April 21, 2016

The 5 Best Sunscreens for Eczema Skin in 2017

The sun brings about many things good for us and it is what makes life possible – it brings about light which enables us to see, warmth for us so we do not freeze and many more possibilities. The ultraviolet (UV) light rays that we are exposed to makes us feel good and look good at the same time (with a light healthy tan), and it is one natural source of Vitamin D.

With everything good, there must always be moderation as too much exposure to these UV rays can prove harmful to us in the long term. Prolonged exposure to UV can damage our skin and put us at an increased risk for developing skin cancer. It may be unavoidable that we are exposed to the sun daily, but how can we protect ourselves from these harmful effects? Let's explore a few of these ways.

Protecting ourselves from the Sun

Reducing or Limiting Exposure to the Sun

It is important to avoid or limit the direct exposure time to the sun between 10am to 4pm as it is during this period of time where UV radiation levels is at its peak.

Dress for Protection

While it may sound counterintuitive that you cover yourself up during a hot and sunny day, wearing the proper clothing can help to limit the direct exposure to the harmful UV rays. You may consider wearing long sleeved shirts and pants, putting on a cap or hat. In addition to that, it would be a great idea to put on a pair of UV-blocking sunglasses which block out both UVA and UVB rays to protect the eyes and skin around the eyes. You may also like to use an umbrella for the additional shade.

Use Sunscreen

Sunscreens typically have a combination of organic chemical compounds such as benzones and cinnamates which help to absorb the harmful rays together with inorganic compounds such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide which can physically block the UV rays and reflect them away from the surface of the skin.

How to Choose a Suitable Sunscreen?

For starters, it is important that the sunscreen lotion comes with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or more. The SPF levels will determine the effectiveness in blocking UVB rays. While the higher SPF could be better for people with sensitive skin like us, do take note that the SPF numbers are not absolute. A lotion with SPF50 is not twice as effective as compared to one with SPF25.

For UVA protection, you would need to pay attention to the ingredients and look out for ingredients such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide as there are no ratings to inform you on how well the lotion protects you from them.

You may also like to consider the water resistance of the lotion. If you're going for a swim, do take note that the lotions are not waterproof and can wear off after a while. If you're applying the sunscreen for exercise or you will be out for a long period of time, do remember to reapply regularly to ensure that you have adequate protection at all times.

For the young ones, it is important to use only the sunscreen lotions that are formulated for them as their skin can be sensitive and easily irritated by the chemicals used in adult sunscreens such as benzephenones and para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA).

As for people with skin problems or sensitive skin like us, you may consider using sunscreens that are formulated for children. It may also be wise to avoid those that contain any fragrances, preservatives and alcohol.

Reviews of the Best Sunscreens

Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 60

This sunscreen is formulated with Neutrogena's Purescreen Technology and helps to offer excellent sun protection and prevents skin damage with a formula that is safe enough for sensitive skin. It is comforting to know that all Purescreen products have been awarded the NEA Seal of Acceptance.

As with all mineral sunscreens which relies on titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, there may be a white cast if you apply too much. However, this lotion from Neutrogena blends well and does not give rise to a slicky or shiny finish throughout the day.

The product comes packaged in a tube and doesn't take up too much space in the bag.

What We Liked

  • Fragrance, oil and PABA-free
  • Hypoallergenic formula
  • Well-blended formulation which is easy to apply

What We Didn't Like

  • Applying too much will leave a white cast
  • Not the lightest-feeling sunscreen formulation around

Verdict

Being a physical sunscreen, it makes it easier for people who have allergies to certain chemicals used in some sunscreens to use without any major issue. The formulation works well on combination and oily skin and is easy to apply, but take care not to apply too much as it may leave a white cast especially on your face. While it is also for this reason that some users did comment that they didn't like the feel of the lotion as it was too heavy or greasy, it is overall alright for us.

Aveeno SPF 50 Natural Protection Sunscreen Lotion

This broad spectrum SPF50 sunscreen contains 100% naturally sourced ingredients, and uses oat for that extra soothing feeling and provides a good protection outdoors with it sweat and water resistance.

The formulation is thick and the first couple of streaks are whitish, but just relax and rub it in well onto the face and it should be gone in no time. For the ladies, this is not one lotion that can be worn under make-up as it doesn't blend well with it.

