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Choosing Sunscreen for Eczema

Q: What type of sunscreen do you recommend for people with eczema?

A: Eczema Society of Canada asked Toronto dermatologist and sun care expert Dr. Cheryl Rosen for her advice in selecting a sunscreen for the sensitive skin of eczema. “Sunscreen is an important part of a skin care regimen, protecting the skin from sun damage. Ultraviolet rays from the sun are harmful in that they cause skin cancer and make the skin look old. Additionally, for people with skin discoloration from chronic eczema, sun exposure can accentuate those unwanted skin changes.” says Dr. Rosen.

Dr. Rosen offered us the following tips when selecting sunscreens: “Everyone’s skin is different and so a sunscreen that feels good for one person may not for another.”

Here are a few of Dr. Rosen’s tips:

  1. Look for sunscreens with sun protection factor (SPF) 30 or higher.
  2. Look for “broad spectrum” on the label.
  3. For people with sensitive skin, sunscreens with physical filters (look for zinc oxide and titanium dioxide on the label) may be less irritating than sunscreens which use organic UV filters (most widely sold sunscreens).
  4. Look for sunscreens that are water resistant.
  5. Spray sunscreens in an alcohol base may be more irritating than creams.
  6. Although many facial moisturizers may contain sunscreen ingredients with an SPF 30 or higher, it is best to use actual sunscreens as they will usually provide greater protection.
  7. It is a good idea to try a sunscreen first on a small area of skin to make sure that it is not irritating, before putting it on all areas exposed to the sun.
  8. Have fun in the summer, but protect your skin as best as you can.

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