I feel like we all have those products that feel ‘safe’ to us, that we go back to after we’re burned by either our hormones and/or testing new products and things going south. Altruist is one of those sunscreens for me, with a few caveats that I’ll get into later on.

At the time of writing this blog (August 2023) I currently use Altruist SPF50 on my forehead everyday. If you know me, you’ll know that I often wear different sunscreen on my forehead vs. the rest of my face, as the different areas tend to react differently for me (what a joy!). Roughly two years ago I would wear it all over my face and neck religiously, for months on end. Before we get into why that changed, and my personal opinion on the formula, let’s look at the basics:

UV filters

Altruist is a fully chemical sunscreen that uses a mix of chemical filters to create a very strong protection. If you’re someone who is looking for a sunscreen that feels very hardcore, this is one of them!

It uses the below filters to give a strong UVA and UVB protection:

Texture and finish

This is where the crowd is divided for Altruist. As I mentioned, I used to wear this for months on end, it was my everyday, first-choice sunscreen. However, this was when I worked remotely for three solid years and didn’t need to look at all put together on a daily basis.

The finish is dewy – very dewy. If you’re oily you are unlikely to like this. Think of a very heavy moisturiser (coincidentally I usually love SPFs that feel like this, but I know there are many who don’t!). The plus side is that it gives you a nice sheen if you’re into that, but can make you look a little ‘wet’ if you’re not. The pilling is mid-level, it tends to pill around the edges of your face and neck, though I did develop a knack for application to improve that with time.

Finally, since this is a chemical sunscreen and a very heavy one at that, I did find that it’d travel into my eyes and sting them – all day long. I am not sure if my eyes have become more sensitive with time, or whether it was always like this, but I now cannot tolerate the stinging it causes to my eyes, which is why I only use it on my forehead.

Pro tip – if the stinging really bothers you, try a mostly mineral sunscreen around your eyes. I currently use Ultra Violette Clean Screen with no stinging whatsoever.

White cast

As always with white cast, being super pale, I am not the best person to judge this. However I have seen photos of this on darker skin, and I do believe there is a mild white cast. If you were to apply less than the recommended amount, I think it might ease off a little, but then you may not be fully protected.

Acne and rosacea suitability

Rolling around to one of the most important categories: acne and rosacea suitability. Will this sunscreen break you out? It’s basically impossible for anyone to tell you categorically yes or no, since we all breakout with different formulas (not just ingredients). However for me personally, I believe this is a low-risk option, especially if you do not have oily skin. I always return to this sunscreen if I’ve had a breakout from trying something new, because I know it won’t cause me any breakouts or closed comedones. Remember that sometimes we get breakouts due to the combination of products we’re using, which, if used in isolation, may not break us out – it’s a very complex matter.

When it comes to rosacea, this sunscreen does have a lot of pros, since it’s free of added fragrance, essential oils and alcohol. Some rosacea sufferers may get along with this, however since it’s a chemical formulation you may find it irritating. Typically, mineral sunscreens are recommended for rosacea skin.

Final conclusions

All in all, this is a reliable sunscreen for very sunny trips or very sunny days (doesn’t happen much in London, granted) where I want my skin to feel fully protected, but I don’t often use it all over my face due to the eye stinging that it causes me.

I’d recommend this to acne sufferers who are looking for a sunscreen that is unlikely to break them out, to use in the meantime while they look for one with a preferable texture, or to those without sensitive eyes who enjoy a very moisturising, dewy formula.