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Staying Safe in the Sun: sunscreens on prescription


If you are in England and Wales, you may not know that you can get sunscreens on prescription from your GP.

You may have read the Daily Mail’s rant about people doing just that, and been put off?

But here’s the deal if you have vitiligo.

When you go to see your GP, and have vitiligo extensively, for example on your hands, feet and face, you are entitled to ask for one from a small range of sunscreens to be prescribed for you.

The information on this can easily be found in the British National Formulary, which is the prescribing bible for GPs.  It is currently in Section 13.8.1.

The Daily Mail is right, usually sunscreens are what is called a “Borderline substance”, leaving it to the discretion of each doctor to see if there’s a case for prescribing.

EXCEPT! they “are regarded as drugs when prescribed for skin protection against ultraviolet radiation in abnormal cutaneous photosensitivity resulting from genetic disorders or photodermatoses, including vitiligo ..“` That’s my highlighting, but vitiligo is definitely first on the list.

This means that the Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances has given authority for doctors to prescribe. 

Please ask your GP politely but do be assured that you can get sunscreen.  

They may need to write ‘ACBS’ on the prescription to indicate that there’s approval to prescribe.

The recommendation is for all sunscreens to be 30SPF or over.

Here’s the ones you can get (pictures are illustration only and you may get a different product on prescription):

Anthelios® (L’Oréal Active) for example:

sunscreen loreal


Sunsense® Ultra (Crawford), for example:

The 500ml pump has been available and is an economical option if you pay for prescriptions.  

You can get small bottles to decant it into in Boots, and then carry some around in your bag or briefcase or pocket.Uvistat® (LPC)

sunsense 50

Uvistat® (LPC), for example:


The full advice from the British National Formulary can be found here

Overall the best advice is to:shade

Stay in the shade as much as possible


five-to-three-round-clock-face-red-38901750Avoid the sun between 11 and 3



Wear clothes that protect your skin My-Family-Wears-Sun-protective-Clothing


Stay safe in the sun, protect your vitiligo, and good luck at the doctors’ getting the sunscreen that you both need and are entitled to!  Let us know how you get on