I Love You … but I Hate You


My dear Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock… when you came into my life, you were like a breath of fresh air.  I had read rave reviews of how you’ve successfully protected zillions of people everywhere with your ultra sheer formula and awesome protection with Helioplex and broad spectrum UVA and UVB, so I was excited when I finally got hold of you.  When I took you home, I eagerly held you in my hands as I turned your cover open.  There was a silver seal to protect you, which showed that you value hygiene, just like me.  I loved the way you fit into my palms – it was almost as if we were meant to be.


As you caressed my skin with your formulation that was just the right thickness, I felt my skin cool down immediately.  You were scent-free, which was just the way I liked it, and you didn’t leave a white cast on my skin, nor a sticky icky feeling.  All I got was a a perfect sunblock that made me confident to walk around in the hot tropical sun, feeling protected as long as you were close by my side.

Alas, after a few days, the skin on my neck and arms started to itch.  It was a terrible itch, I tell you, and one that eventually developed into a rash.  I didn’t think it could be you, because love makes some people ignore the obvious.  So I continued slathering you on my skin every day, religiously, blaming my itchy rash on the weather, insufficient water intake…everything but my sunblock.

And the rash worsened.

The itch did not start right after application though, which would explain why I initially crossed you out as the prime suspect.  It only itches in the evenings, and would only go away after a shower.

After 3-4 days, my neck was a wreck.  I tried every lotion I could find to calm and soothe the skin, and worst, the rash had also spread to my arms.

This was how my neck looked at its worst…


…and see how leathery the skin on my arms were?  There were small tiny lumps of rashes too!


It was then that I decided enough was enough.  I eliminated you from my skincare routine.  That would mean a few days of sunblock-free skin, but I needed that time to allow my skin to heal to its original state.

And it did.

It took about 4-5 days, but the itch disappeared and so did the rash.  I put on extra moisturizer and body lotion to speed up the healing process.  I still refused to believe that it could be you that caused me so much pain.  And just as my neck was about 90% healed, I decided to give you another chance.

This time, I put you on the right side of my neck and on my left, I applied a new sunblock I had purchase.

The love I felt for you was obviously not mutual and my fears were realized that very evening itself, when only my right side of the neck was itchy.  It even started spreading to the whole neck, so much so that I had to wash my neck immediately.

I did some research and through a process of elimination of sunblock ingredients (based on previous sunblocks I had used that my skin was okay with), I am pretty certain that I am allergic to homosalate, which is one of the active ingredients in you.  Homosalate is a kind of salicylate which is present in some sunscreens/sunblocks.


Some of the other ingredients which people COULD be allergic to, in sunscreens and sunblocks, are Para-Aminobenzoic Acid (PABA), Benzophenones, Cinnamates, Salicylates, Dibenzoylmethanes and Octocrylene (Source).

So my dear Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock, I love you with all my heart and I know you do a fantastic job, but I’m afraid I have to let you go.  I wish you could be with me, but because of my allergic reaction, I need to use a sunblock that does not contain homosalate.  Right now, I’m going with Sunplay’s Skin Aqua UV mild Milk.


It doesn’t offer as much protection as you did, but you know, at least it doesn’t give me a rash.

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7 Responses to I Love You … but I Hate You

  1. Juju says:

    I had the same problem as you when using dermalogica spf15 sunblock. Wasn’t as bad but my face was rashing too 🙁

    The Giddy Tigress says: Some of the Dermalogica products have zinc oxide in them, which you could be allergic to. I’ve used the Solar Booster from Dermalogica and that was okay for me. It’s good to determine which ingredient in the sunblock you are allergic to, not just that particular product, so that you can avoid all other products and brands with that ingredient as well. So what sunblock are you using now?

  2. Juju says:

    I am not using any now. Regarding that night repair that you got previously, how did u buy previously, order online or buy OTC ?

    The Giddy Tigress says: Oooh, you had better start using some sunblock now though…better late than never! If you are referring to the Kiehl’s MRC, it was purchased OTC.

  3. Mindy says:

    I had a similar reaction to the same sunscreen. Leathery, itchy rash on face. I switched to Aveeno’s baby sunscreen with Zinc Oxide. Thick, difficult to spread and no rash!!! And no sunburn! 🙂

    The Giddy Tigress says: Thanks for sharing, Mindy! I do like Aveeno products but unfortunately they aren’t available where I am located 🙁 Glad the Aveeno sunscreen works for ya…but won’t the Zinc Oxide leave a whitish cast on your face?

  4. dom says:

    so sorry to hear that this didn’t work on you. i really like this one personally.

    The Giddy Tigress says: Yeah, you know, I am so tempted to give it another go… *shrugs*

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  7. sharine says:

    Oh my… you are allergic to Homosalate… I’m using this, the only good and in reasonable price sunscreen which can be found in Malaysia. Other than that, I use Banana Boat or Lotion Potion (or Potion Lotion) for body… Mix using with Paula Choice’s sunscreen… Also I seldom outdoor after start working back. But I still use minimum SPF15 daily either on face or arms.

    The Giddy Tigress says: Actually I am not sure if it’s homosalate I’m allergic to. It could possibly be the methylisothiazolinone too, since I discovered it’s one of the ingredients I’m allergic to, after completing my skin patch test.

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