Eczema and Sunscreen

Eczema and Sunscreen

Jennie Lyon

Eczema and Sun Protection - Should I Wear Sunscreen?

Should I protect my skin from the sun or will sunscreen make my eczema worse?

With all of the evidence of skin cancer from sun exposure, eczema sufferers must find a way to protect their skin without exacerbating their eczema symptoms. Though skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, it is quite preventable, and people with eczema do not have to be excluded from those preventative methods.

Start by limiting sun exposure during peak times, usually ten a.m. to four p.m. Avoid direct sun exposure, particularly for infants six months or younger. Also, don’t be fooled by overcast weather; UV rays work through clouds.

It is also important to wear protective clothing. The most obvious way to protect yourself is to wear a hat with a wide brim, but also trade in tank tops and short shorts for comfortable, loose fitting clothing that will cover more surface area. Seek out specifically sun-protective clothing or simply choose eczema-friendly clothing that provides more coverage.

Even after avoiding excessive sun exposure and protecting yourself with clothing, also apply sunscreen.

Skin care for eczema

There Are Two Kinds of Sunscreen:

Chemical Sunscreen

This type of sunscreen absorbs the damaging rays of the sun before they can reach your skin.

Physical Blocker Sunscreen

This type of sunscreen reflects the rays with ingredients such as minerals, zinc and titanium. They sit on the surface of the skin and are not absorbed.

Dermatologists generally recommend physical blockers such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide over chemical sunscreens. While some people may still have adverse reactions to the physical blockers, chemical sunscreens are generally more irritating for those with eczema and sensitive skin. In addition to exacerbating eczema, there is a concern that if chemical sunscreen is applied to broken skin, some of the chemicals may be absorbed into the bloodstream.

How to Choose the Best Sunscreen

It is best to select a sunscreen from those that have been tested by The National Eczema Association. The National Eczema Association awards a Seal of Acceptance™ to sunscreens that meet specific criteria.

  • Mineral-based sunscreen ingredients: Titanium Dioxide (TiO2) and Zinc Oxide (ZnO)
  • Alcohol free
  • SPF 30 or greater
  • “Broad-spectrum” protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays

Click here to see the approved products:

When trying any kind of new product, start with a very small amount on the wrist or inner elbow first to make sure there is no reaction. Wait up to two days without washing the area to test for any signs of redness, itchiness, or other general reaction.

If the product is compatible, be sure to apply a generous quantity of sunscreen on all exposed skin at least 15 minutes before going out into the sun. Reapply after being in the water or sweating.

It is important to take sun protection seriously. When you reduce sun exposure, choose a National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance™ - approved sunscreen, test its compatibility with your skin, and then apply it generously to exposed areas, you will not only be protecting yourself from the harmful rays of the sun but also taking the best possible care of your eczema-prone skin. For a sunscreen free of common chemical irritants check out Vanicream Sport Sunscreen at AD RescueWear.

Please remember information on our blog is not designed or meant to replace a physician’s advice. Always consult your doctor about your medical conditions. AD RescueWear does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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