While winter can be dry and harsh on eczema, summer brings its own set of challenges with hot, sweaty days, and it can be difficult to find sunscreens suitable for the sensitive skin of eczema. ESC asked Dr. Ian Tin Yue Wong about some summer skin tips.
Practice Safe Sun
Sunscreen can be a potential irritant for people with sensitive skin and eczema, but sun protection is still important. Avoiding the strongest sun of the day (between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.), wearing a wide brim hat and long protective layers, and seeking shade should be the first steps for sun safety.
Select the Right Sunscreen
There are two types of sunscreens – chemical filters and physical blocks. Physical blocks are the type generally recommended for people with eczema. Ingredients to look for are titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. These sunscreens create a physical block on the surface of the skin and help to protect it by reflecting the sun’s damaging rays. Generally speaking, people with eczema may find they prefer choosing a sunscreen that is both fragrance-free and cream based, over spray-on
formulations, as they may be more moisturizing and less irritating to the skin.
Avoid overheating and sweating when possible, including avoiding the strongest sun of the day. Air conditioning can be helpful, as can keeping babies and children in the shade.
Swimming can be a good activity to stay cool and active at the time, but remember to shower off after swimming, and apply a moisturizer as soon as possible after the shower or bath. Also, if you are swimming outdoors, remember to reapply your sunscreen every two hours.
Dr. Ian Tin Yue Wong is a Dermatology Resident Physician training at the University of British Columbia where he will undergo an intensive five-year program of advanced medical and surgical training in the prevention, recognition, and treatment of diseases of the skin, hair, and nails. Before medical school, Ian also trained and practiced as a community pharmacist. Today, he integrates his knowledge of pharmacology and pharmaceutical care to optimize medical care for the skin patient community.