Some things should be kept out of the eyes. If you get shampoo in your eyes while you are showering, you’ll regret it. Even a hint of chile pepper essence is even worse. But many people find that sunscreen is also unpleasant when it runs into the eyes. Can you find non-irritating sunscreen?
Looking for Non-Irritating Sunscreen:
Q. After applying sunscreen to my face, my eyes get irritated within 30 minutes. It doesn’t matter whether I sweat or not.
Over the past two years I’ve had four surgeries and one cauterization for basal and squamous cell growths. In the past ten years I’ve had more actinic keratoses frozen than I can count. So I definitely need protection, but I can’t manage without some sun. Do you have any recommendations on non-irritating sunscreen?
Look for Physical Sunblockers:
A. We’d suggest looking for a sunscreen with a physical sunblocker such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as the active ingredient. The nonprofit EWG (Environmental Working Group) rates these as safe and effective. They caution that safety data on other compounds, such as oxybenzone, are incomplete. A recent study showed that people absorb such chemicals into their bloodstreams (JAMA, Jan. 21, 2020).
The authors warn, however:
“These findings do not indicate that individuals should refrain from the use of sunscreen.”
Other readers have found that mineral-based sunscreens are less irritating to the eyes.
“I use only products containing zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. If I apply products with other ingredients to my face, my eyes are irritated for hours afterward.”
In summary, we urge you to try a sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as the active ingredient. Please let us know whether you were successful in locating a non-irritating sunscreen. Don’t forget the benefits of a hat, sunglasses and long sleeves as well.