New Nivea sunscreen review….and an allergen update

It’s boiling in the UK today – and this is coming from me who LOVES sun. It’s so hot, I’ve given up sitting outside until it cools off a bit and have headed in instead to write about sunscreen. There’s a lot of new formulations out this year but, as I haven’t been on holiday yet I haven’t actually tried many of them. Today though you’d be insane to go out without something on your skin so I bootled around the sample cupboard and choose the Nivea Sun Protect and Refresh – Invisible Cooling Mist (SPF 30). It appealed because

1) I hate applying sunscreen so like sprays

2) It has the word invisible in the title – which means, in my eyes, no rubbing in

3) It’s says it’s cooling – which sounds nice

4) It has immediate protection – that’s right, no hanging out for 30 minutes waiting for it to work.

5) Their tag line is ‘it will make you go aaahhhhh’ – and yesterday I changed the one for this blog to ‘things that make me go oooooh’ so it seemed like a sign.


At first squirt I was like ‘hang on, it’s white that’s not invisible’ – but within a few seconds it fades to clear. The white stage though is very handy as it means you can see where it’s gone on reducing the chance of missing bits. At this point it needs rubbing in otherwise it just sits like a slimy film on your skin. After that it does dry quickly but you can feel it on your skin if you touch it. This makes me doubt if it’s sand proof. My doubts about this have been compounded by a carefully constructed controlled experiment with some flakes of goldfish food (nearest thing to hand) thrown at my skin and yes, that did stick and took a bit of brushing to get off so I think if you have sand issues be careful. There are also a couple of other things that mean while I like the product it’s not going to become my favourite sunscreen of choice…..

The cooling thing – nothing happened. Can’t say I felt any cooler – and I just squirted it again in the house to double check and nope, forget that as a perk – no ‘ahhhing’ here.

It makes food taste funny. We just bought some amazing cherries this morning – said cherries eaten with the sunscreen on though taste like soap! I’m guessing my hands are covered in it.

Oh, and there is a seriously worrying warning on the back, it reads……

During and after application keep yourself away from all sources of ignition.

Erm, what……I’m aware that spraying any aerosol by naked flames is a stupid idea, and generally, I do try getting too close to any sources of ignition in life – but exactly what do they mean by this. How long after application? Am I going to go up in a big puff of smoke if I walk past the BBQ? Isn’t the sun a source of ignition – that Icarus bloke certainly thought so? It expressly says on the pack ‘no smoking’ – not that I do, but for how long afterwards? Actually, despite me originally taking the mickey about this, a quick google has found it’s a serious issue. In fact the US FDA have actually sent out a warning after five people got burned using one particular spray. It wasn’t this one, which means perhaps Nivea are just being super cautious after the event but still WTF? I’m now contemplating taking a fire extinguisher to the beach just in case I’m sat by anyone who is using a spray while lighting up a Marlboro!


Oh, and while we’re talking skincare and suncare and things to be cautious of. There are warnings in the papers today that one ingredient found in some beauty products including certain sunscreens, moisturisers and wet wipes – might be linked to an increased risk of allergies. Called methylisothiazolinone (or MI) UK doctors now say one in ten people they are seeing with eczema or dermatitis is actually allergic to this ingredient used as a preservative. It’s not a totally new phenomenom, MI has long been known as a sensitizer and for that reason its use was pretty much limited to rinse off products for a long time, but now more companies are adding it to products that stay on the skin, and it’s believed to be this longer term exposure that’s causing a rise in allergies. And it’s not just in the UK, the French media covered the issue back in December after coming to similar conclusions, and in January the American Contact Dermatitis Society named it their 2013 Contact Allergen of the Year (who knew there was a prize). If you’re a sufferer of eczema or dermatitis, particularly on your face, maybe check your products and see if you’re using anything with it in – and try to avoid it. If your problem starts to get better it could be MI to which you’re reacting. A dermatologist can tell you for sure.

Right, I’m off for a shower to remove the fish flakes


Main image: © Alex Bramwell |<; this thing on? Talk to me, it's lonely down here

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