Xanthan Gum, Mica, Sea Buckthorn Oil, Rosemary Oleoresin, Rosehip Seed Oil, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment, Pearl Powder; Essential Oils: Carrot Seed, Cistus, Helichrysum, Iron Oxides

Review: I looooooove this light-weight, sheer coverage, mineral Marie Veronique sunscreen and I’m not alone in my adoration. There’s a serious love-fest going on in the green beauty community around this tinted sunscreen, even the EWG rated this organic sunscreen #1 in 2014, 2015, and 2016!? And it’s easy to see why! The skin nourishing ingredients soothe redness, lightly hydrate skin and blur out minor skin flaws while offering protection from UVA and UVB rays.

One of the stand out ingredients in this Marie Veronique sunscreen is green tea. Marie Veronique highlights green tea in her book, Acne Answer: A Step by Step Guide to Clear, Healthy Skin, which I highly recommend for anyone dealing with inflammatory skin issues, as a key skincare ingredient for rosacea, acne and/or dermatitis sufferers. The polyphenols, micronutrients with antioxidant activity, help neutralize free-radicals that cause inflammation – and we all know that at the heart of many skin issues, like acne and rosacea, is inflammation.

But the list of skin nourishing ingredients doesn’t end there: seabuckthorn and rosehip oil find their way into this little SPF and contain powerful antioxidants, like Vitamins A, C, E; raspberry seed oil, mica and tocopherol offer additional natural protection from UVA rays; and jojoba oil has a very similar molecular weight to sebum allowing for natural skin lubrication, along with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits. And finally, this product uses organic fermented radish root as the preservative!

Texture: Light, whipped lotion (not watery). Dries quickly when rubbed in and can look blotchy if not evenly applied. Marie Veronique recommends applying this tinted SPF on top of their Protective Day Oil. I did not test this oil, but I did find when applied on top of a different oil I was using the application was smoother.

Scent: Very subtle floral, earthy scent

Tip: This Marie Veronique sunscreen comes in three tints: Extra Light, Light and Medium. Per the website’s recommendation, it suggests Medium for beige skin or neutral undertones, which I am, but when I tried it in store it was too dark for me. I have a yellow undertone, but I found the Light, which is suggested for light skin with pink undertones, works best for me. The tints can be mixed together, as well. Or you can add a drop of your liquid foundation if need be. 

Available here

luzern la defense spf

Product: Luzern La Defense Urban Protect Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30

Best for: Those living in large cities or exposed to excessive blue light from screens (so… everyone?)

Skin type: All skin types including sensitive or compromised skin

Ingredients: Zinc Oxide 15%, Algae Extract*, Buddleja DavidII Extract**, C12-20 Alkyl Glucoside*, C14-22 Alcohols*, Caprylhydroxamic Acid*, Green Tea Leaf Extract**, Capryilc/Capric Triglyceride*, Carbomer, Safflower Seed Oil**, Cetyl Alcohol*, Citric Acid*, Cucumber Oil*, Cyclopentasiloxane*, Ethylhexyl Isononanoate, Ethylhexyglycerin*, Glycerin**, Glyceryl Caprylate*, Glyceryl Undecylenate*, Licorice Root Extract**, Hexyldecanol*, Isostearyl Palmitate*, L-Arginine*, Edelweiss Extract**, Methycellulose*, Methypropanediol*, Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate, Panthenol, Propanediol*, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate*, Sodium Hyaluronate*, Sodium PCA*, Steareth-2, Steareth-21, Marigold Flower Extract*, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate*, Thyme Extract**, Tocophersolan, Tocopheryl Acetate*, Water*, Ginger Root Extract**; *Natural derived or Ecocert + **Cetified Organic USDA/Ecocert/Bio-Swiss.

Review: The damaging effects of ‘blue light’ have been a circulating topic in the skincare industry the past few years. Though, in very hushed tones. No one really wants to believe that our phones, tablets and laptops are capable of impairing our skin’s barrier function, anti-inflammatory response and causing hyper-pigmentation. But studies (though, few) have confirmed our worst fears.

Luckily, skin care companies are tackling this nightmare head-on and serving up products that protect us from UVA/UVB & blue light, including this SPF from Swiss bio-tech skincare brand Luzern. 

As a nontoxic beauty girl, I’m a big fan of Luzern products. While they aren’t organic, they use a mix of organic, wild harvested and safe, nontoxic cosmeceutical ingredients from Swiss alpine plants grown at higher altitudes; the company states this results in higher concentrations of antioxidants. They also use a cold processing method to extract plant botanicals resulting in a more potent product since high heat used in traditional methods can render some antioxidants and vitamins unstable.

The Luzern La Defense Urban Protect Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 comes from their new pollution/blue light defense line – La Defense – and has quickly become my new favorite sunscreen! It contains 15% zinc oxide, Vitamins C & E for antioxidant protection; organic green tea and ginger polyphenols to boost collagen and elastin; organic licorice to prevent pigmentation and brighten skin tone; organic edelweiss and thymus vulgaris to fight free radicals; and hydrating hyaluronic acid and Vitamin B5.

It also feels amazing on the skin! In the morning when I first wake up, before washing or doing my morning skincare routine, I apply this SPF and head out to walk my dog, Cheddar. This product keeps my skin feeling hydrated and protected for our 45min walk/hike! Once we return, I wash my face and follow with my usual skincare routine.

It does have a very slightly white color, but does not leave a white cast when evenly blended. I suggest pumping the product into your palm, pressing the palms together and then pressing your hands onto your face. This allows for an even application.

Texture: Thick lotion (blends well, not heavy)

Scent: Fresh and light from the cucumber and edelweiss, but very subtle

Tip: I suggest pumping the product into your palm, pressing the palms together and then pressing your hands onto your face. This allows for an even application and avoids a white cast. 

Available here and here

Written by Amy Chang, founder + editor; main image photographed by Wing Ta