I have brown skin, and, as many of you know, it is hard to find a sunscreen that is suitable for both sensitive skin and dark skin.
What are the Best sunscreens for sensitive brown skin?
Most sensitive sunscreens are mineral based and can leave a white cast, while sunscreens that are chemical based are usually not suitable for sensitive skin, as they might contain irritating chemicals like Avobensone.
What invisible sunscreens are great for peeling skin ?
The short answer is:
- La Roche-Posay Anthelios UVMUNE 400 SPF 50+
These two sunscreens are both invisible on my brown skin and non irritating on my sensitive skin.
At the moment I’m doing a skin peel using my own serum combo in an effort to peel away some of my hyperpigmentation as well as ND-YAG laser hair removal on my lip. I could stay home and indoors all day with curtains drawn, but I refuse. I want to go out – to eat – do run errands – to do important things to sustain my daily life.
Anyway, about a week ago, a female Uber driver, I was sitting next to in the front seat, on a hot day, recommended a sunscreen which she herself had used and recommended to her sister who has dry skin. My peeling skin needs something less drying and inflammatory.
So her recommendation was this sunscreen called DermOpal which is aqueous cream based and also chemical at an SPF of 30. It wasn’t as expensive as most facial sunscreens so I thought why not risk roughly $10?
The Uber driver had assured me that it was good for sensitive skin and that it was invisible. DermOpal is a South African brand and approved by the SABS.
While on the topic of South African sunscreens: did you know that Helio was created and owned by a South African from Stellenbosch? Well, now you know.
Speaking of Heliocare being a South African brand…
The sunscreen I used after my first in-salon retinol peel as seen on my YouTube channel is Heliocare.
Correct sunscreen application is everything with Heliocare
Heliocare is not like many other sunscreens that you rub into your skin. It’s not to be rubbed in at all.
You are meant to take a little bit of Heliocare rubbed on the palms of your hands and quickly spread the sunscreen everywhere evenly without rubbing. The Heliocare will protect your skin as a film on top of your skin. This is why it’s great for sensitive skin due to intense skincare treatments.
How do I know? The cosmetologist who did my facial explained it to me. She said she actually met the owner of heliocare and did some training on it.
You obviously won’t be able to wear makeup with this Heliocare because you’d have a pilling mess and a broken sunscreen barrier.
Here’s the Heliocare that I ended up buying
Heliocare is annoying to wear since it doesn’t absorb into the skin at all and just sits on top so the slight greyish cast doesn’t go away.
There is another heliocare for anti-aging but my wallet doesn’t afford me to constantly buy hits and misses.
I also heard that they have replaced the SPF 50 sunscreen with an SPF 90 but I don’t know…
Heliocare the company is actually based in Spain and last I checked, it wasn’t allowed by EU regulation for sunscreen companies to claim an SPF of more than 50+. So I’m not sure if this is even permitted in the EU or how it is allowed here in South Africa. You can correct me if I am wrong.
L’Oréal drugstore sunscreen UV Defender
The hydration sunscreen leaves a pinkish/purplish cast on my skin, but it’s not an ugly violet cast and definitely not grey.
The instructions say to use after applying moisturizer. This was my go to but it does require you to rub it into your skin and not to use too much. Great for everyday use but not so good after cosmetic skin procedures like peels.
The anti-pigmentation sunscreen by L’Oréal
This sunscreen had niacinamide in it. From my experience, niacinamide helps prevent tanning. I haven’t noticed niacinamide getting rid of any of my hyperpigmentation to be honest. But, it does help prevent my skin from darkening.
I bought this because I thought that it would be a good idea for my peeling skin as an extra protection against possible hyperpigmentation of my sensitive skin, but no.
The UV Defender Even Tone sunscreen requires a lot of rubbing in and a moisturizer underneath. I don’t want to rub and rub my peeling skin. Also, it did leave a grey cast, unlike the hydration sunscreen.
So no. But, I’ll test it out when my skin is fully recovered to see if the “even skin tone” claim is true.
My experience using day creams with SFP 15
The L’Oréal Triple active day creams are great except for the peeling and the green bottle for acne-prone skin makes my skin peel slighly on its own.
I’ll say, don’t use face creams or lotions as sunscreens because they usually have active ingredient that might cause a lot of irritation and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Don’t use facial creams and serums when you are going through a peel or doing intense treatments unless it was recommended by your professional consultant.
I do recommend facial creams containing sunscreen for people who want an easier daytime skincare routine.
Protect yourself from black lights with sunscreen
Did you know: you should also wear sunscreen at night if you plan on going to a nightclub or pub with black lights? Nightclubs have lights that transmit UVA rays. These artificial UVA rays have made my brown skin peel after a long night clubbing. Maybe it was just a result of a reaction of my body lotion and the UVA lights.
What I am saying is, the night is not always safe. Try and keep a little bottle of sunscreen in your purse and/or wear makeup with sunscreen at night.
How to protect yourself from UVA damage?
- Mineral sunscreens with titanium oxide or zinc oxide
- Chemical sunscreens with an spf of 50 because only these give protection against UVA damage in the EU
- Asian sunscreens have protection against UVA. The way to tell is by looking up the PA plus number. You want a sunscreen with a PA++++ or PA+++++. This is the measure of how slowly the skin will darken under UV light using a particular sunscreen.
Some European brands also use PA numbers on the sunscreens and lotions containing SFP.
Speaking of European sunscreens I bought the La Roche-Posay Anthelios UVMUNE 400 SPF 50+ last week and this is my review:
This sunscreen is truly invisible. I bought it when I got the DermOpal. The in-store consultant at the drugstore converted me from the bioderma invisible sunscreen I was about to purchase. I wanted reassurance that it would actually be invisible because I had bought other bioderma sunscreens and they turned out to be a unusable unless I wanted to look like a ghost. She told me that she hasn’t tried the bioderma but she knew that the la roshe was invisible. It was a bit expensive but I went with it.
After buying it, I watched a couple of YouTube reviews and was pleased that it is actually invisible and chemical.
One YouTuber complained that it contained Avobensone and I was like oh no I have sensitive skin. But, I thought worst case scenario, I’d use it as a hand sunscreen.
I decided to use the other YouTuber’s method of application. What she did was rub the shaka on her palms and pat it into her skin. I liked this method for my now peeling skin.
It went well. No irritation. But chemical sunscreens will always have some irritation after a few hours of use and usually upon application.
What’s good about the new Anthelios Sunscreen?
They say that it helps prevent freckles, so I think it should prevent my face getting darker or creating excess melanin that would impede my efforts to peel off my hyperpigmentation. It’s also good in general to care about getting darker as you age because tans get harder to go away and then you have this dark, sad looking face. We want our faces to look bright and happy.
I hope you found my honest sunscreen reviews for peeling, sensitive and/or dark tanned skin useful.
Check out more articles like this on sunscreens for anti-aging.