Slather Up: Sunscreen For Eczema Skin

child playing in sunshine

By National Eczema Association

Published On: Aug 18, 2017

Last Updated On: Jul 15, 2021

Summer is here and protecting your skin from the sun is more important than ever. Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States. The good news is that with proper skin care, many cases of skin cancers can be prevented.

People living with eczema are even more vulnerable to the sun’s damaging rays and have more challenges finding sunscreen products that work for their skin. Factors including chemicals in the sunscreen, preservatives, and the base can affect people in different ways.

The National Eczema Association (NEA) includes a number of sunscreen products in its Seal of Acceptance™ program to help you find the best products for you and your family. Sunscreens that have been awarded the Seal of Acceptance™ must meet the following criteria:

  • 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

Below are sunscreens that have received NEA’s Seal of Acceptance™:

  • AVEENO® Baby Natural Protection Lotion Sunscreen
  • AVEENO® Baby Natural Protection Face Stick Sunscreen
  • AVEENO® Natural Protection Lotion Sunscreen
  • CeraVe® SPF 50 Sunscreen Body Lotion
  • CeraVe® SPF 50 Sunscreen Face Lotion
  • CeraVe® Baby Sunscreen SPF 45
  • Neutrogena® Pure & Free® Liquid Sunscreen
  • Neutrogena® Sensitive Skin Sunscreen Lotion SPF 60+
  • Neutrogena® Pure & Free® Baby Sunscreen Lotion SPF 60+
  • Neutrogena® Pure & Free® Baby Faces Ultra Gentle Sunscreen
  • Neutrogena® Pure & Free® Baby Sunscreen Stick SPF 60

In addition to selecting the product that works best for your skin, it’s also important to practice proper skincare. It’s common for people to not use enough sunscreen and don’t reapply often enough, which can mean you’re not getting the full SPF protection indicated on the label. Be generous in your application and keep in mind the following tips:

  1. Apply sunscreen evenly to all uncovered skin, especially your lips, nose, ears, neck, hands, and feet.
  2. Apply 15 minutes before going out in the sun.
  3. If you don’t have much hair, apply sunscreen to the top of your head, or wear a hat.
  4. Reapply at least every two hours or immediately after swimming.
  5. Give babies and children extra care in the sun. Ask your health care professional before applying sunscreen to children under 6 months old.
  6. Never apply sunscreen to damaged or broken skin.

Finally, if you are using a product for the first time, test the product first. Apply a small amount, about the size of a pea, to the pulse of your wrist or the crook of your elbow. Don’t wash that area for 24–48 hours and watch for any allergic reaction such as redness, a rash, any form of breakout on the skin, itchiness, pain, flaking, etc.

Get the latest eczema news delivered to your inbox.