Eczema is a very common skin condition, the most common of which is called atopic dermatitis. When you have eczema, you often experience severely dry and itchy skin, symptoms which can be worsened by very hot or cold temperatures, irritants, and sweating. Eczema is a condition that leaves your body’s skin very sensitive and inflamed, meaning it is more susceptible to UV damage.
Just because eczema causes your skin to be more sensitive does not mean that you must avoid the sun. Actually, quite the contrary is true! Sun exposure is good for your skin when you have eczema. It helps to improve the skin’s immunity. That being said, if you’re not properly protected, you could be putting yourself at risk!
When you have eczema, you need to be sure to take all measures possible to protect your sensitive skin against damage from the sun, including wearing UV protective clothing and polarized sunglasses and always seeking shade when you’re in the sun, as recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation.
But you must never forget to also lather yourself up in an effective broad spectrum sunscreen to further protect yourself and to avoid long-term damage to your skin.
When searching for the perfect sunscreen when you have eczema, there are a few things that you must be sure to look for. According to the National Eczema Foundation, you want to find a sunscreen that is mineral-based, with either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as its active ingredient. You also want to be sure that the sunscreen you use is broad spectrum, and provides SPF 30 or greater.
After extensive research about eczema and necessary measures to protect skin affected by the condition, SimplySunSafe recommends BADGER SPF 35 Sport Sunscreen as the best sunscreen for eczema. Read on for a detailed buyer’s guide, comparison table, and in-depth reviews of the top 5 sunscreens for eczema.
To make sure that you are properly and sufficiently protecting your sensitive eczema affected skin, there are a few must-have features you should look for in your sunscreen:
Broad spectrum protection
One of the most important features to search for when buying sunscreen for any occasion or condition is broad spectrum protection. This means that the sunscreen provides balanced protection against both UVA and UVB radiation which is important because each radiation type works in a different way.
UVB rays damage the outer layer of your skin, resulting in a burn or tan, neither of which is healthy. UVA rays penetrate the deepest layer of your skin, called the dermis, and cause you to have sunspots and premature aging.
Both types of rays are dangerous and increase your chances of getting cancer. So it is essential that you protect yourself against both types, sufficiently.
How can you be sure that you are buying a sunscreen that protects against both types of radiation?
Make sure to check the ingredients and the sunscreen’s label. Sunscreens with the ingredient zinc oxide provide protection against the full range of UVA/B rays. If you’re not sure about the ingredients, search the label for the words ‘broad spectrum’ or ‘UVA/B.’
It’s an FDA requirement for sunscreens to be broad spectrum, but it’s better to be safe than sorry and check the label!
Best SPF for Eczema
When you are buying a sunscreen you want to feel sure that it will give you enough coverage. This is indicated by the Sun Protection Factor (SPF). You probably already largely base your sunscreen purchases on the SPF rating, but do you really know what you’re buying?
The SPF tells you what fraction of the sun’s UVB rays will reach your skin when you have properly applied the sunscreen. (SPF is not an indication of UVA protection which is why you must make sure you purchase a broad spectrum sunscreen.)
For example, if you’re wearing a sunscreen with SPF 30, then 1/30 of the UV rays will reach your skin. This is why you can spend more time in the sun if you are wearing a sunscreen, but make sure you don’t oversimplify the meaning.
Wearing SPF 30 sunscreen does not mean you can spend 30 times more time in the sun! Lots of other factors come into play in terms of SPF effectiveness, including time of day, amount of sunscreen applied (and if it was applied properly), and even the reflection from surrounding surfaces like sand or water.
Take a look at the table below to better understand how much UVB protection different SPF ratings offer:
|SPF Rating||UVB Protection|
As you can see, there is not much difference between a sunscreen with SPF 30 and one with SPF 100. A little surprising, right? So how do you know which level of protection is right for you?
SimplySunSafe, in line with the US Food and Drug Administration, suggests that you choose a sunscreen with an SPF rating of no lower than 30 and no higher than 50. No matter what SPF rating you choose, be sure to reapply your sunscreen regularly (at least every two hours), especially when you’re swimming or sweating!
