The small, red (often itchy) bumps associate with keratosis pilaris tend to make your skin drier and affected areas may feel more sensitive than others. This makes finding skincare products one of the most important things you can do when focusing on easing any discomfort.
For most sufferers, this should include finding the right sunscreen to use on your keratosis pilaris affected skin.
The trick is to search for products that are designed for the specific features of your condition. If you read the Skin Cancer Foundation’s advice then you’ll learn that due to the sensitivity and dryness associated with keratosis pilaris, you may want to seek products that are gentle and moisturizing.
With so many sunscreens to choose from, it can feel like a tall task, but broad spectrum sunscreen is a must for proper sun protection with keratosis pilaris. Don’t fret! SimplySunSafe is here to ease you through the search process.
After thoroughly examining the needs of skin with keratosis pilaris, SimplySunSafe recommends Vanicream Sensitive Sunscreen SPF 30 as the best sunscreen for keratosis pilaris. Keep reading for a detailed buyer’s guide, comparison table, and in-depth reviews of the top 5 sunscreens for keratosis pilaris.
Make the decision to get organized before your begin your search and focus on the must-have features for your keratosis pilaris sunscreen:
Broad spectrum protection
It goes without saying that any sunscreen you search for should provide broad spectrum protection. It is a type of protection that should be applied daily.
What it means is that you are receiving balanced protection against both UVA and UVB rays, which is important to specify because each type of ray damages your skin in a different way.
- UVB rays are the rays we notice most frequently, as they damage the outer layer of your skin causing you to burn or tan.
- UVA rays will creep into your conscious later, but with more of a vengeance because they penetrate the deepest layer of your skin (the dermis) and cause premature aging.
Exposure to both types of rays increases your risk of skin cancer. So the specification of balanced protection is not something to scoff at! Don’t risk further irritation of your keratosis pilaris – get a broad spectrum sunscreen now!
Luckily, you will find sunscreens providing broad spectrum protection very easily. They are very widely available and super easy to spot! Zoom in on the sunscreen’s label and ingredients list.
The label tends to highlight words like ‘broad spectrum’ or ‘UVA/B’ and make it clear that you’re fully protected. Scan the ingredients list for zinc oxide, and if you find it, go for it. Sunscreens with zinc oxide protect against the full range of UVA/B rays and are always excellent choices.
Best SPF for Keratosis Pilaris
The Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is one of those things that you just assume you understand and decide on without really considering it. Don’t worry, you are certainly not alone. But it would certainly aid your search to truly understand how it works.
Listen to this: SPF tells you what fraction of the sun’s rays will reach your skin if you have properly applied your sunscreen. If you’re wearing a sunscreen with an SPF rating of 50, then 1/50th of the sun’s rays will reach your skin.
That sounds really low, right? It is, but don’t get carried away (and aggravate your keratosis pilaris).
Just because you’re using an SPF rating of 50 does not mean that you can stay out in the sun 50 times longer than if you weren’t wearing sunscreen.
Surprisingly, there are quite a few factors which influence the effectiveness of SPF including the time of day (think peak hours), amount of sunscreen properly applied (not hastily rubbed on), and even reflections from surfaces like water and sand.
This table helped me to better understand what protection you get from different SPF ratings. Check it out:
|SPF Rating||UVB Protection|
Tell me you weren’t surprised! As you can see, there is very little difference between an SPF rating of 30 and one of 100.
Where does leave you in terms of deciding based on your keratosis pilaris?
The AAD recommends that you always choose sunscreens with SPF ratings no lower than 30 and no higher than 50. Here at SimplySunSafe we endorse this recommendation by listing products within those boundaries.
The most important tip is to reapply your sunscreen at least every two hours no matter what SPF rating you choose!
Physical is better than chemical
Did you know that sunscreens can be broken down into two categories- chemical and physical? It was new information to me!
The differences between the categories lie in their active ingredients and in how they work to protect your skin.
Chemical sunscreens soak into your skin and absorb UV rays as they reach your skin, whereas physical sunscreens reflect UV rays before they reach your skin. Take a guess which is safer?
Physical sunscreens give us many reasons to choose them over chemical ones. Physical sunscreens:
- Work immediately upon application
- Last longer
- Are less likely to cause irritation
- Have a longer shelf life
Still not convinced?
What if I told you that chemical sunscreens often contain ingredients that mess with your hormones? Seriously. Who knows what effect that could have on your keratosis pilaris?
The worst of these ingredients is called oxybenzone and is still legal despite concerns from the EWG. Avoid these dangerous chemicals and protect yourself with a physical sunscreen!
The itchiness that can sometimes come along with your keratosis pilaris can be treated and soothed using a variety of creams, but what if you decided to focus more on prevention?
Often times, the itchiness is cause, or exacerbated, by dryness.
Using a sunscreen that is designed to provide moisture to your skin will not only protect you from UV rays, but also nourish your skin and prevent further discomfort or inflammation of your keratosis pilaris.
Baby or sensitive formula
Besides the dryness that your skin experiences, it is overall more sensitive when you have a skin condition such as keratosis pilaris.
Products and sunscreens that are designed for ‘normal’ skin types will not be the best fit for you, and that’s okay!
There are plenty of good quality sunscreens that work well on sensitive skin. The best places to search are in the baby section and through products that are designed especially for sensitive skin.
Your keratosis pilaris will thank you later!
