I have had such sensitive /reactive skin that all I've ever been able to use on my face was Cetaphil & sometimes, not even water. I finally found a sunscreen a few years ago that I can actually wear with out problems!
My whole life, I had to stay out of the sun or burn, nothing helped except the goopy zinc oxide you would see life guard's put on their noses. There is a newer development in milling minerals, (for sunscreen they are, titanium dioxide & zinc dioxide), into micro-fine particles that do not show up on the skin as a while film & can be applied as a powder! No smell & no itchy, irritating lotions! I even get it in SPF 50.
I tried the BareMinerals one with the self-applicator brush & it's good, but I personally needed a higher SPF because I am a very fair skinned. I use Colorescience's Sunforgettable.
, ( you can search for best pricing on the web.) The color I use provides no coverage, but if you also want coverage, any of the mineral makeups that claim an SPF would be fine to use as your sunscreen, just make sure you read the ingredients to see the two minerals I listed above, those should be the active ingredients.
I personally know that Bare Minerals makes an SPF Mineral Veil, which doesn't provide coverage, yet has either an SPF of 15 or 25, depending on which formula you pick. That way a man can use it & not look like he is wearing makeup! I also found a brand of lotion sunscreen that doesn't burn me, but I only use it when I will be spending time outside, such as gardening, because I don't like the bother of application when I can quickly dust on some powder that never even needs to be washed off! If you want the lotion one's name, just PM me for details, (and no, I don't sell anything, represent any company, or earn credit for sales, etc..)
MrWilly, scrubbing the hell out of your skin is not the way to treat it, I hope you weren't being literal! Yes, a gentle exfoliation 2-3 times a week, with breaks in between for your skin to recover, is beneficial. But irritating it, is only causing more damage & eventually you will thin it enough that you get worse problems. If manual exfoliation is too harsh for someone, there is chemical, such as the hydroxy acids, which are NOT as scary as they sound. Just know that with the manual scrubs, you want to use one with polyethylene beads, or similarly perfectly round grains, that don't have jagged edges that cause micro tears in the skin. Even if you have tougher skin & fruit, nut or other grains don't seem to bother you, consider the accumulated damage & that it makes you more susceptible to break outs.
Your cleanser should be pH neutral & not change the acid mantle of your skin- it's natural protective barrier function depends on this balance not being disturbed. If you are ever told you need a toner after using a cleanser, then don't use that cleanser! The sole purpose of a toner is to re-establish your skin's pH, all the rest is marketing to get you to buy it. Basically, if you are cleansing with an appropriate cleanser, then you don't need a toner. Some people like the refreshing sensation of using one or use a medicated one & that is fine, as long as you haven't stripped your face beforehand. Here's a great cleanser that's also a scrub, safe enough to use everyday, plus it fights blemishes with tea tree oil, Australian Harvest Daily Exfoliating Cleanser by Isomers. Of course, there is the Cetaphil I mentioned before, but some people claim they don't feel clean enough after using it, (likely because they are used to stripping their skin).
I realize I have barely gotten started & I'm in danger of writing an article here.
So, I think I will just PM you, MrWilly & find out if you want to hear any more from me or not.
Anyone else who wants to ask me about anything, feel free to PM me! I love helping people & I understand the science behind the skin care, so I might be able to help, (I certainly know about allergic reactions & chemical sensitivities if you have those). There's so much obfuscation in the skin care industry, that it can be difficult to know what to believe. Since I have spend a lifetime studying this, I would be happy if someone else can benefit from my experience.