Physical is better than chemical
There are two main types of sunscreens – physical and chemical. What’s the difference, you ask? That lies in the active ingredients of the sunscreen and how they work to protect you from the sun. Physical sunscreens reflect UV rays before they reach your skin while chemical sunscreens absorb UV rays as they reach your skin.
SimplySunSafe always recommends physical or physical-chemical hybrid sunscreens over purely chemical sunscreens for several reasons:
- They work immediately upon application
- They last longer
- They are less likely to cause irritation
- They have a longer shelf life
As you can see, there are many reasons to choose physical sunscreens over chemical ones. The most important reason you shouldn’t choose a chemical sunscreen, however, is this – they often contain ingredients which are endocrine disruptors.
These are chemicals that mess with your hormones. You don’t want that! The worst of these ingredients is called oxybenzone. Make sure you check all labels and never use a sunscreen with this ingredient.
While you’re checking the labels, you can also search for a few keywords and active ingredients, as well. If the sunscreen’s label says ‘physical’ or ‘mineral’ then you can feel safe about its ingredients. If you want to be extra sure, look for the active ingredients zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide.
If you’re planning to try one of SimplySunSafe’s recommended sunscreens, you can rest assured they have all been checked against EWG’s database. This human health authority only recommends products that provide strong ingredient safety and UV protection.
Suitable for daily use
If you have eczema, your skin can be extremely sensitive which makes it more vulnerable to damage from harmful UV radiation. This is why it is important to always properly protect eczema prone skin from the sun.
But be careful because not all sunscreens are designed to be used daily on skin that can be so sensitive. When searching for a sunscreen for daily use on eczema prone skin, it’s important to find one that will cause the least amount of irritation possible.
This means searching for sunscreens that are specifically designed for sensitive skin or ones that are hypoallergenic and free of irritants such as parabens.
The products that I have recommended provide sufficient sun protection, while still being gentle enough for sensitive eczema prone skin. They have been well-thought-out based on their ingredients and customer feedback, and are suitable for daily use.
Eczema causes your skin to be extremely sensitive and therefore more susceptible to damage from UV radiation. Because of this, you want to be sure that your skin is sufficiently protected at all times when you’re out in the sun.
Using a water resistant sunscreen will keep your sensitive skin protected even if you are swimming or sweating. Eczema can be triggered or worsened by sweating so you want to be sure that the hypersensitive, eczema affected patches of skin are covered with sufficient sunscreen.
Don’t forget to reapply your sunscreen even though it is labeled water resistant! Sunscreens are marked as water resistant for either 40 or 80 minutes. There is no such thing as a ‘waterproof’ or ‘sweatproof’ sunscreen so don’t be fooled by such claims.
Rub on lotion not spray
Though the inflamed skin and itchiness caused by eczema likely makes you feel like a spray sunscreen would be more comfortable, I do not advise using one. This is because of their questionable safety and effectiveness.
When it comes to safety, you are always better off with a classic rub on lotion. This is because while your skin can safely handle the chemicals contained in sunscreens, your internal lung tissue cannot. And when you’re using a spray sunscreen, it is very easy to accidentally inhale those chemicals which are potentially harmful.
Besides being unsafe, spray sunscreens are generally less effective. One of the main reasons they are not that effective is that with the spray, it is much harder to apply an adequately thick layer of sunscreen on your skin. This is much easier to control with a rub on lotion.
So while it may be tempting to go with the more comfortable option, in the long run it will be better if you stay on the safer side. Stick with rub on lotion for less potential harm and better coverage!
Best Sunscreen for Eczema Comparison
|BADGER Sport Sunscreen||BADGER Baby Sunscreen||California Baby Super Sensitive||CeraVe Baby Sunscreen||Vanicream Sunscreen|
|Active ingredients||Zinc Oxide (22.5%)||Zinc Oxide (18.75%)||Titanium Dioxide (12%)||Zinc Oxide (11.4%) & Titanium Dioxide (7.4%)||Zinc Oxide (6%) & Titanium Dioxide (3.4%)|
|Water resistance||80 Minutes||40 Minutes||80 Minutes||80 Minutes||80 Minutes|
5 Best Sunscreens for Eczema
After thorough research into the needs of those with eczema prone skin that included discussing issues with customers, reviewing customer feedback, examining manufacturer specifications, and participating in skincare forums, SimplySunSafe has chosen the 5 best sunscreens for eczema. All of these products provide broad spectrum, physical protection of SPF 30 or greater. They do not contain oxybenzone, are suitable for daily use, and available in a rub on lotion formula.
