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Can Sunscreen give you a chemical burn?

Warning: That Sunscreen you love could actually caused painful chemical burns.

"Drugstore spf leaves kid with chemical burns"

This was the headline of an article, it told the story of a toddler that suffered red blistered skin due to a chemical burn. What happened? Her mom had applied a common sunscreen to protect the childs' skin while at the beach.

Why did this happen?

The article tried to blame ingredients that were "not-natural". But the reality is that kids are more likely to have allergies and skin reactions. Most will grow out of it as adults.

The Truth is we can be allergic to ANYTHING.

I've had clients allergic to lavender, eucalyptus, and flax seed. A natural skincare preservative is also starting a round of new skin allegies. So allergies are not about "natural" or "not-natural" ingredients.

What can you do?

1. Patch test.

This is easy. At least 1 to 2 days before using a product apply it on a patch of skin. We recommend by the ear since it is easy to cover up. Leave it on all day. Check it at the end of the day. If there is no reaction then it should be ok to apply all over the face.

2. Mechanical vs Chemical Sunscreen

We identify sunscreens by how they act on the skin. A mechanical sunscreen sits on the surface and works like a shield to stop the sun from hitting the skin.

Pro: Great for sensitive skin, Better UVA/Cloudy day protection. Con: Rinses off easily so it's not water resistant; some leave a white film on skin.

A chemical suncreen absorbs into the skin. When the sun hits the skin it's captured by chemical suncreen, stopping it from entering the skin. Then its transformed into heat and released from the skin.

Pro: Lighter texture, can be very water resistant. Con: Irritating to skin that can't deal with heat, eg: Rosacea, sensitive, post surgery.

When choosing an Spf you'll usually find a mix of mechanical and chemical sunscreens. Mechanical sunscreens are Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide. Chemical sunscreens include octinoxinate (derived from cinnamon), octisalicate (derived from willow bark). Mexoryl SX is a chemical sunscreen with some UVA protection. Note: Zinc Oxide is still our best SPF protection. But no sunscreen can offer 100% sun block. So layer your sun protection with hats, clothing, shade and reapplying spf every 2 hours.

3. Start now before vacation

Now is the right time to start testing out sunscreens on your kids. You need to find the right texture, sunscreen ingredient and protection. And your child will have a more sensitive skin than you. So patch testing sunscreens now will give you options that are safe you and your family.

We offer a variety of excellent quality sunscreens at Tuscany Spa

  • From water-resistant to sensitive skin options.

  • Sunscreens that blend the best of Chemical and Mechanical ingredients.

  • Ultra Sensitive skin sunscreens with only Mechanical spf ingredients.

  • We have a sunscreens with UV repair ingredients, antioxidants and healing green tea.

Try them out. You'll find the right one for both your skin and your precious little one.

Visit us at Tuscany Spa Skin & Body Clinic, 2210 Florencita Drive West, Montrose CA 91020.

Or Buy online at

What is your favorite sunscreen? Do you have any sun protection questions? Leave me a comment below.

Here's to a safe and sunny California experience

Michelle of Tuscany Spa

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