Tips for Choosing the Right Sunscreen with Chronic Hives

It’s summer time! You know what that means, sun time!! I have very pale skin, and am very sensitive. As mentioned in previous articles, I've expressed my determination to get a tan. So I set out to research and trial different sunscreens and sun tan lotions. I know, sounds counterproductive since I have chronic hives, however I wanted to see what worked for me and what didn’t. I decided to pass on what I learned to all of you!!

I tried the following three:

  • Coppertone Tanning Oil Spray
  • Neutrogena Sheer Zinc
  • Hawaiian Tropic Island Tanning

So how did it go? Well let’s break it down below.

Coppertone Tanning Oil Spray

This is the first tanning lotion I tried. I was so excited to try it, as I've used coppertone in the past. It had decent reviews. So off to the store I went, and bought it. Got home, and planned a pool day for the following day. The next day I headed to the pool in my community. Laid out my towel, and sprayed the Coppertone Tanning Spray on my legs and arms. Well… it didn’t go so well. I ended up reacting to it. Hives up and down my legs, under my arms as well. I had to take an extra dose of allegra for a week to help calm the reaction. I had to use clobetasol on my legs to help in easing the itching. Again. I had high hopes for this one, but for me, it wasn’t sensitive enough for my skin.

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  • Easy Application
  • Smelled Good
  • Water Resistant
  • Free From:
    • Dyes
    • PABA
    • Oxybenzone
  • Vitamin E to help moisturize the skin.
  • Didn’t make my skin feel greasy.


Neutrogena Sheer Zinc

So I decided to research the best sunscreens and tanning lotions for sensitive skin. I was determined to research and look for those highly rated for sensitive skin. Neutrogena Sheer Zinc was a top rated one. So again off to the store I went! Now the notable difference is this is a 50 spf sunscreen, and it won’t help if you want to tan (like I do). However I gave it a try anyway.  I honestly was not a fan of it.  It’s supposed to have a non greasy feel to it, however for me it left a weird residue feeling on my skin. It made my skin feel irritated and greasy. It just made my skin feel uncomfortable, for lack of a better word. For those who don’t mind the ointment-like feeling, sunblock might like it, but for me, I just couldn’t handle the feeling of it on my skin. It is highly rated, and more mineral and safer for sensitive skin.


  • Available at Walmart and Target, CVS, and Walgreens
  • Mineral Based Sunscreen
    • Breakthrough technology:  zinc oxide based sunscreen
  • Protects against UVB and UVA rays
  • It is hypoallergenic
  •  Free of:
    • Fragrance
    • Parabens
    • Phthalates
    • Dyes
    • Irritating chemicals


Hawaiian Tropic Island Tanning 

This is the latest one I tried, and honestly by far my favorite! I did a test spot on my calf. I wanted to double check if i’d have a reaction. It was also highly rated for sensitive skin. I personally love the smell of this one. Kind of a silly thing, but it has a tropical smell and it’s great. It’s made with shea butter and cocoa butter, so it leaves your skin feeling amazing. It does come in both the continuous spray and the lotion. I will say the lotion is kind of messy, but nothing some wipes can fix! This was by far the most sensitive for my skin, and hydrating.


  • Vegan Formula
  • Cruelty Free-Doesn’t test on Animals
  • Made with island-inspired botanicals and ingredients like: aloe, papaya, mango, passion fruit, plumeria, and guava.
  • Free From: oxybenzone and octinoxate
  • Enhances your tan
  • Nourishes your skin
  • Water Resistant (80 mins)

So there you have it! My review of three different sunblocks and tan lotions. We all react differently, but hopefully my experience can help you on your journey to find a safe sunscreen. Or tanning lotion if you’re wanting to tan. Have you found a sunscreen that you’ve had a great experience with? Please share with us, so we can let others in the community know!!



This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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