When it comes to choosing a sunscreen for eczema-prone skin, we know you want to ensure your family is receiving the best sun protection without causing irritation.

But selecting the right products to protect your little one’s eczema-prone skin can feel overwhelming! From cleansers to lotions and everything in-between, there are so many different products to try.

What are the key ingredients to look out for? What qualities should a great sunscreen have? And how can you ensure you’re providing the right type of sun protection for eczema-prone skin?

In this guide, we’ll explore what eczema is, how to manage it, and how to choose the best sunscreen for eczema that’s suitable for the whole family, from little ones to adults.

What Is Eczema?

Child applying sunscreen for eczema to moms face

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a genetic skin condition that causes the protective layer of your baby’s skin to become thin and break down. This allows much-needed moisture to escape, leaving your little one’s skin vulnerable to contact with allergens.

While eczema can be very uncomfortable, thankfully, it’s not contagious, so there’s no need to worry about the potential for eczema to spread between yourself and your baby or between family members.

What Are The Symptoms Of Eczema?

Eczema is characterized by patches of dry, red skin that cause intense itching. You may even notice small blisters on your little one’s eczema-prone skin.

While the appearance of eczema is the same in infants and children as it is in adults, the location of eczema may change over time.

For example, up to six months of age, your little one’s eczema may appear mostly on the cheeks, forehead, and scalp. In older children and adults, eczema can usually be seen in the folds of the elbows and knees.

Eczema flare-ups in babies can also make sleeping difficult. If you notice sleep disturbances in combination with rough, red patches on your baby’s skin, you’re likely dealing with eczema.

Is Eczema Preventable?

Mom applying sunscreen for eczema on daughters face

It’s important to note that eczema has nothing to do with hygiene or how well you’re taking care of your baby’s skin. There’s nothing you could have done to prevent it from occurring, so remember not to beat yourself up about it!

While there’s currently no cure for eczema, flare-ups of this common skin condition are manageable with the right skincare routine and carefully selected natural products.

From quick clean-ups during the day to bath time at night, choosing gentle yet effective products — including wipes, creams, shampoos, and, yes, sunscreen! — is the key to managing your little one’s eczema flare-ups.

Choosing Sunscreen For Eczema-Prone Skin

While a healthy dose of sunshine can actually help your baby’s eczema, UV rays are still harmful. Sun protection is crucial for all skin types, all ages, and throughout all seasons (yes, even during winter!).

Quick note: Babies under six months of age should be exposed to the sun as little as possible. Consult your pediatrician before using sunscreen on younger infants.

In addition to avoiding direct sunlight and covering up your little one’s skin with long sleeves and a wide-brimmed hat during time outdoors, it’s important to choose the right sunscreen to add an extra level of protection for eczema-prone skin.

Here’s how!

1) Ditch The Harsh Chemicals

child grabbing for Mustela sunscreen stick

Every baby’s skin is particularly delicate, but when you add eczema into the mix, it becomes even more sensitive and requires additional protection to avoid irritation.

This means it’s important to pay close attention to the ingredients in the skincare products you’re using on your little one’s skin. When it comes to sunscreens, there are two main types: chemical and mineral.

As the name suggests, chemical sunscreens contain a variety of chemicals, many of which are potential triggers for eczema-prone skin.

Chemicals commonly found in sunscreen include oxybenzone, avobenzone, and octinoxate, among many others. While these chemicals have been approved by the FDA, they can cause significant irritation for both children and adults with sensitive skin.

Mineral sunscreen, on the other hand, offers a more natural approach to sun protection. Common active ingredients in mineral sunscreen are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which offer optimum protection without hidden chemicals.

Switching your chemical sunscreen to a mineral-based product is a simple way to reduce the amount of potentially irritating chemicals in your little one’s skincare routine.

Our SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen Stick is the perfect place to start! Packed with natural ingredients including shea butter, avocado oil, and jojoba, this sunscreen offers effective sun protection without any unnecessary nasties.

Bonus: All Mustela sunscreen products are fragrance-free and certified by the National Eczema Association (NEA), which means they’re ideal for even the most sensitive, eczema-prone skin!

