Sunscreen: A Natural Eczema-Friendly Approach
Updated: Feb 29
Sunscreen and the sun. An important and controversial topic, especially here in New Zealand.
A reminder that I am not a naturopath nor qualified medical professional. I am a certified Integrative Nutrition Coach and Eczema Strategist and this post isn't designed to offer health advice, nor be a definitive guide to what is a complex topic. I am merely sharing my thoughts and as always, encourage you all to research from a variety of sources to make a decision you feel confident in.
While my family focuses on natural products where possible due to our philosophy that what goes ON our bodies is as important as what goes IN them, we still respect the intensity of our sun while understanding the potential health benefits in producing Vitamin D from responsible and moderate exposure from regular small doses. There is no question that we want to prevent the skin from burning and this means being sun-smart.
Vitamin D is a hormone that is produced when our skin is exposed to sunshine - one of many hormones our body needs to stay well. Among its many functions, it works with minerals to support strong and healthy bones as well as immunity. The only way we can generate Vitamin D is through sun exposure, but we can also influence levels through diet and supplements.
SOME THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
We try to aim for daily short bursts of sun exposure during off-peak times: earlier in the morning and later in the afternoon. The idea is to slowly and safely build a gentle tan - any kind of pink means too much sun, too quickly.
We also use a protective mix of bamboo and cotton clothing, hats, sunglasses and chemical-free sunscreen as well as sitting in the shade (being mindful it's still possible to burn in the shade). We aren't a family that typically spends much time outside in the middle of the day anyway which helps, preferring to do our dog and bush walks earlier in the morning and later in the afternoon, and then sitting under the ceiling fans the rest of the time!
Incorporating nutrient dense real foods on a regular basis with a focus on increasing dietary fats especially animal fats and extra virgin cod liver oil, and reducing sugars appears to have a positive influence on burn times.
Supplementing with Vitamin D (ideally with EVCLO) outside of the summer months especially if a blood test has shown levels are low.
Supplementing with Magnesium is also thought to bring up Vitamin D levels.
REACTIVE TO SUNSCREENS?
This is the case for many of my eczema prone clients, so you may want to also consider:
The homeopathic sun support remedy 'Sol' - your homeopath can help you here.
Supplementing with Astaxanthin which is thought to help prevent sunburn from the inside out.
In addition to completely blocking off sun exposure which may adversely affect Vitamin D production, I question some of the ingredients of standard sunscreens especially when eczema is already involved. Do be wary of marketing claims - some brands don't disclose a full list of ingredients due to shortfalls in NZ labeling guidelines and check with the EWG database regarding any ingredients you're unsure about.
There will be times when sunscreen will be necessary so here is a selection of brands I suggest you to look into!
🛒 Earth Kitchen SPF50, made locally to me - coral friendly
🛒 Think Baby SPF 50+ for Babies highly recommended in my community
🛒 Think Baby SPF 50+ for Kids easy to apply
🛒 Badger Company, Natural Sunscreen, SPF 35 passed Consumer NZ testing
🛒 Badger Company, Kids Face Stick, SPF 35 perfect for school bags
VITAMIN D SUPPLEMENTATION SUGGESTIONS 🛒 Rosita Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil