If you experience bouts of eczema, it makes sense that you might want to stay away from trying new and potentially irritating skin care products because you’re afraid they’ll cause a flare-up. But not everything can be avoided, as some beauty products are essential to your skin’s health. This is why I did the research to find out the best sunscreens for eczema — because preventing your skin from sun damage is just about as important as it gets.
While you might be tempted to skip out on applying sunscreen because of the positive effects moderate sun exposure can have on eczema, doctors recommend daily UV protection in order to prevent photoaging and skin cancer. So which sunscreens out there will protect your skin without worsening your eczema? When asked to weigh in, Dr. Tara Rao of Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City listed some ingredients to avoid — along with the formulas she recommends to her patients — and why:
"People with eczema should look for sunscreens that are free of alcohol or any harsh ingredients like salicylic acid or benzyl peroxide. Because the rate of irritation and allergy in eczema is so high, I generally prefer mineral-based sunscreens such as those with zinc and titanium dioxide over chemical-based sunscreens."
Listed below are five sunscreens that are safe for people with eczema or sensitive skin, including a tinted powder and aloe-infused formula to soothe pre-existing sunburns. All of them are broad spectrum, alcohol-free, and have SPF 30 or higher. Have safe sun, everyone!
1Best For Acne-Prone Skin: A Best-Selling, Oil-Free Sunscreen That Goes On Clear
A great face sunscreen can be hard to find, especially if you have sensitive or acne-prone skin. That’s where EltaMD’s UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 comes in. This highly-rated formula uses zinc oxide to protect your skin, and since it’s oil-free, it doesn’t clog pores and won’t provoke further breakouts or irritation. Beyond eczema, it’s also recommended for anyone with rosacea or hyper-pigmentation. And though the product itself looks white, it goes on totally clear and absorbs instantly into your skin. Plus, since it’s made with niacinamide and hyaluronic acid — two nourishing and hydrating ingredients — it can also double as your daily moisturizer.
2Best For Very Sensitive Skin: A Water-Resistant Formula For Anyone On A Budget
Dr. Rao recommends looking in the baby section for a sunscreen that won’t irritate your eczema, and Thinkbaby’s Safe Sunscreen SPF 50+ is the best of the bunch. This product boasts a chemical-free and mineral-based formula with 20 percent zinc oxide. It’s water-resistant for up to 80 minutes and can be used on both your face and body. With SPF 50, this sunscreen provides the no-nonsense coverage you need without breaking the bank.
3Best For Dry Skin: An Antioxidant-Rich Sunscreen Oil That Nourishes And Hydrates Skin
If you have dry skin, it doesn’t get much better than Supergoop! Sun-Defying Sunscreen Oil with Meadowfoam SPF 50, which contains nourishing Meadowfoam and grape seed oil, two ingredients chock full of nutrients and antioxidants that also fight the effects of environmental stressors. This fast-absorbing sunscreen oil has SPF 50 and can be used on both the face and body. The non-greasy formula comes in a spray bottle for easy application and also prevents future moisture loss, so not only will your skin be protected, but it’ll be hydrated in the long-term, too.
4Best For Burned Or Damaged Skin: A Korean Sunscreen With Aloe That Soothes Flare-Ups And Reduces Itchiness
If your skin is already itchy or irritated but you still plan to spend the day in the sun, try COSRX’s Aloe Soothing Sun Cream SPF50. The creamy formula contains aloe vera which works to heal eczematous skin and relieve itching and discomfort; it also soothes sunburns. Protecting from both UVA and UVB rays, it’s hydrating, lightweight, and absorbs quickly.
5Best For Redness: A Tinted Powder Sunscreen With SPF 50
To cover existing redness and protect your skin from the sun at the same time, try Nourisse’s Natural 100% Pure Mineral Foundation Sunscreen Powder. It’s a chemical- and oil-free powder sunscreen with zinc oxide that comes in eight tinted shades. Powder sunscreens are great because they’re more travel-friendly and you can re-apply them as often as you want. This one has broad-spectrum SPF 50, is water-resistant, and blends well into skin with or without other makeup.
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