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Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin


By now we all know that sunscreen is a must. For years many of us believed that our melanated skin was immune to the effects of sun-damage and that sunscreen was only for pale people. While the idea may have been empowering, unfortunately it was a myth all along. We’re wide-awake now, but this awareness raises questions for people who have never shopped for sunscreen. How much SPF do I need? What’s the best type of sunscreen for me? What if I have eczema and sensitive skin?

My dermatologist explained to me that I needed to use sunscreen regardless of my brown skin, and it was especially important because of the hyperpigmentation on my face. I remember my first time shopping for sunscreen. It was such a process! I didn’t know the answer to any of the above questions. I was a broke college student so I wasn’t trying to break the bank, and it was no secret that I had extra-sensitive skin. I searched and searched and opted for a sunscreen for acne-prone skin that was supposed to help prevent breakouts. It did the exact opposite and I had to deal with that breakout for about a month after using it. I didn’t mention the hives on the rest of my body, did I?

After that experience, I took a break from using sunscreen. The inflammation that the sunscreen caused discouraged me, and I’m not proud of it, but I was no longer willing to continue playing sunscreen roulette. I wasn’t sure why the sunscreen had such a negative effect on my skin, so I went to see an esthetician. I learned a lot from her and that visit actually led me to better self-care practices, but that ‘s another story.

If you have eczema or sensitive skin, chances are sunrays burn you quicker than the average person. Our skin can react to those summertime sunrays, but the ingredients in sunscreen can also induce inflammation. It’s important to find a sunscreen that really works for you because at the end of the day it is important, whether you only step outside to get behind the wheel of your car, or you’re a serial camper.

I found my sunscreen products through trial and error, but through further research I found that the National Eczema Association has a list of products that are included in its Seal of Acceptance Program. In order to be included in the program, products must by mineral based (titanium dioxide and zinc oxide), must be alcohol-free, must be broad-spectrum (protection from UVA A and UVA B rays), and be S