Having sensitive skin can be an absolute pain. I know because I have it! There are certain creams and ingredients that irritate it and make it swell or come out in a rash.
When it comes to sunscreen, skin sensitivities are usually the worst. There are so many chemicals and toxins put in the creams that they cause flare ups. It’s not like you can avoid using the creams, either. Not wearing them puts your skin at risk!
So, what are your options? Just what can you do to help protect sensitive skin from the sun? It’s time to get the right type of sunscreens for your skin. Here’s your absolute guide to help.
Why You Need to Wear Sunscreen
Surely you can go a day or so without putting any protection on your skin, right? If only that were the case! It would definitely solve all of our problems.
The sun is one of the most natural but also most damaging things in the world. There’s little you can do about the sun touching your skin, and very little you can do about the harm the UV rays can do. We’ve spent centuries trying to work out what the sun does and what we can do to protect our bodies.
Rays from the sun are one of the most common causes of skin cancer. They also lead to visible ageing of the skin and pigmentation damage. Let’s not mention the dehydration the sun can cause, leaving our skin even more sensitive and flaky.
While some want to avoid the issues, there’s no denying that the ozone layer is thinning. The sun’s rays are more harmful than they have ever been because it is easier for them to get through the ozone layer. It’s easier for the radiation to cause problems to the skin. We need something to protect our skin from that because there’s nothing we can do to get the ozone layer back.
The best we’ve come up with is cream to block out the rays, preventing them from doing damage.
That’s great until we remember that the ingredients used in the majority of bottles make our sensitive skin conditions flare up. We need to find something that will soothe issues and protect our skin at the same time.
That is possible, right?
But We Need Vitamin D!
Don’t we need the vitamins that come from the sun, don’t we? Vitamin D is one of the hardest to come by but is usually available on a daily basis.
There are conditions caused by a lack of vitamin D. Rickets, and osteoporosis is among the most common now, which is surprising considering rickets disappeared and had returned.
The vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium to promote strong teeth and bones. As we get older, our bodies naturally start to weaken. We can prevent illnesses from occurring to prolong out lives and protect our health.
So yes, needing vitamin D is technically true, you may be surprised to hear that 15 minutes of sun on your skin is more than enough to get your vitamin D intake. In fact, 5-30 minutes just twice a week will give you your weekly intake. There’s no need to be out unprotected all the time.
You don’t even need the sun to get vitamin D! We’re not talking about supplements, but about getting it from your food. Liver, eggs, dairy products, and fish are all excellent sources of vitamin D.
There’s really no excuse for not being protected.
It’s Alright for Those with Normal Skin
Well, we say that there’s no excuse, but we have sensitive skin, don’t we? That’s an excuse, right? If only we had normal skin. That would be so much easier to deal with.
It requires very little attention when using products. Most over the counter sun creams are designed for those with no skin issues at all. The ingredients work on protection from the UV rays, rather than moisturising and avoiding pore blockages. There are no worries at all if they start to dry out the skin because the natural oils will kick in when they need to.
Some won’t even have to worry about the damage the UV rays do. They have skin that can fight against burning or has a better protective layer against dryness. They don’t have to worry about sun spots as much as we do with our sensitive skin.
While they may want to focus on something more natural, people with normal skin don’t have to worry too much about it. They don’t even have to buy the expensive stuff! Some can even get away with lower SPFs, and enjoy a golden tan throughout the year!
Common Skin Conditions That Need Specialist Sunscreen
You may not even think you have sensitive skin at first. It’s only once you apply the cream that you realise there’s a problem.
Some conditions are more prone to issues with sunscreen than others. Others will need some very special attention.
Dry skin is problematic, but one of the easiest to solve. You can use a moisturiser before you apply your sunscreen to keep the oil production in your favour. There are quick natural options to use too if this is the only reason you hate sunscreen.
Some of the more problematic issues are eczema, psoriasis, and other similar conditions. They can cause rashes and inflammation, flaring up and becoming painful as soon as you apply over the counter sunscreens. You need to find something that will soothe the condition while offering your skin the protection from the sun it needs.
Over the Counter Sunscreens for Sensitive Skin
Manufacturers slowly realise that not everyone is the same. They’re slowly getting there that people need specialist products for their needs, or they’re going to put their health at risk.
That is why there will now be a section in your pharmacy or grocery store for sensitive skin sunscreen. You’ll even be able to find SPF 50 or 60 options, as those with sensitive skin tend to burn a lot easier.