BADGER SPF 35 Sport Sunscreen is the number one choice for sunscreen for eczema. It is a physical sunscreen which provides balanced broad spectrum protection. It meets all of the requirements for a sunscreen to be used on eczema prone skin, providing sufficient protection, while still being gentle enough. This sunscreen is available in a rub on lotion or a roll on stick to ensure that your very vulnerable skin is properly covered.
This product is simply designed, with only 5 ingredients, and a high concentration of its active ingredient, zinc oxide (22.5%). BADGER SPF 35 Sport Sunscreen is an ideal sunscreen for eczema because it gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin.
It is chemical and fragrance free, leaving behind only a faint, natural scent. The other ingredients included in this sunscreen are organic sunflower oil, organic beeswax, organic jojoba oil, and sunflower vitamin E. This short list of gentle ingredients means that even with eczema, you are very unlikely to experience irritation with daily use of this sunscreen.
BADGER Sport Sunscreen is also water resistant (80 minutes) which is really important for your eczema prone skin if you are swimming, or even just sweating. Its water resistance will allow you to rest assured knowing that your sensitive skin is still sufficiently protected on very hot days or while you’re doing water activities.
You will be happy and satisfied with this product and, considering its effectiveness, it is more than worth its price. This sunscreen is a little on the thicker side so be sure to rub it in properly to avoid too much of a white cast on your skin.
In the end, BADGER SPF 35 Sport Sunscreen is the number one choice for eczema because its simple formula will provide your eczema prone skin with sufficient protection without irritation.
- High concentration of active ingredient
- Simple formula
- 80-minute water resistance
- Thick formula
BADGER Baby Sunscreen Cream landed second place in SimplySunSafe’s best sunscreens for eczema. This physical sunscreen provides protection against both UVA and UVB rays with a high concentration of the active ingredient zinc oxide (18.75%).
This pediatrician approved sunscreen is hypoallergenic and its ingredients include sunflower oil, beeswax, and vitamin E oil, just like BADGER Sport Sunscreen. It has a light herbal smell, which is likely the chamomile and calendula in the formula. This formula is moisturizing and soothing, even for extremely sensitive and young skin. This makes it the best sunscreen for eczema in toddlers.
BADGER Baby Sunscreen Cream is water resistant (40 minutes) which is ideal when you have your toddler out in the sun or swimming. The thickness of the rub on lotion formula ensures that you will apply enough sunscreen to your toddler because you will be able to see the lotion as you create an even layer.
It is also very safe to use on your toddler since it is a rub on lotion and not a spray sunscreen. No need to worry about your toddler inhaling dangerous chemicals!
This formula is thicker than a normal chemical sunscreen because of its natural ingredients (which means less chance of irritating eczema). However, this means it will likely leave a white cast on your toddler. But this shouldn’t stop you from using this gentle and effective sunscreen on your toddler’s eczema prone skin.
BADGER Baby Sunscreen Cream provides reasonably priced broad spectrum protection without causing irritation, and this is what makes it the best sunscreen for toddlers with eczema.
- High concentration of active ingredient
- Simple formula
- 40-minute water resistance
- Thick formula
California Baby Super Sensitive Sunscreen is an excellent option for protecting the eczema prone skin on your face and the rest of your body. It is a physical sunscreen which provides you with broad spectrum protection through its active ingredient titanium dioxide (12%).
This product is recommended by experts, even for super sensitive skin, which makes it the ideal choice for protecting your face from the sun if you are prone to eczema. California Baby Super Sensitive Sunscreen is hypoallergenic, PABA-free, and unfragranced.
It is so gentle that it will not cause irritation on your face or sting your eyes, if it gets in them accidentally.
