My obsession with sunscreen began around the time I first noticed fine lines forming around my eyes. I was in my mid-twenties, and after much googling, realised what I was looking at was likely premature ageing, caused by the endless hours I’d spent in my uni days lounging around in the sun with little to no sunscreen on.
Since then I’ve religiously applied sunscreen to my face daily (and to my body whenever I’m spending prolonged periods outdoors). Aside from preventing premature ageing, it’s obviously super important when it comes to preventing melanoma, the third most common cancer diagnosed in Australia.
But annoyingly, I suffer from eczema. Not just in the crook of my elbow and other common places, but on my face. So the hunt for a sunscreen I can use every day has been hard work. Stinging, itching and burning have been induced by even the most sensitive products. Physical sunscreens – those that use mineral filters such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide – have worked better for me in the past.
But the thing with physical sunscreens is they can often apply incredibly thick, feel sticky and leave a white cast on skin, making you look like Casper the friendly ghost. Not ideal. So when I was sent the new Ultra Violette Lean Screen, their first SPF50+ sunscreen that’s entirely zinc-based – which also promises a subtle matte finish without the white cast – I was intrigued.
The formula is slightly tinted – it’s a light beige hue instead of the usual white – and it’s relatively thick when you first pump it out. Ultra Violette describes it as a mousse-like texture, but I’d say it’s more of a cream consistency. It was little alarming at first because it seemed impossible the cream would blend. The interesting part, however, is that it spreads so smoothly when applied to the skin. I’ve never used a physical sunscreen that was so easy to apply. It honestly goes on like a foundation, that’s how easy to blend it is.
Don’t expect the glowy finish of Ultra Violette’s Queen Screen, though – the formula of Lean Screen is definitely matte. But it’s not the type of matte finish that leaves your skin feeling dry. The product is formulated with Kakadu plum and pentavitin (a plant extract), aiming to make it hydrating as well as protective. I certainly haven’t felt that it dried my skin out, which mattifying products commonly do.
A big plus is the fragrance-free formula. As someone whose skin always reacts to fragrance in skincare, I love this. Clean Screen, the other mineral-based sunscreen from Ultra Violette, is also fragrance-free, but with a lower SPF of 30. I’m glad I can now get the full SPF50+ benefits from an Ultra Violette product without added fragrances.
Layering makeup on top of Lean Screen is also easy. It’s something I’ve often found to be a difficult process with other physical sunscreens, which can be a bit sticky and mean your foundation doesn’t blend as well. I’ve had no such issues with Lean Screen over the last few days. I wouldn't say the mattifying properties are substantial enough to safeguard against shiny skin, though – I wouldn’t be using it to replace any matte products, for example.
Ultimately I feel Lean Screen would suit anyone looking for a sunscreen that doesn’t irritate sensitive skin, and can be used daily without compromising on comfort or makeup application.
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