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Reviewed and rejected: Keys Solar RX

April 24, 2009 Reviewed by Marta 9 Comments
I had high hopes for Keys Solar RX. I still haven't found a sunscreen that works for me. Devita's is nice, but I break out if I wear it for more than three consecutive days. So obsessed have I been in trying to find a sunscreen that I don't react badly to, I seemed to have forgotten about its real purpose: protection from the sun.

Keys Solar RX gave me a rude awakening. Almost literally. Last Saturday afternoon, I woke up from a snooze on the deck to find that my face was beetroot. And it wasn't particularly sunny - a weak orb, peering through a cloudy sky and chilly enough to be wearing a fleece. I had applied the Keys Solar to my forehead - I wanted to make sure that my skin didn't have an adverse reaction before subjecting my whole face to it. After an hour or so of napping, my forehead and cheeks were the same color - red.

Keys Solar claims to have a broad spectrum (UVB and UVA) SPF of 30+. It uses nano zinc oxide, which was controversial until very recently because of concerns that nano particles could be absorbed by the skin. In 2006, the Environmental Working Group gave nano zinc oxide the all clear after examining the evidence of 15 peer-reviewed studies on skin absorption, nearly all showing no absorption of small-scale zinc and titanium sunscreen ingredients through healthy skin.

I have tried this sunscreen a few times and I have had no adverse reaction to it. I like the fact that it has antioxidants and vitamins from shea, avocado and cumin, while the preservative is non-chemical, non-carcinogenic rosemary extract. What I don't like is that it doesn't offer as much protection as my pale and freckly skin needs. I think I'll be trying Arbella next.

Ingredients in Keys Solar RX

Nano zinc oxide (18.5%), shea butter (10%), avocado oil, carrot seed oil, black cumin oil, essential oil blend, purified water, vegetable glycerin, vegetable wax, rosemary extract.
  • March 3, 2015

    by Kimberly

    SPF 30 is rated for only 30 minutes of protection.

  • April 26, 2009

    by marta

    I've been trying out Abella this weekend. I even wore it whilst jogging. Talk about no-melt. I am sold!

  • April 25, 2009

    by Lori

    Keys Solar RX is my Holy Grail of sunscreens! I love this sunscreen, and I have been using it everyday for the last two years. I consider it to be the best sunscreen I have ever used (for the face), and the number weapon in my arsenal of anti aging potions and lotions. I have never burned using Solar RX, however, I always wear a broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses when I'm out during the peak hours. It's also not an ideal sunscreen to use for sports, as it's not waterproof, but it's great for everyday use.

  • April 25, 2009

    by Justine

    Biafine is definitely not for the purest. It contains petroleum-based products and also the usual, not-so-appealing, parabens. It does boast major healing properties, and I can attest to them, but I am not certain which ingredients are primarily responsible for this.

    If in doubt, I reach for the aloe. I have been using Jason's 98% moisturizing gel lately as things are starting to heat up down here in FL. In fact, I have been using it as a nighttime moisturizer because I still haven't found a cream that I am really content with. I like Jason's aloe gel in that it isn't all that sticky (it's also a bargain and comes in a slim-line container -- good for storing and packing).
    I have been applying it to my face and decollete and find it absorbs very nicely during the night. It has a wonderful calming effect on the skin, and I also find that it protects against the dreaded rumpled effect -- I mean my neck, not my sheets (talking of which, I just bought myself a real silk pillow -- but that's another story).
    I'm going to the beach next weekend for a party, and having deliberating over my sunscreen for several hundred hours, I finally just bought a good pair of sunglasses, a hat, and a huge UV umbrella!

  • April 24, 2009

    by Anamarie

    Also, when it comes down to it, I think you really do just have to stay out of the direct sun in the middle of the day. It's also about the angle, I think. On my last vacation I fell asleep on my stomach for 30 minutes at the beach, fully lathered up with spf30, and my rear end got fried while the rest of my legs were fine.

  • April 24, 2009

    by Anamarie

    Yikes! Justine suggested Biafine, which sounds incredible. I definitely notice that I still get spotty freckles—but not burns—with sunscreens. But studies say that zinc is the best all-around UVA and B blocker...Environmental Working Group ( has a whole database on sunscreens ranked for safety and effectiveness, which could be a good resource...

  • April 24, 2009

    by marta

    Ti-Silc was my standby - I just don't like the texture, which I find a bit chalky. But I'll probably end up going back to it at this rate. I'll check out Niall's suggestions first and Abella arrived today....

  • April 24, 2009

    by Niall

    Two sunscreens I quite like:

    MD Skincare's SPF 30 lotion. It's not sticky or cakey and has lots of cool anti-oxidants.

    Peter Thomas Roth's Uber-Dry SPF 30 sunscreen (that's the actual name). It is in fact "uber dry", and I doubt it would cause you any breakouts.

    Give them a try, you might like one...

  • April 24, 2009

    by Alison Miller

    Have you tried Ti-Silc? Don't know if it would pass your TIA criteria but it works great on my very sensitive skin. Zinc-oxide based.

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