The Best Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin and Allergies

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The longer days of summer offer ample time to get out and enjoy the sunshine. Most doctors now advocate soaking up some rays for the Vitamin D, but too much time in the direct sunlight is counterproductive. Beyond burns, sun damage can have harmful long-term effects. And some of us need sunscreen to ease our pale skin into the great outdoors. But picking the best sunscreen isn’t easy for everyone, especially those of us with sensitive skin and allergies. Luckily, there are now quite a few good options to choose from.

We’ve rounded up a list of sun protection brands that cater to sensitive skin (including dermatitis), vegans, and even food allergies. Food-based ingredients and extracts linger in many lotions and can cause hives, rashes, or other reactions to those who might be allergic. You can avoid them with these mindful top allergen-free sunscreens.

The Best Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin and Allergies - including gluten-free and vegan optionsAdorable photo from Blue Lizard.

The Best Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin and Allergies

The following is a list of dairy-free and allergy-friendly sunscreen for sensitive skin. Most of these brands provide allergy information right on their websites, but you can call the companies for additional information.

Although these companies develop sunscreen for sensitive skin issues, skin reactions vary greatly from person to person. Spot check any new lotion on a patch of skin before smearing it all over your body, and use extreme caution whenever severe allergies are a concern.

Most of these brands are touted as reef-safe or reef-friendly, but these aren’t regulated terms with official definitions. Nonetheless, they tend to shun ingredients like oxybenzone, octinoxate, octocrylene, 4-methylbenzylidene camphor, paba, parabens, triclosan, and nano-particles.

All of the brands below appear to follow animal welfare practices and shun animal testing. But as noted, a few contain ingredients like beeswax, so they aren’t strictly vegan.

Alba Botanica

This is the brand that I currently purchase most often. It’s affordable, easy to find, doesn’t irritate my skin, and all of their products are dairy-free. Most are vegan, but a few contain honey or beeswax.

The Best Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin and Allergies - including gluten-free and vegan options

Attitude

I discovered this multi-faceted brand while working with Allergic Living. They’re based in Canada, but now sell their products in the U.S. too. All of their products are reportedly made without top allergens, and they have a good range of sunscreens. But their Fragrance-Free Mineral Sunscreen is even enriched with skin-soothing colloidal oatmeal and approved by the National Eczema Foundation.

The Best Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin and Allergies - including gluten-free and vegan options

Blue Lizard

Numerous parents of food allergic kids have recommended this brand to me. It’s great for sensitive skin and top rated by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

The Best Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin and Allergies - including gluten-free and vegan options

California Baby

Despite the name, this plant-based brand is good for all ages. They vow, “no nut oils, gluten, soy, oats, and dairy,” and all of their formulas are made with sensitive skin in mind. In fact, they even have a “Super Sensitive” sunscreen.

The Best Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin and Allergies - including gluten-free and vegan options

Earth Mama

Their sunscreens aren’t strictly vegan since they do contain beeswax, but they’re dairy-free and top allergen-free by ingredients. They come in adult, kid, and baby formulas, including an Uber-Sensitive Kids Sunscreen with colloidal oatmeal. The ingredient lists are surprisingly short and legible, with all of the “free-from” benefits you could hope for. Which is why they’ve earned top marks from the EWG.

The Best Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin and Allergies - including gluten-free and vegan options

Goddess Garden

This sunscreen line has been top rated by the EWG for many years. They offer formulas for babies, kids, and adults, but they all look pretty similar and boast gentle ingredients. They are all vegan, and most are gluten-free (their Tinted Face the Day contains gluten). Like most other sensitive sunscreens, this is mineral based, but they say it goes on more sheer and that they don’t use nano-particles.

The Best Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin and Allergies - including gluten-free and vegan options

Kabana Organic

They make a sunscreen line called Green Screen that receives top marks from the EWG. It’s dairy-free, gluten-free, corn-free, and soy-free. They do use beeswax in their formula, so it isn’t strictly vegan. But we love the super-short ingredient list. It isn’t often that you see a sunscreen with just non-nano zinc oxide, artesian water, EVOO, beeswax, vitamin E (from sunflower seeds), and vitamin D. They also make tinted versions to combat the white effect of mineral sunscreen.

The Best Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin and Allergies - including gluten-free and vegan options

Kinesys

This line of spray sunscreens carries the claim that “no parabens, preservatives, nanoparticles, nuts, nut oil, gluten, dairy, egg, soy, sulphites or colourants have been added to these products.” Their sunscreen sprays are also vegan-friendly.

The Best Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin and Allergies - including gluten-free and vegan options

Kiss My Face

Their products are dairy-free and gluten-free, and most are vegan – a few contain honey or beeswax. In 2015, they also removed the almond oil from their products to make them nut-free.

The Best Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin and Allergies - including gluten-free and vegan options

Raw Elements

I had no idea there were so many certifications available for sunscreen until I saw this brand. They have a huge focus on pure ingredients and environmental responsibility, which shows in their EWG rating. Their sunscreen is dairy, gluten, nut, and soy-free, and it reads almost like a quality food label (but don’t eat it!). It’s mineral-based with non-nano zinc oxide, but the inactive ingredients include things like organic green tea, coffee bean, hemp seed oil, and cocoa butter.

The Best Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin and Allergies - including gluten-free and vegan options

Did we miss your favorite? Please share it in the comments! For other sensitive skin needs, see my posts on the Best Natural Skin Care Products and the Best Laundry Detergents.

Enjoy More Dairy-Free Living Guidance with Go Dairy Free!

Go Dairy Free 2nd Edition - The Ultimate Guide and Cookbook for Dairy-Free Living with Over 250 Recipes!

Ingredients and processes of any product are subject to change at any time. Always read the product label and contact the manufacturer if you have concern of a reaction. This post is for informational purposes only, and should not replace your own due diligence.

About Author

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

9 Comments

  1. Brittany Daniels on

    Badger’s (badgerbalm.com) is another great mineral based, zinc oxide based sunscreen out there. They have lots of unscented options, including the original zinc oxide formulas that turn skin white, tinted formulas and clear formulas. The Unscented Sport SPF 35+ doesn’t irritate or cause my sensitive skin to break out at all.

    • Brittany Daniels on

      Badger’s (badgerbalm.com) is another great mineral based, zinc oxide based sunscreen out there. They have lots of unscented options, including the original zinc oxide formulas that turn skin white, tinted formulas and clear formulas. The Unscented Sport SPF 35+ doesn’t irritate or cause my sensitive skin to break out at all. Have you tried a brand, bubble & bee, found on https://bubbleandbee.com/. I chatted to the founder and owner of this company, who told me none of the personal care products have milk in them. According to the faqs found on https://bubbleandbee.com/, every personal care product that is made is gluten free. I personally use the unscented lotion, unscented lip balm and a customized unscented spray deodorant from them. Their unscented castle soap they make and carry, dries my mom’s and I’s skin out, instead I use the Baby Mild Unscented Castle Dr. Bronner Soap instead as this doesn’t dry my skin out at all.

  2. Michelle Peck on

    Thank you so, so much! I have a soy allergy and people just can’t believe how much I can’t touch. This is great!

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