How can I protect my sensitive skin with SPF50 without spoiling my makeup?
SPF50 products provide only about 1.3% greater UVB protection than those with SPF30, so if you already use a broadspectrum version of the latter there is not much need to shop. Sun protective moisturisers are often incompatible with makeup’s texture or colour. Creamy sunscreen formulas can make makeup pill, shine or slip.
Skincare companies typically counteract this effect by adding alcohol (making a formula thin and watery) or silicones (creating a silky serum). The silicone option is eminently preferable: Alcohol dehydrates and sensitises skin while silicones are harmless even around the eyes (an area especially vulnerable to alcohol irritation). It is true that silicones are synthetic but marketing insinuations that this renders them toxic or simply a less conscientious skincare choice for you or your children are groundless.
Silicones are both economical and present in a wide variety of vigorously-tested consumer goods ranging from food to building materials to toys.
There is some suspicion that silicones’ filming-forming nature causes spots but their use in such a wide variety of both acne and wound-healing products should reassure (wounds, in particular, need to breathe and the film formed by silicones is more accurately pictured as mesh than purely occlusive). Moreover, the alcohol employed in alternative oily-skin formulas both exacerbates excess sebum production and slows the healing of post-spot marks over time (as does going without broad-spectrum sun protection).
Colour change is particularly problematic for sensitive skin, as the gentlest sunscreen actives have a whitish cast naturally. I am very impressed with Murad’s new City Skin Age Defense Broad Spectrum SPF50, €51 (main image, left). Not only is the lightweight (siliconebased) formula comforting, smooth and quickly layered, it also contains significant amounts of lutein and Vitamin C, both brightening antioxidants that work to repair existent sun damage. A peachbased tint conceals the sensitive skinfriendly white oxides but is sheer enough not to alter your foundation. I would not deem it bold enough for colour-correcting (I even use City Skin Age Defence on my hands without smudgy consequences). The formula is free from fragrance and anything else likely to irritate sensitive types. There are no shine-control ingredients but if you are after those your makeup is likely mattifying anyway.
The packaging is an opaque screw-cap bottle, which keeps the contents stable. My sole complaint is the amount you get per euro, the bottle is far too small.