Opting for organic options is often advisable, but they can be expensive. They often come in smaller bottles, and we always need more because of how quickly we burn. It just doesn’t seem fair, does it? We want to do our best, but there are so many factors standing in our way.
But we don’t just have to opt for the over the counter options. They don’t get rid of all the toxins and chemicals used, and they’re not always the best options.
Instead, we can focus on natural options. They don’t just help to protect our skin from sun damage, but also protect our sensitive skin conditions from getting worse.
Making Your Own Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin
So, to get around it all, why don’t we just make our own sunscreen? I can hear the down in your head, but yes this really is an option! There are so many ingredients that you likely already have in your cupboard that will protect your skin from damage.
If you don’t have them, they’re much cheaper to buy than if you opted for those specially formulated, organic creams that end up not working at all!
Do watch out for the ingredients and any allergies you have. If you have a nut allergy, you can still end up with flare-ups by using it topically. The body will absorb the ingredients through the skin and into the bloodstream, sometimes making topical treatments much more serious. Find out how your allergy manifests and how serious it is before you use any ingredients.
Some of the ingredients you’ll need include:
- Coconut oil
- Raspberry seed oil
- Carrot seed oil
- Shea butter
They all have SPF factors, with some as high as 50. Make sure you check with the manufacturers of the oils to make sure nothing extra has been added in. This will help to protect your skin further.
Also, please remember that natural methods haven’t been scientifically tested. While they work for many, you do need to keep an eye on the health of your skin.
One of the recipes you can use is:
- Cup of olive oil
- Half cup of coconut oil
- Half cup of beeswax
- 4tbsp zinc oxide
- 2tsp raspberry seed oil
- 2tsp carrot seed oil
- Hint of vitamin E oil
- Shea butter to your liking
- Other essential oils for the smell
The zinc oxide has healing properties and can help your sensitive skin conditions. It can soothe eczema and psoriasis while healing wounds and rashes. It’s one of the best options for baby’s diaper rash. Adding just a bit into your sunscreen will help to fight against any signs of skin damage due to the sun.
The vitamin E oil is optional but another great option to add in because of the healing and soothing properties. It is one of the best options for moisturising against dry skin, helps to promote healthy oil production, and will battle against many rashes and conditions. It also soothes burns, if you do any up with some skin damage after a day outside.
Oils will help to keep the moisture in your skin throughout the day. Don’t forget to apply regularly, as they’re not sweat or waterproof.
Making your sunscreen is easy. You just need to mix everything except the zinc oxide together in a large glass. Make sure they’re all combined. You may need to heat the coconut oil first, depending on the temperature in the room. Do this by placing it over a pan of heated water.
Shake everything together and then stir in your zinc oxide. Pour the mixture into a container that you can make airtight. Mason jars are great for this.
Avoid putting this into a pump bottle. The coconut oil will start to solidify once mixed so it will clog up in the pump. You’ll need to have it in a jar that you can easily get your hands into.
You can keep this for the whole summer or until it’s done. The ingredients will last for six months when mixed together.
If you do have any allergies to some of the oils, there are others that you can substitute instead. Olive oil is a popular option for those with coconut and other nut allergies.
Protecting Your Skin After Damage
If you’ve found that your skin has ended up damaged, after all, you’ll want to apply creams to help protect it. Again, there are over the counter options out there, but they’re not all the best for protecting or helping sensitive skin.
You’ll need to make an after-sun lotion, which will use many of the same oils as your sunscreen. In fact, the natural sunscreen above will help to soothe burns and protect from further damage. I’ve already mentioned the zinc oxide is a great ingredient for fast healing, and completely natural.
It’s important to keep your skin out of the sun until it’s healed. It’s already raw and doing further damage will be much easier. While you can’t stay inside all the time, sticking to the coolest parts of the day is best. Try to avoid between 11 am and 3 pm, as they are the times the sun is at its hottest and highest.
If you are worried about the sun damage, please speak to a doctor. This is especially the case if you see moles getting bigger, bumpier, or changing after the damage.
It’s Time to Protect Your Sensitive Skin
Now’s the time to take action. You can protect your sensitive skin from damage, without having to deal with inflammation, redness, or irritability. You can enjoy the summer months, without wishing for the cold to come back every single day.
Sunscreens are still necessary, but you can make your own. If you are allergic to any of the ingredients, there are substitutions you can make. Don’t leave yourself unprotected, especially when home remedies are easier and cheaper to make!