Sunburn and Sensitive Skin

Sunburn and Sensitive Skin

Sunburn and Sensitive Skin: What You Need to Know Before Heading Out into the Sun if You Have Eczema or Dermatitis

Summer is synonymous with sun, sand, and outdoor fun. But for those with sensitive skin conditions like eczema or dermatitis, the sun can also mean a heightened risk of sunburn, irritation, and flare-ups. Here’s what you need to know to protect your sensitive skin.

1. Understand the Connection:

Eczema or dermatitis-affected skin is inherently more vulnerable. The compromised skin barrier makes it more susceptible to UV damage. The inflammation that results from sunburn can trigger an eczema flare-up or worsen existing symptoms.

2. Always, Always Wear Sunscreen:

It may sound obvious, but it bears repetition. For those with eczema or dermatitis, sunscreen isn’t just about preventing sunburn. It's a barrier against the UV rays that can cause skin damage and trigger flare-ups. Opt for mineral sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which are less likely to irritate sensitive skin. Additionally, choose broad-spectrum sunscreens with an SPF of 30 or higher.

3. Moisturise Regularly:

A well-hydrated skin barrier is crucial for those with eczema or dermatitis. Not only does it keep your skin healthy, but it also offers a layer of protection against environmental stressors, including the sun. Use a moisturiser that’s free from fragrances, alcohols, and other irritants, ideally one formulated for sensitive skin.

4. Seek Shade and Wear Protective Clothing:

Limit direct sun exposure, especially during peak hours from 10a.m. to 4p.m. Wearing wide-brimmed hats, long-sleeved shirts, and sunglasses can provide an extra layer of defence against the sun’s rays.

5. Know Your Triggers:

For some, sweat or the heat itself can be a trigger for eczema or dermatitis. Recognise what exacerbates your symptoms and take precautions. This might mean taking frequent breaks in the shade, wearing moisture-wicking clothes, or even scheduling your outdoor activities during cooler parts of the day.

6. After-Sun Care is Crucial:

If you do end up getting too much sun, treat your skin gently. Cool it down with a damp cloth, apply a gentle moisturiser, and avoid any products that contain irritants.


Remember, sensitive skin requires thoughtful care, especially under the sun. By staying informed and prepared, you can enjoy the best of what summer has to offer without compromising the health of your skin.