Choosing the Right Sunscreen to Reduce Eczema Flares

Summer 2021 has been uncomfortable, to say the least. With much of the Western side of this continent reaching upwards of 122 degrees Fahrenheit it's not hard to see why. To be honest, some days, it has been impossible to find relief from skin irritations.

Sunscreen can be one of the worst offenders for me as well, but sun damage and the potential for skin cancer risks far outweigh the benefits of a minor reduction in eczema. Knowing this, I felt due diligence was in order and began researching sun safety and sunscreens, which I’ll share with you here!

Using sunscreen more regularly

Looking back, it's clear to see how silly I looked, rolling my eyes at my mother when she would ‘nag’ me to put on sunscreen. I would think to myself, ‘I don’t burn, so I don’t need it.’ Luckily, I soon changed my ways. I think it was my first ‘suspicious mole’ removal as a young adult that converted me to a daily sunscreen user.

When it comes to sunscreen, I have a few product specifications I pay close attention to. If my skin feels heavy and greasy, I have found it is more likely I will have a flare-up.

On the hunt for a new sunscreen

To remedy this, I have been sticking to products that have hydrating ingredients or benefits and that are non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores). I also have found that wearing skincare products with a higher SPF content has reduced the occurrence and severity of my flare-ups this summer, but only if the SPF is between 30-50. If I use anything under or over this SPF range, I notice a pattern of increase in flare-ups.

The NEA's 'Seal of Acceptance'

The National Eczema Association has a ‘Seal of Acceptance’ program that they use to review the safety and usability of a product by persons with atopic dermatitis.1

The parameters they use to demonstrate safety for AD and inform their choices are as follows:

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

These specifications can be used as an effective guide when deciding on which sunscreen is right for you. They also provide a list of products each year that meet their ‘Seal of Acceptance,’ which can be found here.1

My favorite sunscreens

My absolute favorite sunscreens are relatively new additions to my arsenal. Big surprise-they both fall under the ‘K-Beauty’ umbrella. The bonus is that my whole family can and does use the same product! With all but one of us having skin concerns, it is really great to have found something that seems to work for everyone. Sun cushions combine the application magic of any other cushion makeup or product and come in makeup-free versions! The brand I am currently using is specified for reducing sebum production (acne) and is also SPF 50!

It's a minefield

Selecting the right sunscreen can be a minefield of potential flare-ups. However, there is hope! Looking for products with a higher SPF that are not pore-clogging and are formulated to be less greasy on the skin has helped immensely. Hopefully, it does for you too!

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The AtopicDermatitis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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