It’s widely understood that sunscreen is a necessary part of skincare. This is true for everyone of all ages and backgrounds. Sometimes there is confusion about whether sunscreen for eczema is necessary since UV rays are used to treat the condition. While there are many factors to consider, people with eczema-prone skin should still use sunscreen. Let’s delve a bit deeper on sunscreen for eczema.
As a disclaimer, while we do our best to make sure all info is accurate, check with your healthcare provider before attempting any new treatment.
How UV Helps Eczema
One-tenth of the population has some form of eczema, which is an skin condition caused by inflammation when a person’s immune system is overactive. The result is often skin that has red and scaly patches. One of the most common symptoms of eczema is itchy skin that’s hard to soothe. Since the skin is already compromised, it’s difficult to avoid the affects of irritants. In fact, there are indoor and outdoor irritants that can affect eczema-prone skin.
Light therapy is often used to treat eczemain what’s called a ‘light box.' The type of rays used for eczema are UVB rays that only treat the top layer of the skin. This is unlike UVA rays that have the ability to penetrate through the top layer of skin. Simply put, failure to use sunscreen when you have eczema is dangerous. It’s essentially increasing your chances of developing melanoma, which is a form of skin cancer that can become deadly if left untreated. It’s important to understand that moderate sun exposure with sunscreen is typically fine, but constant exposure increases your chances of developing cancer.
Using UVB rays to treat eczema usually requires long-term treatment. Notably, UVB rays don’t always help to improve eczema. There are other options for light therapy that treat the condition. One example is a blue light that’s UV-free and has the potential to suppress your immune system to reduce the symptoms of eczema.
Facts About Sunscreen for Eczema
There are many options when it comes to sunscreen products. When you have eczema, it’s best to choose products that have titanium dioxide or zinc oxide because similar ingredients tend to be an irritant to skin compromised by eczema. The reason why titanium dioxide or zinc oxide are better is because they act as a layer of protection on the skin’s surface, which blocks UV rays and prevents it from penetrating your skin.
In addition to wearing sunscreen when you have eczema, it’s also prudent to wear clothing that protects your skin from the sun. While most clothing has some level of UV protection built in, there are materials specifically designed to protect against the sun. You’ll need to look for the ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) rating. Clothing with a UPF 50 rating or higher is a great option if you have eczema.
In the event that you get sunburned, it’s important to treat it appropriately to reduce the chances of a bacterial infection developing. Eczema-prone skin is more likely to become infected. A great way to treat a sunburn is with aloe vera gel. You can also take a cool shower to calm down the inflammation and prevent the instinct to scratch itchy skin. This can also prevent your skin from peeling and minimize the amount of pain felt as a result of the sunburn.