Summer is a lovely time of year – swimming, picnics, days at the beach and long, balmy evenings. However, for those of us with children who suffer from eczema, it can be a stressful season.
There are a lot of varying opinions on whether the sun is good or bad for eczema, and there are no simple answers!
Some people find that their eczema improves with exposure to sunlight (this is particularly true of the contact and discoid types), while others experience a worsening of their condition in the sun.
Some types of eczema are even directly caused or made worse by exposure to the sun, although this is rare. The term for this is photosensitive eczema.
Once you work out what triggers your child’s (or your own) eczema, you can start to put a management plan in place for the coming warmer weather.
There is a lot of new research that says exposure to sunlight is beneficial for eczema sufferers. Vitamin D is great for lots of things, and some people do find a little sunlight can really help clear their skin. As well as Vitamin D, sunlight also triggers the release of compounds (regulatory T cells and nitric oxide) which dampen the problematic immune system response in people with eczema.
As with any outdoor activities in Summer, you need to follow the normal Sun Smart recommendations:
- Cover up with loose, cotton or UV protection clothing
- Use sunscreen (more below about which types to look for)
- Wear a hat and sunnies
- Seek shade
- Don’t go out in the peak UV hours
Try planning some nice outdoor activities in the early morning or late afternoon sun when it’s not too warm. Dress your child in light, cotton layers to keep them cool. Don’t let your child get too hot or sweaty, as this can then become a trigger for a flare up. Stick to semi-shaded areas and always use sunscreen (sunburn can also cause skin inflammation and make eczema worse). Use your judgement when exposing them to a bit of sunshine – you want them to soak up those lovely rays, but to stay safe and cool!
When it comes to choosing your child’s sunscreen, try and find a physical sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These types of sunscreen create a physical block meant to keep UV rays from penetrating the skin. They’re non irritative but effective – unlike some sunscreen with chemical blockers which can cause irritation, burning, and itching for those with sensitive skin.
Top Tip! Keep your sunscreen in the fridge in Summer for a super refreshing and cooling application!
In conclusion, sunlight is a good thing for most people with eczema. A little exposure to some light morning sunshine is something that can help manage flare-ups and improve the condition of sensitive skin, so long as you’re careful not to overdo it.
Spending more time outdoors this Summer? Check out our post about Spring remedies where you can find lots of tips for managing your child’s eczema in the great outdoors.
This blog post was brought to you and your family with love from Julia and the itchy baby co. team x.
Disclaimer: Information provided is of a general nature only, and you should always consult your medical professional.