Now the better weather is on its way and outdoor play possible, you may be wondering what sun cream to use on your little one with eczema.

Sun creams can be an irritant for sensitive skin, with the lotions heavy and containing minerals and chemicals that can react with skin.

Sadly there is no one cream suitable for all skin types and parents will have to use trial and error to find a product that works with the child’s skin. Many parents find lotions formulated just for sensitive skin work best and almost every brand and supermarket or pharmacy own brand have a sensitive product in their line. These are usually less thick and don’t include unnecessary chemicals like fragrance or colour.

There are steps you can try to stop sun cream from irritating you child with eczema’s skin.

  1. Patch test – this is vital. Buy the product you think it most suitable and test it on a small patch of un-broken skin before going out in the sun. If there is no reaction after 2-3 days, the cream should be fine to use. Be sure to allow the patch to be in sunlight to properly test it as some skin will not react until the lotion is exposed to UVA or UVB rays.
  2. Check use by dates – all lotions have a recommended use by date after opening. Look for a symbol on the bottle that will have either a 6 months, 12 months or 18 months beside it. After the cream has been open any longer it starts to lose its SPF effectiveness and also bacteria can get into the bottle, possibly providing an irritant to sensitive skin. Consider only using a bottle for one summer despite the recommended use by date to avoid potential flare ups from bacteria.
  3.  Apply emollient at least 30 mins before sunscreen. If the skin is still greasy with moisturiser,  the SPF protection factor will be lower and your child may get burned faster.
  4. Keep an eye on sun exposure, sensitive skin can burn easily so try to avoid the sun between 12-3pm on hot days and always have your child covered with a hat. UV suits can be bought cheaply and provide additional protection from the harmful rays and mean sun lotion is needed in less areas.
  5. Watch out for the sand – make sure your child is free from sand before applying sun cream. The gritty texture of sand can irritate skin when rubbed in with cream.
  6. Swimming – some children’s eczema isn’t affected by the chemicals in swimming pools but for others it can cause a flare. If your child’s skin is very broken, consider avoiding the pool until their skin is healed.

By taking precautions, your child can enjoy the sunshine – let’s hope for a sunny UK summer!