Best Sunscreen for Keratosis Pilaris Comparison
|Vanicream Sunscreen||Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection||Badger Baby Sunscreen||Blue Lizard Sensitive||California Baby Super Sensitive|
|Active ingredients||Zinc Oxide (6%) & Titanium Dioxide (3.4%)||Zinc Oxide (21.6%)||Zinc Oxide (18.75%)||Zinc Oxide (10%) & Titanium Dioxide (5%)||Titanium Dioxide (12%)|
|Water resistance||80 minutes||80 minutes||40 minutes||None||80 minutes|
5 Best Sunscreens for Keratosis Pilaris
Following extensive research into how to properly protect keratosis pilaris which included discussing issues with customers, reviewing customer feedback, examining manufacturer specifications, and participating in skincare forums, SimplySunSafe has compiled a list of the 5 best sunscreens for keratosis pilaris.
Each sunscreen provides physical, broad spectrum protection with an SPF rating of 30 or higher. They all provide moisturizing protection and keep skin sensitivity in mind!
Vanicream is SimplySunSafe’s star pick for keratosis pilaris. This sunscreen provides broad spectrum protection with its active ingredients zinc oxide (6%) and titanium dioxide (3.4%).
Read its name and you will understand that Vanicream Sunscreen is specifically designed for sensitive skin. This sunscreen comes from a trusted, dermatologist-recommended line of skin products that nourish sensitive skin with various conditions, including keratosis pilaris.
The formula is very thick and extremely moisturizing, which will ease some of your itchiness with keratosis pilaris. The only drawback is that the sunscreen does not work well under makeup.
Vanicream Sunscreen is also a great option for the warmer weather or water activities because it provides you with 80 minutes of durable water resistance!
- Very moisturizing
- Designed for sensitive skin
- 80 minutes of water resistance
- Doesn’t work well under makeup
Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection is another solid option for your keratosis pilaris. Broad spectrum protection is provided with a high concentration of its active ingredient zinc oxide (21.6%).
Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection was designed for the sensitive skin of babies. It contains oatmeal, an ingredient that works soothing wonders on dry skin, and is fragrance-free.
Another helpful feature of this sunscreen is its higher SPF rating. If you have paler skin in combination with keratosis pilaris, then a higher SPF rating is a good choice for you.
It is a thick formula which will leave a slight white cast due to its high concentration of zinc oxide.
If you plan to spend time in humid and hot weather or doing water activities then you know you’ll be covered with Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection’s 80 minutes of water resistance.
- Oatmeal as moisturizing ingredient
- Sensitive formula
- 80 minutes of water resistance
- Likely to leave white cast
Badger is a sunscreen brand that is very well trusted by SimplySunSafe and their Baby formula is another one of their reliable products. You will receive broad spectrum protection with its active ingredient zinc oxide (18.75%).
Badger Baby has an extremely simple formula which causes it to be great for sensitive skin, in addition to being designed for babies. It contains soothing and moisturizing ingredients chamomile and calendula so you can expect your keratosis pilaris to leave you without extra discomfort in the sun with Badger Baby.
It is a great year round option because it provides 40 minutes of water resistance for the hotter months with water activity!
Just keep in mind that the high concentration of zinc oxide, while excellent in terms of protection, will leave your skin looking a bit white.
- Designed for baby skin
- Moisturizing ingredients for dry skin
- 80 minutes of water resistance
- Will leave white cast
Blue Lizard Sensitive Sunscreen is a great protector for keratosis pilaris. With broad spectrum protection through active ingredients zinc oxide (10%) and titanium dioxide (5%), you can rest assured that your skin is shielded.
Blue Lizard Sensitive is a dermatologist recommended product designed for sensitive skin that won’t cause any irritation, and will provide you with subtle but effective moisturization, as well.
You can safely use it on your face and body with any issues. No water resistance with Blue Lizard Sensitive so it’s not the best option if you’ll be outside enjoying the water or working up a sweat.
However, for everyday use – this could be the perfect sunscreen for you!
- Sensitive skin formula
- Dermatologist recommended
- No water resistance
California Baby Super Sensitive is SimplySunSafe’s final recommendation. This formula provides broad spectrum protection through its active ingredient titanium dioxide (12%).
California Baby is as gentle as it gets. It is designed for the skin of babies who are extremely sensitive or who have skin conditions. For this reason, the formula is also thick and moisturizing.
It was designed to act like a blanket to coat (and protect) a baby’s sensitive skin.
You can choose to use this sunscreen throughout the year without any hassle, as it provides 80 minutes of water resistance.
One thing to consider before buying is that that it leaves your skin with a slight white cast.
- Formulated for sensitive skin
- 80 minutes of water resistance
- Leaves slight white cast
- No zinc oxide
I wrote this guide for people searching for the best sunscreen for keratosis pilaris. Hopefully by reading this guide, you learned more about the condition, and found a product that suits your needs.
SimplySunSafe recommends Vanicream Sensitive Sunscreen SPF 30, but you can be sure that all 5 recommended products are great choices!
Now spend some time doing trial runs. Test small patches of different sunscreens on the affected areas of your skin to see how different formulas react with your skin. Then you can make a well-informed decision based on effectiveness and comfort.
I truly love learning new things and hearing about different products from other people. I want to learn from you too! If you use or know of another product that’s great for keratosis pilaris, share it in the comments below. I’ll check it out and maybe even add it to the list!
If you’d like sunscreen recommendations for other skin conditions, SimplySunSafe has a range of guides including heat rash sunscreen and sunscreen for perioral dermatitis. Just go to the top of this page and search for a condition to find the recommendations you’re looking for.