What We Liked

  • Naturally sourced ingredients
  • Good sweat and water resistance
  • Good protection (SPF50)

What We Didn't Like

  • Thick lotion which requires rubbing evenly during application to avoid white streaks
  • Not suitable for use with make-up

Verdict

Several users commented that the lotion was not the easiest to apply, especially on the face where you have to rub it in evenly to avoid the white streaks. On another note, some users have also reviewed that they did not feel any stinging sensation or irritation when applying the lotion. Overall, it gives good protection from the harmful UV rays without making your skin feel oily and would recommend it if you are not wearing any make-up on that day.

Fallene Cotz Plus SPF 58 Water Resistant UVB/UVA Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin

This formulation is one that not only provides full spectrum sun protection, and it is also one that is extra gentle and suitable for individuals with sensitive skin.

This lightly-colored cream is easy to apply on and easily absorbed. The skin does not feel greasy and does not leave the skin feeling dry unlike other oil-free sunscreens.

What We Liked

  • Very effective sun protection capabilities
  • Extra gentle, suitable for sensitive skin

What We Didn't Like

  • May stain clothes
  • Light beige color may not work as desired on all skin tones
  • Slightly pricey

Verdict

With its excellent sun protection capabilities and its suitability for sensitive skin and this is easily one of the best around. The only turn off for us, whereby it was mentioned in several user reviews was that the light beige-colored cream may stain some clothes, and it can be difficult to wash off. Given that its slightly pricey, it may be worth a shot if you have difficulty finding a suitable sunscreen for your troubled skin

Vanicream Sunscreen, Sensitive Skin, SPF 30

Another formulation with broad spectrum protection and SPF30, this mineral sunscreen provides a good cover for your skin. Unlike the regular sunscreens, the Vanicream does not contain any of the major skin irritants and is safe for use on sensitive skin.

The cream is thick and may look a little greasy at first. The application requires some effort to spread it evenly, and even though it may look glossy, give it some time and it will dry to a matte look

What We Liked

  • Does not contain chemical sunscreen contents
  • Safe for sensitive skin
  • Absorbs fully into the skin after some time, leaving no white residue
  • Doesn't clog the pores

What We Didn't Like

  • Thick and greasy feel which may take a while to dry on the face
  • Too costly for full body applications

Verdict

With a thick and heavy formulation, the greasy feel after application may take a while to dry as reported by some users. Once it's absorbed fully, the skin looks matte and leaves no white residue. The matte finish is worth the wait in our opinion, and if it can protect you from the sun and make your skin look great, there's no reason why this shouldn't be our go-to sunscreen. The only point that we didn't like was the small packaging which translates to higher costs for usage.

Eltamd UV Clear SPF 46

This sunscreen is one of the most well-balanced in terms of performance and usability in our list. Being lightweight and oil-free, it is easy to apply on without much of the mess that the mineral sunscreens usually leave you with. For the ladies, this works well under your make-up and as a good sunscreen for daily use.

This fragrance-free sunscreen turns clear upon complete drying, leaving your skin smooth and feeling moisturized, which is not exactly common fare for sunscreens in general

What We Liked

  • Light and smooth formulation which is easy to apply
  • Works well on sensitive and even acne-prone skin
  • Works well under make-up

What We Didn't Like

  • Design of the packaging may not be ideal as nozzle pump prone to failure
  • Expensive

Verdict

The Eltamd UV Clear is by far one of the most impressive moisturizers in the market, and the premium paid is well-justified for its ability to protect the skin well and being friendly on the skin for daily use. As mentioned by some users, they were able to use it under their make-up and it works well, giving the necessary protection from the sun. While the packaging is not the best and can be difficult to empty the contents, the product is great by itself and we give it two thumbs up and hopefully can look forward to an improved packaging in the future.

Conclusion

As with all products formulated for eczema, we should not take a one-size-fits-all approach. Before we try out a new product, do your due diligence to go through the list of ingredients and watch out for any particular content that you may be sensitive to. It would be a great idea to start off with applying on a small area of skin to find out if you will develop any reactions to it before applying it all over your face and body. Do talk to your doctor if you are in doubt.

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