Sunscreen update

We get more questions about sunscreens than just about anything else.

Everyone is different. Some people react to one sunscreen, others to another. Here are our current recommendations based on failsafe facebook group feedback BUT try it and see. If it doesn’t work, try another (and tell us). Note that ingredients change all the time.

UPDATE September 2019

The US body that regulates sunscreen has just declared that 12 of the 16 popular active ingredients might not actually be safe. Only 2 ingredients can actually be considered safe and effective: zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

The sunscreens recommended below remain failsafe. Avoid any that have chemical UV filters.

In most countries, including Australia, sunscreens are lightly regulated as cosmetics and not as drugs. In the USA they are regulated as drugs because they make health claims that require clinical evidence, which is why the USA is leading on this issue.

RPAH say it is most important to seek products that are free from fragrances and do not contain nut oils, PABA (p-amino benzoic acid) or menthol. Nearly all sunscreens contain some preservatives.

Current most popular:

Moogoo - – many have said no reactions. 25% zinc oxide, no chemical UV filters, fragrance-free.


Invisible Zinc - tinted dayware in various formulations including Junior uses only non-nano zinc oxide with a preservative. , supermarkets and various pharmacies including online. The general consensus is that various invisible zinc types are not quite so invisible.



Cleure sunblock sensitive is pricey from USA but well-tolerated. Active ingredient: Zinc Oxide 13.5%, Titanium Dioxide 8% Inactive Ingredients: Purified Water (aqua), Methylcellulose, Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Euxyl PE 9010 (mild preservative, globally considered safe and non-irritating). “I found it works really well and it's nice and smooth to rub on with no smell." - Ruth


RPAH suitable list:

Cancer Council - many members report reactions to these currently and many types have a strong smell. The new Sensitive Invisible might be worth trying. 22% zinc oxide, fragrance-free and with three preservatives.

Ego Sunsense - members liked older formulations of these

SunSense Sensitive SPF 50+ and Invisible SPF 50+ are non-nano titanium dioxide and zinc oxide based, no chemical UV filters, and fragrance-free. SunSense Junior SPF 50+ contains chemical UV filters but no nanoparticles and is fragrance-free.

Sunsense reader review from an extra sensitive family: With few other choices, we use the RPAH recommended Sunsense Sensitive Sunscreen. It uses Titanium Dioxide as a physical blocker, and uses no chemical blockers. It contains hydroxybenzoate preservatives. My extra sensitive sons seem to cope with it for going to the beach or all day school athletics carnivals etc, but we don't use it every day. Mostly (if not swimming) we just use hats and shade.

Hamilton’s Sensitive - contains both chemical UV filters and preservatives. Some negative reports.

Soul Pattinson’s Ultrablock – appears to be no longer available by that name in Australia but may be found in NZ. Contains both chemical UV filters and preservatives.

Zinclear - appears to be no longer available by that name in Australia, possibly following fall-out from marketing as nano-free when it was not. Advance NanoTek Limited (ASX: ANO) may be supplying zinc oxides to other sunscreen manufacturers.

Other sunscreens mentioned by members, but NOT FAILSAFE:

Arbonne – non-nano zinc but botanicals. Not failsafe.

Aveeno - chemical UV filters, preservatives and fragrance. Not failsafe.

Cetaphil – chemical UV filters, benzoate preservatives. Not failsafe.

La Roche-Posay - nano titanium dioxide, chemical UV filters and benzoate preservatives. Not failsafe.

Wotnot – zinc oxide based, no titanium dioxide but has grapeseed and sesame oils. Also contains NaticideTM, an organic skincare preservative. Not failsafe.

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