For more information on chemical and mineral sunscreen differences, check out this video!

2) Make Sure It’s Broad-Spectrum

You’ve probably heard the term “broad-spectrum” before, but what does it actually mean?

Broad-spectrum refers to the types of UV rays your sunscreen protects against. The sun emits UVA and UVB rays, both of which are harmful and can affect your skin in different ways.

While both UVA and UVB rays can cause skin cancer, UVA rays tend to cause premature aging whereas UVB rays are the primary cause of sunburn.

Neither of these types of rays is healthy in large doses, which is why it’s so important to protect your family’s skin against both types. That’s where broad-spectrum sunscreens come in!

In addition to choosing broad-spectrum sunscreen, it’s important to consider the sun protection factor (SPF) in your sunscreen. The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD) recommends opting for products that offer a minimum of SPF 30, which blocks 97% of UV rays.

Choosing a broad-spectrum, high SPF mineral sunscreen formulated with non-nano zinc oxide (like our SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen Lotion!) will ensure you’re providing your family with the best protection available for their eczema-prone skin thanks to its soothing, natural ingredients.

Child holding sunscreen for eczema

3) Choose A Water- And Sweat-Resistant Sunscreen

Children are busy creatures, constantly learning and exploring. When your little one has eczema-prone skin, you may wonder how you can best protect it while they’re out adventuring.

Choosing water- and sweat-resistant sunscreen is one way to keep their skin comfortable and flare-up-free! This ensures your family is well-protected — even during activities like swimming or playing outdoors.

To protect against potential irritants in the environment, we recommend using an emollient cream underneath your little one’s sunscreen. This ensures you’re healing your child’s eczema-prone skin in addition to protecting it from the sun.

Opt for a natural and gentle product, like our Stelatopia Emollient Cream. This fragrance-free cream is specially designed to replenish, soothe, and restore your little one’s eczema-prone skin to keep your baby happy, healthy, and itch-free!

To use an emollient cream in addition to sunscreen, massage a small amount into your little one’s skin, and then simply apply your sunscreen on top!

For little ones on the go, an easy sunscreen application method such as a spray makes this routine a breeze.

Our SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen Spray has all the benefits of mineral sunscreen in a quick and painless spray bottle so your family can get back to enjoying fun in the sun as soon as possible!

Remember to reapply your little one’s sunscreen at least every 80 minutes and after swimming or towel-drying to maintain optimum sun protection. That goes for any sunscreen, regardless of the formula or application method you choose.

Don’t Forget After Sun Care

Sunburn can be itchy and sore for everyone, but for those with already sensitive, eczema-prone skin, it can quickly become a nightmare!

And spending too much time in the sun can increase your risk of skin cancer and early skin aging. Of course, prevention is key when it comes to sunburn.

In addition to the other advice we’ve shared, follow these tips to protect yourself and your family:

  • Limit time in the sun, especially during peak hours (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)
  • Wear protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts, pants, hats, and sunglasses
  • Seek shade when possible

That said, we know things happen and you may not always be able to adhere to the tips above. If you or your little one happens to catch too much sun, it’s important to know how to treat it.

In addition to cool baths and extra hydration, it’s a good idea to have an after-sun product on hand just in case your little one needs natural relief from symptoms.

Our After Sun Lotion soothes and delivers long-lasting hydration to your baby’s skin after sun exposure. The natural oils in our lotion provide much-needed moisture to eczema-prone skin, helping to relieve the itchy irritation of both sunburn and eczema.

Get Outdoors With The Right Sunscreen For Eczema!

Dad on picnic with baby while being protected by sunscreen for eczema

Choosing the best sunscreen for eczema-prone skin doesn’t have to be difficult!

Remember to avoid harmful chemicals, look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen, and ensure your selection is water- and sweat-resistant for optimum sun protection.

When it comes to protecting eczema-prone skin from the sun’s harsh rays, you can’t go wrong with Mustela’s range of sun protection products — all of which are certified by the NEA and formulated with non-nano zinc oxide.

From our SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen Lotion to our After Sun Lotion, we’ve got your family covered so you can safely enjoy your time in the sun knowing you’re all protected!