This is a thicker rub on lotion, which will leave a slight white cast on your face if you don’t spend time evenly spreading it into your skin. But the small amount of extra time spent rubbing the product in is well worth the protection of the eczema prone skin on your face.
This product is water resistant (80 minutes) which means that daily use on your face will not be disturbed by sweating or oiliness. Just make sure to remember to reapply the sunscreen if you are relying on the water resistance!
The price of California Baby Super Sensitive Sunscreen is reasonable for the strong protection it gives you without causing any irritation. The formula was specifically designed for super sensitive types of skin which makes this product the best sunscreen for eczema on the face!
- Designed for sensitive skin
- 80-minute water resistance
- No zinc oxide
CeraVe Baby Sunscreen is another good choice for eczema prone skin. This physical sunscreen gives you balanced protection against UVA and UVB rays through the active ingredients zinc oxide (11.4%) and titanium dioxide (7.4%).
This sunscreen was developed by dermatologists and is hypoallergenic and free of parabens, sulfate, and fragrance. It is a product that will be gentle on your eczema prone skin, but will provide you with solid protection.
It is water resistant (80 minutes) which means that you do not need to worry about sweat causing the sunscreen to run or about being harmed by UV rays while swimming.
The rub on lotion formula means that the sunscreen is safe and that you will have more control over applying it correctly and evenly to your sensitive skin. Be sure to spend enough time rubbing the sunscreen in, otherwise it can leave a whitish cast on your skin.
This affordable sunscreen, provides broad spectrum protection with ingredients gentle enough for sensitive eczema prone skin. It is a great option if you have eczema, and would have ranked higher on SimplySunSafe’s list if it had been recommended on more eczema forums.
It is worth testing this product. It could be the perfect product to protect your eczema prone skin. You never know until you try!
- High SPF
- Repairing ingredients
- Slight white cast
Vanicream Sunscreen is a sensitive skin formula which is dermatologist recommended. This physical sunscreen provides broad spectrum protection with the active ingredients zinc oxide (6%) and titanium dioxide (3.4%). Its sensitive skin formula makes it a good option for eczema prone skin.
This product is non-comedogenic and free of parabens, PABA, oil, gluten, and fragrance. Vanicream Sunscreen is formulated to be used on sensitive skin, and is gentle enough to use even if you are prone to severe eczema.
Not only is this sunscreen gentle, but it is also water resistant (80 minutes), which means that it is suitable for daily use even in hot weather that will cause you to sweat.
The formula has a slightly heavy feel to it and may leave a greasy feeling or white cast on your skin unless fully absorbed into your skin. One common solution to this issue is to use this sunscreen with other cosmetics (like a foundation powder) which will eliminate the greasiness and white cast. This extra step is definitely worth the benefits of this product!
SimplySunSafe has recommended this product as number 5 on our list because it has the lowest concentration of zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide of all the products featured. It is still a trusted option of many customers with eczema, however, it is worth testing this product on your skin during your search for the best sunscreen for eczema prone skin!
- 80-minute water resistance
- Formula is a little heavy
- Slight white finish
This guide was written to help those who are searching for the best sunscreen for eczema. I hope that by reading this guide you’ve gained a greater understanding of what to look for and have found a sunscreen that fits your needs!
SimplySunSafe recommends BADGER SPF 35 Sport Sunscreen, but all 5 of our listed sunscreens will provide you with sufficient and sensitive protection for your eczema prone skin.
Remember, it’s always a good idea to test a few products so that you can find the one that works the best for your skin. Once you have tested a few different sunscreens, you will be able to choose the one that best fits your daily lifestyle and no longer worry about the sun protection of your sensitive, eczema prone skin.
I love to hear and learn new things as much as possible, so if you use or know of any other sunscreens that are good for eczema prone skin, please let me know so that I can check them out and think about adding them to SimplySunSafe’s list!
If you’d like sunscreen recommendations for other skin conditions, SimplySunSafe has a range of guides including sunscreen for rosacea and sunscreen for sensitive skin. Just go to the top of this page and search for a condition to find the recommendations you’re looking for.